The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Archive for May, 2013

Pregame notes: Rivera to throw out first pitch at Citi Field05.28.13

New York Yankees v New York Mets

With Citi Field being the latest stop on his farewell tour, the Mets honored Mariano Rivera in the stadium’s press conference room this afternoon.

Because of his history as a “fireman,” COO Jeff Wilpon and FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano presented Rivera with an authentic FDNY hose nozzle and call box.

Wilpon also asked Rivera to throw out the first pitch tonight and Rivera accepted.

“I know you usually throw the last pitch, but we’re asking you to throw the first,” Wilpon said.

In a moment of honesty, Wilpon told Rivera “I wish we could see you in the World Series, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year.” Rivera told him “you never know,” but, yeah, we know. Apparently so does Wilpon.

Rivera said he has some good games and also blown some saves in Queens, but considered it a place where he experienced many great moments. He told Wilpon the hose nozzle and call box will be on display in his house.

• Joe Girardi sang a different tune today than he did on Monday. The manager sounded optimistic that Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis could return as soon as Friday against Boston.

“It’s a possibility for both them,” Girardi said.

Teixeria (wrist) and Youkilis (back) will play rehab games at Double-A Trenton Wednesday and Thursday. They both took five at-bats apiece today at extended spring training in Tampa.

Girardi said the team has had internal discussions about roster machinations if and when Teixeira and/or Youkilis return but said he would keep that information private.

“Things can change real quick around here,” he said. Translation: We’ll probably have another injury before Friday. And can you blame him for being pessimistic at this point?

• Here’s full audio of Girardi’s pregame presser:

• Francisco Cervelli had the pins removed from his hand last Friday and believes he is one week away from beginning a throwing program. Right now, he’s spending the majority of his time in therapy and rehabbing the hand.

He plans to leave for Tampa later this week and will need to make one more visit to the doctor before he is cleared to throw. When cleared, Cervelli thinks it will take him two weeks until he is ready to return, although, as a few of you have pointed out, he’s not eligible to come off the 60-day DL until late June.

“If I throw a ball, I’m only going to need two weeks to get my arm strength. Then I’ll be ready to go,” Cervelli said. “That’s my opinion. If I’m able to (make a fist) next week, that means I’ll be able to throw and grab a bat.”

Hearing Cervelli, it sounded like progress has been slow and frustrating, but it has been progress nonetheless.

“It’s better today than yesterday so I have to keep doing therapy here, in my house,” he said. “Don’t let the fingers fall asleep — just keep moving, moving. It depends on me. Nobody wants to play more than me, so I will be good in one week, I believe.”

• Curtis Granderson (hand) visited the doctor today. Girardi didn’t know the exact diagnosis, but said the timetable remains the same. Granderson will need four weeks before he can resume any activity.

• Joba Chamberlain (oblique) will be activated from the DL tonight. David Huff was designated for assignment to make room for Chamberlain. He pitched two innings Saturday and has just thrown off flat ground since. Girardi expects Chamberlain to return to his regular seventh-inning role fairly quickly.

• Andy Pettitte (back) threw 75 pitches today in a simulated game. Michael Pineda (shoulder) threw as well, but his outing was cut short. His arm was sound, but he cracked a nail and couldn’t continue. (Pineda had been scheduled to throw 60-70 pitches. I’m not sure how many he threw, but he fell short of that number.)

• Still no activity for Eduardo Nunez (rib) since his injury.

• Obviously, the bullpen is crowded now and then bench is thin, but Girardi wanted Ivan Nova here and not starting in Scranton. The Yankees have to worry about how rain will impact the schedule, Hiroki Kuroda’s bruised calf, David Phelps’ forearm and somewhat of an unknown in Vidal Nuno.

“We want all the pitching here,” Girardi said.

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Noteswith 732 Comments →

Yankees lineup vs. Harvey05.28.13

Josh Thomson in for Chad again today.

Travis Hafner definitely does not own a glove. The Yanks could use his LH bat tonight against Harvey (if they play).

