Yankees' J.A. Happ voices displeasure about not starting ALDS Game 2: 'They know how I felt about it'

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Alex Smith
·3 min read
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J.A. Happ pitching game 2 ALDS Rays
J.A. Happ pitching game 2 ALDS Rays

Aaron Boone raised plenty of eyebrows when he announced that Deivi Garcia was going to start Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays, holding off on pitching Masahiro Tanaka until Game 3.

But even more eyebrows were raised when Boone used Garcia for just one inning before turning the ball over to J.A. Happ, as Boone had Happ warming up just three pitches into Garcia’s outing.

Ultimately, Boone’s decision backfired as Garcia gave up a run in the first and Happ was charged with four earned runs over 2.2 innings in the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Rays, evening up the ALDS at one game each.

Afterwards, Boone said the decision to use Garcia for just one inning was based partly on the Rays’ lineup, but also because he thought Garcia struggled a bit in his one inning, needing 27 pitches and allowing a home run to Randy Arozarena.

“Felt like I was going to go to J.A. pretty early and aggressively, as long as they went with the heavy lefty lineup, and that was the reason,” said Boone.

“It was a little lineup based, but (Garcia) kind of labored a little bit through that first inning. He was on the verge of getting out of it though, with two strikes to Arozarena when he clips him. That was the plan all along, that we were going to go short with him knowing that we would have Deivi available later in the series if need be too.”

Boone later clarified that the plan was not for Garcia’s night to necessarily be capped at one inning, but that his performance in the first made the manager want to turn to Happ as early as possible.

“Feel like we have a lot of confidence in our guys that are able to get high-quality outs,” said Boone. “You’re playing a unique team that does a really good job of building the roster to create platoon advantages, so just trying to counter that a little bit and force their hand a little bit early in the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t work tonight.”

Happ, meanwhile, seemed to be none too happy with how he was used on Tuesday, saying he would let Boone speak to all of the questions about the Game 2 pitching strategy.

“I didn’t get into a groove, and I give them credit for that, I think. Certainly was hoping to give us a little more length,” said Happ.

“They know how I felt about it. Ultimately, I pitch when I pitch. You got me. There was no hesitation and no dwelling on what was going on. I was focused on trying to perform. I wish I would have done a better job.”

But the veteran lefty also made it a point to say that no matter what he game situation was, he didn’t perform well enough, and that falls squarely on his shoulders.

“All things equal, yes ( I would have preferred to start),” Happ said. “Having said that, and this is important, I want to repeat, when I’m in there you’ve got 100 percent of me. I gave it what I had. I wasn’t worrying about when I was coming in at the time. I was trying to focus and trying to execute and trying to pitch.

“I’ve been here for two years, and if I’ve made an excuse for my performance in the last two years, anybody can speak up. I just think that hasn’t happened. I didn’t perform. I’m frustrated that I didn’t and I’m not going to make an excuse now for why that happened. Just plan to be better.”

The hope for the Yankees now is that Tanaka, who has a very successful postseason history, can step up again in Game 3, and keep the Yankees from falling a came closer to elimination.