After their first true bullpen meltdown of the year, the Yankees have wasted little time making a change.
Cesar Cabral was designated for assignment following tonight’s game, and Matt Daley will be added from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Daley pitched well after a late-season call-up last season. He had a strong spring, and he had 13 strikeouts with one walk through five innings in Triple-A this year. He should be here tomorrow. Yankees probably could have used him tonight.
For the first time this season, the Yankees blew a save tonight. The worst of it hung on Adam Warren’s shoulders after he consistently go ahead of hitters, but couldn’t put them away. When he didn’t bury a 1-2 slider, Desmond Jennings hit an RBI single to pull the Rays within in a run. When Evan Longoria worked the count back full, Warren issued a walk that loaded the bases. When Warren didn’t get a 1-2 fastball inside enough, James Loney delivered the go-ahead, two-run single.
“The whole time you’re thinking, you’re just one pitch away from getting out of it,” Warren said. “I was getting ahead of guys. Felt good about how I was throwing. Just one pitch away. Couldn’t quite make that pitch.”
Warren had pitched well this season. In fact, the entire bullpen had not allowed a run in seven straight games before coughing up eight runs tonight. David Phelps stranded two runners for Hiroki Kuroda in the sixth, then Phelps, Matt Thornton, Warren and Cabral were each charged with at least one run in the next inning and a third.
“We all know what we’re capable of,” Phelps said. “It stinks there are times you’re going to have a night like that. Nobody’s perfect, but we try as hard as we can to be. Things didn’t go our way tonight. You saw some of the swings those guys put on some of those two-strike pitches. It seemed like they were trying to fight balls off and they were just finding ways to drop in. I’m sure we’ll be out there tomorrow and start a new streak. I have faith in our guys and we have faith in ourselves. It’s just a matter of going out and making pitches. That’s what we’ve been saying the whole time.”
· Joe Girardi was not pleased with home plate umpire Joe West, who ejected Cabral in the eighth inning after Cabral’s third hit batter of the inning. Cabral clearly had no command tonight, but he also didn’t seem to be trying to hit anyone. By ejecting Cabral, West forced the Yankees to use Shawn Kelley for the final out. Kelley threw just five pitches. “It’s unfortunate that we had to do it,” Girardi said. “But fortunately he came in and got a quick out and didn’t have to throw many pitches.”
· Cabral’s had a strange time on the Yankees roster. He was taken in the Rule 5 in 2011, missed all of 2012 because of elbow surgery, was outrighted last year, added back to the roster, sent to Triple-A to start this season, then he got a call-up when Dave Robertson was hurt. I believe that because this would be his second outright assignment, that Cabral would be able to refuse the assignment and become a free agent if he clears waivers, but I’m not entire sure that’s correct. For now, he’s off the roster and floating in DFA limbo.
· Daley should be with the Yankees in time for tomorrow’s game.
· Cabral on hitting three batters: “Today’s not a good day. I don’t try to hit anybody. I want to throw strikes, and that happens sometimes. … They know I don’t want to hit anybody. I was surprised (by the ejection) because they don’t tell me nothing.”
· Phelps said he’s fine after being hit by a comebacker “straight in the fat” just above his hip. “It’s not bad,” he said. “There’s one spot that’s a little tender to the touch. If I was going to get hit, either there or in the backside is probably the most ideal spot.”
· Yangervis Solarte also said he’s fine after fouling a ball off his shin. Solarte had his shin wrapped in ice after the game, but there’s no indication that he won’t be able to play tomorrow.
· Hiroki Kuroda seemed to be rolling a long early in tonight’s game, then his night became a real grind in the fourth inning. “All of my breaking balls were not working so I had to depend on my fastball,” he said.
· Kuroda wanted to stay in for the final out of the sixth inning, but Girardi went to Phelps to get out of that jam. Kuroda said he felt that not being able to finish that inning himself hurt the bullpen and put them in a worse spot, but that seems a little hard to buy. Maybe letting Phelps come out of the pen for a clean seventh would have made a difference, but it’s hard to say that. The bullpen just wasn’t very good.
· The Yankees had allowed 12 runs in their previous six games. They allowed 11 runs tonight. This was their first blown lead of at least four runs since September 6, 2013.
· Since inning records are available beginning in 1984, the Yankees had only hit three batters in an inning once, which was on September 23, 2010 against the Rays at Yankee Stadium when five different pitchers combined to allow eight runs on nine hits, one walk and three hit batters in 2.1 innings.
· Scott Sizemore had a three-run double in the second inning, making this his eighth career big league game with three RBI and his first since September 27, 2011. His career high is four RBI.
· Final word goes to Girardi: “We had two strikes a number of times and we couldn’t put them away. If you look at Escobar’s first hit, they had about three or four more two-strike hits after that. We just weren’t able to put them away. They put on tough at-bats and it happens and you move on.”
Associated Press photos