Yankees starter Jaime Garcia‘s line score for Wednesday afternoon’s start against the Rays at Citi Field looked fine: one run allowed, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts. There was just one issue: he lasted only 4 2/3 innings, something he wasn’t happy about.
Garcia got two quick outs in the fifth, but Lucas Duda singled to keep the inning alive. Manager Joe Girardi went out to the mound and removed Garcia at just 78 pitches. Garcia didn’t make eye contact with Girardi when he handed him the ball, and the two were later seen in a face-to-face argument in the dugout.
The move worked, as Chad Green got the final out of the fifth, then pitched a scoreless sixth by striking out the side. The Yankees went on to win 3-2.
Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Girardi said after the game, “I understand if he’s still mad. I’m OK with that.”
In Girardi’s defense, his team is involved in two very important battles: the club is 3.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East, and leads the Twins for the first AL Wild Card slot by 3.5 games. Garcia hadn’t exactly been lights out since joining the Yankees, yielding 18 runs (14 earned) in five starts for an unsightly 5.11 ERA. That also includes a mediocre 20/16 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.