Yankees Postgame Notebook: Mound troubles hand Yanks sixth straight Subway setback

05/14/2014 12:17 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Masahiro Tanaka has been unquestionably the Yankees' best pitcher this season.(AP)
Eventually, the New York Yankees' mounting injury issues in the starting rotation - and pitching staff in general - were bound to catch up with them.

They did so in a big way Tuesday, as the New York Mets pounded starter Vidal Nuno and first reliever Alfredo Aceves en route to a 12-7 victory and a sweep of the Bronx portion of the Subway Series.

"The offense did an amazing job today to keep battling and fighting, but it was a rough one," Nuno said of the day.

Indeed, it was a game where neither starter got out of the fifth inning, but the Mets' Zack Wheeler at least outlasted Nuno. The Yankees' lefty had allowed four runs by the time he got the second out of the first inning, and that 37-pitch frame was just the beginning of a nightmare that ended after 3 1/3 innings and seven runs allowed (five earned) on four hits, four walks, and a hit batsman.

"It was just one of those days. I felt good in the bullpen and thought I'd carry it over to the game but it didn't happen," Nuno said. "I just rushed and tried to overthrow sometimes, and the off-speed stuff didn't help. I'll just have to put tonight behind me and work at it the next time."

"He got himself off to a bad start with a hit by pitch, then he walked the next hitter. He just got some balls in the middle of the plate today, and he's a guy that has to live on the edges. They made it hurt," Girardi added.

Aceves, who was a possibility to start Thursday's game until late evening tonight, wasn't much better, giving up four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings and throwing 52 pitches, taking himself out of the running for that spot start but also compromising an already taxed bullpen.

"(After the first) I knew I was going to have to get some more out of (Nuno). It wasn't a day where I could go to the bullpen in the second inning; we just physically can't do it. You can't ask these guys to continue to do this; it's not fair to them, so I just had to leave him out there. He got through the second, gave up one in the third, and in the fourth he got the double play ball but we botched that."

On the other side, the Yanks knocked Wheeler around for five runs on seven hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings and he couldn't stick around long enough to get credit for a win, but Daisuke Matsuzaka picked him up by allowing only two walks and Yangervis Solarte's solo home run over 3 2/3 strong and Jeurys Familia survived a shaky ninth to finish it out.

And if that's not bad enough, the Yankees' manager didn't even get to watch the strong bullpen efforts, as home plate umpire Jerry Layne ejected him in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.

"I got thrown out and I have no idea why; he gave me no reason," Girardi said. "You saw the pitches that inning with runners in scoring position and still a lot of at-bats left. All I said was "come on Jerry, those pitches were on the white line," and he tossed me. Now, there are days where I deserve to get tossed and fined, I won't lie; you've seen I get pretty animated and angry, but I didn't say anything."

And so, all the Yankees can do is look ahead and try to do better the next time.

"It's part of the game, and it's a long season. Each team goes through it, but I just have to focus on myself and what I have to do to keep myself going," Nuno said.

"I'm not concerned," added Brian McCann. "We just have guys that are feeling their spots, and we have to get the job done. I feel like we've played a lot of one-run games that we didn't come out on the winning side of lately, so I don't feel like trouble is snowballing at all."

There were some positives on the night, including a few on the offense. The slumping Jacoby Ellsbury reached three times on walks, Solarte's solo homer upped his team-leading RBI total to 21, and, one night after saying that "this is a results-oriented business and right now I'm not getting it done," McCann hit a three-run homer and two singles to finish 3-for-4 and raise his average from .213 to .220 - even if, when asked after the game if he felt better at the plate, he smiled and said "no."

On the mound, Matt Daley was impressive as the second man out of the Yankees bullpen, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced and recording three strikeouts over three scoreless innings. Daley's appearance may seem to have been one where he had to "take one for the team," but for the native of Garden City, N.Y., the chance to pitch in a Subway Series game - at Yankee stadium, no less - is joined his debut and his relief of Mariano Rivera last September as top career highlights.

"It was definitely a thrill to get in this game. Growing up, I was 15 when the first Subway Series happened in 1997, and I always wanted to play in it," Daley said, "so to get in there and pitch three innings and do well, it means a lot to me."

"He did a really good job for us. To be able to give us those three innings and help our bullpen, that's really big," Girardi added. "That's what we ask of these guys when they get out there and get their opportunity to shine. He did a great job tonight."

All in all, the Yankees head across town on a four-game losing streak and a six-game personal losing streak against the Mets, but the skipper knows Wednesday is a new day.

"We have to go out and win the game tomorrow; that can lighten the mood, and if we get some distance out of Tanaka so the bullpen is not taxed so much, it can change things a lot."

A few more notes after Game 2 of the Subway Series:

-Girardi had no new news on CC Sabathia, but did say that calling up Chase Whitley to start in his place on Thursday "is our plan right now," and that "there's not a surplus of pitching lying around, so the guys in our rotation now are what we have and we have to work with it."

-More from Girardi on the ejection: "Jerry's usually mild-mannered, so I'm still shocked. He just said to me "Come on Joe, you know me" - and I do, and that's why I'm still shocked. He saw a lot of pitches, so it's not his fault we lost, but I thought that was a big point in the game where we had a chance to get back into it, and it's frustrating to me. And I'm going to protect our guys."

-Nuno on whether or not the rotation flux is on his mind: "Yeah, kind of, but I just have to do my part, which is throwing strikes. My command wasn't there tonight, and that's frustrating knowing that's not my game. But I have four or five days until my next outing, so I'll keep on my routine and go from there."

-Daley on being effective in his role tonight: "I was telling myself in the bullpen to change the tone of the game; attack them, make pitches, and hopefully good things will happen. It did, and I pride myself on doing whatever they need me to do, whether it's one out or three innings."

-McCann took a foul ball of his thumb in the ninth inning, but said he was okay and would be fine tomorrow - and so would the team: "I know it's cliché, but you're going to run into stretches where you lose tough games, and times where you win a bunch in a row. That's the way the game is, and right now we're just falling on the wrong side."

-We'll give the last word to the skipper, regarding the parade of injuries and the team's situation: "It's not like we're buried. There's no one that's taken off in our division and other teams are dealing with things, but obviously, we have to right the ship. We have to start playing better and pitching better and being more consistent."

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