Rafael Soriano had his first bad game in New York as a Yankee, leading to this 5-4 loss to the Twins in 10, and then compounded it by failing to come into the clubhouse to explain it all to the reporters waiting for him at his locker.
Accountability will be important, possibly in the eyes of his teammates as well. But throwing strikes will be more important, and the closer turned setup man had poor command, walking three, including one with the bases loaded, and giving up a single to help blow the 4-0 lead for CC Sabathia in the eighth.
The four runs allowed matched a career worst for Soriano as a reliever. The three walks matched the most he’d ever given up as a starter or reliever.
Sabathia had thrown 104 pitches in throwing his two-hit shutout through seven. Then Girardi pulled him.
“What’s the point of arguing?” Sabathia said. “He makes the decisions. That’s what I like about Joe.”
So why Soriano in a 4-0 game?
“Soriano is my eighth-inning guy,” the manager said. “By no means is a four-run game in the bag, as we just saw.”
As for the idea that closers don’t have the same intensity in nonsave situations, Girardi said of Soriano, “It’s too early to judge that. That’s something we’ll have to evaluate as we go on.”
If that’s the case, he needs to find his intensity. He won’t be closing here unless Mariano Rivera needs an occasional rest. Soriano signed a three-year, $35 million deal, not that GM Brian Cashman wanted to sign him. But Soriano has an opt-out clause after each year.
It should be pointed out that he was excellent in his first two outings, both scoreless eighths, including in Monday night’s series-opening victory.
It should also be pointed out that the Yankees stopped hitting again after the second inning, picking up two singles in the final eight innings.
In the first two innings of the first two games in the series, they have eight runs and seven hits, including four homers. After that, they have no runs and six hits.
Mark Teixeira, who belted his fourth homer in five games, a three-run shot in the first, didn’t want to make excuses. But he did mention it was hard to feel his hands and feet as the game went on, that it wasn’t good hitting weather.
The windchill was 36 late in the game. Now in the open press box at 12:40 in the morning, the windchill is 33 and you can hear the flags on top of the stadium rippling in the stiff breeze.
“It was a rough night conditions-wise,” Teixeira said. “Let’s get it out of our system and move on.”
The forecast is for a chance of showers tonight. But if the weather cooperates, it will be Freddy Garcia on the mound in his Yankees debut and ex-Yankee Carl Pavano going for Minnesota.