Have the Yankees played a more forgettable game this season? If you didn’t stay up late to watch this one, you really didn’t miss out on much. Freddy Garcia wasn’t good, but he wasn’t exactly horrible. The Yankees couldn’t do much against A.J. Griffin, but their three-runs streak continued. They made it a one-run game in the ninth, but couldn’t finish the rally.
“It’s difficult because if I can’t hit my spot, I’m not throwing 95,” Garcia said. “I need to find my spot. Base hit, infield hit, whatever. I think those kinds of games, everything’s going wrong. But you know, I was able to keep pitching and pitching. … I was in trouble the whole game, but I was able to keep the game close.”
It was that kind of game. Trouble the whole game. Keeping it close. Scoring a few runs. Giving up a few more. This day was all about Brett Gardner being lost for the season — Joe Girardi said he didn’t find out about the surgery until right after batting practice, just a few minutes before the Yankees announced it — and it really felt like the kind of game that we’ll all forget within a few weeks.
“Freddy kept us in the game,” Girardi said. “We just didn’t get him enough runs.”
• Griffin’s first five big league starts have all been quality starts. “He’s got that equalizer with that 65-mph breaking ball,” Nick Swisher said. “The next time we face him, I think we’ll know a little more about him. He started throwing that breaking ball a lot. … He’s throwing his fastball at 90-91, you’re talking about a 21, 22-mph difference. But you’ve got to give him credit. He did a good job. He didn’t walk any guys. He really mixed his pitches in and out, changing speeds. He did a good job.”
• It’s always kind of amazing that big league hitters have trouble with pitches thrown slower than normal hitting speed. “You can see it when it comes out (of his hand),” Raul Ibanez said. “But there’s a big difference in the speed.”
• Garcia said it wasn’t a bad pitch that Yoenis Cespedes clobbered for a two-run homer in the first inning. “Really good curveball, down,” Garcia said. “He got it pretty good. Nothing I can do about it.”
• Garcia is 7-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 23 career starts against the A’s.
• In relief of Garcia, David Phelps look tremendous. He pitched 2.1 perfect innings with four strikeouts (three on fastballs, one on a curveball). “When I was down there (in the minors) I was really concentrating on throwing pitches that haven’t thrown in different counts,” Phelps said. “I was throwing changeups and curveballs behind in the count, working my way back into the count that way, and I had a lot of success doing that.”
• Girardi on Phelps: “I thought he looked pretty similar (to earlier in the season). His stuff was really sharp. His fastball and curveball were really good tonight. He threw a few sliders. When we sent him down, we wanted to build him up because he wasn’t’ getting a lot of work. He’s built up, and I think he can really help us.”
• If you’re wondering, there was no indication that the Yankees were thinking about swapping Phelps’ and Garcia’s roles. In fact, Girardi seemed generally happy with the way Garcia pitched tonight. “I just didn’t think his stuff was as sharp tonight, especially early on,” Girardi said. “He did a heck of a job getting out of some jams tonight. He could have given up a lot more than he did; he battled.”
• Girardi was told about Gardner’s upcoming surgery soon after batting practice. “They made it sound like we probably won’t have him the rest of this year,” Girardi said. “Let’s get it cleaned up and get him healthy.”
• Robinson Cano’s hitting streak reached a career-high 22 games. It’s the longest active streak in the Majors and the lonest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 25-game streak from August 20 to September 16, 2006.
• Jeter tied Eddie Collins for 15th on baseball’s all-time runs scored list. He scored the 1,822nd run of his career.
• Swisher is hitting .321 with 13 walks in his past 10 games. His home run in the ninth kept alive the Yankees streak of 43 consecutive games scoring at least three runs.
• Let’s give the last word to Swisher, on Gardner’s injury: “I just talked to him on the phone. It’s a big deal. Gardy was kind of that little spark plug, you know? That guy’s got the ability to lead the league in stolen bases. You lose out on a guy like that, but you know, we’ve been hit with the injury bug pretty hard this year. For us, we’ve just got to pull it all together. Keep doing what we’re doing, keep fighting and just throw our thoughts and prayers out there that it’ll be OK. From what I’ve heard, no one even knows what happened.”
Associated Press photos