Kind of weird to watch a game that was most notable for the guy who wasn’t playing.
Derek Jeter had warned Joe Girardi even before last night’s game that he probably wouldn’t want to play tonight. In some ways, the overwhelming circumstances of Thursday night surely caught Jeter off guard, but in other ways, his entire season was building to that moment. He knew it was going to be draining, but perhaps didn’t realize it was going to be so overwhelming. Even when it was over, Jeter said he slept only a couple of hours last night.
Had he ever before asked to sit out? Jeter acted as if he couldn’t believe the question was being asked.
“Me?” he said. “Never. Yeah, today, I couldn’t play today. First time.”
Jeter’s desire to be in the lineup is notorious. Two years ago, he kept playing through an ankle injury until his ankle finally snapped. This year, even at 40, he’s been mildly frustrated by the occasional days off that he’s received through the course of the year. Jeter likes to play, and he said he still wants to DH on Saturday and Sunday. He just didn’t want to play tonight.
“I can’t tell you (what it will be like) on Sunday,” Jeter said. “But I can’t imagine it (will be as emotional as Thursday), because that’s pretty much as good as it gets, I think, for me. Like I said, I’m playing here because I have respect for this rivalry, for Boston, and the fans. If it was anywhere else, I don’t know if I’d play.”
Jeter said he literally doesn’t remember taking his uniform off last night. It was the last time he ever took off a white pinstriped uniform, and you’d think that would be a memorable experience, but Jeter said he didn’t think about it.
“I was just happy, you know what I mean?” Jeter said. “Everything happened so quickly in terms of the swing of the emotions. Taking off the uniform, I don’t even remember it.”
If his desire to play is notorious, so is the fact the pays little attention to baseball beyond those games he is playing. But Jeter said he’d actually like to host a private screening to re-watch Thursday’s game with friends and family. Why that game?
“Because a lot of it I don’t even remember,” Jeter said. “I mean, I was doing things last night, like I told you, I almost told Joe, ‘Get me out of here.’ I was giving signs to (second baseman Stephen) Drew on who to cover second base on a steal, and there’s no runner on first, you know what I’m saying? There were a lot of things going on. I’d like to see how it went because I think I missed a lot of it.”
Ultimately, there’s still a chance Jeter will back out of playing this weekend. After all, when the Yankees left for Houston at the end of last season, everyone seemed certain Mariano Rivera was going to want to play at least one inning in center field. Rivera changed his mind, and there’s still a chance Jeter will as well. It just doesn’t seem very likely.
“I really think Jeet will go back out there,” Girardi said. “If he didn’t, I don’t have a problem with that, and I completely understand it. I’m not so sure what I would do if I was him in that situation. But he loves to compete, and I just have a feeling he’ll go back out.”
Jeter seems pretty sure about that as well. But this one night, for the first time in his career, he preferred to sit and watch.
“I don’t know if I could play tonight if I wanted to play tonight,” Jeter said.
• Small bit of news coming out of the clubhouse: Girardi said Jacoby Ellsbury won’t play this series. “He’s done,” Girardi said. “He’s done. I am not going to use him. I would think it would be silly for him to re-injure himself at this point in the season and have to deal with it in the offseason. So, let’s send him home a healthy player, and we don’t have to worry about it over the offseason.”
• Dave Robertson was smiling tonight. Even though last night ended on a high note, he was obviously frustrated by last night’s blown save. He joked that he considered blowing tonight’s save just so the Yankees could let Jeter be the hero again. “I definitely thought they should have pinch-hit him after I gave up the run,” Robertson said.
• In all seriousness, Robertson now has 39 saves with two days to reach 40. That’s pretty good for a guy who came into this season answering big questions about whether he’d be able to handle the role in the wake of Mariano Rivera’s retirement. “Forty is just a number to me,” Robertson said. “The biggest thing for me personally, if I was 35-for-35, that’s what I would want to be. I don’t want to be the guy who lets people down. I know I’ve got five blown saves. It happens. Those are the games I want back. I don’t really care about the number that I get to. It’s just more the games that I help our team win.”
