J.A. Happ didn’t look good for much of last season, and he’s been dreadful through his first two starts of 2020.
The 37-year-old had his second straight ugly outing in Wednesday’s 11-7 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader.
He allowed a homer to Bryce Harper in the top of the third and seemed rattled by it, as he ended up walking six batters in his brief outing.
“I’ve got to make them put the ball in play,’’ Happ said. “I’ve got to force the issue better than I did today.”
He called the walks “uncharacteristic” and admitted frustration with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez: “I did hit some [spots in the strike zone] and didn’t get [calls]. That’s just a fact, but that happens. I’ve got to move on.”
With the stop/start nature of the Yankees’ schedule so far this season thanks to their series against the Phillies being postponed last week and another postponement Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Isaias, their rotation hasn’t been in much of a rhythm. And with Wednesday’s doubleheader in Philadelphia slated to be followed by another one at Tampa Bay on Saturday, it might be a while before that happens.
Aaron Boone said Wednesday Jordan Montgomery would make his second start of the season Thursday against the Phillies, followed by Masahiro Tanaka at Tampa Bay on Friday. Gerrit Cole will start one of the games versus the Rays on Saturday, with a bullpen game likely for the other game. And James Paxton will start the series finale Sunday.
Paxton was on the field at Citizens Bank Park before Wednesday’s doubleheader in Philadelphia working with new pitching coach Matt Blake. Paxton has had two bad outings to start the season and said he’s been working on his mechanics, trying to stand taller on the mound. He admitted following his last start he was “concerned” about his drop in velocity, which has gone from 95 mph last year to about 91 mph so far this season.
The opening game on Wednesday — a makeup of Tuesday’s game scheduled for New York — was the first time the Yankees served as the home team and hit last in a ballpark other than Yankee Stadium since they beat the Angels on April 15, 1998, at Shea Stadium. That was the result of Yankee Stadium being shut down by the city when an expansion joint fell in the Stadium bowl two days prior. The rest of that series was made up at Yankee Stadium later in the season.
— Additional reporting by Ken Davidoff in Philadelphia.