Boone Logan said it was two or three pitches into the Mike Napoli at-bat that he felt something tighten in his left elbow. He went ahead in the count 1-2 in that at-bat, but when he tried five times to get strike three, he couldn’t get it. Two balls. Two fouled off. And finally the grand slam.
“It did (affect the at-bat), a little bit,” Logan admitted. “My mind definitely got on the elbow after it happened, because it was on one pitch that I felt something, some tightness tightening up on the back of my elbow. It did affect it a little bit.”
Why finish the at-bat then? Logan seemed to answer the question without it being asked.
“I’ve been going through soreness all year long, starting from spring,” he said. “I just felt a little tightness kick in about two or three pitches into Napoli, and I wasn’t going to do anything about it at the time. I was trying to finish the at-bat and try to get out of that inning, but it didn’t happen.”
The Yankees didn’t have Mariano Rivera tonight. They didn’t have Shawn Kelley because of his triceps issue and — it turns out — they didn’t have Dave Robertson because of shoulder inflammation. Now Logan is heading for an MRI. The Yankees saw tonight the impact of a short-handed bullpen, and they saw last night the impact of an ineffective bullpen. For four months, the Yankees fought to stay afloat with a banged-up offense. Is a depleted bullpen going to be the thing that ultimately sinks them?
“Pretty much the worst timing ever,” Robertson said. “… It’s tough, it really is. We’ve relied on the bullpen a lot earlier this year. These are the games where we really have to step up and help out. A couple of us are fatigued right now. We’re trying to find ways to battle and get back in there. Sometimes we just need a few days to get back on track.”
Robertson was hoping to be available today, but when he got to the park, he wasn’t sure he could play catch. There had been soreness in the back of his shoulder since the end of last night’s game, and it hadn’t gone away all game. An MRI revealed inflammation (Joe Girardi called it tendinitis).
“You get fatigued late in the season and usually you find a way to grind through it,” Robertson said. “This, I just felt like if I were to go out there and try to pitch through it, I might do something stupid and overthrow a baseball and injure myself. I’m just going to take a day or two and let my body heal itself and be ready to get out there again.”
While Robertson said a day or two, Girardi said five or six days before Robertson would be cleared to pitch.
“It’s part of the game,” Girardi said. “Tendinitis is part of the game that guys go through. These are relievers that have pitched a lot for us in the last four, five, six years. I’m not a little bit surprised. … It’s an opportunity for some of these other guys to shine. They’re going to have to do it.”
• As expected, Mariano Rivera was not available tonight. Girardi said he was hoping to get two innings or so out of Phil Hughes, but obviously that plan fell apart when Hughes let four of five batters reach base. I’d guess there was a good chance Hughes was going to finish the game if he’d been effective. “My stuff was flat, and my command wasn’t very good,” Hughes said. “I didn’t really make a good pitch until Pedroia, and there’s nothing much you can do about that. So it was just a terrible inning. And this time of year, terrible innings cost you big time. So it’s just a rough night all around.”
• Even though Napoli’s home run hit the top of the wall, no one seemed surprised to see it go. Girardi said he thought it was gone off the bat, and Logan did as well. “Yeah, knowing our yard,” Logan said. “Ich had me going there for a second, and it hit the top of the well and went out. The short porch we’ve got isn’t very nice sometimes.”
• Logan’s assessment of the bullpen: “We suck. We’re scoring a lot of runs. Starters are giving us their best. It’s our job to lock it down. With that kind of lead later in the innings, it’s bulls*** for it to happen, for us to do that.”
• Girardi said he had no thought of using Andy Pettitte beyond that sixth inning. Pettitte had thrown 100 pitches, and he hasn’t thrown more than 107 all year. He’s very rarely thrown more than 100 this season. “He was done,” Girardi said.
• Pettitte allowed three runs in his six innings, but he was pretty effective and had eight strikeouts. “I felt good,” he said. “I hate it. I wish I’d gone a little bit deeper in the game but all my pitches were working. It was a game where you feel maybe like you could’ve got a little bit deeper. They battle you. They foul off an awful lot of pitches and you’ve got to keep making quality pitches. Everyone in their lineup right now it seems like is swinging the bats pretty good. They make you make a bunch of good pitches.”
• Pettitte recorded his 2,000 Yankees strikeout in the fourth inning when he got David Ross swinging.
• The only Yankees reliever to pitch a full inning was also the only Yankees reliever to not allow a run, and it was Matt Daley who was called up just hours before the game. Daley lives in New Jersey, so he just had to drive over. He struck out the first batter he faced. He became the Yankees 53rd player of the season, extending this year’s franchise record for players used in a season.
• Not that he did much to generate much faith, but Hughes did say he fully expects to be available tomorrow. This was his first relief outing of the year. He threw 25 pitches.
• Yankees won’t know more on Logan until after tomorrow’s tests. Girardi labeled the injury as a biceps issue, but Logan said it’s more in his elbow. “I’m not too concerned about it,” Logan said. “It’s not in the bad spot in the elbow, but I’ve still got to find out what’s wrong.” Have to assume Cesar Cabral will be the go-to lefty the rest of this weekend.
• This was the first time since July 31, 2012 that the Yankees blew a lead of at least five runs. Since 2009 the Yankees have blown a lead of at least five runs nine times, with five of those coming against the Red Sox.
• Might as well give the final word to Pettitte: “We’ve got some guys coming in there that were in unfamiliar territory tonight. We had a couple of our guys that were down and it exploded on us. It’s a loss, obviously at this point they all hurt. But we need to come out tomorrow and figure out how to win a ballgame. I think if we keep playing the way we are, we’re going to be fine. I really do. I love the fight in us, last night, the way we battled to come back. Today, just kept tacking on runs. He’s a tough starter for them. Unfortunately we just weren’t able to hold it tonight.”
Associated Press photos