Friday, August 22, 2014

McCarthy Masterpiece Snaps Yanks Out of It

On Wednesday night, the Yankees found a way to lose a 2nd straight game to the 2010s Houston Astros.

You're supposed to beat the crap teams. Not just when you're the New York Yankees, but when you're any team worth its salt.

Michael Pineda made his 2nd start after coming of the Disabled List, and this time Joe Girardi let him pitch 6 full innings. He allowed a run in the top of the 4th, but the Yankees tied the game with a home run in the bottom of the inning by Stephen Drew.

In the 5th, Ichiro Suzuki singled, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a Derek Jeter groundout. Jacoby Ellsbury put on the suicide squeeze, and not only did Ichiro score, but the play was to the plate, so Ellsbury got to 1st. But a Mark Teixeira groundout ended the threat.

Still, it was 2-1 Yankees going into the 7th inning. And Girardi let Pineda stay in.

Now he makes the opposite mistake: Leaving him in too long. Not because of the risk to his arm, but because he got tired. He walked the leadoff man.

And then Girardi brings in David Huff. He got a strikeout, but then allowed a single.

And then Girardi, probably reading the damned binder again, pulls Huff for Esmil Rogers. He allowed 4 straight singles, to make it 5-2 Astros, before he finally struck out the last 2 batters.

Only the Yankee bullpen under Joe Girardi could strike out the side while allowing 4 runs and blowing the game.

The Yankees got 2nd & 3rd in the 7th, but Ellsbury struck out. And they got 1st & 2nd in the bottom of the 9th, bringing up the tying run. But it was Ellsbury again, and he flew out.

WP: Scott Feldman (7-9). SV: Jose Veras -- yes, the former Yankee (1). LP: Huff (2-1).

*

Going into yesterday afternoon, the Yankees were as bad as they've been all season. In order to have any real hope of the Playoffs, a win was necessary.

Brandon McCarthy started for the Yankees. Dallas Keuchel started for the Astros. Yes, a pitcher named Dallas started for Houston. (Reggie Cleveland pitched for several teams, but never for Cleveland or Cincinnati.)

What's stranger: That a Yankee game in the 21st Century lasted only 2 hours and 7 minutes, or that a Major League Baseball game in the 21st Century saw both starting pitchers pitch complete games?

McCarthy was masterful. He went the entire way, allowing no runs, just 4 hits, and no walks. He struck out 8, although that's just a footnote.

But you gotta give your pitcher runs, or it doesn't matter how good he is. Teix led off the 2nd inning with a single. Martin Prado doubled. Chase Headley doubled them home. Francisco Cervelli grounded out, pushing Headley to 3rd with only 1 out. Ichiro hit a sacrifice fly to get him home.

After that, it was the Brandon McCarthy Show. The Astros couldn't touch him. This guy, who was 1-10 on the season before the Yankees got him, has been fantastic. Even when he's lost for us, he's been more unlucky than ineffective. We Yankee Fans get on general manager Brian Cashman's case a lot, but this was a good pickup.

Yankees 3, Astros 0. WP: McCarthy (5-2 as a Yankee -- 6-12 overall). No save. LP: Keuchel (10-9).

*

The Yankees are 8 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Eastern Divison, and 4 games behind the Detroit Tigers for the 2nd AL Wild Card slot.

There are 27 games left. In other words, to win the Division, we would have to gain a game every 3 games; and to win the Wild Card, we would have to gain a game ever 7 games.

The former is incredibly unlikely. The latter is still possible.

Tonight, we begin a 3-game home series with the Chicago White Sox. Here are the projected starting pitchers:

* Tonight, 7:05:  Shane Greene vs. John Danks.

* Tomorrow, 1:05: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Scott Carroll.

* Sunday, 1:05: Chris Capuano vs. Chris Sale. (Yeah, forget about the Yankees winning that one.)

After that: A travel day, 3 games in Detroit, 3 in Toronto, a travel day, 3 at home to Boston, 3 at home to Kansas City, a day off, 3 at home to Tampa Bay, 3 in Baltimore, 3 in Tampa Bay, 4 at home to Toronto, 4 in Baltimore (Jeter's last home series unless we make the Playoffs), and we close the season with 3 in Boston (Jeter's last series period unless we make the Playoffs).

It's still possible. Come on you Pinstripes!

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