Not surprisingly, there was plenty of praise for Freddy Garcia in the postgame clubhouse. A quick sampling:
Joe Girardi: “He did a great job of keeping them off-balance. … Freddy is a competitor. He knows how to pitch.”
Larry Rothschild: “He didn’t buckle a bit.”
Nick Swisher: “Nobody up in here is surprised or anything. This guy is a professional.”
Mark Teixeira: “Freddy was great – that’s a good-hitting team and he shut them down.”
The common theme from everyone was about how Garcia got through his six shutout innings. In a season where velocity has been the buzzword around the Yankees pitchers, Garcia was all about precision and location. His fastball is in the mid-to-high 80s most of the time and he struck out just one hitter. His success doesn’t hinge on avoiding contact; it hinges on avoiding solid contact.
“I’ve got five pitches,” Garcia said. “Sometimes I don’t pitch much to the scouting report. I don’t throw hard anymore. … (so) I learn to pitch. Good pitchers when they don’t have good stuff, they go out and compete.”
Alex Rodriguez – see the previous post for more on him – likened Garcia to David Cone, and not just because Garcia is wearing No. 36, too. Cone, A-Rod said, had a knack for getting weak contact from hitters and that’s exactly how Garcia got through the Rangers today. “He knows how to run away from the barrel (of the bat),” A-Rod said.
• Phil Hughes took yesterday and today off and will throw long-toss tomorrow and Monday, according to pitching coach Larry Rothschild. The idea, Rothschild said, is to “tire (the arm) out and build it back up.” Hughes will then do long-toss again on Thursday’s off-day.
• Rafael Soriano nearly gave the game away in the eighth inning, allowing two runs, three hits and a walk. He also watched closely as Adrian Beltre’s would-be three-run homer drifted just foul beyond the right-field foul pole. It’s the second poor outing Soriano has had at Yankee Stadium this season and both have come when the weather was brutal. “He hasn’t pitched the best on the colder days,” Girardi said. “Is there something to that? Maybe.”
• Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and drove in another run with a sac fly. All five of his home runs have come in the first three innings of the game, so Teixeira was asked if he has a theory on why that might be. His thought? He’s warmer then. “By the middle innings, you can’t feel your hands or feet,” he said.
• Mariano Rivera saved his sixth game, the earliest in a season he’s reached that mark. In typical Mariano fashion, he couldn’t care less. “I don’t think about those things,” he said. “The most important thing is that we win.”
• Congratulations to Gustavo “Gus” Molina (Girardi actually called him that in postgame, by the way). By starting today, he became the last player in the majors who has been active since Opening Day to get into a game. Can’t imagine there’s a trophy for that, but good for him anyway. He went 0-for-3 but got kudos from Girardi and Garcia for calling a strong game.
• Think it’s been cold at Yankee Stadium this year? You’re not wrong. The average gametime temp at home games this year is 49.9 degrees. Today it was 46 but I can vouch that it felt at least 10 degrees colder than that. “I’m not going to lie – that’s cold,” Freddy Garcia said. Darn right. It was so cold, in fact, that the Yankees are offering fans with tickets to today’s game the opportunity to exchange them for a future game. Exchanges must be made at ticket windows at the Stadium and don’t include premium games (meaning ones against the Mets or Red Sox, plus Old-Timers’ Day).