Just as you probably expected, Joe Girardi said he plans to stick with Joba Chamberlain as his eighth-inning reliever. Tonight was one of the low points for Chamberlain — two singles and a game-winning grand slam — but Girardi said, “I’m going to send him back out there, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Chamberlain was consistently 96 to 97 mph with his fastball. GameDay had his last pitch to Chone Figgins at 99. As Girardi said, the stuff was there, but Chamberlain’s command has gotten him into trouble time and again this season. After missing with back-to-back sliders, the grand slam pitch to Jose Lopez was a fastball up in the zone. It was supposed to be down and away.
“I missed a spot,” Chamberlain said. “A lot.”
With a one-run lead and Felix Hernandez dealing, there was no room for a missed spot like that. It was especially brutal given the seven brilliant innings from Javier Vazquez.
“I definitely let Javy down,” Chamberlain said. “It’s tremendous the way he went out and pitched and got himself out of jams. He continues to pitch better, and that’s a good sign for us. I’ve got to go out there and protect that one-run lead for all the good work he did.”
Here’s Chamberlain talking after the game.
• Can’t say enough about Vazquez. “His changeup was dynamite tonight, and he threw a lot of them,” Girardi said. “I thought he located his fastball good. I thought that’s as good as he’s thrown for us all year.”
• In the seventh inning, Girardi had Damaso Marte ready in the bullpen, but he let Vazquez pitch to Milton Bradley with the bases loaded. “I want to see him finish it if he can,” Girardi said.
• Speaking of that at-bat, it was a nice play by Ramiro Pena that ended it without the ball falling for a single. “I had jammed him and I thought it was going to drop in there,” Vazquez said. “When I saw Pena there, kind of under it a little bit, I was relieved.”
• No-hitter though 5.2 innings. “Sincerely, with all my heart, I never think no-hitter,” Vazquez said.
• Ichiro’s sixth-inning single hit Vazquez in the inner thigh. He said it caught all leg, no glove, but he wasn’t hurt.
• On the day he was named to the Home Run Derby, Nick Swisher hit his 15th home run of the season. He’s now hitting .435 with two homers and four doubles during this road trip.
• Mark Teixeira has now reached base in 31 consecutive games. He has a hit in 26 of his past 30. This was his 21st multi-hit game of the season.
• The loss snapped a season-high seven-game winning streak.
• Felix Hernandez pitched his third straight complete game against the Yankees (9/18/09, 6/30/10, 7/10/10). He’s the first pitcher to do that against the Yankees since Jaime Navarro in 1990-91.
Associated Press photos of Chamberlain and Vazquez.