The Yankees have gotten nine games out of Brett Gardner this season, which is nine more than they’ve gotten out of Michael Pineda. They’ve lost Dave Robertson for a month, and they’ve lost Mariano Rivera for the year. Nick Swisher’s been banged up, Mark Teixeira couldn’t stop coughing and Russell Martin missed three games because of a sore back.
But yesterday the Yankees were dealt a new kind of blow with CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte going on the disabled list on the same day.
“When I came to the park, I felt pretty good about the way we’ve been playing,” Joe Girardi said. “CC’s hurt and now Andy’s hurt, but as I said, no one’s going to feel sorry for us, and guys have to step up, that’s the bottom line.”
How can the Yankees make up for losing two starters on the same day?
Get more out of the lineup
Despite all of those runners left in scoring position, the Yankees still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball. They’ve hit more home runs than any other team, and there’s certainly enough talent to believe this team can hit with anyone. The Yankees could lean on the pitching staff a little less, and lean on the lineup a little more.
“I don’t know,” Brian Cashman said. “You really have to replace (them) with some quality pitching. You have to have guys give you some distance, give you a chance to win. Give you distance so you don’t burn the bullpen out. It helps certainly when you’re swinging the bats well, but this is an offensive ballpark. Both teams can swing the bats, and they can play catch-up real quick. Yes and no. Yes, having a deep offense is certainly helpful, but there was a period of time where Freddy didn’t pitch for 12 days because we (never) needed a long man and the games were close. There was a period when we were winning a lot, 6-4, 5-3, that type of stuff.”
Lean on the proven starters
Sabathia’s the ace and Pettitte has been outstanding, but Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova are also pitching pretty well lately. Kuroda has an ERA lower than Sabathia’s, Nova has nine wins and Hughes just pitched eight scoreless innings.
“The big thing is, what our guys understand is, Nova, Hughes and Kuroda can’t make the starts for CC and Andy,” Girardi said. “So just be yourself. Don’t try to do too much because if you do that, usually things go awry. So, to me, the big thing is just saying, just reminding (them to) go out and do what you do. We’ll take care of the other two days. It’s not your responsibility.”
Hope Garcia can rediscover 2011
Sabathia’s supposed to miss two starts. By the end of the all-star break, there’s a good chance the Yankees will need only one of Freddy Garcia and Adam Warren in the rotation. Warren’s got upside, but Garcia was terrific last season, and he’s pitched to a 1.56 ERA since moving to the bullpen. Both Girardi and Russell Martin have talked about Garcia’s improved arm speed leading to his improvement.
“I’ve been a starter all of my career,” Garcia said. “Now I’m in the bullpen, but I took my role in the bullpen really serious and I took it as a positive. That’s the way I dealt with that and tried to do my job. I’ve been playing this game for a long time, and I have to be ready for any situation. My arm feels good. We’ll see what happens Monday, but hopefully I pitch good with the way I’ve been pitching lately. … I’ve been throwing long toss almost every day and I feel great. I wasn’t pitching that much, but I was looking for any opportunity every time they put me out there. I’m glad I did my job when they asked me, and now I’m looking forward to starting Monday.”
Associated Press photo