Yankees Postgame Notebook: Emotions overcome Yankees in blowout loss to BostonThe Yankees began their nine-game homestand with a frustrating loss Tuesday
Allowing six runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 9-4 homestand-opening loss to the Red Sox on September 2 is not the time, place, or manner that you want it to happen, but unfortunately for the Yankees, that's exactly what they got on day one of a 10-day, nine-game homestand.
"They're not going to be perfect, and we know that. Greeny's thrown the ball extremely well for us all year long, and he just had a tough start tonight," manager Joe Girardi said after Greene and the Yankees' 9-4 loss to the Red Sox. "You don't want it to happen now, but it's going to happen."
"Nobody's perfect, and this stuff happens," Greene deadpanned about the outing. "It's my first game like this but probably not my last. I just have to keep grinding."
The Red Sox's outburst comprised six hits - including two home runs, the big blow a three-run shot by Daniel Nava - along with three walks and a hit batter, with Greene's pass of David Ross with two outs in the third the final nail in his coffin on a night where both he and the skipper agreed that "location, location, location" proved a stumbling block.
"I don't think he had his location. He got in some bad counts and they put some long at-bats on him," Girardi said, "and he had his slider for strikes at times, but he never really got the counts in his favor to expand the zone."
"I'm not real sure why [location was off]," Greene added. "I felt really good in the bullpen, it just didn't translate."
The Yankees tried to claw back into it, a solo homer by Martin Prado in the third cutting it to 6-1 and a four-hit parade in the fifth giving them a big chance - but in a moment that has seemingly been a Yankees hallmark of late, mental mistakes took them out of the game.
The first came with two on and no one out, when Martin Prado singled off the wall in left field but ran himself into an out because he did not see Brian McCann still standing on second.
"Prado was looking at the ball; that's going to happen, but you also have to look at the people in front of you," Girardi said. "It's tough because we gave them an out. It looked like we were getting to Kelly and that was a big out for him."
Later in the inning, after two runs had scored, the Yankees had the bases loaded with two outs, but Brett Gardner struck out looking on what both he and replay thought was ball four - and he was promptly tossed from the game after slamming his bat and helmet and yelling at home plate umpire Tim Timmons.
"(On replay) it was outside, right where I thought it was," Gardner said, "but he threw me out before I even had a chance to say anything. As soon as I slammed my bat and helmet, he tossed me. I'd like to say I have a little more self-control than that, but I was pretty frustrated and adamant about the ball not being close to the plate."
Perhaps not the best idea to do it in the middle of a tight game, but Girardi chose more to focus on understanding the situation rather than analyzing it.
"I'll just say that Ross did a heck of a job," Girardi said, "but that's the fight in Gardy and that's what we love about him. It's frustration. (Kelly) has to throw a strike in that situation and we all know Gardy has a very good eye, so he got frustrated, and I think most people would've."
"I was frustrated after striking out in my first two at-bats, and I felt like I got the bat taken out of my hands in a big situation with the pitcher on the ropes," Gardner added. "I thought there was maybe a couple of pitches that didn't go my way in the first couple at-bats, and the last pitch I felt like he gave him way too much, and I let my emotions get the best of me."
The Yankees had another chance in the seventh, but Brian McCann hit into a 6-4-3 double play with two on and no outs, and after the Sox got two more off Chaz Roe in the ninth, McCann's solo homer in the bottom of the frame was no more than a stat-sheet filler in a game that was 9-3 at the time.
"No matter the score, you have to keep trying to put up runs. Down one run or seven, you just have to keep having good at-bats," Mark Teixeira said of the outcome.
Added Girardi: "Hitting is difficult; it never came easy to me, so I know it's a frustrating part of the game, and I've seen a lot of good hitters get frustrated over time. It eats at you, but you always know that you have the next day to bounce back, and that's the beauty of our game."
And, perhaps to add injury to insult, the Yankees may have lost Martin Prado, who moved from second base to left field after Gardner was ejected but had to be pinch-hit for by Chris Young in the bottom of the ninth.
"Prado felt something in his left hamstring, so he'll see the doctor tonight, and we'll see how he feels tomorrow," Girardi said. "That's not someone we want to lose; he's played extremely well."
If Prado is out tomorrow or longer, someone else will have to step up, because while he still wouldn't call the Yankees' situation a do-or-die one, Girardi again stressed the need to win every series at the least.
"I think I've made it known the importance of these games. If you can win 26 in a row, you're probably in pretty good shape, but that's not easy to do. These series are extremely important, and this is not how you want to start off a homestand."
A few more notes and quotes from the clubhouse:
-In perhaps the oddest stat of the night, the Yankees did not record a single assist in the game, as Boston's 27 outs came via 12 strikeouts, 14 fly balls to the outfield, and an unassisted put-out by Teixeira.
-Girardi on why no mound visit was made before pulling Greene in the third: "I leave that to Larry; he knows his pitchers and what they need. Every once in a while I'll send him out if I want him to stall, but I leave that to Larry."
-Gardner on how he would react to his final pitch if he had a do-over: "The same way. As soon as he called it a strike, I was getting thrown out of the game. I knew where the ball came across and that it wasn't close, and I wasn't happy about it. I was frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me."
-Girardi's response when asked if he was puzzled by the Yankees' lack of offense, especially at home: "I've said a lot that I think runs are down across the board in baseball. But did I think that at his point of the season we would have scored more runs? Absolutely. And in this ballpark? Absolutely. But it hasn't happened for various reasons, and we need that to change."
-Last word goes to Mark Teixeira, when asked if each loss adds a sense of urgency to the season: "There has been one for a while, but it's not like you can just say 'we're going to win tonight.' The effort level has been there, and we've been battling all year. That's not going to change no matter what the standings are, but some nights, it doesn't matter how much effort you give it, it's still not enough."