Saturday, May 28, 2016

Don't Touch Tanaka, Unless You Want to Get Burned

The Yankees began a 3-game series in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays last night. It's always good to start off a series with a win, and they got what they needed.

They needed a strong starting pitching performance. They got one. Don't touch Masahiro Tanaka. Not unless you want to get burned.

Hiro went 7 innings, and allowed just 4 baserunners: A single by Steve Pearce in the 5th (meaning he had a perfect game through 4), a reach on a fielder's choice (a busted-up double play) by Logan Morrison right after that, another reach on a fielder's choice by Desmond Jennings right after that, and a double by Brandon Guyer in the 6th. That's it: 7 innings: 2 hits, no walks, no hit batsmen, 2 fielder's choices.

Dear Met fans, you stupid Flushing Heathen who are now booing Matt Harvey: Masahiro Tanaka is an ace. So is Nathan Eovaldi. So is CC Sabathia, now that he's sober. You have none.

The Yankees also needed to back that pitching up with runs. With 1 out in the top of the 6th, Brett Gardner drew a walk. Rays starter Chris Archer tried to pick him off, but threw the ball away, and Gardner got all the way to 3rd base. Carlos Beltran grounded to 2nd, and Taylor Motter was able to hold Gardner at 3rd, but he dropped the ball, allowing Beltran to reach 1st. Brian McCann grounded into a forceout, scoring Gardner. One-nil to the Bronx Bombers.

By this point, Archer was thoroughly rattled, and he gave up a blast to the returned-from-injury Alex Rodriguez. It was A-Rod's 6th home run of the season. 3-0 Yankees.

Beltran added a homer in the 8th, his 11th. Andrew Miller pitched a scoreless 8th, but Kirby Yates allowed a home run to Steve Pearce in the bottom of the 9th. Joe Girardi decided to go against the binder, and bring in the closer even though it wasn't a save situation. Aroldis Chapman got the last out.

Yankees 4, Rays 1. WP: Tanaka (3-0). No save. LP: Archer (3-6).

The series continues this afternoon, at 4:10 PM. Michael Pineda starts against Matt Moore. Both pitchers have struggled lately. This game could get ugly.

Oh, wait, it's going to be in Tropicana Field, so it will be ugly no matter what.

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