Interesting choice of words from David Huff this afternoon.
“On my behalf, it was terrible,” he said. “To come off what I’ve been doing here and to have that happen today, it was just embarrassing on my behalf.”
Huff went out of his way to speak only for himself, as if he’s singularly responsible for what’s happened to the Yankees these past three days. As if the rest of the pitching staff doesn’t feel the same way. Sure, Brett Marshall pitched well today, and Andy Pettitte pitched pretty well yesterday, and Cesar Cabral got that one lefty out, but this pitching breakdown has been an epidemic strong enough to take down even the greatest closer of all time and the American League’s best pitcher just last month.
“It’s hard to say that you score 27 runs in three games — or whatever the number is we put up there — and we lost all three,” Brian Cashman said.
Actually, it was 25 runs in three games, but Cashman’s point stands. That’s plenty of runs. At least eight runs all three games, as a matter of fact. According to Elias it’s the first time that Yankees have ever lost three straight when scoring at least seven runs, and it’s the first time since 1977 that they’ve allowed at least nine runs in three straight games of a single series.
This team that at times struggled to score two or three runs earlier in the season, is suddenly scoring in bunches and unable to count on a pitching staff that kept the Yankees afloat for four months.
“Our pitching that’s been carrying us is obviously an issue for us right now,” Cashman said. “Our guys are battling. They’ve been battling all year. We’re obviously up against a really good team, and you can’t afford to make mistakes, and you can’t afford not to be at full strength. Or you can’t afford to not be firing on all cylinders or they’ll take advantage. And they’ve been taking advantage on every extra inch you give.”
Tonight it was Huff and Jim Miller. Yesterday it was Phil Hughes and Boone Logan and Preston Claiborne and Joba Chamberlain. The night before it was Claiborne and Chamberlain and Ivan Nova and Mariano Rivera. Huff can speak for himself — I suppose there’s something noble in that — but his feelings are not unique, and they’re not limited to a select few.
“We’ve had two tough games, now we’ve had three tough games,” Joe Girardi said. “We’ve got to turn it around. The bottom line is we’ve got to pitch better because we are scoring some runs. We’ve got to figure out how to get them out.”
• Obviously a lot of postgame was spent dealing with the Derek Jeter news. At this point, it’s hard to say what impact a negative CT scan will have on his playing time. My guess is that he’s still considered day-to-day, and playing tomorrow’s finale is hardly a sure thing. “I just didn’t like the way he was running so I took him out,” Girardi said. “We’ll just see how he feels tomorrow and what’s going on. I’m not sure exactly what’s going to happen right now but we’ll see how he’s doing. … . I just saw the way he ran to first. I just said, I’m going to take him out and try and protect him here in case Robbie hits a ball in the gap. I don’t want him to run on it. I’m not sure.”
• Girardi and Cashman each said that Jeter never really complained, but Jeter clearly has not been moving particularly well lately. Nothing overwhelming, he just hasn’t looked 100 percent. Cashman said he believes the bad throw in the top of the sixth was ultimately caused by the left ankle. “He’s doing everything he can to get out there and play and not worry about stuff,” Cashman said. “Do I think, personally, that the leg affected the throw? I do, yeah.”
• Girardi said that Jeter “didn’t say much” when Girardi told him he was coming out of the game. You’d expect Jeter to argue, but it sounds like he wasn’t putting up much of a fight today. He’s hit just .182 during his 12 games back from his most recent DL stint.
• One other injury update: Boone Logan’s MRI revealed inflammation in his left arm, near but not in the elbow. “He’ll probably be on that three days off (plan) and we’ll go from there,” Girardi said.
• Things actually started really promising for Huff with that 1-2-3 first inning. “I started out aggressive in the first inning,” Huff said. “As soon as the home run happened, I started getting too fine with my pitches and started nibbling a little bit. … They put some good swings on some balls. Even though that happens, it shouldn’t change anything. I should still go right after guys.”
• The Napoli home run was a fastball, Gomes was a changeup. Huff said he was surprised to see Napoli swinging at a 3-0 pitch, but… “When I went into the dugout, Larry (Rothschild) told me, ‘Treat every count like it’s 0-2 with him.’”
• Huff was charged with nine runs in 3.1 innings, matching David Phelps for the most runs allowed by a Yankees starter this season. Girardi said he was not ready to announce any sort of rotation change at this point. Probably going to have to wait and see who starts that series finale in Baltimore.
• Marshall had not pitched particularly well in his Major League debut earlier this season, and he’s not coming off a very good season in Triple-A, so today’s strong 4.1 innings was a welcome boost. “Just to get my confidence back especially from last outing,” Marshall said. “I really wasn’t nervous at all. I went out there, I felt comfortable. First inning came in against Victorino like, I got this. Having Romey behind the plate – me and him are like brothers – so I felt good.”
• Random that Romine and Marshall are so close. They haven’t played together all that much, but Marshall said they’ve just become good friends through spring trainings and their limited regular-season time together. J.R. Murphy caught a lot of Marshall’s outing — and he caught Marshall in Triple-A this year — but Marshall seemed comfortable throwing to either young catcher.
• Jim Miller became the 54th player used by the Yankees this season. He was activated this morning and pitched this afternoon much like Matt Daley was activated yesterday afternoon and pitched last night. Weird days in that Yankees bullpen.
• Final word goes to Huff: “We’re in a playoff push. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Each game is a big game. It can be Houston, Tampa Bay or Boston, it doesn’t matter. Each of these games is a big game.”
Associated Press photos