• If Robertson had given the Yankees an opportunity to use Jeter again, this crowd wouldn’t have had a problem with that. There were Derek Jeter chants often tonight. :There’s a substantial number of Yankees fans here,” Girardi said. “There always is, but also, I’ve got to believe there’s some Boston people chanting that too. … And I understand people want to see him, but he’s been through a lot. He’s been through a lot this year. It’s extremely emotional. He’s given everything he’s had inside of him for 20 years, and I respect whatever he does.”
• In the later innings, the crowd was booing the other Yankees hitters, always wanting Jeter to pinch hit. “I kind of felt bad for Austin (Romine) going up to the plate,” Chris Capuano said. “He was getting booed just because the fans wanted Jeter in that spot. He had such a special night last night. I think everyone can understand him wanting to take a day.”
• Speaking of Capuano, another strong start from him. This was the third time since joining the Yankees that Capuano made a start without allowing an earned run. It was his fourth start without a walk. He matched a season-high with 6.2 innings. “I feel like I learned a lot,” Capuano said. “I just got to soak in Derek’s last couple of months, and last night was amazing. It was among the best two months I’ve had in the big leagues, that much fun.”
• When he was pulled from the game, Capuano shook Girardi’s hand. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be here,” Capuano said. “I just wanted to thank Joe for that. Just a great opportunity to pitch.”
• Girardi on Capuano: “I think every player wants to finish strong. I think that’s a feeling that you want to have going home. … I thought he did a really good job for us. And I thought tonight he was excellent again.”
• Did Girardi consider pinch hitting Jeter at any point? “As I’ve said, I’m going to leave it up to him,” Girardi said. “He felt that he just needed a day today. He didn’t sleep much last night. We got in late. He was up early today. That’s what happens when you get older, you kind of get set on the time you wake up in the morning and it’s hard to change.”
• Still plan to have him DH the next two games? “Whatever he tells me. I’m sticking to that,” Girardi said. “Whatever he tells me he wants to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”
• Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3. Since being recalled from the 60-day disabled list on August 25, he’s hit .306 with 10 doubles and two homers.
• New outfielder Eury Perez singled in his first at-bat of the season for his third career hit. He also stole a base, his fifth career steal.
• Final word to Robertson: “There’s a lot of Yankees fans in the seats tonight, and I know that the Red Sox fans respect (Jeter). They’ve enjoyed seeing the rivalry. It’ll be fun to watch him tomorrow when he plays.”
Associated Press photos
Game 160: Yankees at Red Sox • 09.26.14
LHP Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.67)
Capuano vs. Red Sox
RED SOX (70-89)
Mookie Betts 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Yoenis Cespedes DH
Allen Craig RF
Garin Cecchini 3B
Rusney Castillo CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Ryan Lavarnway 1B
Dan Butler C
RHP Steven Wright (0-0, 3.38)
Wright vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:10, MY9
WEATHER: Little bit cool, but ultimately a nice night for our final night game of the year.
UMPIRES: HP Paul Nauert, 1B Vic Carapazza, 2B Larry Vanover, 3B Angel Hernandez
ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN: The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Derek Jeter’s 20 seasons is the longest career for any Major Leaguer who played exclusively for winning teams, surpassing the mark set last season by Mariano Rivera, whose Yankees teams finished with a winning record in all 19of his MLB seasons.
THE LAST STAND: Over his final Yankee Stadium homestand, Jeter batted .353 (12-for-34) with five runs, four doubles, one homer and nine RBI in eight games.
THE LAST AT-BAT: After last night, the Yankees have nine walk-off wins in 2014, surpassing their 2013 total (7) and marking their most since 2009 (15). Eight of this year’s walk-offs came after the All-Star break.?Elias notes it’s most post-All-Star walk-offs by the Yankees since 1988.
UPDATE, 7:54 p.m.: Two-out single int he bottom of the second has the Red Sox in front 1-0. Unearned run, by the way. Perez made a nice diving catch earlier, but ultimately it’s hard to make too much of what’s happening in this game.
UPDATE, 8:20 p.m.: Ugly game so far. Yankees take the lead in the top of the third — and Capuano’s able to hold it in the bottom of the third — by taking advantage of a dropped third strike. They got two runs, neither earned, and they’re up 2-1 heading into the fourth. Perez, Cerelli and Young each have hits.
