This afternoon, Jon Lester threw seven shutout innings and got his sixth straight win. Since September 3, the Yankees have had a starting pitcher do that — throw seven innings of any kind and get the win — exactly once. It was CC Sabathia last Saturday.
At some point around the seventh or eighth inning, my friend Marc Carig and I realized we had seen this game before. It was then that Marc pointed out the fact the Yankees have had the lead only once during this four-game losing streak. Sabathia gave up that lead in the sixth inning on Thursday, and the Yankees haven’t been in front since.
“Part of it is we haven’t gotten a whole lot of distance out of our starters,” Joe Girardi said. “One was due to a rain delay and there’s not a whole lot you can do about that. We’ve gotten behind in games, which always changes the complexion of a game.”
As we’ve noted many times, the win statistic isn’t a good way to measure the whole of a pitcher, but the fact the Yankees rotation has won just two games in the past three weeks does begin to tell the story. Tonight, Ivan Nova was no match for Lester. That was the long and short of this one.
“It’s hard to play with an edge when you’re down by five or six runs,” Alex Rodriguez said. “…I think the bottom line is it starts with our starting pitching, and we have to have someone come out and step up and go six or seven innings, and the offense has to do our job.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame.
• A fair point from Girardi about the frequency of ups and downs: “You can’t make too much of four games, because you take the previous five games and we were feeling pretty good about ourselves. You go through those ups and downs and you don’t evaluate your club on a short-term period.”
• Rob Thomson on getting Austin Kearns thrown out at home in the sixth: “Sometimes you factor in the fact you’re not scoring a lot of runs or you’re not getting a lot of hits with runners in scoring position, but that wasn’t the case because we scored a bunch last night. I thought he was going to score so I sent him. It was a mistake.”
• Nova had kind of a typical start. He was very good when he was good, but when things started to fall apart, he unraveled. “He nipped Kalish, just nipped his jersey, and then he lost the strike zone,” Girardi said. “It was the first time he was in the stretch and he walked the next guy.”
• In that three-run third, Girardi had Dave Robertson getting loose, but a double play seemed to buy Nova some more time. “It looked like he was in trouble and it’s a situation where if I need Robby to close out the inning,” Girardi said. “He gets up and get loose quicker than a lot of the other guys. That’s why I was going to go to him.”
• The weird Joba Chamberlain pickoff throw: Home plate umpire Chris Guccione called for time, and it caught Chamberlain off guard. Obviously not thinking about the fact the runner was at second, Chamberlain turned to throw to first and sent the ball into the ground when he saw no one there. “I just kind of panicked, I guess,” he said.
• Speaking of balls in the dirt: Andrew Brackman was up and throwing in the bullpen in the ninth but didn’t actually get in the game. “My first pitch was 40 feet into the ground,” he said. “After that, everything was perfect.”
• Brackman said if people were shouting at him, he couldn’t hear them.
• Jonathan Albaladejo and Romulo Sanchez combined for 1.2 scoreless innings. Every other Yankees pitcher was, in some way, responsible for a run.
• Derek Jeter extended his season-high hitting streak to 14 games.
• Rodriguez has three home runs in his past five at-bats. He’s hit 48 career homers against Boston, the most among active players.
• Curtis Granderson has nine home runs in his past 22 games, and 13 home runs in his past 40 games. That’s after hitting 10 homers in his first 90 games this season.
• The Yankees have lost the home series against Boston for the third time in the past five years. They are 3-5 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this year.
• Mark Teixeira was not hurt when he came out of the game. Just a double switch that left Lance Berkman in the lineup.
• A minor move that could come into play tomorrow and next weekend: The Red Sox have signed infielder Felix Lopez.
Associated Press photos of Nova, Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli being helped out of the Red Sox dugout by Victor Martinez.