Felipe Paulino has a 5.19 career ERA. He’s been a big league pitcher through parts of five seasons, and in each of those seasons he’s had exactly one start in which he’s pitched six scoreless innings. This year’s came on Saturday against the Yankees.
“You get shutdown by Halladay and some of these aces and you say, “OK, the guy had great stuff today,'” Joe Girardi said. “I’m not taking anything away from Paulino, I thought his stuff was really good (Saturday) night, but I think it becomes more frustrating when it’s not a big name. (The Yankees hitters) expect more out of themselves, and we expect more as well.”
The pitching matchups don’t get any easier this week. A three-game series against the Rays begins tonight with James Shields. Then the Yankees get Jeff Niemann, and then David Price. Tampa Bay has the second-best rotation ERA in the American League.
“We talked about it (Saturday), you can only tip your cap so many times,” Alex Rodriguez said. “At the end of the day, we have to do the job. (Saturday) wasn’t so good. (Sunday) was much better. We expect, regardless of who we play — whether it’s the best team or the worst team – we’ve got to come out and do what we do.”
The Rays are tied with Texas and Baltimore for the best record in the AL, but a three-game sweep would pull the Yankees within a half game of Tampa Bay. Things change in a hurry this early in the season. Sunday might have been a turning point for the Yankees, but only if they can keep playing well against a team much better than the Royals, and against pitchers much better than Felipe Paulino.
“Every game’s big at this point,” Nick Swisher said. “That’s the AL East. No matter what else happens, it’s going to boil down to the last week of the season anyway. We’ve just got to keep playing hard, get healthy, get our guys back on the field, and we think everything will take care of itself.”
Associated Press photo