Freddy Garcia actually pitched a pretty good game tonight. He limited the Mariners to just three runs on just five hits, struck out eight and didn't walk anyone. The Mariners are by no means a great, or even good, offense, but anytime Garcia is able to put up a game score of 64, you take it. Most expected to see David Phelps at some point in this game. We didn't. Garcia kept him locked in the bullpen for at least one more outing.
But the Yankees ran into Felix Hernandez. They didn't run into him in some dark alley. That would be bad news for Felix, or at least I think it would be. They ran into Felix on the field. That' was bad news for the Yankees. They might want to run into Felix in a dark alley after this game as the Seattle ace took a break from holding the offense in check to hit three Yankees. The textbook definition of injury to insult, if there is one.
A lot of things happened in this game, but they all kind of take a backseat while we wait on word about how long Alex Rodriguez will be out. Felix went up and in with a pitch and hit Rodriguez right on the wrist. He went down in a heap and looked to have a lot of trouble moving his wrist or gripping the trainer's hand. Now we know why. Rodriguez is headed to the disabled list with a fracture in his hand.
A lot of people have a lot of opinions about A-Rod as a player, but the Yankees can't lose him for an extended period. They can manage without him in the short term given the talent everywhere else, but the big question is how long that can last. His bat is finally showing some life in terms of power, so losing him now hurts. It will hurt even worse if his fracture lingers and keeps him out for awhile. Every day third baseman Jayson Nix. You can think a lot of things about A-Rod, but you can't think that's somehow a good thing.
As for the actual game, the Yankees had their chances. Even against Felix they had chances to tack on to Curtis Granderson's first inning home run, but it just wasn't happening. Their best chance came in the eighth inning with the bases loaded against lefty reliever Lucas Luetge. Mark Teixeira cut the lead to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly, but then the stupid took over.
When the Yankees re-signed Andruw Jones and signed Raul Ibanez, the idea was that they would each be half of a platoon DH role. Jones takes the righties, Ibanez gets the lefties. This idea was blown up with all the injuries in the outfield, but with Ichiro Suzuki brought into the mix, one would think things would get back to the way they were supposed to be. But of course not. With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Ibanez was left in to face the lefty.
The result was predictable. Ibanez waved at a slider and ended the rally. Early in the game I guess I can see the logic in leaving him in. Jones is the only true outfielder on the bench with Nick Swisher injured, so it makes a little sense to not fire that bullet. In the eighth inning it's completely inexcusable. Even with Jones hacking away like he has lately, he's the best bet to run into something from a lefty. It made no sense to not make the switch, it still doesn't make sense and it never will, no matter how many times it happens.
If you didn't get your fill of bad managing decisions in that inning, have I got a surprise for you. With Freddy Garcia cruising and a less than intimidating Dustin Ackley coming to bat, Joe Girardi went to the pen to play matchups. Clay Rapada walked Ackley (a lefty) and gave up a bullet out to second that was only an out thanks to a great play by Robinson Cano. Then it was back to the bullpen for more matchupin'. Joba Chamberlain's personal placeholder, Chad Qualls, was so bad an intentional walk of Jesus Montero was called for. Jesus Montero has a .543 OPS against righties. So yeah, that happened. Specialists walking people was so much fun from the outside, Boone Logan just had to get in on the fun. He walked his first batter before giving up a check swing single to Kyle Seager, scoring an insurance run.
Freddy Garcia is usually a ticking time bomb, but when he's rolling through a lineup like he was, let him go. The Yankees aren't going to get the opportunity to not burn the bullpen very often with Garcia pitching, and when they actually got the opportunity, Girardi opted against it. Dustin Ackley is a lefty, but Dustin Ackley also has an OPS around .620. If he gets a hit, then it may be time to go in a different direction, but Garcia should have been given a chance. Even while being on the wrong side of the score, this was his game. He kept the team in the game, which you can't say very often. These chances need to be cherished like they're golden diamonds. This chances was treated like rusted coal.
I don't want to talk about this game anymore. Garcia was good, but the bad was so overwhelming that it sort of blurs that that good. Move on, hope for a win tomorrow, hope A-Rod isn't badly hurt and hope better decisions are made. I just got caught talking more about this game.
Play of the Game: Michael Saunders' first inning home run to tie the game at one.
Ivan Nova will try to help the Yankees to a series win tomorrow against Hisashi Iwakuma.