Here’s who they will send up instead:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Reid Brignac SS
Chris Stewart C
Hiroki Kuroda SP

Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda LF
Marlon Byrd RF
Rick Ankiel CF
John Buck C
Ike Davis 1B
Matt Harvey SP

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Lineupwith 367 Comments →

Postgame notes: “I did a terrible job out there”05.28.13

New York Yankees v New York Mets

If you think the Yankee bullpen had been sharp this year, consider: The Yankees just dropped their first game of the season when trailing after six innings.

They fell 2-1 to the Mets, who, almost just as remarkably, have now tied the club record with five straight wins in their last at-bat at home (when they actually win, of course). That this one came against the Yankees was a surprise; largely because of their bullpen brilliance, the Yanks entered tonight 22-0 when leading after six.

David Robertson has been just about as responsible as the great Mariano Rivera for that late-game dominance. But he had no command, damning his own performance perhaps even more than necessary.

“I did a terrible job out there,” Robertson said. “I didn’t have any command of anything really. That was pretty much the downfall right there. I couldn’t throw a fastball where I wanted to and I kept falling behind in the count. I couldn’t throw a breaking ball for a strike. When you keep making mistakes like that against good teams, they make you pay for it.”

While the Mets may not be good, you get the point. Robertson allowed a double to Mike Baxter, walked the impatient Jordany Valdespin and surrendered the winning single to Daniel Murphy. He also nearly hit David Wright in the head with a curve ball.

It was just Robertson’s second blown save all season. The other came Apr. 20 at Toronto.

Here’s more from Robertson:

• It’s sometimes hard in the wake of a tough loss for athletes to balance their disappointment with their delight at one achievement or another. That was the case with Brett Gardner’s grand larceny of Murphy in the sixth. The center fielder reached over the wall to snare Murphy’s potential go-ahead two-run homer to end the inning.

Phil Hughes had three balls nearly carry out of cavernous Citi Field before David Wright’s no-doubter in the seventh tied it 1-1. But Gardner just considered his highlight-reel grab payback for when he crashed into the wall on Wright’s triple to right-center in the first.

“I felt like I got him back for messing up earlier in the game,” he said.

Gardner said he was OK after the collision. He crashed into a padded post on the open fencing and thought it helped soften the blow.

Here’s more from Gardner, including a not-so-subtle dig at his height:

New York Yankees v New York Mets• Although a little lucky he was in Queens instead of the Bronx, Hughes was solid. He threw six scoreless before allowing the Wright homer and finished having thrown seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball without issuing a walk.

He said the pitch to Murphy in the sixth was a bad changeup. He thought the ball was gone based on Murphy’s reaction and Gardner’s effort just to track it. He said he tried to pitch Wright inside in the seventh after getting him to ground out earlier in the game.

Wright fouled off four pitches in the at-bat before homering with two strikes. It was the 11th allowed this year by Hughes, tying him with CC Sabathia and a host of others for the second-most in the AL.

“It’s tough,” Hughes said. “He’s not a guy who’s easy to strikeout. He fouled off a couple pretty good pitches. I decided that going in right there might be a good option and just left it out over the plate.”

More from Hughes:

• Murphy — one of those hitters who punishes himself to get better — stomped in frustration after Gardner robbed him in the sixth. He later spiked his bat in celebration upon lining the winning hit to center in the eighth.

Joe Girardi had no qualms with Murphy’s exuberance.

“I don’t have an issue,” Girardi said. “It’s an emotional game. Some guys are going to show more emotion outwardly than other guys. I only have a problem if I feel a guy’s doing it to show up another guy and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.”

• As for Girardi, there wasn’t much to debate with him afterward. He may have had a spot or two for Travis Hafner earlier, but the slugger was up with Ichiro Suzuki on base down a run in the ninth. Bobby Parnell got Hafner to pop out to end it, but Girardi was asked why Ichiro didn’t attempt to steal with either Lyle Overbay or Hafner at the plate to put him in position to score on a single.