UPDATE, 9:32 p.m.: I’ve honestly spent most of this game writing about the guy who’s not playing in it. Weird game. Feels like a spring training game, except somehow less interesting. Tomorrow will at least have Tanaka, and Sunday will be Jeter’s final game. But this one is just kind of a thing that’s happening. Hard to make much of it. But Capuano pitched pretty well again and it’s a 3-1 Yankees lead as Kelley comes in with two outs in the seventh.
As he sat in front of his locker postgame, I really doubt Brett Gardner expected to stand up and give essentially an end-of-the-season address, but that’s exactly what happened. A crowd of reporters gathered around, asked just a handful of questions, and Gardner put words to all that’s left the Yankees six games out of the second wild card with 13 to play.
“I feel like things have been slipping away for a few weeks,” Gardner said. “To be honest, I haven’t looked at the standings the last couple of days because at this point they don’t really matter. We’ve got to win every day. Until we’re five, six, seven games out with five, six, seven games to go and eliminated, I’m still going to hold out hope, and I still believe in the group of guys we have here. I still come to work every day and play hard, but like I said, we’re not in a good spot right now, and it’s a shame because our pitchers have really stepped up the last couple of months and done a good job. As an offense, we haven’t.”
It’s true. Even speaking to Shawn Kelley, who had a rough ninth inning and allowed the walk-off single, it was basically impossible to hang this loss on his shoulders. The bullpen’s had a bit of a rough time lately, but who could blame them? They’ve been trying to preserve tiny leads for nearly six months now.
“As well as we’ve pitched, we didn’t need to be great (offensively),” Gardner said. “We just needed to be good. And we haven’t been.”
The Yankees were shutout for the 10th time this season. But it’s more telling that they were shutout for the fourth time in the past 11 games and for the fifth time in the past 16 games.
“You feel like you’re due at some point,” Gardner said. “I don’t feel like it’s been a couple of games. I feel like it’s been pretty much all season. We’ve had flashes of being pretty good, but for the most part, we’ve just struggled to get guys across the plate. It’s frustrating because, with all the injuries we had to our rotation, the guys that have come up and come in from other places have really stepped up and done a great job, pitched really well and kept us in the ballgame. Just like tonight, all we needed to get was just one or two runs and we couldn’t even get that. It’s just really frustrating. Guys are working really hard. Guys are trying. Guys are putting in the effort. For one reason or another, we’re just not getting it done.”
Last year, the team’s offensive problems were easy to dismiss as a product of overwhelming injury problems. Not this year. There have been injuries, sure, but the truly devastating blows haven’t hurt the lineup.
“The bulk of our injuries have been to our rotation,” Gardner said. “And down the stretch here, our pitching and our rotation has been our strength. As a position player, as a hitter, it makes it a lot tougher to feel like you … you feel like you’re not picking them up. You’re not getting the job done.”
• Most explosive thing any Yankees hitter did today was Chase Headley getting ejected one pitch into his seventh-inning at-bat. Headley had a problem with a low strike called by home-place umpire Marty Foster, and his disagreement turned into a rather lengthy back-and-forth between player and umpire. At one point Foster took off his mask to snap back at Headley, and as Headley was getting back in the box to continue his at-bat, Foster threw him out of the game. “There was a conversation before it happened which I thought was fairly mild tempered,” Headley said. “I thought that he was an aggressor towards me. I told him to calm down and he kept yelling at me. I said I didn’t appreciate that.”
• More Headley: “I didn’t think what I said to him warranted the response that I got, and it just kept going. I think more than the balls and strikes was just the reaction that I got from him was not in any way comparable to how I was speaking to him. So that’s basically what happened. I’m not going to get into too much more specific about that. Yeah there was disagreements about the pitches but that’s not where it ended up.”
• It seems Headley’s problems with Foster started from his very first at-bat. “The borderline ones you can live with,” Headley said. “But the first pitch of the game, I come in, got hit with 97 in the mouth (last week), and the first pitch I see is 95 at my ribs. Then he calls a changeup a foot off the plate and it’s like, c’mon. It kind of started me off on the wrong foot. The borderline ones you live with but when there’s a pitch that should not be missed, ever, I think that’s when as a player you get a little bit more upset.”
