Things were looking up for the Yankees as they headed to Detroit for a 4-game series. They had swept division rival Tampa Bay, gotten back to .500 in the process, and they looked like they were starting to come together offensively after a sluggish start. But as Matt pointed out in his post yesterday, that was happening against a pretty mediocre and pitching-weak AL East. A solid showing against a really good Tigers team would be a much better sign that things really were coming together for New York.
And of course, right on cue the Yankee lineup shows up and drops a stinkbomb on everything. THey were pathetic against Alfedo Simon last night, wasting a spectacular start by CC Sabathia and ending the team's first winning streak of the year at 3.
Sabathia was good from the start, facing the minimum through 3 and pitching his first 6 innings scoreless. He gave up 3 hits and 1 walks in those 6 innings, but never got into any real trouble thanks to timely ground balls and (for once) stellar defense behind him. In 3 of those 4 instances of batters getting on base, the Yankee infield erased them with double plays (1st inning, 4th, 6th). The other time? Brian McCann threw out Jose Iglesias trying to steal to end the 3rd.
The only run the Yanks could scrounge up in support of CC came off the bat of Mark Teixeira. He got an 0-2 splitter from Simon the pitch after fouling a splitter off and it stayed up just enough for Teix to go down and get it, poking it over the right field wall for a solo home run to lead off the 2nd. Other than that it was a lot of nothing from the Yankee bats. They wasted a McCann double with 1 out in the 2nd, leadoff singles in the 5th and 6th, and didn't draw a single walk all night. Credit Simon. He was locating his fastball and throwing his splitter really well for swings and misses. But 1 run in support of your starter isn't good enough. Never is.
CC finally ran into some real trouble in the bottom of the 7th. Rajai Davis led off the inning with a single up the middle, and after getting Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera out, the decision was made to intentionally walk Victor Martinez to pitch to J.D. Martinez. CC did as he was told, and J.D. lined a game-tying single off Didi's glove into left. Yoenis Cespedes then singled to put Detroit ahead and CC's outing was tarnished. After all he did through 6.2, it was a free pass and bad BIP luck that killed him.
Not that the offense didn't have a chance to redeem itself. Singles by Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius put runners on the corners with 1 out in the 8th against Joba Chamberlain. Jacoby Ellsbury came up with a chance to tie the game and he lined into an inning-ending double play. Hard-hit ball, but right at the second baseman. Joakim Soria got the 2-3-4 hitters 1-2-3 in the 9th and that was that.
- Great start for CC. 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. He threw 98 pitches and 62 were strikes. Surprising that Joe let him go back out for the 8th with how carefully he's been watching pitch counts, and also very telling. CC was probably asked how he felt and he felt good enough to go back out there and keep hurling. The knee must be feeling pretty good.
- Ellsbury got picked off for the third time this season to end one of the leadoff rallies. Not sure what that's about, but it'd be nice if it would stop.
- Carlos Beltran, batting from the 5-spot, took an 0-3 night with 2 strikeouts.
- Not much of a night for Alex Rodriguez either, 0-4 with a K. First game in which he's failed to reach base since last Monday against Baltimore.
- Another 2-hit night for Headley, who has 5 in his last 3 games and 11 hits and 6 runs scored in his last 10. Maybe it's time to move him up above Beltran in the batting order.