“He kept changing his looks. He kept changing his times,” Girardi said of Parnell. “He was pretty quick most of the time. I think it’s a pretty big risk with Hafner up.”

• The brain lock of the night belonged to Chris Stewart, who simply dropped Robertson’s pitch to Ruben Tejada with one out in the eighth. It could’ve proven an awful time to lose focus. Mets’ runners moved to second and third with one out, but Robinson Cano helped bail Stewart out when he threw home on Tejada’s grounder and Stewart tagged out lead runner Mike Baxter.

I asked Stewart if he and Robertson were crossed up. Like Robertson, he did not pass the blame.

“I botched it somehow,” Stewart said. “I’ve caught that same pitch 1,000 times and never had a problem with it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I just took my eye off of it at the last second or what, but it hit off my glove and got by me.”

• Vernon Wells snapped a 0-for-17 skid. Good timing, because…

• The attendance was 32,911. ESPNNY’s Adam Rubin reported that it was the lowest attendance in Subway Series history.

• The Yankees face Matt Harvey tomorrow night. Even after a relatively rough outing vs. the Reds (4 ER on 9 H, 3 BB in 6.1 IP), Harvey leads baseball in WHIP (0.83) and opponent batting average (.169).

Photos by Getty Images

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Noteswith 183 Comments →

Murphy the victim, then the hero as Mets edge Yankees05.27.13

New York Yankees v New York Mets

Brett Gardner left Daniel Murphy to shake his head in the sixth when he robbed the Met second baseman of a two-run homer. Murphy found his revenge against the Yankees in the eighth when he lined a two-out RBI single to center off David Robertson. The Mets won the Subway Series opener 2-1.

The Yankees led 1-0 into the seventh when Citi Field was no longer so kind to Phil Hughes. The right-hander served up a long game-tying home run to David Wright, who provided the only run off Hughes. Hughes and Mets starter Jon Niese each pitched seven innings of one-run ball. The Yankees threatened in the ninth, but Travis Hafner popped out against Mets closer Bobby Parnell with one on to end it. The Yankees had won nine of their previous 11 against the Mets.

Photo by Getty Images

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Miscwith 96 Comments →

Game 50: Yankees at Mets05.27.13

YANKEES (30-19)
Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Chris Stewart C
Phil Hughes RHP (2-3, 5.51)
Hughes vs. Mets

METS (18-29)
Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C
Rick Ankiel CF
Ike Davis 1B
Mike Baxter RF
Jon Niese LHP (3-5, 4.80)
Niese vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., YES Network, MLB Network and SNY

WEATHER: It should be mid-60 and clear at game time. A beautiful Memorial Day for baseball after an ugly weekend.

UMPIRES: HP Fieldin Culbreth, 1B Brian O’Nora, 2B Bill Welke, 3B Adrian Johnson

SUBWAY CINCH: The Yankees are 54-36 (.600) all-time against the Mets. They are just 25-20 (.556) in Queens, but 8-4 here since the Mets moved to Citi Field. The Yankees have also won nine of 11 overall against the Mets.

NO NEED FOR LEFTY LUCK: The Yanks are 11-4 this year against lefties and face the struggling lefty Niese in tonight’s Subway Series opener. Their .733 winning percentage is the best in baseball, and they’ve been their best of late, winning eight of nine, the last against unbeaten Matt Moore.

SENIOR SCHOOLING: I stole the subhead from the Yankees’ game notes because it cannot be topped. Of course, neither can the Yanks when facing the NL. They’ve won 16 of 21 and 24 of 32 and haven’t lost an interleague series on the road since 2010.

I’ll post my share both here and on Chad’s Twitter account @LoHudYankees.

UPDATE: 9:00 p.m.: You have to wonder watching this if Phil Hughes would have (or, if the Yankees don’t re-sign him, WILL) fulfill his potential if he pitched in (or pitches in) a home park like Citi Field? David Wright, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy all might have gone yard if this game was played in the Bronx. Instead, Hughes takes a three-hit shutout into the seventh.

