Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yanks Remember: Backing Up Good Pitching With Runs Works

"The game's easy, Harry, when you get good pitching, you get good fielding, and you score a few."
-- Richie Ashburn to broadcast partner Harry Kalas during a Phillies game, 1988

On Sunday afternoon, at Yankee Stadium II, the Yankees remembered something they had forgotten: What happens when you back up good pitching with at least 4 runs.

Joe Girardi allowed Masahiro Tanaka to pitch 7 innings. It really is all about the pitch count with him, not the effectiveness or the number of innings. Tanaka threw 93 pitches, 65 for strikes. He allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and (2 beautiful words when describing your starting pitcher) no walks. He struck out 6, although, as I frequently say, I don't care how the outs come, as long as they come.

He fell behind 1-0 in the top of the 1st inning, but the Yankees struck back in the bottom of the 2nd. Alex Rodriguez hit his 2nd home run of the season, the 689th of his career, driving in Brian McCann ahead of him, for a 2-1 New York lead. Brett Gardner drove in Jacoby Ellsbury with a ground-rule double in the 3rd to make it 3-1 to the Pinstripes.

The Mariners got a run back in the 4th, and tied it in the top of the 5th. But in the bottom of the 5th, with 1 out, Gardner singled, and Carlos Beltran singled him over to 3rd. With Mark Teixeira up, Mariner pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma uncorked a wild pitch. (The only things that ever get uncorked are wine bottles, usually champagne, and wild pitches.)

That was a backbreaker for the Mariners: Between then, Tanaka, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller didn't allow a single baserunner over the last 4 innings. Of the last 9 outs, 7 were strikeouts. If the situation were reversed, and the Mariners had done this to the Yankees, Yankee Fans, including on #YankeesTwitter, would have been in full here-we-go-again mode.

Instead, the dismal, weak-hitting, frustrated-pitching 4-game losing streak came to an end with a 4-3 Yankee win over the Mariners. WP: Tanaka (1-0). SV: Miller (3). LP: Iwakuma (0-2).

The Yankees start a 3-game home series with the Oakland Athletics tonight. Michael Pineda and Eric Surkamp are the opposing starters.

Come on you Pinstripes!

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