• Girardi on the Headley ejection: “It’s one thing if you’re arguing, you’re going back and forth and showing him up, but these games mean something. It’s a shame. He questioned some strikes. Hitters should be allowed to do that. We should be allowed to do that. At some point, it would be nice if umpires said, ‘If you say another thing, you’re gone.’ You can do that. If he barks and you bark back; it wasn’t like a whole lot of people knew what was going on. It’s frustrating to me.”
• The Yankees have lost four of their past five games. Of those four losses, one was credited to Dave Robertson, one to Adam Warren, and tonight’s to Shawn Kelley. That’s a rough stretch for a bullpen that’s been terrific nearly all year. “Every time we pitch the game’s on the line,” Kelley said. “But I’ve got to go out there and put up a zero whether it’s nothing-nothing or it’s 10-nothing. … You pitch a lot of games out of the bullpen, and that’s just part of the game. We’re all in great shape, we’ve all prepared for this, and I don’t think it’s fatigue. ”
• Girardi is usually pretty strict with his rules about managing reliever workload, but playing so many low-scoring games this season has essentially forced him to use his go-to guys a lot. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room,” Girardi said. “You look at the games we’ve lost 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 or whatever, there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room. They’re not going to be perfect. They’ve been really, really good, but they’re not going to be perfect.”
• I honestly felt bad, but not a single reporter interviewed Chris Capuano postgame. He just wasn’t the story. Really nice bounce-back start for him — coming off that one-out performance last week, he went six scoreless tonight — but a strong pitching performance just isn’t anything new and doesn’t carry much weight at this point. The Yankees are all about their failing offense. Great start for Capuano, just didn’t feel the need to hear what he had to say about it.
• Last Yankees starter to throw at least six scoreless innings on two hits or less and not earn a win was Freddy Garcia back in 2011. Capuano has only five decisions in his past 18 career starts dating back to last season.
• Didn’t mean much in the end, but Gardner said he and Jacoby Ellsbury called for that dropped fly ball at the exact same time. “We just kind of ran into one another a little bit, and I wasn’t able to hold onto it,” Gardner said. “But Cap made a couple of good pitches after that and was able to pick me up. Didn’t end up hurting us today, we just, same story. Been pitching really well, but it’s just been hard for us to score runs.”
• This was the fifth time a Yankees player was ejected this season. Gardner, Kelley, Michael Pineda and Cesar Cabral were previously thrown out of games.
• Final word to Girardi: “We’re just not hitting. For whatever reason, we’re not hitting. I think we’ve scored six runs on this road trip, lost three games in the last inning, in the bottom of the inning. It’s frustrating. Eventually I think it’s got to turn, but it better turn pretty quickly here.”
Associated Press photos
Game 149: Yankees at Rays • 09.15.14
LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.90)
Capuano vs. Rays
Ben Zobrist CF
Brandon Guyer LF
Evan Longoria DH
Wil Myers RF
Yunel Escobar SS
Logan Forsythe 2B
James Loney 1B
Sean Rodriguez 3B
Curt Casali C
RHP Alex Colome (1-0, 2.79)
Colome vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: It’s nice outside. The game is inside, though.
UMPIRES: HP Marty Foster, 1B Rob Drake, 2B Joe West, 3B Alan Porter
QUAL SANDMAN: With two strikeouts Sunday, Dellin Betances has 130 Ks this season (in 86.2 innings), tying Mariano Rivera (130 K in 107.2 innings in 1996) for the most single-season strikeouts by a Yankees reliever. Betances is also tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in relief in American League history and 16th-highest such total in MLB history.
MORE DELLIN: Betances has allowed just 42 hits in 86.2 innings for an average of 4.36 hits per nine innings. That is the best such ratio among pitchers with at least 75 single-season innings in the history of the American League and the third-best such single-season ratio in Major League history behind Eric Gagne’s 82.1IP with 37H in 2003 (4.04 ratio) and Carlos Marmol’s 87.1IP and 40H in 2008 (4.12 ratio).