And speaking of that Murphy hit, what a catch by Gardner. That has to move pretty high up on the list of Subway Series highlights.

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 387 Comments →

Pregame notes: Yankee stars working toward their return05.27.13

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Prior to tonight’s subway series opener, a half-resigned (and maybe half-irritated) Joe Girardi noted that he gives updates almost daily on the status of the injured Yankees. Of course, such is the interest level when just about every hobbled regular is a former or potential All-Star.

So, here’s the latest from Girardi and the Yankees on everyone except Derek Jeter:

Curtis Granderson (hand) will see the doctor Tuesday.

Andy Pettitte (back) will throw a simulated game Tuesday.

Alex Rodriguez (hip) took grounders and batting practice today.

Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Kevin Youkilis (back) each had five at-bats and played five innings today in an extended spring training game. Teixeira will play a simulated game Tuesday and is still scheduled to go to Trenton for games Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s how they feel and when we feel they feel that they’re ready,” Girardi said. “It has to be both sides, not necessarily one. It’s tricky for Tex because he needs left-handed and right-handed at-bats.”

Girardi said the key with Youkilis was that he needed to prove he could play back to back to back.

Michael Pineda (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 60 or 70 pitches this week in a simulated game.

Eduardo Nunez (ribs) did not participate in any baseball-related activities today.

Here’s audio from Girardi, which focuses a good bit on the injuries:

Other notes:

Toronto Blue Jays v New York YankeesJoba Chamberlain (oblique) said he will be activated from the DL Tuesday. Joe Girardi wasn’t as concrete to say the least, as you can hear above, but it does sound like Chamberlain is in line to return tomorrow.

Girardi expects to use him in the seventh or the eighth, the latter being if David Robertson is unavailable for some reason.

• Chamberlain threw two innings in Tampa on Saturday. He cranked it up to 95 or 96 m.p.h., he said, noting twice (at least) that he did so at 10:30 a.m.

“If you can throw 95, 96 at 10:30 in the morning, usually you should be OK,” Chamberlain said. “It’s one of those things that we wanted to make sure that in between inning we saw how it reacted in between innings.”

More from Chamberlain:

• An interesting note, albeit expected, on Teixeira is that Girardi will treat him as an everyday player upon his return. (That come come as soon as this weekend, although the manager said that was speculation based solely on Trenton going on the road after Teixeira’s two rehab games there this week.)

However, Girardi compared Teixeira to Granderson, who played three games before taking the fourth off when he returned from the DL. It certainly sounds like Lyle Overbay will have a few starts at first, but how long will that last?

The same can be said for David Adams at third whenever Youkilis returns.

“I’ll continue to take the approach that I’ll handle it when I have to handle it,” Girardi said. “Right now, I have to focus on the guys in the room. I’m hoping we get these guys back soon, but I’ll worry about that when it happens.”

• As for the Subway Series, Girardi said he didn’t mind the consecutive two-game series and even said the alignment makes it easier for the coaching staff to prepare to meet the Mets, so to speak. But he did offer one suggestion:

“I never had a problem with the number of games you play. The only problem I had is I think it should be an odd number so that there’s a winner every year. That’s my only issue.”

• The Yankees face Mets phenom Matt Harvey Tuesday night. Girardi remembered watching Harvey’s first start last summer against Arizona. He called a friend who was a Met fan.

“I told him, you have something to be excited about,” Girardi said. “He has a great arm. He’s been impressive all year long. I’ve seen some of his games on TV. I saw a game he pitched against the Phllies — it was a Sunday night game — and we’ll get a chance to see him in person tomorrow. He has a good swing, too.”

• In more Mariano Rivera is a great guy news, Rivera met with fans in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda this afternoon. He was then in the stands during batting practice signing autographs.

Photos by Getty Images

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Noteswith 5 Comments →

Yankee lineup in Subway Series opener05.27.13

Josh Thomson here. I’m in for Chad the next two nights.

