Derek Jeter has spent most of this season in Tampa, spending far too much time rehabbing an broken ankle and not nearly enough time watching this underwhelming Yankees lineup. But Jeter’s gotten a good look for the past the past few games, and the Captain isn’t satisfied with what he’s seen.
“We put way too much pressure on our pitching staff,” Jeter said. “It’s hard to pitch like that when we aren’t scoring runs for them. You feel as though you’ve got to be perfect. I’m not a pitcher, but I can only assume. I’ve been in situations where you feel like you’ve got to score 10 runs. It puts a lot of pressure on your offense. Right now there’s too much pressure on our pitching staff.
“We’ve got to find a way to score runs. That’s the bottom line. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. We just haven’t been very good lately. I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks so it’s kind of hard for me to address the entire season, but we’ve got to find ways to score.”
The Yankees didn’t score at all today. That’s what happens when a team’s only offense comes from a couple of walks, a hit batter and three singles. According to the Rangers media relations department, the Rangers are the first team since 1916 to throw consecutive shutouts of three hits or less against the Yankees (Derek Holland pitched a two-hitter at Yankee Stadium on June 27). Care to guess which team did it in 1916? According to Elias, it was the Red Sox, with Babe Ruth pitching a shutout in the second game.
“Once I knew it was Darvish (pitching for Texas today), the first thing in my mind was, you gotta keep your team close,” Ivan Nova said. “We’re not hitting well lately, and he’s a tremendous pitcher. I think I only threw one inning where I get 1-2-3. Every inning somebody get on base, and I was mentally trying to not let nobody score.”
Sure sounds like that’s what Jeter’s talking about when he says too much pressure on the pitching staff. What keeps manager Joe Girardi from ripping the lineup day after day?
“I see the effort,” Girardi said. “Look at the last inning; 14-pitch at-bat from our leadoff hitter? If he gets on and Ichiro gets a hit, now you’re facing Robbie Cano and it’s a different game. You look at the catch Luis Cruz made, he doesn’t come out of the game. The effort has been tremendous. … There’s only two things you can control in life; your preparation and effort. I’m getting that. I’m not going to get down on these guys, because I get that every day.”
• Of course, Ryan Braun’s suspension — and what it might mean for Alex Rodriguez — has been a bigger topic of discussion than today’s game. “I was up here getting treatment in the first couple innings, and they weren’t even talking about the game (on television),” Jeter said. “They were just talking about the suspension. It’s unfortunate, because every time something like this happens, you’ve got to hear about it. It’s not a good thing. … It’s showing that the program MLB has is working. They’re really making an effort to clean it up. In that sense it’s good, but it would be a lot better if they were trying to clean it up and no one was getting suspended, you know what I mean?”
• CC Sabathia played with Braun in Milwaukee. “I’m shocked,” Sabathia said. “Just playing with him and knowing him, being around him. I never would have thought, but you never know.”
• What was Girardi’s first reaction when he heard the news? “That he was guilty,” Girardi said. “You don’t accept a deal unless you were guilty. It’s disappointing. It’s just another black eye for our game. I know this game is very resilient and there have been a lot of scandals over the years, but you get tired of it. … I would just like to see people do things the right way. The message to me is — and I think it’s a great message for kids — if you cheat and you lie, you’re eventually going to get caught.”
• As for today’s actual game, Ivan Nova went seven innings and allowed three runs. Not an overwhelmingly great start, but not a bad one either. He had a lot of base runners but generally limited the damage. “I don’t really like it,” Nova said. “Even though only three runs, I didn’t throw enough strikes, you know? I can’t command my curveball really good today. My fastball was off. I don’t have a feeling for my changeup. I don’t really like it.”
• Obviously Darvish is Darvish, and that plays into a game like this. If it weren’t for the fact the Yankees offense has played like this time and time again, it might be a little easier to tip a cap to the Rangers ace. “He just located real well and got ahead, and he didn’t give you much to work with,” Lyle Overbay said. “Toward the end, his velocity was getting down so you’re not too worried about the 88 mph slider and then the 97 (fastball), so you can sit back a little bit more. He was on his game tonight.”
• Also, it would be nice to excuse the Yankees for getting into Dallas around 6 a.m. They had to be worn out today. But again, there’s no room for excuses in a season like this. To the Yankees credit, they didn’t take that excuse. “Sometimes the schedule is not kind to you and your sleep, but it’s part of the baseball life,” Girardi said.
• Couple of questionable calls at second base, but again… “It’s part of it,” Girardi said. “We didn’t really score any runs, so we could have lost 2-0, 1-0. Some of those calls, you’d like them to go your way, but sometimes they don’t.”
• Final word goes to Girardi, who was asked what will help this team score more runs. “Getting more hits,” he said. “It’s not really a trick.”
Associated Press photos