Pretty good win for the Yankees this afternoon, but there was more buzz in the clubhouse about the five-game suspension handed to Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster. The Yankees were confident Dempster would be suspended for throwing at Alex Rodriguez, but five games felt light considering the Red Sox have two upcoming off days and Dempster’s unlikely to actually miss a start. He’ll just have it pushed back a day or so.
“I thought he at least should miss a start and he’s not going to do that,” CC Sabathia said. “I don’t think it does anything.”
While Sabathia felt that five games was at least enough to discourage other pitchers from going after Rodriguez, Joe Girardi seemed less certain. He said on Sunday night that he was worried about something like this — that the Red Sox schedule would keep Dempster from a legitimate punishment — and he was clearly unhappy to hear about the five-game ban.
Girardi doesn’t want other pitchers thinking they can go after Rodriguez and only pay the price with a slightly delayed start.
“That’s my concern,” Girardi said. “We’ll find out. I sure hope (that doesn’t happen). … I think when you talk about suspensions, if you suspend a position player three games, he misses three games. You can suspend a pitcher five games, even six games, and he might not miss a start if the off days come into play. That’s why I think everything has to be taken into account when you make a suspension. Not just in this case; all the time.”
It’s understood that players are going to be plunked occasionally as a way to police the game, but this was a different case.
“It’s definitely a different scenario,” Sabathia said. “And even with the unwritten code, you don’t throw at a guy four times. He violated every code in every way. … I’m sure if it happens again that hopefully somebody will see that this isn’t enough and that guys need to be suspended longer.”
A few quick pregame/postgame notes…
• Obviously Eduardo Nunez is in the lineup, but that was a pretty late call. About two hours before first pitch, Nunez walked in the clubhouse and said he still wasn’t sure whether he’d be allowed to play. He’s been getting treatment all day.
• No Ichiro Suzuki in tonight’s lineup. With two hits in the first game, he moved one away from career hit No. 4,000. “Believe me, I would like to get it out of the way,” Girardi said.
• Big home run by Chris Stewart to snap a personal homer-less streak and put the Yankees in front. “Not an everyday thing,” Stewart said. “I don’t know, hell might freeze over now.”
• Ivan Nova had the one rocky inning but otherwise pitched well. He said his curveball got better as the game went on, and he did a better job locating his two-seamer down in the zone. “I thought he bounced back well (after the second inning),” Girardi said. “I thought his ball started to sink a lot. He got a lot of ground ball outs. He wasn’t doing it so much early in the game, but he got it going and gave us some distance, which was important.”
• Nova’s been so good lately, this was the first time since June 29 that he pitched fewer than seven innings.
• Career home run No. 200 for Robinson Cano, and it was a big one to put the Yankees on the board and cut the lead to one run. “He’s been swinging the bat really well, and that’s special,” Girardi said. “Two hundred home runs, that’s a lot of home runs, and obviously he’s got a lot of career left in him. He had a big day. He got us right back in the game with that three-run homer. Things seemed to pick up after that.”
• With 795 RBI, Cano has tied Tommy Henrich for 17th on the Yankees all-time RBI list.
• Girardi on pulling Joba Chamberlain and using Mariano Rivera to finish the ninth. “There’s just a situation there where, the one thing you want is you want to give Mo a little wiggle room,” Girardi said. “They got some home run hitters coming up, and you don’t want to put him in a situation where the tying run is at the plate. I gave him a little wiggle room.”
• Seems to also speak to the lack of confidence in Chamberlain, but of course Girardi didn’t admit that much.
• Final word (for now) goes to Girardi: “Win the game that’s at hand. Don’t look too far ahead. Don’t look at tomorrow. Don’t look at the next day. Don’t look at the next series. Just win the game that we’re playing. Our guys went out and did that today. We got behind and got some big hits, and that’s what we have to concentrate on.”
Associated Press photo