Curtis Granderson still doesn’t think he’s a home run hitter. Not even with the most homers in the Majors. Not even after two home runs tonight. Not even after the crowd at Camden Yards chanted MVP as he disappeared into the dugout.
“It’s one of those freak things,” Granderson said. “I was thinking, the home run guys do it, and they hit mammoth shots. Mine, as long as they just get over the fence, that’s great. Doesn’t matter how far they happen to go. I’m still not in that Alex category or Big Papi or Adrian Gonzalez category. (Those players) just do it at will. At least, I think they can. I look at those guys and it’s one of the things I always think about when they come to the plate, like this is one of the guys that could hit a home run on this pitch. I don’t feel that way about myself.”
Granderson made this argument: He hit a home run in his second at-bat, then looked bad on a strikeout, then hit another home run. His argument was that a real home run hitter wouldn’t have those sort of ups and downs. Someone countered with the argument that he’d just described exactly what home run hitters do.
“But I don’t how to do that,” he said. “It just happens. Some guys know how to do it. I remember guys talking like, this is what I did in order to do that. My thing is, I got beat, I’ve got to change something up here.”
Here’s his other I’m-not-a-home-run-hitter argument:
“When I go up to bat, guys are still playing me to bunt,” he said. “And I’m still looking at, can I bunt in certain situations? And they’re not giving it to me. It’s not like the infield is completely like, this guy is going to come up and swing the bat. It’s not like the guys in the outfield are pushing back, unless it’s a no-doubles situation. I see that with other guys.”
Fine. He’s not strictly a home run hitter. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a dangerous home run hitter. In fact, it might mean he’s the most valuable player in the American League.
• Now that the Orioles have announced a 1:05 first-pitch, the Yankees have decided to stop fighting the decision to play a makeup game on September 8. “Given all the opportunities, it’s the best-case scenario for both teams,” Granderson said. “And we’ve got to play it.”
• Girardi on Alex Rodriguez’s left thumb: “It’s been bothering him since (last week), but today it got pretty sore on him. A lot more sore than it’s necessarily been the last few days. It’s just something we gotta get right.”
• Girardi on Derek Jeter’s right knee: “He came in after the game and he iced, then he got really, really sore to the point where they X-rayed it and the X-rays came back negative. He’s gimping around pretty good. After the game, once the adrenaline was gone, it got really sore. I don’t know if we’ll have him tomorrow, but he’s day to day.”
• Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones hit three straight home runs in the sixth inning. The last time the Yankees hit homers in three straight at-bats was May 20, 2009. That was also against Baltimore, and it also involved Swisher and Cano. Melky Cabrera hit the third homer that day.
• The Yankees matched a season-high with five home runs in the game.
• Granderson leads the Majors with 15 home runs off left-handed pitchers. Tonight he passed Cano for the most RBI against lefties with 38. And, yes, both Granderson and Cano are left-handed hitters. So much for platoon splits.
• Ivan Nova is now 10-0 with a 3.52 ERA in his past 11 starts. His 14 wins are the most among all Major League rookies, and he’s now tied Johnny Allen for the third-longest winning streak of all time by a Yankees rookie. Allen did it in 1932.
• According to Elias, Nova became the first Yankees rookie to win seven straight starts since Vic Raschi won seven straight spanning the 1946 and 1947 seasons, both as a rookie. Nova also became the first Yankees rookie to win at least 10 straight decisions in a single season since Atley Donald won 12 straight in 1939.
• Nova on leading Major League rookies in wins: “It’s good, but I don’t pay too much attention to the individual goals. I’m a part of this team and we need to win games. That’s all that matters.”
• It was clear that Nova got better as the game went on. Nova said his arm didn’t feel quite right in the early innings. “He just started making better pitches today,” Girardi said. “He got ahead of some guys and just wasn’t able to put them away early on. All of a sudden his slider got better, his location got better and he started putting people away.”
• I don’t even know what to right about Dave Robertson at this point. He said after the game that he’s able to get out of those bases-loaded situations because, “I can’t stand to lose.” He said it’s really that simple. “When the bases are loaded, I’m digging in deep, trying to give everything I can,” he said.
• Granderson said he notices the MVP chants when he’s on the field. “I hear them,” he said. “But I don’t really pay much attention to them. It’s just one of the things a lot of people talk about. Then right behind it, you’ve got the ‘you suck’ chants.”
Associated Press photos