The Yankees locked up their first series win of 2015 with the shutout-blowout (showout?) victory over the Rays on Saturday night. They had a chance to lock up their first sweep of the young season and get themselves back up to .500 this afternoon. Michael Pineda got the ball for the occasion, hoping to follow the path Masahiro Tanaka set last night with his dominant outing.
It didn't get off the kind of start Pineda or Yankee fans were hoping for. He walked the first batter of the 1st inning and gave up a 2-run home run to the next one, Steven Souza, to put the Yanks in a quick hole. But he worked out of the inning without further damage, thanks in part to another gunned down base stealer by John Ryn Murphy, and settled down through the 4th. He gave up some hits here and there, but mostly kept the Tampa lineup at bay. He wasn't sharp, but he made pitches when he had to.
That early hiccup didn't even hurt him too bad, as the Yanks scored a run in the top of the 1st on a Jacoby Ellsbury single, a balk, a Brett Gardner sac bunt, and a Mark Teixeira sac fly. They got 2 more in the 3rd on a ribbie groundout by Teix and a ribbie infield single by Chase Headley and another in the 4th on another sac fly by Murphy. Smallball City, population Yankee lineup.
The Yanks scored a more "normal" run in the 5th when Alex Rodriguez walked to lead things off and came around to score on a Headley double. Big Mike couldn't complete the shutdown inning in the bottom half, however, giving up another run-scoring XBH to Souza on a double down the left field line to make it 5-3 New York.
The bullpen made that stand up over the final 3.1 innings. Chris Martin and Justin Wilson each got an out, Dellin Betances got 5 sporting a really curveball-heavy approach to set up Andrew Miller for the 9th, and Miller struck out the side swinging after a leadoff double to record the save. .500 reached, sweep secured.
- The most telling stat about Pineda's start today may have been the pitch count. Joe hooked him at 92 pitches with 2 outs in the 6th rather than let him try to finish the frame. Between that and Tanaka getting pulled at 85 after a long time in the dugout last night, it sure seems like Joe is going to keep them on regular rest this next turn through the rotation.
- 2 hits and 2 RBI for Headley. No hits and 2 RBI for Teix. A-Rod doubled, walked twice, and scored 2 runs DHing from the 3-spot again.
- 2 hits for Didi Gregorius today too. That's good to see. It'd be nice to see him put a few good games together next week to start quieting all the critics.
- Betances did get 2 strikeouts, so his curveball is definitely working for him. But it looks like the feel and the trust for his fastball still isn't there yet. Whatever. He's getting outs and he hasn't been charged with an earned run yet. He and Roth will figure it out.