Ichiro Suzuki has been the Yankees most consistent hitter against lefties; in fact, he has an .841 OPS. So it was quite puzzling to see Ichiro out of the lineup this evening against Jon Lester, the left handed ace for the Boston Red Sox.
Some of the notable left handed hitters were in the lineup facing Lester tonight: Brett Gardner has a hot bat, Jacoby Ellsbury has good numbers against Lester and Alfonso Soriano has history with Lester, hitting a home run and doubling off him earlier this year. Soriano has been performing poorly this season, but he claims he’s been seeing the ball much better.
“I’m feeling much better,” Soriano said “See the ball better, and try to do my job when I’ve got the time to play. That’s what I want to do. I just want to try to feel better every day and try to do my job and help the team to win.”
Joe Girardi was asked why he decided to give Ichiro the day off in favor of Soriano–and his answer was a little puzzling considering the Yankees are just coming off an off day.
“Part of it is you’d like to possibly give one of your lefties a day off today,” Girardi said. “But it’s only the second day (in a row) and I’m going to play the guys that we’ve been playing every day.”
Soriano is well aware he’s not helping the ball club much; neither is Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. However, Soriano believes the lineup can regain its pop and keep pace with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
So far, we’re not doing our job,” Soriano said. “But we have a very good record, we’re like two games out from the first place. We’re not hitting like we’re supposed to hit, so that’s a good thing. Sooner or later, we will hit like we’re supposed to hit, and I think everything will be in better shape.”
– Michael Pineda was scheduled to play catch today–but Girardi hasn’t heard the results as of yet. If everything is fine with Pineda, then he will throw up to 120 feet.
“Do some flat ground, do some bullpens, do some live BP-slash-simulated games, then you try to get him in some games.” Girardi said. “But it takes a while.”
– CC Sabathia is currently pitching for the Tampa Yankees this evening. I’ll post his final line in the recap of tonight’s game.
– The media noticed Masahiro Tanaka‘s diminished velocity on his fastball his last time out–but Joe Girardi had an explanation for that.
“He threw a lot more two-seamers and didn’t throw a lot of four-seamers,” Girardi said. “And his four-seamers are the ones that are going to have a little higher velocity. That can have something to do with it. It can vary from start to start. There’s no doubt about it. You can have a guy anywhere from half-a-mile to a mile off from start to start, it can be a little but different depending on the amount of rest or how tough the innings were, so yeah, it can vary, but a lot of it can have to do with how many four-seamers he throws too.”