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup for the Subway Series opener at Citi Field:

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells LF
David Adams 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Chris Stewart C
Phil Hughes SP

Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C
Rick Ankiel CF
Ike Davis 1B
Mike Baxter RF
Jon Niese SP

Posted by: Josh Thomson - Posted in Lineupwith 30 Comments →

Pitching matchups at Citi Field05.27.13

RHP Phil Hughes (2-3, 5.51)
LHP Jonathon Niese (3-5, 4.80)
7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.67)
RHP Matt Harvey (5-0, 1.93)
7:10 p.m.,MY9 and ESPN

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 51 Comments →

Odds and ends on the way north05.27.13

Just a few random nuggets and notes while I’m flying back to New York…

Lyle Overbay, Rob Thomson• Yesterday, Brian Cashman told Jack Curry that he wouldn’t rule out the idea of trying Lyle Overbay in right field. In an email, Cashman clarified that there are currently no plans to have Overbay take fly balls, it was simply a notion that Cashman didn’t immediately reject. For whatever it’s worth, Overbay laughed off the very idea of moving to the outfield, but said he’d be more than willing to try it if the Yankees ask him to do so. “Absolutely,” Overbay said. “I’ll do whatever. If they want me to catch, I’ll catch.”

• Speaking of Overbay, right now he’s hitting .250/.291/.476, sparking some questions about whether Mark Teixeira can match his production. The past three years — when Teixeira’s been “awful” according to some — he’s hit .252/.347/.484. Hard to see the overall production lagging, but it is worth wondering whether Teixeira can match Overbay’s overwhelming numbers against right-handers. Then again, it’s also worth wondering whether Overbay himself can match this level of production against right-handers. He’s never before hit them for power quite like this.

• One last thing about Overbay: I think it makes sense to find some way to keep him on the roster when Teixeira first comes back — it’s worth having that insurance in case of a Teixeira setback — but it would be hard to carry Overbay, Teixeira and Travis Hafner for an extended period. At some point, Kevin Youkilis might have to be the regular third baseman and the insurance policy at first (with David Adams available to play third if Youkilis has to change positions).

• And speaking of Youkilis, he’s had back issues in the past, but this is what he said about this year’s back injury: “It’s different. The symptoms this year are different from the ones I’ve had in the past. I’m not a doctor. I can’t justify what they’re doing and all that. But it’s definitely different symptoms than I had last year. It was more on my left side last year, and I had stuff on my right side (this year). So, basically, for me, I’ll go through all the treatments, go through all the strengthening. That’s basically what I do every day. I probably got close to 17 at-bats so far. I feel like I’m ready there, so I think it’s more a case of getting in the games.”

Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch, Robinson Cano• I wonder if the Yankees will carry a 13th pitcher until Teixeira comes back. If Teixeira does replace a pitcher, it would leave the Yankees with a choice when Youkilis comes back: Either send Adams back to Triple-A, cut Overbay, or send Brennan Boesch down and make Jayson Nix the fourth outfielder (perhaps with Overbay playing some kind of outfield role, but I still have trouble buying it). It’s worth noting that Reid Brignac has a very little bit of outfield experience and could probably play out there in an absolute pinch.

• Not sure how long he’ll stick around, but I do think it’s cool that new Yankees reliever David Huff used to pitch against Phil Hughes when they were kids. I’m confident saying that no two players from my Little League have ever wound up on the same major league roster. “He had better stuff growing up,” Huff said. “He was the righty who threw 95 with a nasty changeup. I think I faced him a couple of times. Lifetime I’m probably 0-for off of him, but I’m not a hitter. It was a fun little competition between the two of us growing up.”

• Let’s say Joba Chamberlain is activated tonight, who do you send down? Preston Claiborne because he’s not going to get many innings? Shawn Kelley because you don’t believe he’ll keep up this hot streak? Huff because you weren’t impressed by yesterday’s showing? Vidal Nuno because Ivan Nova/Adam Warren can handle the starting job on Thursday, and Nuno’s surely going down when Andy Pettitte is ready anyway? Or maybe Nova because you’re not buying the whole “get straightened out in the bullpen” idea?

