After last night’s offensive outburst, Alfonso Soriano was asked about the mood in the dugout. Surely there was a night-and-day difference compared to a week ago.
“That’s why I love the Yankees,” Soriano said. “The clubhouse and the dugout are always relaxed because everybody has confidence. That’s the most important thing. Sometimes we may not play good, but we haven’t lost the confidence. That’s the most important thing with this team. Everybody feels comfortable and that’s what I like.”
In one way or another, several veteran Yankees — Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Lyle Overbay — said last night’s big win came down to the same thing: It’s one win, and the Yankees need a lot of wins. It’s nice to score 14 one night, but the Yankees now need to score enough to win tonight.
How many runs are enough depends largely on two guys who won’t pick up a bat.
“This is a game that every day is really, in a sense, controlled by the starting pitcher — the one that you have on your side, and the one that you’re facing,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously guys feel good about themselves going into today, but you’ve got to put good at-bats on Weaver.”
The Yankees lineup is better than it was two weeks ago, there seems to be little doubt about that. Soriano’s been driving the ball, Alex Rodriguez actually looks solid, and Curtis Granderson just had three hits. Tonight they face an awfully good pitcher, and they’ll counter with Ivan Nova, who’s been terrific lately.
“You can see the results,” Overbay said. “It’s big. Those (new) guys, they’re getting their timing down, Granderson and Al are doing real good, and they’re feeling good; seeing the ball and making adjustments. It’s big for us because that just makes our lineup that much better.”
• Travis Hafner is here, but that has a lot to do with this being Team Photo Day and very little to do with him being ready to swing a bat. He’s doing nothing but shoulder strengthening work and has yet to be cleared for hitting. He’s hopeful, though, to be back at some point this season. “I still have rehab to do and strengthening it,” he said. “And then I’m not sure how long a hitting program would take. Maybe you figure playing in some rehab games also. I would say it’ll be at least September.”
• Does Hafner now think the shoulder had some impact on his declining offensive impact after a strong April? “I guess I’m not exactly sure,” he said. “It was just a little sore at the start of that last game and by the end of that game it had gotten pretty bad. Within a matter of a couple of hours, it just lost all strength. I don’t know.”
• Hafner is scheduled to be reevaluated after this upcoming trip to Boston.
• More batting practice and ground balls for Derek Jeter. He also ran some light sprints in the outfield. He’s still scheduled for a trip to Tampa tomorrow.
• Girardi’s evaluation of Alex Rodriguez so far: “I think he’s been pretty good. I think he’s swung the bat pretty well. We’ve seen him make some good defensive plays. He made a great play the other night going to his right. I’ve been pleased.”
• Just because someone asked: Dellin Betances said he’s mostly throwing fastballs and curveballs now that he’s working out of the bullpen. He still mixes in some changeups — gave up a hit on one last night — but he’s primarily going with two pitches.
• Jered Weaver is consistently good. What’s made Ivan Nova so good lately? “When he spots his fastball down in the zone – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the corners, it’s just when it’s down in the zone and has a lot of movement – he’s going to get his share of ground balls,” Girardi siad. “And when his curveball is working, he’s going to get his share of strikeouts. That’s a pretty good combination.”
• Almost forgot to say thanks to anyone who voted or commented on this Deadspin post. Not sure it was a particularly scientific study, but I appreciate it. My parents — when I explain to them that Deadspin exists — will think it’s cool. And what’s with knocking my guy Mark Feinsand? One of the best in the business, and he’s right, the writer inside jokes are hilarious. To us anyway.
Associated Press photos