Joe Girardi didn’t seem to be pointing fingers after this particularly sloppy loss. He wasn’t blaming it on Shane Greene, wasn’t blaming it on the sloppy infield defense, and wasn’t blaming it on an offense that got just one extra-base hit and scored just two runs against a pitcher with a 7.48 ERA.
His message seemed too broad for finger pointing.
“It was an ugly game on our part,” Girardi said. “Our defense was bad. We didn’t swing the bats particularly well. We made the pitcher work hard the first two innings, and then he ends up getting into the eighth inning. It was an ugly game.”
Ugly sums it up pretty well. And ugly in so many ways.
Pitching? Greene pitched pretty well for the most part, but with two outs, a one-run lead and the bases empty in the sixth inning, he let the bottom of a bad Rangers lineup set the stage for a six-run inning. Greene let Geovany Soto get the game-tying hit before Matt Thornton allowed back-to-back run-scoring singles against back-to-back lefties. Ugly.
Fielding? Five errors were the most for the Yankees in a nine-inning game since August 20, 1998. In most situations, a link to 1998 is most welcome, but this wasn’t so nice. None of the errors directly led to a run — a run scored on Brian Roberts’ error, but he said he wasn’t expecting to turn two on the play any way — but those errors certainly hurt Greene’s pitch count, which might have left him vulnerable in the sixth. Ugly.
Hitting? Not to knock the guy, but I’m not sure I’d ever heard of Miles Mikolas until I was writing today’s blog post listing the starting pitchers for this series. The Rangers have been hit with Yankees-like injuries, and Mikolas came into this game with a 10.05 ERA. His first inning wasn’t pretty, and Jacoby Ellsbury homered off him in the fourth, but otherwise he pitched 7.1 innings with just four hits and two runs. The Yankees gave him his first ever win as a starting pitcher. Ugly.
“There’s no point in dwelling on it too long,” Roberts said. “We didn’t play well tonight, and we need to play better tomorrow.”
• I’m sure Greene is going to find himself on the bad end of a SportsCenter blooper reel, but he actually pitched alright. His errors were embarrassing, but the Rangers really didn’t make much hard contact against him. Through 5.2 innings he allowed just one walk and five hits (all but one were singles). “I’m honestly not that frustrated,” Greene said. “I’d like to have a couple of pitches back, but I felt pretty good.”
• Girardi on Greene: “He threw a really good game. He threw five and two-thirds, and we had four or five errors; that gets him into the seventh (if the errors hadn’t happened). They didn’t really square up a lot of balls. I thought he threw the ball well, but our defense — him included — hurt us.”
• Greene said the errors affected him “not at all” and his only comment on his own errors was: “Obviously I need to work on that.” So, there’s that.
• As for the impact of the errors, while they didn’t necessarily directly contribute to any of the Rangers runs, the did push Greene’s pitch count, and that might have impacted his rough end of the sixth inning. “You got it,” Girardi said. “That’s where it killed him. If you look, he threw 110 pitches. He was at like 80 and probably should have been through the sixth inning, and then it finally caught up to him.”
• Could say the Roberts error led to a run, but he said he really didn’t expect to turn a double play on that ball. “I guess I just missed the ball,” he said. “You know, it was one of those where it was kind of slow developing. It wasn’t hit real hard. I really wasn’t even thinking about turning the double play at that point. It just kind of hit off the thumb of my glove and unfortunately, it just didn’t go in.”
• Last time the Yankees had five errors in any game was July 7, 2007 when they had five errors in a 13-inning loss to the Angels.
• Last Yankees player to make three errors in a game was Ramiro Pena in 2011. An Pena, as you’ll remember, is considered a defensive specialist.
• Even with all the errors, all five Rangers runs were earned, snapping a streak of six games in which the Yankees pitching staff hadn’t allowed more than three earned.
• Didn’t see Thornton in the clubhouse postgame — to his credit, I can’t remember another time when he wasn’t waiting at his locker after he’s had a bad game — but obviously those were two big hits in a situation that’s exactly what he’s here for. “That’s our guy to get lefties out,” Girardi said. “That’s why I went to him.”
• Jacoby Ellsbury has six hits in his past eight at-bats including a home run and a double. He’s hitting .500 with three runs, two doubles, two homers and three stolen bases in four games since the All-Star break.
• No one seemed able to explain what Mikolas as doing that gave the Yankees such trouble. “Once he got out there and kind of got rolling, that’s the kind of thing where guys get some confidence and they get going and they start feeling better and better about themselves,” Roberts said. “Especially in a place like this. I think that was one of those things that happened for him. He just kind of got rolling and we just couldn’t really string anything together.”
• Nothing new on Mark Teixeira. “Obviously he’s in the middle and we miss him,” Girardi said. “It would be nice to have him back. We’ll take three or four days to see where he’s at and then we’ll make a decision on what’s next for him.”
• Final word goes to Girardi: “There’s going to be physical errors. I don’t really think we made mental errors tonight. They were physical errors and those happen. It’s unfortunate they all happened in one game, in a sense, or maybe it’s not. Maybe we get them out of the way. But I didn’t really see any mental errors tonight. They were physical.”
** Late notice, but let’s chat tomorrow. We’ll chat at noon on Tuesday, so stop by for a while. **
Associated Press photos