The New York Yankees went down quietly on the field Friday night, losing 12-5 to a team that is 25 games below .500.
But in the clubhouse, they were full of fight, vowing to contest the decision by the Baltimore Orioles to cancel Saturday's doubleheader and force New York to return here to play a makeup game on Sept. 8, one of their only two days off in the final month of the season.
"We didn't agree to play Sept. 8," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're going to fight it. It just doesn't make sense."
"Well, the date has not come, so moving stuff around still is possible," said Curtis Granderson, the team's player rep. "Everyone else made moves. Why didn't they?"
The Yankees said that in anticipation of a rainout on Saturday, they had suggested playing a doubleheader on Friday but were rebuffed. Girardi also said the Yankees offered to play the first game early in the morning Saturday, since the forecast calls for heavy rain later in the afternoon. That, too, was rejected, as was a request to have the Orioles play a day-night doubleheader in New York on their final trip to the Stadium on Sept. 5-6-7, with Baltimore taking the home team's share of the revenues from one of the games.
But the Orioles stood firm on playing a day-night doubleheader on Sunday and making up the final game of this five-game series on Sept. 8, the day before the Yankees leave for a six-game West Coast swing.
"Unhappy? Definitely," Granderson said. "We don't mind playing two on Sunday. But playing on the 8th and leaving us with half of an off day isn't an off day. And that's our only off day in September for a team that's trying to push for the end of the season and finish up as strong as we can."
As the schedule now stands, the Yankees will play 31 games in the final 32 days of the season, including two day-night doubleheaders necessitated by early-season rainouts.
"I don't understand why we didn't play a split doubleheader today," an agitated Girardi said. "They changed things all over the country. They did it in Philadelphia, in Boston, in Florida, football's been canceled. I mean, how long's this forecast been out? Everyone knew it was going to rain like cats and dogs on Saturday. And now to take away our only off day? It makes zero sense. Someone's got to step up."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.