With all due respect to their outstanding bullpen and their plucky rotation, it is no secret that the Yankees are built to win by rolling up big numbers. And it is no secret that they have not done that the past few days. They have scored four runs in the past three games after scoring 90 in the previous 10.
A big part of that has to do with facing two knuckleball pitchers, always a source of angst. "I know Mr. Steinbrenner used to send in guys that threw knuckleballs for [batting practice],'' Joe Girardi said. "But they're all so different. And from pitch to pitch they're different. If you're facing a guy with a curveball and a slider, his curveball is going to be fairly consistent, his slider is going to be fairly consistent. A knuckleball is not."
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But it also is a fact that baseball seasons go that way. "That's part of it," said Brett Gardner, who had two of the Yankees' eight hits Friday night in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Blue Jays. "We scored a lot of runs on the last road trip, put up double digits in quite a few games. You're going to have nights like this where you struggle to score runs."
The Yankees have homered at least once in each of their past 13 games, their longest stretch since August 2009. Mark Teixeira hit one Friday night, giving him a 30-homer season for the ninth time. The only other active players to have done that are Alex Rodriguez (14 years), Albert Pujols (13) and Miguel Cabrera (nine).
McCann back in lineup
The brace Brian McCann wore on his left knee Friday night was a hindrance, a nuisance . . . and a good sign. "I'm very relieved. It could have been a lot worse," said McCann, who went 0-for-4.
The catcher's condition was diagnosed as inflammation, which kept him from starting only two games. "Any time you feel something in your knee, for what I do, it's not good. So I feel like I got lucky," he said. "Braces aren't the most comfortable things in the world, but if you wear it all day, you get used to it. I'll probably wear it for a week or two."
Michael Pineda (strained forearm) threw two days in a row, took Friday off and said he hopes to get on a mound Monday.