Joe Girardi doesn’t seem to be a guy who likes controversy, and he seemed to sense one brewing tonight. “I don’t want to start a thing of, who’s our eighth-inning guy,” he said. Thing is, he didn’t start the question. But he’s the only one who can answer it.
Tonight, he played matchups. With switch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate, Girardi went to Dave Robertson, who got a double play before Boone Logan came in to strikeout the tough lefty Shin-Soo Choo. Mariano Rivera — of course — handled the ninth.
“I knew I was going to go to Logan for Choo,” Girardi said. “Cabrera has had some success off of Javy, even though he did a good job against him tonight, I thought I’d go to Robby for just one hitter and then go to Boone and it worked out.”
Girardi said it would be a “misinterpretation of today’s events” to say he’s lost faith in Joba Chamberlain. He said there will be times when he turns to Chamberlain for a full eighth, and times he plays matchups. He said the matchup is why he chose Robertson over Chamberlain for the Cabrera at-bat.
“Sometimes the seventh inning is just as important,” Robertson said. “So I don’t really see the difference. I’ll throw whenever he wants me to.”
I had some issues with my recorder tonight, but here’s most of Girardi’s postgame interview.
• Both Girardi and Alex Rodriguez said they could tell by Trevor Crowe’s reaction — firing to second instead of showing the catch — that he had not caught Rodriguez’s looping line drive in the fourth inning. Replays showed it was a trap. “That’s being generous,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a short hop, not a trap. I think Tex did a great job reading that ball.”
• Curtis Granderson hit his third home run in the past two games, and nearly hit his fourth when he drove a ball off the wall in right field. “The feel came come and go in the matter of a pitch, a swing, a game, a series or a couple of games,” he said. “=For two swings today, I had it, and hopefully I’ll continue to have it as we move on.”
• Girardi said Mariano Rivera was available for four outs tonight. “He hadn’t pitched in a while and I thought he could do it,” Girardi said. The plan was for Logan to face Choo and Carlos Santana, but Rivera was coming into the eighth if necessary.
• Rodriguez said his hand gave him no problems.
• Granderson was thrown out trying to stretch that ball off the wall into a single. “I didn’t have a problem with it,” Girardi said. “He’s got outstanding speed and a perfect throw. Bang-bang play.” Truth is, Granderson was probably safe.
• I’ve joked with Robertson before about it being weird to see him get ground balls. He always laughs at it too. It’s not necessarily his game, but he’ll take it. “I don’t get too many double plays,” he said. “I was pretty excited about that one. I’ll take that. It’s much easier.”
• Rodriguez said he doesn’t think he’s getting more or less pitches to hit now that he’s sitting at 599 home runs. “I’m not really concerned about it,” he said. “It’s going to come whether it’s this week or next week or next month. At some point it will come… I’d rather not hit a home run and win than hit a home run and lose.”
• Until that eighth inning, Javier Vazquez was in line for a loss. It would have been the fourth time this season that he went seven innings, allowed two runs or less and didn’t get a win. Then Granderson picked him up with that home run. “After the first month, I just tried to forget about it and help the team from then on,” Vazquez said. “I think I’m doing that.”
• With his home run, Nick Swisher scored the 500th run of his career.
• Teixeira was hitless, but he drew a walk to extend his on-base streak to 42 games.
Associated Press photos of the infielders on the mound, the argument after the play in left and Vazquez with Cervelli