A walk-off victory followed up by a run-off victory. The Yankees stole one in the 9th again yesterday afternoon, nipping the Rangers 2-1 on a walk-off pass ball.
The Yankee rotation has been very uneven the last few turns, but the one consistent has been Michael Pineda. He looked really good last Saturday against the Twins and backed that up with an even better performance against the Rangers yesterday. Pineda gave up a run in the top of the 1st on a Shin-Soo Choo leadoff home run. He then proceeded to shut the Texas lineup down for 6 scoreless, 1-hit innings with an even dozen strikeouts. He struck out 5 in a row from the 2nd to the 3rd and the final 2 batters he faced in the game. All swinging, I want to say almost all at his unhittable slider. Pineda was incredible yesterday.
The only run of support he got for his effort against A.J. Griffin came in the bottom of the 5th, when Didi Gregorius turned on an inside slider and hit it out for a Yankee Stadium special home run. It wasn't until the bottom of the 9th when they put something together on a pair of walks and a (dumb) Didi sac bunt. With 2 outs and runners on second and third, Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos seemed to cross himself up on a slider and the ball went by him to the backstop. Chase Headley rushed home from third and beat the throw for the winning run. Not what you're expecting or even considering in that situation, but you'll take it. Read More
Mark my words, people. By this time next week we'll all be talking about how last night was the game that really turned the season around. And then the same time the week after that, we'll all be back to complaining about how mediocre and inconsistent the Yankees are. But last night was still pretty freakin' awesome.
We'll skip ahead to the bottom of the 9th because that's where all the action was. The Yankees trailed 7-3 heading into the inning and they had the lineup set to turn back over against Ranger righty Matt Bush. Rob Refsnyder started things off with a single and Bush walked Jacoby Ellsbury to put 2 on with nobody out. Jeff Bannister didn't mess around and went with his closer Sam Dyson, and Dyson was greeted rudely by a Brett Gardner base hit to bring him Refs and make it a 7-4 game.
A-Rod was next and he made the first out of the inning, albeit a loud out on a well struck lineuout to second base. That brought Brian McCann to the plate, the same Brian McCann who had hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th and appeared to tweak something in his knee rounding the bases. McCann took a fastball for ball 1 and got another one thigh high on the inner half on the next pitch. He was looking for it all the way and smoked it out into the right field seats for a game-tying 3-run homer.
But they weren't done. Starlin Castro of all people drew a 5-pitch walk from the clearly rattled Dyson to keep the rally going, and Didi Gregorius sent everybody home happy with a walk-off 2-run dinger on the first pitch he saw. It was as improbable a win as we'll see this year given how pathetic the offense has been for the majority, but it was exciting and it gave the Yankees a chance to salvage a split of the series. Read More
Oof. This one was a stinker. If you can throw with your left hand, you'd have a 60/40 chance of throwing a great game against the Yankees this season. Cole Hamels throws with his left hand and does it very well, and he plowed through the Yankee lineup for 7 shutout innings in what became a laugher late and the Yankees' third straight loss.
CC Sabathia got off to a rocky start on an Ian Desmond single and Adrian Beltre 2-run homer in the top of the 1st, but after that he was mostly the good version of himself that we've seen for most of this year. He kept the Rangers at 2 through the 7th inning and then got burned by bad luck in the 8th. He hit a batter with an 0-2 pitch, gave up consecutive singles on balls that deflected off him and Chase Headley's glove, gave up a legit double down the line for 2 runs, and then had Anthony Swarzak come in and tack 2 more runs to his line. 6 earned runs in 7+ innings doesn't sound great at all, but Sabathia didn't pitch that bad at all.
There's not much to talk about offensively, as you would have expected knowing how well Hamels has been pitching this month and how horrible the Yankee offense is. Their best chance came in the 4th, when Didi Gregorius and Headley hit back-to-back singles to start a 1-out rally. Aaron Hicks came up and lined one right at Beltre, who caught the ball and doubled Didi off second to end the inning.
The lone Yankee run came in the bottom of the 8th, when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff double and moved station to station on a pair of flyball outs to score. Pretty pathetic. And even more so when you remember that that run came right after Texas broke the game open with 5 runs in the top half of the inning. Read More
The alternative title to this post was "Ivan has gone supernova." I steered away from that tasty pun as I didn't want to step on Stacey's toes too much - yet I felt the need to reference it somewhere, as I am rather proud of it. And, for what it's worth, I do worry that some might give the term 'supernova' a positive connotation; Nova simply doesn't deserve that.
Through Nova's first three starts, it seemed as though the Yankees might have caught a break in the back of the rotation, as he pitched to the following line - 16.1 IP, 14 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 1.65 ERA, 67.3 GB%. There were chinks in the armor, as he allowed a home run in each start and failed to pick up swings and misses (which led to a 4.93 FIP), and his .224 BABIP was bound for regression ... but we had seen Nova pitch competently before. His sinker was sinking, his slider was sliding, and his control was spot on. Unfortunately, those warning signs turned into disaster in relatively short order. Read More
If you were awake to see the finish of this one, my heart goes out to you. I really hope you use a personal day or something to catch up on sleep because you deserve it after that. The Yankees blew multiple leads last night in the series opener against the Texas Rangers, the final one after a 3+ hour rain delay in the top of the 9th. Good grief.
Ivan Nova stinks, but you already knew that. He kept the stench turned up last night, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in 5 innings pitched. Ian Desmond teed him up for a solo home run in the second at-bat of the game and it was typical Nova from there. He doesn't have a third pitch and there are stretches when his sinker doesn't sink. That makes it kinda tough to be an effective Major League starter.
The Yankee bats battled to support Nova with a barrage of singles against Texas starter Chi Chi Gonzalez. Hard singles, bloop singles, it was a cornucopia of singles that produced 5 runs over the first 5 innings. Mark Teixeira broke the cycle with a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead, and that's when the shenanigans started.
The rain that had been present for most of the game started to pick up in the 7th inning. Dellin Betances had no issues with it, cruising through a 1-2-3 inning on 11 pitches. But it intensified in the 8th inning and Andrew Miller did the unthinkable and gave up a home run to a lefty in the bottom of the 8th. By the time the 9th inning came, it was a downpour and the field was soaked. Aroldis Chapman was having problems gripping the ball and threw 7 balls on his first 9 pitches, and after Joe came out to argue with the umpires about the conditions, the game was stopped.
It restarted 3 hours and 35 minutes later, and when it did it went down the toilet in a hurry. Kirby Yates, in for Chapman, came back to strike the 3-1 hitter out for the first out of the inning. He then hit the next 2 batters to load the bases and gave up the lead on a 2-run single by Adrian Beltre. But that wasn't all. Yates hit Prince Fielder in the next at-bat and gave up another 2-run single to Elvis Andrus to seal the game. Helluva job. Read More