Without a doubt, Orioles starter Jake Arrieta threw a great game against the Yankees tonight. The promising young righty pitched eight shutout innings, allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out nine. Incredibly, he did not allow a runner to reach second base.
But the bottom line is that this potent Yankees lineup looked lifeless throughout the night.
“We’re just not swinging the bats very well right now,” Joe Girardi said. “And we haven’t for the last couple of days.”
Only Alex Rodriguez had multiple hits for the Yankees, as the rest of the lineup struggled mightily. Two of biggest culprits have been Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin, who both went 0-fer tonight. Tex is now hitting .226, while Martin is down to .150.
For the series, the Yankees scored in just three of their 26 innings with an at-bat.
“Right now, we’re not swinging the bats great collectively,” Girardi said. “You’re going to go through that. If you start changing the lineup every time you get shutdown, you can change the lineup a lot. We’ve got guys that are out, which affects out lineup, but we need guys to pick them up.”
• Of course, Girardi praised Arrieta — and deservedly so. He’s one of those live young arms that we’ve heard about for years with the Orioles, and seemed to have everything working tonight. “The guy’s got good stuff, is what it tells me,” Girardi said. “He’s got good sink to his fastball – it’s up to 94, 95 MPH – he’s got a good curveball, he’s got a good slider, he throws a changeup. Sometimes, pitchers are going to make you look bad.”
• One of the few productive hitters for the Yankees has been Curtis Granderson. He went hitless tonight, but is tied with Texas’ Josh Hamilton for the AL-lead with nine homers. Girardi was asked if there has been any consideration given to moving him into the 3-4-5 portion of the order. “The one thing that you want is you want your hottest guys swinging the bats the most,” Girardi said. “If you start dropping him down, he gets less at-bats.”
• Here’s Girardi’s thoughts on the continued struggles of Teixeira. “I think his start has been kind of up and down,” he said. “He’s had some streaks where he’s got hot, and he’s had some cold streaks, which is not abnormal for Mark in the beginning of the year.”
• Ivan Nova’s start was mixed with some good signs, and some bad. Through the first six innings, he did what he usually does — put guys on, but wiggle out of trouble. It’s a fine line to walk, and his WHIP has bloated to 1.76. It finally came back to bite him in the seventh, when Nick Markakis homered and Matt Wieters hit an RBI double to chase him from the game. Through 6 1/3 IP, he allowed nine hits, four walks and five earned runs. “He just had some bad location and got into some bad counts later in the game,” Girardi said. “He had a good slider, I thought he had a good fastball tonight, but a couple of his changeups got hit. He elevated his changeups, and those are the home runs that he gave up.”
• As Girardi pointed out, both of Nova’s homer balls came on changeups. Aside from Markakis, Wieters also homered. He went 3 for 4 with two RBI tonight and continues to kill the Yankees pitching. “The one to Markakis was right down the middle,” Nova said. “I have to get back to work with that pitch.”
• Nova’s impressive run of picking up the win in 15 straight decisions came to an end tonight. “I don’t really think about that winning streak,” he said. “For me, this team right now is more important than any personal goal.”
• The Yankees injury woes continued tonight, with Eric Chavez leaving the game in the middle of his at-bat in the fifth. It was weird to see him have to be helped off the field after taking a pitch to make it 1-2, but apparently he got hurt in the top of the inning while diving for a ball down the third base line. “He came off the field and said he got a little dizzy, but was alright,” Girardi said. “Then when he was going through his at-bat and he stepped out, I noticed that he (looked dizzy). That’s why I went out there.”
• After Girardi’s announcement earlier today that Brett Gardner needs a few more days before he’s ready to return, Chavez’s injury leaves them extremely short-handed. Nick Swisher isn’t expected back until at least next week with his hamstring injury, so these things are really starting to pile up. Chris Stewart was the only player on the Yankee bench for the second half of tonight’s game. “He’s at the doctor right now and he will not travel with us,” Girardi said of Chavez. “At some point, we’re going to have to make a move here.”
• Here’s a few more telling stats in regards to the Yankees offensive struggles: The Yankees were held without a homer for just the fourth time this season tonight, and failed to draw a walk for the first time. It was the third time they’ve been shutout this season, and the first time they’ve been shutout at home since June 13, 2011 against Cleveland.
• Some positive news came from the minors for the Yankees tonight. In his first game back at Triple-A, Manny Banuelos threw 60 pitches in 3.2 IP, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out five. It was said he was getting up to 94 MPH on the gun.
• David Phelps will be making his first major league start for the Yankees in tomorrow’s series opener against the Royals in Kansas City. I’ll have a post up tomorrow morning about Phelps pitching in front of his family, and what his role may be moving forward.
Associated Press photos