CEREMONY TOMORROW: The Rays are planning to honor Derek Jeter with a pregame ceremony tomorrow.
UPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: Scoreless after two innings. The game is certainly dragging, but Capuano’s already having a much better start than last time out.
UPDATE, 8:38 p.m.: This has certainly not been the most exciting game of the year! All quiet until two outs here in the bottom of the forth when Gardner and Ellsbury ran into one another for dropped fly ball that has a runner in scoring position for Sean Rodriguez. Scoreless game so far.
UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: Capuano is through five scoreless in this sleepy game at the Trop. Fans are kinda into it, but there just hasn’t been much action so far.
UPDATE, 9:27 p.m.: Six scoreless for Capuano. Of course, six scoreless for the Yankees lineup, too.
UPDATE, 9:37 p.m.: Well now it’s getting interesting. Headley was just ejected one pitch into an at-bat, and the crowd booed when Stephen Drew — and not Derek Jeter — came in to pinch hit.
Game 143: Yankees vs. Rays • 09.10.14
LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.46)
Capuano vs. Rays
Ben Zobrist LF
Brandon Guyer CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Wil Myers RF
James Loney 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Ryan Hanigan C
Sean Rodriguez DH
RHP Jake Odorizzi (10-11, 3.84)
Odorizzi vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network
WEATHER: Temperatures in the 70s. Nice blue sky. Really nice night here in the Bronx.
UMPIRES: HP Larry Vanover, 1B Marcus Pattillo, 2B Angel Hernandez, 3B Vic Carapazza
WHAT A RELIEF: Since September 3, Yankees relievers have pitched 20.2 scoreless innings with just seven hits, three walks and 25 strikeouts. According to Elias, it’s the longest scoreless stretch by Yankees relievers since a span of 28 innings in May of last year. In their past 17 games, the Yankees bullpen has produced a 1.20 ERA and held opponents to a .166 batting average.
THROWBACK: Since August 1, Ichiro Suzuki is batting .342 (25-for-73), the third-highest mark in the American League in that span (minimum 70 at-bats).
ON THIS DATE: On September 10, 1922, the Yankees played their final regular-season game at the Polo Grounds. They beat Philadelphia 2-1 that day and the next season opened a state-of-the-art place called Yankee Stadium.
UPDATE, 7:34 p.m.: My goodness. Capuano is finished after facing just seven batters. He got one out, allowed three runs, and he’s loaded the bases. Chase Whitley is surely being called on for more than just these last two outs.
UPDATE, 7:40 p.m.: Fly ball to left brings in one run before Whitley gets a strike out to end the first inning with two runners stranded. It’s already a 4-0 hole after a half inning. Just brutal.
UPDATE, 7:47 p.m.: Solo homer for McCann to cut the lead to 4-1. He has hit homers in this ballpark. That’s one positive from his Yankees debut.
UPDATE, 8:14 p.m.: Whitley is through the third without allowing another run. Still 4-1 heading into the bottom of the third.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: McCann delivers again with a sharp two-run single and all of a sudden it’s a ballgame with the Yankees within 4-3 here in the third.
UPDATE, 8:48 p.m.: Chris Young of all people just tied the game with a solo home run. That’s his second hit of the night. We’re even at 4.
UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: They apparently are ruling that one a triple. Whatever the call, Teixeira smoked the ball into the corner and put the Yankees in front 5-4.
UPDATE, 9:23 p.m.: Yankees will hand a 6-4 lead to Adam Warren in the sixth.
Game 138: Yankees vs. Red Sox • 09.04.14
LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.24)
Capuano vs. Red Sox
RED SOX (61-78)
Brock Holt 2B
Mookie Betts CF
David Ortiz DH
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Allen Craig 1B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Christian Vazquez C
RHP Brandon Workman (1-8, 4.93)
Workman vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: Temperatures in the 70s. Not much chance of rain. Wind blowing from right to left.
UMPIRES: HP Todd Tichenor, 1B Clint Fagan, 2B Tim Timmons, 3B Tim Welke
CRUSH (AND DO DAMAGE): Brian McCann leads the Yankees this season, having hit 11 homers with men on (nine with one on; two with two on). He’s hit six solo homers. Mark Teixeira and Jacoby Ellsbury are tied for second on the team, each with six home runs with men on.
