Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yankees postgame notes from Wednesday night

Here are some postgame notes from Wednesday night after the Yankees victory over the Rays.  An assist goes out to the Lohud Yankees blog for some of the quotes and information. 
“That’s what good pitchers and good players do,” Freddy Garcia said. “It can be rough the night before, then the next day you can be the hero. That’s the way baseball goes.”

Last week, Garcia was pitching on 11 days rest, and it showed. He was rusty, much more sloppy than what he’d been in the first half. Tonight was the Garcia the Yankees were used to seeing. He was sharp, and although the Rays got their hits, they didn’t take a single walk and Garcia got big outs when he needed them. The Rays were 0-for-6 with four strikeouts with runners in scoring position. Three of those strikeouts were inning-enders by Garcia.  Garcia always seems to be in trouble but he is calm and he knows how to pitch, he has the experience and it shows. 

“You’re a professional, so you expect to do your job,” Garcia said. “I’m a pitcher. I try to do my job every time I go out there, win some games and help the team.”

This was the third time in his past four starts that Garcia didn’t allow a walk. He hasn’t allowed a home run in his past 46 innings, the longest streak of his career. Opponents are hitting .173 against him with runners in scoring position. That average dips to .163 when there are two outs and runners in scoring position.  He has been everything and more that the Yankees could of dreamed of when they signed him, there are no complaints about him. 

“Because (Garcia and Bartolo Colon) are older, people seem to think, ‘Is this the end?’ every time they have a bad start,” Joe Girardi said. “Freddy didn’t start for about 15 days after being skipped by the rain (last time), so I wasn’t sure how sharp he was going to be. I’m not surprised he did what he did.”

Logan’s first two and a half months mean he’ll probably be a punching bag the rest of the season, but he’s been pretty good since the middle of June, and tonight he got a massive strikeout against baseball’s third-leading hitter. One night after Logan’s error cost the Yankees the ball game, he and Casey Kotchman battled through a seven-pitch at-bat that ended with Kotchman swinging through a 94-mph fastball.  It also doesn't help when your the only lefty in the bullpen, so of course he is going to hear it when he doesn't perform.

“It felt good,” Logan said. “Felt just as good as I did yesterday, luckily he didn’t hit the ball back to me. They’re all big outs, and coming in after what I did yesterday and coming out to get that big strikeout, I got pretty pumped up.”

Until the ninth inning, Granderson two-run home run was responsible for the only scoring in the ball game, but that wasn’t his most memorable moment. With two on in the fifth, Evan Longoria drove a ball to deep center field. It was a much more difficult catch than the ball Granderson lost in the roof last night, and this time he made a sprinting grab just before slamming into the center field wall.  He is banged up and I wouldn't expect him to play in the series finale. 

“I saw that one all the way,” he said. “I thought I was going to be able to stay and brace myself because I could see (the wall) coming up and I got my hand out. The good thing is, this wall doesn’t have much behind it so there’s a lot of give. It just kind of pushed me off and I fell back off it. It probably looked worse than it actually was… If that would have been in Yankee Stadium it wouldn’t have been pretty by no means.”

David Price apologized to Granderson on the field after drilling him between the shoulder blades with a 95-mph fastball. Obviously there’s no chance Price was trying to hit him, but he apparently felt a little bad about that one.  I am sure he knew how much that hurt and was feeling bad for letting that happen.

After 6.2 scoreless from Garcia, Logan got a big out against a lefty, Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera struck out four through hitless eight and ninth innings. “That’s a perfect scenario,” Logan said. “That’s what we want to do. When the bullpen comes in and shuts it down, you can’t ask for more from it, and it’s always a good feeling when we all go out there and do our job.”  The Yankees bullpen through all the injuries has remained a strength, it is amazing what all the guys have been able to do, Robertson has stepped up big time but there are other guys also. 

 Brett Gardner reached base two more times tonight, and he’s hitting .346 since June 4, raising his batting average from .244 to .291. He’s now stolen 16 bases in a row, including at least one in five straight games.

 Gardner is the first Yankee with consecutive 30-steal seasons since Alfonso Soriano did it in three straight, from 2001 to 2003.

Granderson now has 26 home runs for the season, 10 of them off left-handed pitchers. He has two homers in 24 career at-bats against Price. All other left-handed hitters have two homers in 399 at-bats against him.

The Yankees and Rays will play the finale of the four game series Thursday night at 7:00PM.  It will be CC Sabathia vs. James Shields.  It should be a good one to close out a good series.  The Yankees can really put distance between themselves and the Rays with a victory, it would be 7 1/2 games. 

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