Joba Chamberlain said he never heard the booing today, but…
“I would boo too,” he said. “I sucked. I was there. It wasn’t good.”
The Yankees had a one-run lead after six innings. They were nine outs away from a four-game series sweep that would have firmly established them as the team to beat in the American League, but the bullpen blew it. A group that’s been very good this season coughed up six runs in the final three innings, with Cody Eppley charged with the tying run, Boone Logan taking the loss and Chamberlain booed through his rocky inning and a third during which he was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks.
“I think it’s just ironic that it all happened on the same day,” Eppley said. “… It’s just one of those things where you realize you weren’t at your best today. I think over the long season, you realize there’s going to be days like that. As long as you don’t have days like this that are back-to-back, I think you realize that in the long run you’re going to be alright.”
Big picture, this was a good series for the Yankees. They took three of four against a team that came into this series with the best record in the American League, but instead of ending it with a sweep and a 3.5-game lead for home-field advantage, the Yankees have a 1.5-game lead and a reminder that this race is far from finished.
“I’m not gonna throw chairs and kick rocks or whatever,” Chamberlain said. “You keep it in perspective. You show up tomorrow and be professional and get your work done. … It wasn’t good. There’s really no way to sugarcoat it. If it wasn’t good, it wasn’t good. They paid a price to come see a good game, see guys pitch well and hit well. You spend your hard-earned money to come out on a Thursday afternoon you want to see something good, and there wasn’t, so there’s really no other way to say it.”
• This was the Yankees second loss in nine games and their second loss in their past eight home games. The finished the season 4-3 against Texas, including 3-1 at Yankee Stadium. Since the start of 2010, the Yankees are 11-2 at home against the Rangers.
• Before their five-run sixth, the Yankees had just one hit through the first five innings. Rangers starter Derek Holland remains winless in eight games against the Yankees in his career, going 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA.
• Ivan Nova seemed to get back on track in his previous start against the Blue Jays, but this game brought back some familiar struggles. He allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks through 5.2 innings. “It has been tough this year,” Nova said. “A lot of people are expecting more from me, and I’m not happy with what I’m doing.”
• Since the All-Star break, Nova is 1-3 with a 7.02 ERA. “I’m looking everywhere to find out what’s the problem,” he said. “I haven’t found it yet. I’m not throwing strikes. … I’m not going to say if it’s mechanical or anything, I’m just not throwing strikes. One day I’m going to find out what’s the problem. Hopefully it will be tomorrow, so I can be ready for the next one.”
• Girardi thought Nova pitched better than his numbers suggested. There was really only one hard-hit ball in that two-run first inning, and the two-run sixth started with a routine fly ball that was lost in the sun. “Maybe it’s a different game if the play is made, I don’t know,” Girardi said. “That’s going to happen, too. You see it here in left field. If you’re going to lose a ball, it’s usually in left field. He didn’t pitch that poorly, just some plays behind him that we were close to getting, we didn’t get to.”
• Andruw Jones on that ball lost in the sun: “The ball has been in the sun before. I’ve managed to play it out. I think over here in left field in this stadium the sun is pretty tough around whatever time it is. It’s one of those things. Sometimes the ball is hit perfect, right in the sun, and there’s nothing you can do. Hopefully you can battle with it and you come out and you can make a play on it.”
• Jones did snap a 48-at-bat homerless streak with a two-run homer that tied the game in the sixth. “(Holland) was pitching tough,” Jones said. “He was pitching almost like (David) Price. He was throwing hard fastballs, hard sliders. He was coming in on us a lot. When he made mistakes, we took advantage of it.”
• Is Chamberlain still trying to find some consistency? “Yeah, I think so,” Girardi said. “There’s some inconsistency. He makes some really good pitches, and then he’ll make one where he misses his spot, and that’s probably part of not throwing a lot in the last year. He just needs to continue to throw and be a little more consistent.”
• Despite his 9.00 ERA with more walks than strikeouts, Chamberlain’s roster spot seems secure. “Those are decisions that we talk about internally, if we feel he needs more work to be ready,” Girardi said. “Right now, I don’t have any plans to make changes. I talked about putting him in some low-leverage situations, but today I was forced to. That’s going to happen. In my mind, I’m not planning any changes.”
• Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether Robinson Cano should have scored on Ichiro Suzuki’s double in the eighth. Ultimately, I’m not sure it mattered. “He’s relying on the third-base coach,” Girardi said. “I was watching the ball, so I didn’t really see.”
• Nick Swisher has set a career high with at least one run and one RBI in five straight games. That’s the longest such streak by a Yankee since Alex Rodriguez had a six-game streak in 2008. … Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 12 games. … Suzuki had his first three-hit game as a Yankee. He’s hitting .500 with six RBI in his past eight games.
• Final word goes to Girardi: “We played pretty good baseball (this series). We pitched, for the most part, pretty well. We swung the bats pretty well. You can’t rest on what’s happened the past four days, you have to plug along here, because we’re still in a race. We’re in a race in our division, we’re in a race for the best record. I do like the way that we played, and let’s hope it carries over to this weekend.”
Associated Press photos