NOTHING IS FREE: Yankees pitchers had 12 strikeouts with no walks last night. It was the third time this season the Yankees had as many or more strikeouts with no walks (also July 19 vs. Cincinnati and April 29 vs. Seattle). That’s the second-most such games in a single season in franchise history, trailing only 2001 (four such games).
ON THIS DATE: On September 4, 1993, Jim Abbott became the third Yankees left-hander to throw a no-hitter, beating the Indians 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. It marked only the fourth no-hitter in Yankee Stadium history and was the club’s seventh overall. It was on September 4, 1923 that “Sad” Sam Jones threw the second no-hitter in franchise history during a 2-0 win at the Philadelphia Athletics’ Shibe Park.
UPDATE, 7:45 p.m.: Really nice catch by Ellsbury for the first out of the third inning. But the Yankees trail 1-0 because of the David Ortiz homer in the first. Here’s the predictable sentence of the day: The Yankees need some runs.
UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: There’s a two-run homer for Ortiz. He’s gone deep in back-to-back at-bats and it’s a 3-0 Red Sox lead. Are the Yankees really going to lose two of three against last-place Boston at home?
UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: Two-run double to deep center field for Jeter. He’s hit two balls hard tonight. First was a fly out to deep right. It’s now 3-2.
UPDATE, 8:13 p.m.: Gardner and Beltran each struck out, but right in between them, Carlos Beltran tied the game with an RBI single. It’s 3-3 heading into the fourth.
UPDATE, 8:38 p.m.: Capuano gives up a go-ahead homer to Holt, and the Yankees aren’t going to give him a chance to give up a third homer to Ortiz. Rich Hill is in to try to keep this a one-run game.
UPDATE, 8:39 p.m.: Hill does his job, and here comes Esmil Rogers. I assume Rogers will be asked to pitch to more than one batter.
UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Antoan Richardson and Zelous Wheeler have been good friends for years. Wheeler just drew the pinch-hit walk that let’s Richardson make his Yankees debut as a pinch runner.
UPDATE, 9:38 p.m.: Richardson was running on the pitch and didn’t have time to get back to first base. Brutal blow for the Yankees who still trail by one here int he seventh inning.
Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Saturday. It will be his first time on a mound since last Thursday’s simulated game, which ultimately ended with a sore arm and a temporary shutdown of his throwing program.
“Lets just take that and see how it goes,” Joe Girardi said. “When he gets through that, I guess I’ll decide what’s next.”
It would seem possible that another sim game would be next, but Girardi either wouldn’t say or couldn’t say. This much is clear, though, the Yankees plan to keep rehabbing Tanaka until they’re either certain he can pitch or certain he needs surgery. They’re not going to simply stop and have him rest with the idea of giving the elbow ligament more time to heal.
If the injection-and-rehab protocol has worked, the ligament should be healed already. The Yankees feel Tanaka needs to pitch to make sure that’s the case.
Even if Tanaka’s not ready to pitch in a game until after the Yankees season, the team will create some sort of scenario so that he sees some kind of game action.
“He will pitch somewhere,” Girardi said. “He has to throw. You can’t wait until next spring (to find out whether he’s healthy enough to pitch).”
• Martin Prado did some running today, but it was only a light jog at roughly 50-percent effort. The plan is to have him hit inside as well. “Hopefully we get him back tomorrow or the next day,” Girardi said.
• Prado said that he felt no pain in his hamstring while he was running, but he also cautioned that this was nothing close to game speed. “No, I didn’t feel anything,” he said. “But the game speed is different. You’re not going to go 50 percent. I don’t like to go 50 percent. If I’m not 100 (percent), I’m not going to go.”
• Although neither Girardi nor Prado ruled out the idea of having him in the lineup tomorrow, it really sounds like Prado is more inclined to be cautious above all else. If that means giving it an extra day, it seems that’s what he’d rather do. “I’m doing everything I can, and they’re doing everything they can, to make me feel as close to 100 percent (as possible),” Prado said. “I just say I don’t want to be the hero and go there and get hurt and not play until the end of the season. I’d rather lose a couple of days and make sure my leg is OK to play the 20 or 25 games we have left.”
