TORONTO --If the Yankees somehow finish in a tie with the Baltimore Orioles atop the AL East, a definite possibility with four games remaining in the regular season, Andy Pettitte would pitch the tiebreaker game at Camden Yards on Thursday. Pettitte took the loss in Saturday's 3-2 defeat by the Blue Jays and would be on rotation to pitch again on Thursday, which at this moment is the day after the end of the regular season.
• Joe Girardi said he still "had no plans" to change his starting pitcher for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox, meaning Ivan Nova, who has struggled mightily of late, is still in line to pitch that game, although the manager gave him a less-than-ringing endorsement.
“We’ll just go day-by-day where we’re at," Girardi said. "As of right now, we’ve made no changes.”
Nova allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings in Thursday's 6-0 loss here, and if Tuesday's game becomes crucial, it would surprise no one if the manager has change of heart, or mind, regarding his starting pitcher for that one.
• I asked Girardi before the game if he was "disappointed" with his team's play in this series, and here is what he said: “No, because the effort is there. It’s not like there’s a lack of effort. Sometimes things just don’t happen. This is the human part of the game that sometimes people want to take out of it. This is part of it. You look up until this series, we’ve played really, really good. Do you judge a team by one series or do you judge a team how they’ve played over the month? I think we’ve played pretty darn good over this month. It’s easy to focus on what happened yesterday, but I don’t think that’s fair to do.”
When I pointed out that ultimately, the Yankees WILL be judged on the basis of one series -- hopefully, for his sake, a playoff series -- Girardi said, "We're going to be judged by how we play over these next days."
On that, the manager and I agree.
• Phil Hughes, today's Yankee starter, is 5-5 lifetime vs. the Blue Jays with a 4.79 ERA in 15 career starts. He got the win vs. Toronto on Sept. 20 but didn't pitch particularly well -- 5 IP, 4 ER, 9 K's -- but took the loss the last time he pitched here (8/12), allowing a season-high 7 runs in in four innings. Jays starter Henderson Alvarez is 0-1 in four career starts vs. the Yankees with a 5.64 ERA, but pitched well on Sept. 19 at Yankee Stadium, allowing three runs in seven innings in a 4-2 Yankees win.