Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hope With Pineda, But Bats Disappear Again

The good news, for Yankee Fans and for general manager Brian Cashman: Michael Pineda finally made his first appearance in a Yankee uniform yesterday, and he was very good. Suddenly, trading Jesus Montero for Pineda no longer looks like a bad long-term decision. And, as Arsene Wenger might say, his return from long-term injury makes Pineda "like a new signing."

The bad news, for Yankee Fans and for Cashman: We need more offense.

Jacoby Ellsbury got 3 hits against the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday, and Francisco Cervelli and Yangervis Solarte (neither of whom was projected to be a starter this season) each got 2. Everybody else? 0-for-21. Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts, at least, each drew a walk, but that's an on-base percentage of .115 for those 7 guys, who also included Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Alfonso Soriano, Kelly Johnson and Dean Anna. The team as a whole? OBP of .270. Not good enough.

R.A. Dickey (1-1), the knuckleballer who won 20 and the National League Cy Young Award with The Other Team in 2012, gave the Jays the kind of performance they thought they were going to get from him last year. Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil and Sergio Santos (2nd save) provided strong relief.

It shouldn't have mattered: The Yankees still should have hit them. Instead, we didn't get a baserunner until Cervelli doubled to lead off the 3rd. Then he got thrown out at the plate on Ellsbury's single. We got 2 men on with 2 out in the 5th, and did that again in the 7th, but didn't score.

To lead off the 6th, Ellsbury singled and Jeter walked. Beltran grounded into a double play, and McCann hit a soft liner for an easy out. Again in the 8th, Ellsbury led off with a single and Jeter followed with a walk. Beltran stuck out, McCann grounded out, and Strikeout Soriano struck out.

Still, it was only 1-0 Jays at that point. Pineda went 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, and no walks. Speed is a great concept, but, in pitching, control is everything, and Pineda faced 22 batters and didn't walk any of them. This is a very good sign, especially since so much hype was followed by two entire seasons missed due to injury. Still, because we didn't hit, it wasn't enough to keep Pineda from being the losing pitcher (0-1). Give him the run support, and what he did yesterday will be enough to win every time (barring a bullpen collapse).

Vidal Nuno came in for the 7th, but walked the only batter he faced. Joe Girardi brought in David Phelps, who pitched out of the jam. But in the 8th, Phelps allowed home runs to Melky Cabrera (our old friend, since outed as a steroid cheat) and Jose Bautista (suspected steroid cheat). Suddenly, the Yankee Fan Twittersphere reacted to Phelps, and self-destructed in five seconds.

With 2 out in the 9th, Solarte singled and Roberts walked. Ellsbury was up next, the best Yankee hitter of the day. If he got a hit, that would probably make it 4-1 unless Solarte was thrown out at the plate, or held at 3rd. Even if he held at 3rd, that would have brought the tying run to the plate, Jeter. Instead, Ellsbury struck out.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 0.

"Pitching is 75 percent of baseball," the conventional wisdom has long said. But if you don't bring runs home, you're going to lose 100 percent of baseball.

Too much RISPfail in these first 5 games. And not one single home run for the "Bronx Bombers."

The series is about to conclude, with CC Sabathia pitching against Drew Hutchison.

Come on you Pinstripes!

*

Arsenal were horrible against Everton this morning. The Wenger Outers have their idiot knives sharpened.

The Red Bulls blew a 2-1 lead in Montreal last night, only managing a draw against the Impact.

At least the Devils won last night, beating the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. With Detroit and Toronto losing, the Devils' Playoff hopes are actually still alive.

But I am in a foul mood right now. I want to see the Yankees paste the pesky Blue Jays.

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