August 13, 14 and 15 at home against Texas. Remember that? Remember when the Rangers came into Yankee Stadium and lost three in a row? That was almost a month ago, and it’s the last time the Yankees won back-to-back games this season.
“That’s what we need to do is we need to get on a run,” Joe Girardi said. “Our guys were patient tonight and got their walks, we just didn’t get the hits. It’s been a number of reasons why we haven’t gotten on a run. It hasn’t been one aspect of the game, but we need to do it.”
It’s easy to point the finger at Dave Robertson because he gave up the walk-off, but the offense was a far greater letdown tonight. Jon Lester walked seven batters tonight, but until Derek Jeter finally doubled in two runs in the sixth, the Yankees had scored exactly one run. They left the bases loaded in the first, a runner at third in the second, runners at first and second in the third and a runner a second in the fifth.
“You tip your cap to the pitcher sometimes too,” Jeter said. “But he didn’t have a lot of control, so we had a lot of opportunities we let get away from us.”
You know what the Yankees first opportunity was? Playing the Red Sox. This is the last-place team in the division, and it’s lineup isn’t full of household names anymore. The Orioles were playing the Rays and found a way to win by seven. The Yankees were playing the Red Sox, on a night Lester wasn’t very good, and couldn’t put the game away. Hiroki Kuroda coughed up a one-run lead twice, the offense went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and Robertson missed his spot with a changeup. A lot of missed opportunities tonight, which led to a familiar feeling in the clubhouse.
“It’s not that I’m frustrated,” Nick Swisher said. “It’s just that we know that we can play better, and once we get that going, we’ve kind of got ourselves into a 22-game race right now. … We’ve put ourselves in this position. We control our own destinies.”
• Seems unusual for Robertson to throw a changeup to Ellsbury in that spot, but it’s a pitch Robertson thought would generate a groundball. That’s why he went to it. “I was hoping to get the ball down, maybe get him to roll it over and get a double play ball,” Robertson said. “When you make a bad pitch, things can happen.”
• Robertson looked terrific in that eighth inning, and that’s why he stayed in for the ninth. “He had such an easy inning in the eighth and didn’t throw a lot of pitches,” Girardi said. “I figured he’d be fine in the ninth.” To be fair, the first two singles in the inning were awfully weak, including one that Pedro Ciriaco shouldn’t have swung at in the first place. “I felt like I had pretty good command,” Robertson said. “I felt like I was throwing the ball well in that ninth inning. Not saying that throwing the ball well means you’re going to do well, but I had good enough stuff to get out of it. I had good enough stuff to get the outs.”
• Speaking of Ciriaco, he’s 17-for-35 (.486) against the Yankees this season. Five of his 13 multi-hit games have come against the Yankees. “He’s been killing us this year,” Jeter said. “His last at-bat, he falls almost on the ground and gets a hit. It’s just one of those things. He seems like he enjoys playing us.”
• Girardi on Eduardo Nunez’s caught stealing in the ninth: “He has the green light, and I pick my spots when to give him the green light. For whatever reason, he slowed down when he slid, and that’s why he was out.”
• Nunez said he didn’t think he slowed down. “It was a close play, but I think I was safe,” he said.
• Kuroda clearly wasn’t at his best today. “Compared to those days that I have all my stuff, I just didn’t have all my stuff today,” he said. “I tried to be tough out there, minimize the damage and try to stay tough. … I didn’t have my slider or two-seamer to righties.”
• Jeter’s go-ahead double could have been a turning point, and felt like a huge shift against a team as shakey as the Red Sox these days. Instead, Dustin Pedroia homered in the bottom of the inning to tie it. “I think the momentum was on our side,” Kuroda said. “Since I gave up that home run, I think it shifted to the other side.”
• Ultimately it didn’t matter, but Boone Logan said he “brain-farted” when he forgot to cover first base in the seventh. Everyone seemed to agree he wouldn’t have gotten Ellsbury out anyway, but still… “I still gotta get over,” Logan said. “I’ve got to make some kind of effort to get over to first.”
• Nick Swisher broke out of his 0-for-28 by going 2-for-5. That was the longest hitless streak of his career. “It’s all about wins,” Swisher said. “I feel like that’s kind of the mentality right now. That’s what it boils down to. I could care less what I’m going through right now. If the team’s doing well and we’re winning, then everything else takes care of itself.”
• Alex Rodriguez’s 13-game hitting streak ended.
• Final word goes to Girardi: “We had a ton of opportunities to score runs and just didn’t get the hits. … We just didn’t get the runs. We didn’t get the hits when we needed to. We had the one hit when Jeet got the big hit, I think it was in the sixth that he got the big hit, but we had a hard time getting hits.”
Associated Press photos