Game 14 Recap: Yankees 5 Tigers 2

I guess the third time through the order is the charm for most of the Yankee rotation.  Tanaka was money his last start, CC was really sharp last night, and Nathan Eovaldi turned in a beauty tonight in his third trip to the bump as a pinstriper, pitching the Yankees to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers and knotting this series up at a game apiece. He got his first support run before he even took the mound.  Brett Gardner walked with 1 out in the top of the 1st and came around to score on a Mark Teixeira double.  And not just any double, this was an opposite-field double to from the right side of the plate.

That was all Eovaldi would get for most of the night, but he made it stand up with a stellar fastball/slider combination.  Once again, some timely double plays helped his efforts, but he settled in as he got to the middle innings and started to really assert himself in the 4th and 5th when he started striking guys out with the slider.  He finished with 7 innings of 1-run ball, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 8 GB outs, and 94 pitches.  He still gave up a lot of hits, but when you're getting timely ground balls like he was and your supposedly strong infield is playing good defense behind you, you'll take it.

After holding the 1-run lead through 6, the offense decided to chip in a few more to Eovaldi's cause in the top of the 7th.  Chris Young led off the inning with his 4th home run of the year to make it 2-0.  1 batter later, Stephen Drew hit his 4th home run of the year to make it 3-0.  A walk, a single, and a wild pitch by Mike Francesa's favorite reliever made it 4-0 and that was pretty much all the cushion the Yankees needed.

Eovaldi left after giving up a leadoff double in the bottom of the 8th and Joe went to Dellin Betances again to shut down the rally.  Betances, looking as good as he has all year, did just that with 3 straight outs.  He was still relying mostly on his curveball, but he threw a few fastballs for strikes and his velocity continued to rise into the mid-upper 90s, so he's coming around.  Chris Martin got the 9th after a 9th inning insurance run, but when he stumbled, Joe went to Andrew Miller for the save.  Even though he's not the closer, Miller did the job again to finish things up.

Game Notes:

- Chris Young was a beast tonight.  3-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, triple short of the cycle, and 2 walks.  He's been the best offensive player on the team.

- After putting up an 0-fer in the free pass department last night, the Yankees drew 9 walks tonight.  3 players had 2 each.  That's good patience.

- Everybody knows Betances still hasn't given up an earned run this year, right?  Good, just checking.

- 2-hit night for Drew.  He still hasn't cracked the right side of the Mendoza Line, but if he's going to crank home runs all season, I'm OK with it.

- In all fairness, this game showed that it's still a work in progress for Eovaldi.  But it does seem like that progress is being made.  He's being more aggressive with his stuff, he's locating better, and he's getting better results.  If every game is a baby step, we should see some sustainable, consistent improvement by early summer.  That would awesome.