As you can see in the video above, Joe Girardi wouldn’t go into details about tonight’s between-innings altercation with Orioles manager Buck Showalter, saying only that he was he was trying to protect his players from something he’d noticed during the first inning. The Orioles were a little more forthcoming.
“I was standing there coaching in the first inning, and I start hearing someone yelling at me,” Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson said. “And I looked in the dugout, and Joe’s yelling at me. … (He said), ‘I know what you’re doing.’ Yelling, body language, pointing at me. Not going to let him yell at me. I just said, ‘You don’t know anything. You don’t even know me to be yelling at me.’”
Girardi was clearly accusing Dickerson of trying to steal signs from the Yankees rookie catcher Austin Romine.
“Geez, if we were doing that, Manny wouldn’t have bunted, would he?” Showalter said. “… Hey, we all do that, I think, when people are at second base. That’s why we constantly change our signs a lot, and with clubs we see a lot in our division, obviously, in our minds, it’s not happening, but I can understand how someone (might think that). I know when I come out I look at the same thing. Our guys were wondering what in the world it was all about because obviously it wasn’t happening.”
Basically, it seems to be understood that teams are going to steal signs, but Girardi took exception to the idea that Dickerson might be doing it from the coach’s box at third base. Showalter denied that sort of scheme was in place.
“Protect his players? OK. I respect that. Joe’s a good man,” Showalter said. “… I gained a lot of respect for Joe over the past couple of years, especially when he was going through the thing with his dad last year in the playoffs, and two competitive, good teams, we’re fighting for the same thing. There’s a small margin of error, and I look at those things the first 10 or 15 pitches every night. There’s certain little checkpoints I go around the field to make sure everything’s in order before you get into the game.”
Said Romine: “Everybody wants to steal signs. We’ve got to do our best to hide them. I even asked some guys if they could see my signs and (everyone) said no. You hear a lot going on and speculation of what they were saying. I just asked someone to go down (to the video room) and see if they could see my signs, and they said no, so I knew I was doing my job.”
• The Yankees are now three games — four losses — behind the Rays for the second wild card spot. The Orioles and Indians have each moved a game and a half ahead of the Yankees, with the Royals just one game behind the Yankees.
• The whole bizarre exchange between Showalter and Girardi — which really did get extremely heated for a while — really grabbed most of the attention in a game that was a significant letdown for the Yankees. They had five hits. Two were home runs, and the others were singles that went no where. They got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but the heart of the order nearly hit into two double plays before a fly ball ended it. “We need to score runs,” Girardi said. “If we’d been scoring runs the way we were the last week, (CC Sabathia) gets a win tonight. We need all our guys to be good down the stretch.”
• Yankees starter Chris Tillman struck out a season-high nine batters and retired 14 in a row at one point. He’s the first Orioles pitcher to reach 16 wins in a season since Mike Mussina won 18 in 1999.
• This was the first time since August 26, 2006 that Alex Rodriguez started a game hitting second in the order. He hit his 60th career home run against the Orioles, the second-most by any opponent against the Orioles behind Harmon Killebrew’s 68.
• Sabathia actually has the most career strikeouts at Camden Yards for any pitcher to have never played for the Orioles, but tonight’s six strikeouts came in a loss. “The balls they hit were two-seamers up in the zone,” Romine said. “It’s a good-hitting lineup, so you can’t make a mistake. They capitalized on them tonight. They hit a couple of balls up in the zone for some doubles, and it hurt us a little bit. Other than that, he pitched great. Working in and out, he threw some sliders down and in, got some strikeouts. Just a couple of pitches up in the zone they hit.”
• I thought Sabathia looked better than he did through most of those starts in August, and he got through 7.1 innings. Those doubles really crushed him. “Today I felt a lot better, making pitches,” Sabathia said. “But I felt like I got into some bad counts early, not getting ahead, to put myself in some tough situations.”
• Girardi on Sabathia: “He’s been matched up against aces his whole career. I thought he actually pitched pretty good tonight. A couple of leadoff doubles hurt him where they moved the guy over and hit a sac fly, and then he doesn’t turn the double play or get the lead runner and that cost him a run as well.”
• I thought this was weird: Manny Machado laid down a sac bunt in the first inning, and it was his ninth sacrifice bunt of the year, the second-highest total in the American League. I’m just surprised a good young hitter like that has bunted a guy over that often. Let the kid swing away!
• Final word will go to Romine: “I was too involved in the game (to know what the fight was about). I really don’t know what happened, but I saw my manager out on the field, so you go out there and you stand behind him. I don’t really need to know what was going on, I just know my manager was out on the field, so you go out there and stand behind him.”
Associated Press photos