The trade deadline is less than a week away. There’s plenty of speculation and conversation about whether the Yankees need to, have to, or even want to add a starting pitcher. A lot of that trade talk centers on whether Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon will remain reliable through the postseason.
That was the big-picture backdrop of tonight’s game, and Garcia delivered his longest outing of the season. As usual, he wasn’t perfect, but he walked just one batter and did his usual off-balance act of mixing speeds and pitches.
“(It tells me) that he knows how to concentrate,” Joe Girardi said. “He knows how not to get caught up in what’s going on around him. It also tells you he knows how to pitch. This guy has been real effective for us.”
Garcia was as understated as ever, both during the game and after. He joked about not wanting to be the pitcher who finally lost to the Mariners. He said the nearly-two-hour rain delay was a non-issue. He said a standing ovation always makes him feel good, “especially here.”
“(The trade deadline) is not in my hands,” Garcia said. “I’m a player. That’s all the front office. I have to worry about when I’m pitching. Whatever they have to do, they’re doing it. That’s not my business. I always try to go out there and do my job.”
He’s done that all season, with the same underwhelming stuff and the same been-there, done-that demeanor. This was the Yankees 100th game, so it’s clearly too late in the season to consider this a strange fluke. But is Garcia the kind of pitcher who can keep doing this beyond the regular season?
“Pitching is pitching, to me, whether it’s in the postseason or during the course of the season,” Girardi said. “There have been a lot of guys that have won a lot of games in the postseason that haven’t lit up the radar gun. The bottom line is if you make your pitches, you’re going to be successful.”
It was kind of a late decision to get Steve Garrison into this game. Garrison didn’t start warming up until Boone Logan was almost ready to face the leadoff man in the ninth inning, but Garrison said there was so much adrenalin running through his body that he felt ready after one toss in the bullpen.
“It was definitely a cool feeling,” he said. “It’s something I’ll gladly do again if they want me to… After I got out there and threw my first pitch I felt much more comfortable. It’s where I want to be. I want to be on the mound. It’s where I feel most comfortable.”
Girardi said he felt comfortable bringing Garrison into the middle of an inning because he’d done it in spring training, and Girardi liked the idea because Garrison might have to pitch in those situation if he develops a role later in the season.
By the way, Garrison’s mother took the hour train ride up from Trenton for the past three games. Of course she decided to skip this game.
• Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless inning tonight for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He said afterward that he felt good and was leaving immediately for New York. “I’m not sure where he would go if he’s not coming to see us,” Girardi said.
• Because he’s thrown on back-to-back days, the earliest the Yankees would activate Soriano would be Wednesday. Girardi said they’ll wait until then to make a decision on him. They might give him two full days off — three, actually, with the off day — after throwing back-to-back.
• Girardi said everything went well with Eric Chavez’s test this afternoon. Girardi wouldn’t say for certain that he’ll be activated tomorrow, but he certainly indicated that the Yankees are planning to activate Chavez tomorrow.
• This was Garcia’s longest start since September 20, 2009 with the White Sox against the Royals. He pitched eight innings that day… Garcia’s now gone 53.2 innings without allowing a home run, which is his career-long streak… He’s won four of his past five starts at Yankee Stadium.
• Derek Jeter homered for the first time since career hit No. 3,000. He also tripled later in the game, driving both extra-base hits to right field. He’s hitting .324 with nine extra-base hits since coming off the DL. “We have seen that (Jeter driving the ball that way),” Girardi said. “I thought it started in Texas, but since he’s come back, we’ve even seen it more… He’s hitting like the Derek we’re used to seeing.”
• For whatever it’s worth, Jeter said it’s not so much driving the ball to right field that tells him he’s hitting better lately, it’s more the pitches that he’s choosing to take and the pitches he’s choosing to attack. “I can tell if I’m staying back, taking pitches and swinging at good pitches,” he said. “I feel as though I’ve been doing that for the last few weeks so I’m happy with where I am right now.”
• This was the fifth time Jeter had ever homered and tripled in the same game. He last did it April 30 of last season against the White Sox.
• Mark Teixeira leads the Majors with 12 games with at least three RBI this season. He’s back in a tie for the team lead with 27 home runs.
• Donnie Collins reports that Ivan Nova came through a simulated game with no problems today. He seems to be in line to start Saturday’s double header.
• For the first time this season, the Yankees have improved to 20 games over .500. “It kept escaping us, trying to get to 20,” Girardi said. “Go back to the Saturday after we played the Mets, we were 19 games over. It’s been a while since we could get to 20. We’ve had some tough losses in there and our guys have responded pretty well.”
Associated Press photo of Garcia and a Scranton Times-Tribune photo of Soriano. For whatever reason, the AP service I use still hasn’t moved any pictures of tonight’s game, so that’s a shot of Garcia in Tampa.