Given what they’re up against, every Yankees loss seems to carry extra weight these days. They can’t be satisfied with winning a series. They have to get on a real roll, carry that momentum from game to game, and keep winning every time have a chance to win.
Tonight might have been a winable game if not for the mistakes.
“We gave them some extra outs, we got some extra outs at times and lost an out,” Joe Girardi said. “I think the game could have been a whole lot different than what it ended up. It would have been interesting.”
Which is what made this loss especially hard to swallow. John Lackey did pitch well, but the Yankees had a starter fully capable of matching that performance. There are going to be times when the Yankees are beaten by an outstanding performance — that’s an unavoidable reality — but they helped give this game away, and they can’t afford to do that.
“It’s not that (a loss) carries extra impact,” Lyle Overbay said. “It’s just that we can’t dig ourselves in a hole for no reason. If we get out-pitched, we get out-defensed, we get out-hit, that’s something (that’s easier to accept). But when you make a mistake like I did, I mean, this is playoff atmosphere. This is how we’ve got to play. We’ve got to be sound, and those are things that we can’t have.”
Overbay’s throwing error botched what could have been an inning-ending double play to save three runs. It would have kept the inning shorter, which would have minimized Hiroki Kuroda’s pitch count, which might have kept Kuroda in the game longer and made him more effective later. The Yankees best offensive inning was the second when they had four base runners but managed to score no runs because of Alfonso Soriano’s bad base running.
“I mean, they are big losses, in a sense, but you can’t make too much of one game,” Girardi said. “You have to go out and win a series tomorrow. That’s the bottom line, you have to win the series and we have an opportunity to do that.”
Would have helped to have given themselves an opportunity today.
• The Alex Rodriguez situation hangs over everything now. Today’s accusation that the Yankees intentionally played him while he was injured was among the most startling things to come out of all this, particularly because it implicates Joe Girardi, who has routinely gone out of his way to back Rodriguez publicly. “I don’t ever want to ruin anyone’s career,” Girardi said. “That would break my heart. I’ve often talked about — and sometimes maybe I take some heat — with the way I handle a bullpen, but I am not ruining anyone’s career. That’s not who I am. I never felt that anyone ever put me in jeopardy and I don’t want to do that.”
• Did Girardi know the extent of Rodriguez’s hip injury during the playoffs? “No, I didn’t,” Girardi said. “We didn’t know. From everything I knew, he felt good. Then the one day came up — the day that I pinch-hit (for him) — he just said his hip wasn’t firing. That was the first inkling for me that maybe there was something wrong, but (he said) it was his right hip.”
• At what point does Girardi have to address all of this with the team? “I think you have to see if it impacts all the players around him, or if it’s impacting him where he’s not able to perform at the level we expect him to,” Girardi said. “It becomes a lot for him to probably digest every day, but so far I haven’t seen it. … (His focus has) been on the field for me, from what I’ve seen.”
• Girardi was asked whether it’s possible for him to think of Rodriguez strictly as a player while all of this in-fighting is going on with the front office. “I have to,” Girardi said. “Because there are other things that come up as a manager that you have to be able to separate. It could be guys aren’t happy about their contract or a guy gets sent down. As a manager, you have to have a relationship with your players and get the most out of them.”
• As for today’s actual game, Kuroda acknowledged that the long fourth inning — with the Overbay error and the blown call at third base — took a toll on him. “Yes, I would have to say so because the pitch count was up obviously,” he said. “Physically, it sort of wore you down.”
• What happened to Overbay on the throw? “I just didn’t finish the throw,” he said. “It’s frustrating because I feel like if I get a good grip on the ball, I can throw the ball. I just didn’t finish the throw. It ended up costing us. Those are big situations. Kuroda did a great job of getting outs and keeping us in the game. I hate when it ends up like that and we get into situations that we didn’t need to – just get an out even if we didn’t get the double play. It’s an easy double play, should’ve been.”
• Girardi the umpire told him Rodriguez’s tag was high on the double steal, that’s why the runner was called safe.
• Girard on Soriano being doubled up at second base: “He was safe at second on the stolen base. He did get doubled up. It was a tough read and he read it wrong. I always talk about guys are sometimes going to make the wrong read. It’s just human nature. They’re not going to be perfect all the time.”
• This was Kuroda’s shortest outing since July 12. He has a 4.66 ERA against the Red Sox this season; a 2.11 against everyone else.
• Soriano had another good day at the plate. He was 2-for-4 and is hitting .682 in his past five games.
• Robinson Cano’s hitting streak ended at 11 games. It was his second double-digit streak of the season.
• Why not give the final word to Girardi, talking about separating what’s happening on the field from what’s going on off the field. That’s kind of what today seemed to be about, anyway. “It’s something that I’m sure as time goes on, we will understand more and more,” Girardi said. “For me, it’s too early to digest. I have to worry about this; what we’re doing here. I can’t worry about accusations and stuff flying all over the place. My main job is to make sure his focus is on the field when he’s out there and I will do that.”
Associated Press photos