Saturday, July 18, 2015

Yanks Start 2nd Half By Sinking Mariners


The 2nd half of the Major League Baseball season is underway. The schedule is set up so that 41 of the last 74 games are at home. Including last night, when the Yankees opened a 3-game home series against the Seattle Mariners.

Remember when the Mariners were supposed to be a Playoff contender, led by ex-Yankee Robinson Cano and "King" Felix Hernandez? Right, Cano's batting .249. with a .287 on-base percentage. Meanwhile, Hernandez -- who is 29 and has still never seen a postseason game except on television, so he's no king -- is having another great season, but he can only pitch 1 game out of every 5. And remember Jesus Montero, whom the Yankees gave up for the oft-injured Michael Pineda? Lots of people (I'm not naming names) thought that was a horrible trade. Now, Pineda is 1 of the 5 best pitchers in the American League, while Montero has made 27 major league plate appearances in 2014 and '15 combined. His weight and his attitude have been issues.

If Pineda is 1 of the 5 best pitchers in the AL, so might be Masahiro Tanaka, who started for the Yankees last night. He pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. The 3 runs came on a pair of home runs by Kyle Seager. Tanaka was not brilliant, but he was effective.

The game was tied 3-3 when Hiro through his last pitch. They scored single runs in the 2nd, on a home run by Chris Young (his 11th of the season); in the 4th, on a double by Young and a single by Chase Headley; and in the 5th, on a single by Alex Rodriguez, a walk by Mark Teixeira, and a single by Brian McCann.

With 1 out in the bottom of the 7th, A-Rod came up, and crushed a home run to to the opposite field. It was his 19th of the season, and the 678th of his career. (That's 36 behind Babe Ruth, 77 behind Hank Aaron, and 84 behind Barry Bonds. I don't know if taking a year and change off helped him, but passing the Babe and threatening Hank and Barry is still within the realm of possibility.)

Dellin Betances pitched a perfect 8th, and Andrew Miller a scoreless 9th. Yankees 4, Mariners 3. WP: Tanaka (6-3). SV: Miller (19). LP: Joe Beimel (0-1).

The series continues today, with with Pineda starting against Hisashi Iwakuma and his 5.22 ERA. Sunday's starters haven't been announced, so the Yankees may end up avoiding "King" Felix.

*

Many people have complained about various aspects to Yankee Stadium II. But the lights work better than at Nationals Park in Washington (3 power outages resulted in last night's game being suspended), and the lack of the dome still leaves it better off than Chase Field in Phoenix (the retractable roof leaked last night, which sounds odd those of us not used to hearing about rain in Arizona).

And All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout kept up his hot hitting by launching a walkoff homer for the Whatever They're Calling Themselves This Season Angels of Anaheim.

Come, Michael. Come to the Light Side of the Force.

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