• One day after Tanaka throws his Saturday bullpen, David Phelps is expected to throw a Sunday simulated game. It seems at least possible that could be his final step toward returning from that upper-elbow/lower-triceps injury. “I think you have to see how he throws and how sharp he is,” Girardi said. “See if he needs another one, or if he’s capable of being activated.”
• Before the sim game, Phelps is supposed to throw another bullpen tomorrow. Phelps said this afternoon that it’s a credit to the current starters that the Yankees feel no need to get him stretched out for a return to the rotation. Because the current starters have been so steady, Phelps can get back a little quicker and slide into the bullpen.
• Speaking of those starters: Tonight is another start by Chris Capuano, who’s been awfully good in the fifth-starter role. “He’s in a role that he’s used too,” Girardi said. “I think for him he’s been a starter for a good portion of his career and he just seems to be throwing the baseball where he wants, with the stuff that he wants to use. He obviously has a real good idea of who he is and understands what he needs to do and has been making pitches.”
• Capuano has a 4.01 ERA in seven starts with the Yankees, and he has lasted at least six innings in six of those seven starts. This will be his third career start against the Red Sox, and he’s taken the loss the past two times he faced them. Capuano opened this season in the Red Sox bullpen.
Associated Press photos
Game 133: Yankees at Blue Jays • 08.29.14
LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.37)
Capuano vs. Blue Jays
BLUE JAYS (67-66)
Jose Reyes SS
Melky Cabrera LF
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Dioner Navarro C
Danny Valencia 3B
Steve Tolleson 2B
Colby Rasmus DH
Kevin Pillar CF
LHP Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.41)
Buehrle vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:07 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: Dome sweet dome
HUGE WEEKEND? Carlos Beltran has 988 hits in the American League to go along with his 1,329 career hits in the National League. That means he needs 12 hits — which would be quite the weekend — to become the eighth player all time with at least 1,000 hits in each league. The others are Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, Vladimir Guerrero, Fred McGriff, Orlando Cabrera, Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano. You might remember that Soriano reached the mark on May 14 against the Mets.
TWO OF A KIND: Should Beltran reach 1,000 hits in the American League, he would also join Soriano as the only players in MLB history to record 1,000 hits, 500 runs, 500 RBI, 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases in each league.
ONE MORE TIME: Chris Capuano is facing the Blue Jays for the fifth time this season. He made relief appearances against Toronto three times as a member of the Red Sox, then he earned a no-decision against Toronto on July 26 in his first start as a Yankee (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K).
Pitching matchups vs. White Sox • 08.22.14
RHP Shane Greene (3-1, 2.91)
LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.94)
7:05 p.m, My9
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-8, 3.97)
RHP Scott Carroll (5-7, 4.99)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
LHP Chris Capuano (1-3, 4.35)
LHP Chris Sale (10-3, 2.12)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
Associated Press photo
Dave Robertson had not allowed a home run his past 27 games. He hadn’t allowed a hit since August 2. He still has baseball’s longest active streak of consecutive saves converted.
But even the best relievers have bad nights, and right now the Yankees aren’t able to make up for those inevitable stumbles.
“Those bullpen guys have been operating on a pretty thin line,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Tonight, we weren’t able to get it done. But David’s been about as good as you could be.”
Tonight was not one of those nights. Robertson walked the first two batters he faced and at one point threw seven straight balls, four to walk Jose Altuve and three to fall behind 3-0 against Chris Carter. He found the strike zone with his next pitch. The distance on Carter’s home run was a pretty good indication of just how badly Robertson missed his spot.
“Trying to make a good pitch down and away,” Robertson said. “Instead I threw it right into his bat path and he put it 30 rows deep. It stinks when (the count is) 3-0 that happens, but if a make a good quality pitch, maybe I get a groundball double play. … When you’re not making quality pitches and you’re not throwing the ball where you want to, you’re not going to get outs. I struggled out there tonight, and I blew it for our team.”
