Interleague came at exactly the wrong time for Jorge Posada. He’d built a nine-game hitting streak during last week’s home stand, and it seemed he was finally — finally! — finding his swing. Then the team went to Chicago and Cincinnati and Posada was limited to sporadic at-bats, a pinch hit appearance at best.
“Just make the most of it,” Posada said.
Today’s doubleheader changed Posada’s role for the day. Joe Girardi texted Posada last night to tell him he would be playing first base this afternoon, and in Posada’s third plate appearance, he hit his first home run since April 23. It was the game-winner, a game-changing two-run shot immediately after the Yankees had thrown away a two-run lead.
“Home runs happen,” Posada said. “I don’t know when the last time was I hit one, but I wasn’t trying to hit one. They happen for me. I don’t care when they do happen, I’m happy (when they happen), but I’m not trying to go out there and hit a home run.”
Posada’s batting average is up to .227, which isn’t good, but it’s a lot better than his .125 average at the end of April or his .169 at the end of May. He also drew a walk today.
“If you’ve played long enough, you’ve struggled, and you’ve struggled pretty mightily, probably, during the course of your career,” Girardi said. “All players go through it. Jorge’s a tough kid — he’s not a kid any more, I joke with him — but he’s been through tough spells in his career. He’s been through adversity. He’s been through injuries. He always seemed to find a way to come back.”
• We’re almost three months into the season and Freddy Garcia has a 3.30 ERA. I couldn’t see it from the press box, but apparently Brandon Phillips started laughing when he struck out swinging a split-finger in the third inning. “I didn’t want to look at him, because it would make me laugh,” Garcia said. “… I throw a good split, try to hit the spot. When I don’t do that, that’s when I get hit. When I hit my spots, I’m successful.”
• Garcia said he was pitching around Joey Votto in the first inning. He preferred facing Jay Bruce, and he got Bruce to strikeout, a pivotal early at-bat.
• Speaking of Votto at-bats, the biggest Reds at-bat of the night might have been Votto’s strikeout against Dave Robertson in the eighth inning. Phillips had just singled, which meant the NL MVP came to the plate as the potential tying run. Robertson got him on three pitches. “Just be aggressive, but don’t really give him something he can hit out of the ballpark,” Robertson said. “I ended up, 0-2, throwing him a pitch he could hit out of the ballpark and I got away with it, and I feel lucky, but that’s pretty much it. I’ve got to throw strikes and I’ve got to get him out because right behind him is Bruce, and you don’t want to face him either. Just find a way to get him out.”
• Garcia had thrown only 89 pitches, so he could have gone back out for the eighth, but Girardi said he wanted Robertson to face the lefty, Fred Lewis, who would be the second hitter that inning. At most, Garcia was going to face one batter, and Girardi decided he’d rather give Robertson a clean inning.
• Even without sending Garcia for the eighth, the Yankees starter gave them plenty of distance, which was key in the first game of a doubleheader, especially with largely unknown starter going in the second game. “I always think about trying to save the bullpen,” Garcia said. “With two games, you don’t know what’s going to happen. I tried to go deep in the game.”
• Girardi said Robertson is almost certainly unavailable for the second game. He’ll check with Mariano Rivera, but Rivera is probably out as well.
• Ramiro Pena said he couldn’t remember ever having three errors in a game. He’s a legitimately outstanding defensive player, but today was a bad one. “Never in my life, never in my life,” Pena said. “Not even in Little League, minor leagues, nothing. Most was like two, maybe. It was weird, man, but it happened. Good thing we won.”
• Pena’s first error was a throw to first that tailed on him and got away. The second was the throw home, and Pena said he was concentrating on keeping the throw low so that Francisco Cervelli could apply the tag, and he wound up throwing it into the dirt. “Nino’s a great defender and it wasn’t his day,” Girardi said. “I’ll put him out there any time, I have no fear putting him out there. He’s a great defender. Today, just a tough day.”
• By the way, Girardi said he didn’t think the Yankees could have turned two on that ground ball to third when Pena made the bad throw home. If the ball’s on target — as you’d expect — the Yankees have the out at the plate and the double play still in order.
• Other than the Pena plays, the Yankees actually played very good defense today (and even Pena made some nice plays on balls hit to him later in the game).
• Jeff Marquez walked into the clubhouse with his right shoulder wrapped after today’s game. He’s seeing Dr. Ahmad when the Yankees get back to New York. Buddy Carlyle is immediately available in the bullpen.
• Here’s the Reds night game lineup:
Chris Heisey CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Joey Votto 1B
Jay Bruce RF
Jonny Gomes LF
Ramon Hernandez C
Miguel Cairo 3B
Paul Janish SS
Johnny Cueto RHP