Thursday, July 10, 2014

Teix's 2 Messages, Ellsbury in 14th, Win McCarthy's Debut

With Masahiro Tanaka going on the Disabled List -- joining CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda from the Yankees' original intended starting rotation, leaving only Hiroki Kuroda -- and with Vidal Nuno pitching 7 shutout innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the stage was set for the guy we got for Nuno, Brandon McCarthy, to have a bad outing in his Yankee debut, away to the Cleveland Indians last night.

Sure enough, in his 1st Yankee inning, he allowed 3 runs to a sub-.500 team -- which the Yankees have been this season, and will be again if this keeps up.

He settled down after that. In the top of the 4th, Mark Teixeira hit a home run. In the 5th, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled with one out. Derek Jeter singled him over to 3rd. Brian McCann got Ellsbury home with a sacrifice fly. And then Teix hit another one out, his 17th of the season, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead. At the very least, Teix is hitting like he used to.

But then McCarthy allowed another run in the bottom of the 5th, and it was 4-4. Was it going to be one of those nights?

He got into the 7th, and got the first 2 outs. Then Joe Girardi took him out. Yet again, Girardi removed a pitcher who was, if not cruising, then at least getting outs. The pitch-count alarm in his binder must have gone off.

He used Matt Thornton to get the last out of the inning, then let Dellin Betances pitch only the 8th, then let Adam Warren pitch only the 9th. The game went to extra innings, and he let Adam Warren pitch only the 10th, then let Shawn Kelley pitch only the 11th.

Then he messed up the current starting rotation by putting new starter Chase Whitley on the mound for the 12th. He probably figured, "I don't know how long this game is going to go. It might go another 9 innings. So I might as well put a guy who can pitch 9 innings on the mound. Of course, my binder says never to pitch anyone for more than 7 innings, because I'm a wuss of a manager and I don't want to be blamed for a pitcher's arm going bad. Look at Tanaka: I let him pitch a couple of complete games, and now he's ruined. I'm an idiot. I'm a slave to this binder. I can't think for myself, so I let this binder to it for me."

Whitley pitched to 7 batters and got 6 of them out, so who's to say Girardi was wrong? Well, we'll find out how right he was when Whitley's spot in the rotation next comes up. Or maybe he'll get away with it, since Whitley's spot in the rotation next comes up during the All-Star Break.

With 2 out in the top of the 14th, it was, indeed, beginning to feel like one of those games. As in, "If we don't win this game now, we'll lose it." It's always worse to lose in extra innings than in regulation. A regulation loss is a waste of only 9 innings, not more.

Ellsbury hit a home run, his 6th of the season, to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. This time, Girardi's binder said, "Bring in your closer." And David Robertson got the job done.

WP: Whitley (4-2). SV: Robertson (22). LP: Vinny Pestano (0-1).

The series concludes tonight, with David Phelps starting against T.J. House. Then 3 games in Baltimore, then the All-Star Break, and then the Yankees come home.

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