For the most part, this game speaks for itself. Ivan Nova had a bad game, Chris Capuano had a horrible inning, and the Yankees couldn’t do anything against Dallas Keuchel. A 15-1 final score was the Yankees’ most lopsided loss since a 16-1 blowout last April at Tampa Bay. It was their largest home loss since 2009.
It was bad, but you don’t need me to tell you that.
At the end, the highlight of the night — for the Yankees, anyway — was a high-energy veteran infielder getting on the mound for the first time and pitching two scoreless innings. An excitable personality having a moment like that should have been kind of fun to watch, but on a night like this, it was just a shake-your-head ending to a shake-your-head loss.
“I feel like I can’t be that happy or anything,” Ryan said, “because we just got our butt kicked, but (that) kind of was a bucket list moment. Take it for what it’s worth.”
Ryan’s wife tweeted: “Not happy about this game, but Brendan got to live out a little dream.”
Told about the tweet, Ryan laughed.
“She’s seen me rehearse on an almost nightly basis,” Ryan said. “This is a big moment for me. Again, hate for it to be in a lopsided game, but yeah, she knows how much I’ve wanted to get back out there.”
That’s the disappointing part about position players pitching. It almost never happens in a positive situation. What should be a cool moment becomes just another part of the embarrassment. Ryan said he was just trying to throw strikes, for the most part. He attempted one changeup, using a grip Felix Hernandez taught him. He said he thought of Adam Wainwright and tried to vary the timing of delivery to disrupt hitters. He got his former roommate, Colby Rasmus, to swing and miss once. He said he wished he hadn’t shaved the mustache, because it would have been appropriate for such an absurd situation.
“I just didn’t want to die,” Ryan said. “I told (Evan) Gattis, I told him twice, ‘Please don’t hit the ball back at me.’ I want to live.’ But, you know, Joe was awesome about it. (He said to) go throw strikes, but don’t hurt yourself.”
And Ryan didn’t hurt himself. He actually saved the bullpen from having to use another arm (or two) in a game that was thoroughly out of hand. He lived out a dream, and he did a nice job, but it came in an ugly situation. Last time Ryan pitched in a game? He knew the details immediately.
“The last time I pitched was against Ridgecrest Burroughs my senior year of high school to get us to state championships,” he said. “Three innings. Shut piece. Windy game, but got the W. Got us to state championships. That’s my pitching claim to fame.”
• Ryan’s pitching was the only fun part of this game. The part that mattered was Ivan Nova’s pitching. “I just got in trouble,” he said. “I didn’t make pitches when I had to. I don’t have good command today. That’s when you give up seven or eight runs, when you don’t have command. I tried to fight it, but definitely I don’t have a good game.”
• Joe Girardi said Nova lacked command of both his fastball and his curveball, “and that’s a pretty tall task.” Nova hadn’t allowed more than four earned runs in a start this season, but he allowed seven tonight. It was the most runs allowed by any Yankees pitcher since Michael Pineda allowed eight on June 22 against the Phillies. “It was bad that I have two bad starts in a row and I can’t help the team to win games, especially this late in the season,” Nova said. “We are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, and pitching a game like this, it doesn’t help the team and doesn’t help myself.”
• Any problem with Jacoby Ellsbury’s diving attempt on the ball that became a triple in that first inning? “He tried to catch it and he didn’t catch it,” Girardi said. “He dove and did everything he could and he didn’t catch it.”
• Nova said that, off the bat, he thought that fly ball was an out. Looked like Ellsbury hesitated before coming in, which might have cost him (Girardi said that might have been because Rasmus has a big swing that can make it seem a ball has been hit harder than it’s actually been hit). Either way, letting the next five hitters reach base was as much of a problem as the misplayed ball in center field. “That shouldn’t happen,” Nova said.
• Entering this game, opponents were 8-for-53 (.151 average) with runners in scoring position against Nova this season. The Astros went 3-for-4 with RISP in the first inning.
• Chris Capuano allowed six runs in the seventh inning. He’d pitched a scoreless sixth and trainer Steve Donohue checked him in the middle of that seventh inning. It was after that medical trip to the mound that Capuano really let the game get out of hand. He now has a 7.71 ERA.
• The Yankees had four hits tonight. Two of them came from Jacoby Ellsbury. Dallas Keuchel was, predictably, really impressive. “He mixes his pitches,” Girardi said. “He locates extremely well. He’s got late movement on his fastballs. I thought he used his changeup effectively, and he uses both sides of the plate.”
• The Yankees went without a home run for the third game in a row. That’s their longest home run drought of the year.
• Sounds very unlikely Mark Teixeira will play tomorrow. My personal read on the situation is that he was playing largely because the Yankees were facing Keuchel and Girardi wanted as many right-handed bats as possible. Teixeira clearly can’t run at all, which was clear on his ground ball to shortstop. “That’s all I’ve got,” he said. “I ran as hard as I could. Unfortunately, like I said, I told you guys yesterday, running is kind of the issue. That’s all I’ve got.”
• It ultimately didn’t lead to much, but the Yankees had a heated exchange with Carlos Gomez after a fly ball to center field in the sixth inning. Gomez tossed his bat and began yelling, having clearly just missed a pitch. “They’re kicking our rear ends,” Girardi said. “Show a little professionalism to the pitcher. I know you missed a pitch and you’re frustrated by it, but I just think it’s a little too much. … It’s a kid that, he plays hard but there have been a number of clubs that have taken exception to some of the things that he does on the field and it just got a little heated.”
• Girardi said the Yankees dugout took exception to the bat toss, then Gomez began yelling at Girardi as he ran back toward home plate. Once he got to home plate, John Ryan Murphy confronted him. “I just think there was no room for that,” Murphy said. “There’s never any time for that, but I think especially in a 9-0 game, I don’t think anything of that nature is called for.”
• Before his pitching performance, Ryan was having a pretty rough night. He said his error at second base came because the ball shifted to his left, and when he got in front of it, it didn’t hop as high as he expected. “I didn’t exactly have a good game,” Ryan said. “Went 0-for-3, made an error. But we needed someone to get out there (to pitch). I’m happy to do that. At least I could put some kind of penny in the piggy bank. Got a couple innings in, and hopefully we can get these guys tomorrow. But yeah, save the bullpen a little bit, so that’s good.”
• Final word goes to Girardi: “We have not swung the bats as well as we did earlier in the season. We have to get it going. Our offense is important to us. We have to score some runs. I think they’re the No. 1 pitching staff in the American League and they’ve pitched very well the first two days.”
Associated Press photos