Game 91: Yankees vs. Blue Jays
TORONTO — Joe Girardi didn’t expect his bullpen to log so many innings so quickly into the second half. But two games removed from the All-Star break, the Yankees’ skipper already finds himself needing a long, bullpen-saving start from ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees’ relief corps logged 7 1/3 innings on Thursday, then three more on Friday. In that span, five different relievers were used, with Sergio Mitre going twice. Because of that, Mitre won’t be available today, and there’s a good chance neither will Hector Noesi, who’s two days removed from pitching 3 1/3 frames.
“It happens during the course of the season and you just have to prepare for it,” Girardi said. “You need some distance out of your ace today, and that’s the bottom line. And I think we’re covered. But if something were to happen to CC in the first inning, then it’d be a little tough today.”
Lucky for Joe, Sabathia is one of the best second-half pitchers in baseball.
Or perhaps the best.
In terms of second-half performance from 2006-10, Sabathia leads all Major League starters who qualify in ERA (2.64), wins (41) and strikeouts (490). For his career, the burly left-hander has a 3.67 first-half ERA and a 3.31 second-half ERA. Now, he’ll be looking to get the Yankees back on track after they dropped back-to-back games, and look to snap the Blue Jays’ five-game winning streak.
A lot of the talk pregame, once again, centered on signs. Russell Martin claimed the Blue Jays were picking up his signs on Thursday. Then last night, Girardi opted to go with multiple signs even with nobody on base, which led to a lot of mound trips and some confusion that may have taken Freddy Garcia out of rhythm (though nobody really used that as an excuse). Pregame today, Girardi vaguely addressed the issue of teams taking other measures besides their own baserunners to pick up signs, saying: “Sometimes we have inclinations that things might be happening in certain ballparks. We’re aware of it, and we try to protect our signs.” Blue Jays skipper John Farrell then denied that any of that is going on at Rogers Centre.
More on that soon.
For now, here are the lineups, with Jose Bautista still out for the Blue Jays and day-to-day with a sore ankle. It’s looking like he won’t play on Sunday, either. Curtis Granderson has the day off from the turf, and Martin gets a blow behind the plate with the quick turnaround …
Pitching: LH Sabathia (13-4, 2.72 ERA)
Pitching: LH Ricky Romero (7-8, 3.09 ERA)
Some links from last night …
* Garcia bested on night to forget for Yanks
* Yankees Notebook, with stuff on Nunez’s learning curve, Jeter’s popularity and Colon’s health
* Martin blames himself if Blue Jays knew signs