It was Joe Girardi’s idea that Russell Martin and Freddy Garcia use multiple signs from the very beginning tonight. Even with no one on base, Martin was flashing more than one sign before every pitch, and there were frequent trips to the mound to change the signs completely. Perhaps it’s little coincidence that Garcia said afterward that he was never able to get into any sort of rhythm.
“It wasn’t that bad, but we did have a hard time getting into a rhythm,” Martin said. “We were going multiple signs from the get-go, and that was the first time we’ve done it together. It kind of slowed down the game a little bit, but that’s not an excuse. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team for doing the right things. He was pitching his game, but they had a good game plan for him.”
This was Garcia’s 16th start of the season, and it was the first time he allowed more than four earned runs. He’s rarely been dominant, but he’s been remarkably consistent. He’s avoided stretches like tonight’s fourth and fifth innings, when Garcia gave up five runs on four hits, three walks, three stolen bases and two errors.
“When you can’t find a rhythm, they know,” Garcia said. “I was struggling at the mound, trying to find a way to make the pitches. I wasn’t able to do that, which is why they were running all over the place.”
Maybe it’s just a bump in the road for Garcia, but he and Bartolo Colon have pitched poorly on back-to-back nights. Those back-to-back nights happened to have been the first two games after the all-star break, and those two starters happen to be the veterans who spent the first half pitching well beyond anyone’s expectation.
“If every time a starter went out and had not such a good start and you lost confidence in him, you’d run out of starters in a hurry,” Girardi said. “Starters sometimes are going to get hit. That’s the bottom line. They live on a fine line every time they go out there, and sometimes they’re just not going to make pitches we’re used to seeing them make. That happens… I think we can get another half (out of those two). And this half is shorter than the last half, so I think we can still get a lot out of them.”
• Easy to point the finger at the Yankees pitching, but the defense has also committed five errors in these past two games. That hasn’t been the only problem, but it’s certainly been one of the problems. “We haven’t made the plays, and that hurts you,” Girardi said. “You can’t give teams extra outs, and when you do, they usually make you pay.”
• Martin on his bad throw to third base: “That’s just me sucking. If I make a good throw, he’s out. Just a bad throw. I guess I did rush myself. I had more time than I thought I did.”
• Girardi on Brett Gardner’s decision to throw to second base instead of throwing home or to the cutoff man in the first inning: “I don’t think he thought he had a chance. He probably could have kept it. It didn’t necessarily change the complexion because the next guy would have hit a sac fly, in a sense. I think if he comes up and throws it to the cutoff man, he doesn’t go.”
• Garcia said the long layoff didn’t affect him, and it’s true that he allowed just one run in the first three innings. What hurt him, he said, was his splitfinger. “When I had to put the split down, I wasn’t able to,” he said. “I threw some good ones, but when I had to finish up, I didn’t. That’s all.”
• Garcia’s streak of five straight quality starts ended tonight. He had allowed a total of just seven earned runs in his last five starts before the break.
• Garcia hasn’t allowed a home run in his past six starts, which matches the longest single-season streak of his career. He’s gone 39.1 innings without a homer.
• Martin said he didn’t see anything tonight to make him think the Blue Jays were stealing signs. “We changed signs up a couple times, but that’s not really different than what we usually do,” he said. “Maybe we’re being a little extra careful now, but we’ve been doing that all year.”
• The first two Yankees reached base, but the middle of the order left them stranded. The first two reached again in the second, but the Yankees got only one run. “We had some opportunities early, and we didn’t take advantage of them,” Girardi said.
• Could this be a sign that the Yankees are already missing Alex Rodriguez? “You can’t look at it that way,” Girardi said. “That’s feeling sorry for yourself. We scored seven runs last night without Alex. Is he hard to replace? Absolutely. But you can’t look at it that way.”
• Seven of Eduardo Nunez’s 15 RBI have either tied a game or put the Yankees in the lead. His RBI single in the second tied the game tonight.
• Jorge Posada played in his 1,789th game, matching Billy Dickey for eighth place on the Yankees all-time games played list.
• Here’s a final word from Girardi: “It’s not the way you want to start out, but let’s not make too much of them. I mean, it’s two games. We’ll get back on track, and we’ll start playing well again.”
Associated Press photo