You know it's been a depressing year as a Yankee fan when one of your personal highlights was the team wisely electing to not trade for John Danks. The Yankees were linked to him forever and it felt like the kind of desperate, dumb deal they would do to prove they were really "in it to win it". They passed, didn't take on that contract, and obviously that meant that Danks was going to stroll into Yankee Stadium tonight and shut them the hell down. Just kidding. He was terrible because he is terrible and gave the Yankees a million chance to score a million runs.
The start of the game was just about the worst one you could have imagined for Shane Greene. The first 2 batters of the game singled to set up Jose Abreu, and when Greene left a slider up a little too much, Abreu got enough of the ball to sneak it over the left field wall and bring everybody home. 3 batters, 3-run deficit.
The top of the 2nd was a bit of an adventure too, but Greene got out of it and faced the minimum in the next 2 innings, striking out the side in the 3rd. A timely double play got him out of more trouble in the 5th. It also put his pitch count at 92, which was enough for Joe to not let him come back out for the 6th. He was clearly off his game early and rattled by the Abreu homer, but Greene did a decent job of getting it back together and giving his team a chance.
Combine that chance with the million they got from Danks, and the Yankees scored themselves 3 runs in 6 innings. Martin Prado continued to smoke left-handed pitching and yanked a 2-run homer to left in the 3rd and Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in Brett Gardner to tie the game in the 5th. That left runners on second and third with nobody out and neither of them came home. The Yanks blew a prime opportunity to beat up Danks, just like they did by wasting leadoff walks in the 1st and 6th and a bases loaded situation in the 2nd.
The bullpen was absolutely dominant behind Greene. 1.1 scoreless innings from Shawn Kelley, 1.2 scoreless from Dellin Betances, and a 10-pitch 1-2-3 top of the 9th from David Robertson to set up some heroics.
Ichiro led off the bottom half with a typical Ichiro base hit. Brett Gardner sac bunted him to second, as the Yankees played for 1 with Derek Jeter at the plate, and that questionable decision backfired when Jeter lined out to center. With 2 outs, the White Sox decided to walk Ellsbury. That questionable decision backfired when Daniel Webb walked Mark Teixeira next to load the bases. Prado came up with a chance to win some new fans, and after fouling off 3 fastballs and watching 2 more go by, he got enough of the 6th one to ground it up the middle for the walk-off hit. He believed he was going to do it and he did it.
- The slider was the problem pitch for Greene in the 1st, but he found it in the 3rd. Considering he gave up 6 hits in the first 2 innings, I think 3 ER in 5 is a small victory. The guy's got some stones.
- That HR was Prado's second in his last 6 seasons. With 3 doubles and 5 R scored in that timespan, he's been one of the better parts of the offense lately.
- 5-game hit streak going for Ellsbury. He's got 3 multi-hit games and only 1 R scored in there. How sad is that?
- Gardner had a hit and a walk and stole his 19th base of the season. His 4th since the start of July. How sad is that?
- Between Greene's 7 Ks in his 5 innings and each of the relievers racking up 2, the Yankees notched a lucky 13 strikeouts tonight.