Friday, May 16, 2014

Back-to-Back Shutouts for Yanks at Pity Field

The Yankees' series opener, home to the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed by rain tonight. The bad news is, this cuts off their momentum from 2 stunning pitching performances. The good news is, I'm no longer late in reporting the events of the last game.

In each of the 2 games at Yankee Stadium II, the Yankees scored 7 runs -- and lost them both. But they won both games at Citi Field.

In the 2 games at Yankee Stadium II, the Mets scored 21 runs. IN the 2 games at Citi Field, they scored a grand total of zero. "Pity Field," indeed.

This is where John Sterling would turn to Suzyn Waldman and say, "You know, Suzyn, you just can't predict baseball."

Chase Whitley started for the Yankees last night, and Jacob deGrom did so for the Mets. Each was making his major league debut.

Give deGrom credit: He pitched well enough to win. He went 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and  walks. He can hold his head high, and he has certainly earned another start.

Whitley was terrific for the first 4 innings. He didn't allow a baserunner until Ruben Tejada singled to lead off the bottom of the 3rd, then allowed deGrom himself a single. These bracketed a Juan Centeno groundout that got Tejada to 2nd, but deGrom's hit only got Tejada to 3rd. Key plays don't always show up in the box score: If Tejada had been able to score, it would have been a very different game. Whitley then got Eric Young Jr. to fly out and struck Daniel Murphy out looking. He also got the Mets out 1-2-3 in the 4th.

He ran into trouble in the 5th. With one out, he walked Tejada and Centeno. Met manager Terry Collins did not give deGrom permission to push his luck, ordering him to bunt. It worked: He moved the runners over to 2nd & 3rd.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi made a triple-switch: He pulled Whitley -- who still hadn't allowed a run, and only 2 hits -- for Dellin Betances. He pulled Brian Roberts from 2nd base, moved Yangervis Solarte there, and put Kelly Johnson in Solarte's place at 3rd. Now Johnson was batting 9th, in the former pitcher's spot, and Betances would be batting in Johnson's spot, 8th.

Betances was brilliant: Not only did he get Young to ground out to end the threat, but he pitched the 6th and the 7th, and didn't allow a single baserunner.

With 1 out in the top of the 7th, Mark Teixeira drew a walk. Brian McCann grounded into a force play, eliminating Teix but getting himself to 1st.

Alfonso Soriano was up. At this point, John Sterling, predicting baseball wouldn't be that hard: Sori had a 10 percent chance of hitting a home run, and a 50 percent chance of striking out to end the chance.

He fell into the remaining 40 percent: He stroked a double to center field, and even McCann, not particularly fleet of foot, was able to score.

That was all Betances needed in the bottom of the 7th. In the 8th, Adam Warren came in, but allowed a walk and a single. Girardi had to bring in David Robertson for a 4-out save. (Where have you gone, Sparky Lyle? A fanbase turns its lonely eyes to you, woo-woo-woo!) But Mr. High Socks for Hope got the job done.

Yankees 1, Mets 0. Or, as they would sing in soccer, "One-nil to the Bronx Bombers!"

WP: Betances (2-0 -- he was declared the winning pitcher because starting pitcher Whitley didn't go 5 full innings, falling 1 out short of winning his major league debut). SV: Robertson (7). LP: A hard-luck deGrom (0-1).

So the City Series is split, and the Yankees don't have to play The Other Team again until next May -- at least.

The Yanks and Pirates will play a Fox Saturday Game of the Week tomorrow afternoon at 4:00, while tonight's game will be played as the back end of a doubleheader on Sunday. Whether that's in a day-night, separate-admissions format, or in the tradition Sunday doubleheader format of 2 for the price of 1, the nightcap starting 20 minutes or so after the conclusion of the opener, has yet to be announced. (This is the 21st Century, so expect separate admissions.)

Here are the projected starting pitchers:

Saturday: David Phelps vs. Edinson Volquez.

Sunday opener: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Charlie Morton.

Sunday nightcap: Vidal Nuno vs. Gerrit Cole.

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