Monday, June 8, 2015

Sweepness In Seattle: Felix Is No King


I am now 6 games behind.

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The Yankees ended May just 1 game over .500. They needed to get June off to a good start.

Starting a series in Seattle against Felix Hernandez was not a promising start.

But the Yankees had Michael Pineda on the mound -- the guy they got from Seattle in exchange for Jesus Montero, who's eaten his way out of the major leagues. He pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks.

LeBron "King" James has now played in the last 5 NBA Finals, winning 2 of the 1st 4. He has earned the name.

On this night, "King" Felix proved no better than "King" Henrik Lundqvist -- indeed, considerably worse. The Yankees smacked him around, and he didn't help himself, walking 5 batters in less than 5 full innings. Mark Teixeira essentially knocked "King" Felix out of the game with a 5th-inning home run, a grand slam, his 15th Teix Message of the season.

(Notice that "King" is still in quotation marks, but Teix Message no longer is.)

Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Chasen Shreve pitched 3 shutout innings, with only a 9th-inning hit allowed by Shreve ruining a perfect relief performance. Yankees 7, Mariners 2. WP: Pineda (7-2). No save. LP: Hernandez (8-2).

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CC Sabathia was sent out to pitch the Tuesday night game, and got into the 6th inning. but left losing 2-1. It was still 2-1 Mariners going into the 9th inning.

Chase Headley led off the inning was a walk. That's usually a good sign if it happens for your team. But Carlos Beltran flew out and Didi Gregorius struck out. The Yankees were down to their last out, and it was up to Brian McCann.

Except McCann is actually having a good season, and he singled.

Oh, but the next batter is Stephen Drew, and he can't hit at all.

Except Drew doubled home Headley. If McCann could run, he would have scored the go-ahead run. But he had to stop at 3rd, and Brett Gardner grounded out.

Top of the 11th. Gregorius surprised everyone by hitting a leadoff single. McCann grounded into a double play to eliminate him. But Drew singled. Then Gardner doubled, but, being as slow as McCann, Drew could only get to 3rd.

Garrett Jones came up, and hit a home run to right-center. Just his 2nd as a Yankee. Andrew Miller was  bit shaky in the bottom of the 11th, allowing a run, but got out of it.

Yankees 5, Mariners 3. WP: Justin Wilson (2-0). SV: Miller (16). LP: Tom Wilhelmsen (1-1).

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The Yankees usually have a tough time in Seattle. Taking 2 out of 3 there would have been fantastic. A sweep? Dare we dream?

We are Yankee Fans: Our dreams tend to come true.

Masahiro Tanaka, the man Matt Harvey wishes he could pitch as well as, took the mound on Wednesday afternoon. In the bottom of the 3rd, he allowed a double to Brad Miller and a triple to Dustin Ackley. (Dustin Ackley? Isn't that the guy who beat up Holden Caulfield at the prep school early in The Catcher In the Rye?)

Other than that, Tanaka was brilliant. He went 7 innings, allowing just that 1 run, on only 1 other hit (a single by Logan Morrison), no walks, and 9 strikeouts.

Speaking of the Mariners not hitting: A lot has been made over Stephen Drew, Robinson Cano's replacement as the Yankee 2nd baseman, hitting very poorly. But did you notice? Cano ain't doin' so hot, either. He ended the series batting .244, with an on-base percentage of .286, and a slugging percentage of .330. Does that sound like it's worth a giant contract to you? Because it sure don't sound like it to me.

Ah, but did the Yankees give Tanaka the runs he needed to win? In the 2nd, Teixeira hit his 16th homer. In the 4th, Jones hit his 3rd homer.

Joe Girardi actually trusted the 8th inning, with just a 2-run lead, to Chris Capuano. He allowed a leadoff single, then got a strikeout. That's when Girardi pulled him. (If it had been the other way around, K then 1B, it would have made more sense, but when was the last time Girardi's bullpen management made sense? Probably November 4, 2009.)

Girardi brought in Andrew Miller, who loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch and a walk -- and got out of it with a strikeout and a grounder. He allowed a 2-out single in the 9th, but otherwise got through the inning with no damage.

Yankees 3, Mariners 1. WP: Tanaka (3-1). SV: Miller (17). LP: Taijuan Walker (2-6).

Sweepness in Seattle. Something the Yankees rarely got in the Kingdome years.

The Yankees then came home to play the Angels. I'll discuss that in my next post, which will have me finally caught up.

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