CC Sabathia• Even after yesterday’s start, I’d still be more surprised to see CC Sabathia continue to struggle than to see him find a way to consistently pitch with his current velocity. I think Joe Girardi is right that Sabathia has enough talent and is smart enough — and experienced enough — to make it work. “His track record is because of his competitiveness and his makeup,” Larry Rothschild said. “That’s what leads you to believe that he will pull out of this and pitch well again.”

• Although City Field is in New York, Mariano Rivera said he plans to treat it just like every other road stadium. It’s his final stop there, so he’ll do his usual meeting with fans and employees to say thank you for their dedication to the game. “That will be the only time that I will be there, so yes, definitely I will do something there,” Rivera said.

• Maybe it’s because I’m not originally from New York — and maybe I shouldn’t admit this — but I don’t get too worked up about the Subway Series. Last week’s road trip through Baltimore and Tampa Bay carried much more weight. That said, I do enjoy any games that fans get worked up about, and I’m sure we’ll see that this week. “I’m looking forward to it,” Vernon Wells said. “Obviously being in New York now, you’re either a Yankees fan, a Mets fan. Or you just hate the Yankees period.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 350 Comments →

Postgame notes: “I’m hurting the team”05.26.13

CC Sabathia, Austin Romine

In his five seasons with the Yankees, CC Sabathia has allowed seven runs three times. Today was one of them. Sabathia hasn’t won a game since April 27, and he’s allowed 28 hits in his past three starts. As you might expect, none of that sits very well with the Yankees ace. Here are three perspectives — Sabathia himself, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and manager Joe Girardi — discussing what’s going on with the Yankees No. 1 starter.

SABATHIA: “I’m hurting the team. I’m not helping the team out. I just need to get better. … With this crew, this team that we have, we battle to the end. We did it tonight. I just didn’t give us a chance. Just not being able to keep the game close and giving these guys a chance to feel like they can come back and win the game.”
ROTHSCHILD: “Well, I don’t blame him (for being frustrated). Look, this is a guy that has a lot of pride and has pitched really well for us, and he’ll pitch well again for us. It’s some inconsistencies. He’s missing some spots at times, and he’s not getting away with any pitches. I think you’ll see that all modify itself and take care of itself. Every bad pitch he made, it got hit, and there’s no excuses, but it’s more inconsistencies than anything else.”
GIRARDI: “I think he’s just trying to pitch. To be as successful as he’s been in his career, I think you have to be pretty strong mentally because there’s times we’ve seen him, when things don’t go his way, he figures out ways to get on a roll. He’s been through a lot, so there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll figure it out.”

CC SabathiaThe easiest thing to notice is that Sabathia’s velocity has been declining for two years now, and he’s now sitting in the low 90s without reaching up to 95 or 96. Of course, the Yankees point out that Sabathia had a strong stretch in April when he was pitching with that same velocity.

SABATHIA: “I feel fine. It’s just one of those things. I feel like the ball’s coming out pretty good. It’s getting on guys. I’m just not making pitches. The ball Rodriguez hit cut right back over the middle. It was just a bad pitch. … I’m just not being aggressive and throwing in like I normally do. That has nothing to do with my velocity; I’m just not doing it while I’m out there.”
ROTHSCHILD: “The only way the velocity (is the biggest problem) is if it’s changing his arm angle because he’s trying to muster or anything else. I don’t really see that. I think he’s trying to make pitches with what he’s got on a given day and staying within deliveries and trying to execute pitches. Early in the season he had the same velocity and pitched really well. I think it’s just executing pitches a little bit better. … He’s made a number of good pitches, but like I said, it’s the inconsistent pitches that are catching up with him. Maybe a few times behind in the count a little too much.”
GIRARDI: “(Velocity) is probably part of it. The bottom line is, you’ve got to locate. You’ve got to change speeds, and he’s able to do that. When you throw a sinker that cuts to the middle of the plate, a lot of times it’s going to be trouble.”

