Monday, May 18, 2015

Yanks Take 3 of 4 vs. O's


I've set a new personal best: The Yankees have now played 11 games since I last blogged about the current team.

It's not that they've been terrible. It's that real life has intruded, and I've been working on other things.

For this reason, I'm going to break this up. This post will be about the May 7-10 home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

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On Thursday night, May 7, Joe Girardi sent Nathan Eovaldi out to face the Birds at The Stadium (Mark II). He was a bit shaky, allowing 3 runs in less than 6 innings. Fortunately, the bullpen, of Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 baserunner (a walk by Miller in the 9th inning).

Eovaldi did leave with the lead. In the 1st, an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly and a Mark Teixeira single each brought home a run. In the 3rd, A-Rod hit a home run, his 7th of the season, and the 661st of his career, passing Willie Mays for 4th on the all-time list. In the 5th, a Teix double made it 4-3 Yankees.

That was the final score. WP: Eovaldi (3-0). SV: Miller (12). LP: Chris Tillman (2-4).

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The Friday night game was a little shakier. Adam Warren started, and he didn't make it to 5 full innings. Wilson wasn't all that neat in relief of him, either. But after him, the bullpen was solid: Chris Martin, Betances and Miller pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Again, A-Rod got the Yankees on the board with a sacrifice fly. Brian McCann hit one out, his 3rd of the season. Carlos Beltran, who's turned it on lately, doubled home another run, and that provided the difference.

Yankees 5, Orioles 4. WP: Betances (4-0). SV: Miller (13). LP: Miguel Gonzalez (3-2).

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The Saturday afternoon game didn't go so well. Chase Whitley didn't make it through the 6th inning. We now know he's going to need Tommy John surgery, and he'll be out until the middle of the 2016 season.

2016. Man, I can remember when 1990 sounded like "the future." You know, cities filled with skyscrapers taller than the World Trade Center, connected by monorails, flying cars, robots that would do anything, TV-phones... Okay, we have TV-phones, and there are a few skyscrapers on this planet that are taller than even the new World Trade Center....

This time, the offense and the bullpen couldn't bail the starter out. It was another "Yankee RISPfail," going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. John Ryan Murphy got a run home with a sacrifice fly, and Beltran singled home a run, but that was int.

Orioles 6, Yankees 2. WP: Wei-Yin Chen (1-1). SV: Zach Britton (6). LP: Whitley (1-1).

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So on Sunday, the Yankees really needed a good start. They got it from Big Mike. No, not me: Michael Pineda.

By the way, all you people who said trading Jesus Montero for Pineda was a bad idea, and felt vindicated by Pineda's injury struggles? Thought you might like to know: Montero has spent most of last season and all of this season in the minor leagues. He hasn't gotten a hit in a major league game since June 21, 2014. That's almost 11 months. He's gotten just 25 major league hits in 2013, '14 and '15 combined. He's also had problems with weight and discipline.

So Pineda took the mound, and set a Yankee record for most strikeouts in a game without a walk: 16.

Naturally, Girardi, being a slave to the pitch count, took Pineda out after 7 innings, because he'd thrown 111 pitches. Pineda did allow a single to start the 7th, but got a forceout and 2 strikeouts to get out of the jam. Clearly, he was not tiring. The Yankee record for strikeouts in a game is 18, set by Ron Guidry on June 17, 1978, and Pineda needed 2 of the last 6 to at least tie it. The major league record for strikeouts in a game is 20, and Pineda needed 4 of the last 6 to at least tie it. But Girardi thinks the number of pitches a pitcher has thrown is more important than actual performance.

The Yankees backed him up as follows: Beltran hit his 1st home run of the season, McCann hit his 4th, Didi Gregorious had an RBI single and an RBI double (about time), and Jacoby Ellsbury had an RBI double.

Yankees 6, Orioles 2. WP: Pineda (5-0). No save. LP: Bud Norris (1-4).

The Yankees flew down to Tampa Bay after this game. A discussion of that series will be in my next post.

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