He did, and in a vacuum this game might be all about a good reliever having a bad night. But the Yankees offense came down to two big hits tonight: Brian McCann’s two-run homer and Martin Prado’s two-run double. Ultimately, it was more of the same. Another night when the Yankees had a chance to take control of the game, but when their pitching staff slipped up, there was no offense to pick up the slack. The Yankees were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“I thought we hit some balls pretty decent, but we didn’t get too many hits,” Girardi said. “Prado got the lone hit, I think, with runners in scoring position. I think to win you have to do a better job in those situations.”
• A lot of really close pitches for Robertson in that ninth inning. The crowd here at Yankee Stadium seemed to groan with every ball believing so many of them could have been strikes. “That’s the game,” Robertson said. “Sometimes you get those (calls), sometimes you don’t. It changes from day to day with different umpires. I went and looked them. They’re close. I’m not going to say they’re dead giveaway strikes, though.”
• No surprise to anyone that Carter was swinging away on a 3-0 pitch. “You know that he’s swinging there,” Girardi said. “You can’t just groove one. I’m sure that if he had it back – he wasn’t trying to throw it there – (but) it’s just kind of the way the night went for him.”
• With one out and Jacoby Ellsbury at third base in the eighth, the Yankees had Ellsbury running on contact. When Carlos Beltran hit a ball sharply right to the shortstop, Ellsbury was out easily at the plate. “You’re looking at the speed you have at third, the lead he can get, and it’s got to be hit hard at one of the infielders (for him to be out),” Girardi said. “The chances are that (small). A step to his right, a step to his left, he scores. That’s the chance we’re going to take with one out.”
• Actually thought Chris Capuano was perfectly good again. Found up getting away from him in the sixth, but this was the first time since joining the Yankees that he failed to pitch through the sixth, and he gave the team a chance to win. He’s been a perfectly fine fifth starter. Tonight he matched a season-high with eight strikeouts. He has 28 strikeouts and only three walks over his last four starts.
• Capuano on his start: “My command wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked it to have been in those last two innings. I started leaving some balls over the middle. Still in the sixth inning there with one out and nobody out, 2-2 game. I had a good chance to get through that inning, and Dominguez pulled his hands in and did a good job on a 2-2 pitch. I wasn’t able to get the lefty behind him, so it really came down to those last two batters in the sixth for me.”
• It’s getting to the point of having no new questions to ask these hitters. They all recognize what’s going on, and if they had answers, things would be different. “We’ve got to score more runs,” Mark Teixeira said. “We’ve had two-run leads, but to get a two-run lead in the (fourth) inning doesn’t mean much. You’ve got to keep adding on.”
• And here’s further recognition of an obvious problem: “We came together in spring training and expected to have a little more thunder,” Teixeira said. “We’re a little bit different team than we were to start the season, and we just haven’t really had that power.”
• I mentioned on Twitter before the game that there were a ton of guys on the field for early batting practice today — I’d say there’s usually two or three, today there were at least eight that I counted. “Our guys come to work every day,” Girardi said. “They work at their trade and they work really hard and they grind it out and they try to get better every day. That’s all you can really ask from them. Sometimes it works really well and sometimes it doesn’t and it’s been inconsistent this year. I think we had seven or eight guys hit early today.”
• Brian McCann has homered in three of his last four home games. He has hit 12 of his 14 home runs at Yankee Stadium this year.
• This was the second time this season that Robertson allowed more than two earned runs. Also only the third time this season that he allowed two or more walks. The only other time he did both was that June 1 letdown against Minnesota.
• If you’re scoring at home, the Yankees have now lost six of their past eight games. Could say they’ve won two out of three, but losing six of eight seems to paint a more accurate picture of what’s going on right now.
• Girardi said David Phelps saw Dr. Ahmad during the game, and Girardi wasn’t sure about the plan for Phelps going forward. Indications are, so far, that Phelps feels fine and expects to keep throwing. Might have a more definitive plan tomorrow.
• Final word to Teixeira: “Two days ago we were talking about a two game win streak and going on a run. We’re not going to let one game get us down too much. Pretty sure we’re still in the race, we just need to score more runs and win more games.”
Associated Press photos