After the game, when the clubhouse opened to reporters, Sabathia and Rothschild were sitting together in front of Sabathia’s locker. Their conversation was calm and quiet, and although neither would discuss the details, the basic topic was pretty easy to guess. The Yankees need their ace to pitch winning baseball again.

SABATHIA: “It’s everything; not being able to make pitches with two strikes, fastball command. It’s just not being good. I just need to work and make sure that I can get better and try to help the team. … I’ve just got to make better pitches, do a better job of getting outs, pitching to contact and not getting behind in hitter’s counts.”
ROTHSCHILD: “(I tell him), ‘Look at what you’ve done and what you are when you take the mound. That’s what you have to know.’ Not only does he know it, but everybody he faces knows it. That’s all part of the game. That’s part of the game within a game. The track record is there and it’s not there just because of the stuff he’s had, it’s because of the way he competes. There’s a lot of guys with great stuff that don’t win the games that he’s won. I think you’ll see him get back to it.
GIRARDI: “We’ve seen him early in the year struggle in certain months, whether it’s April or May. We’ve seen that. It’s kind of been a little bit of his DNA. Hopefully this month is behind him and he can take off in the next month. … I just think he’s too smart and he’s too talented not to figure it out.”

David Adams• Mild scare in the second inning when Robinson Cano came down hard after a play at second base. Because of a high throw from David Adams, Cano got his left foot clipped as Yunel Escobar slid into second. Cano said he was fine. In fact… “It’s my fault,” he said. Basically, Escobar made a good slide, but Cano got himself in the way because of the throw.

• Actually, most everything about that second inning was kind of a mess. “We just gave them extra outs,” Girardi said. “What was the count on Rodriguez, 0-2? He hit him. Then we have the hard-hit ball to David. It’s a tough play, but it’s a play he’s able to make. Then CC doesn’t get over.”

• Girardi pretty quickly dismissed Sabathia failing to cover first on that play. Girardi said that, when Sabathia comes off the mound in his delivery, it’s sometimes hard for him to get going toward first base. It’s an accepted tradeoff. “It’s part of what it is,” Girardi said.

• After a couple of cheap runs in the second inning, Sabathia gave up five more on balls that were legitimately hit hard. Both home runs were fastball mistakes. “I think a few fastballs were not located,” Rothschild said. “They cut on him. The pitch to Rodriguez instead of staying down and away and missing the bat, the ball cut right to where he was swinging and ends up going out of the park. There were a couple pitches like that.”

• If you’re curious, Girardi said Sabathia has not complained about any sort of injury, and Sabathia said he has no injury to complain about. “I feel great,” he said. “I have no complaints. I’ve just got to be better.”

Brett Gardner• Speaking of being better: The Yankees had three hits in their first eight innings, then they had three more in the ninth. Brett Gardner homered — his fifth of the season — and David Adams had a two-run double — his third of the year — to at least get the Yankees on the board.

• Pretty much goes without saying, but Alex Cobb was great tonight. Cano was raving about his changeup/splitfinger that had a ton of movement down in the zone. The Yankees never had much of a chance against him.

• David Huff made his Yankees debut. He struck out his first batter, but he ultimately walked two and allowed an RBI double. Not exactly a flawless first impression. Seems like a really nice guy, for whatever that’s worth.

• Looking for a bright side, it’s pretty obvious. The Yankees actually won two of three at Tropicana Field, winning a series in this ballpark for the first time since April 2010. “It’s been a while since we did that,” Girardi said. “We had a pretty long losing streak for a while. To be able to win two out of three, it’s good.”

• Give the final word to Cano: “We know what kind of player (Sabathia) is. He’s going to go now and figure out what’s wrong, what he’s not doing. Most of his pitches were over the plate, but I know he’ll figure out what’s wrong. That’s the last guy I worry about.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 219 Comments →

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