Well that one wasn't good for the old run differential. The Yankees got absolutely mollwhopped by the Astros last night, dropping their fourth of 6 games to once again drop out of first place in the AL East.
This one was over early. Ivan Nova issued a 2-out walk to Carlos Correa in the top of the 1st, and Colby Rasmus lined a ball to center field that Jacoby Ellsbury misplaced in the next at-bat. The ball got by him for what was scored a triple and the first Houston run, and the floodgates opened wide from there. The next 5 batters after Rasmus all reached base - walk, double, double, single, walk - and Houston had a 5-spot on the scoreboard when Nova finally managed to get the third out of the inning. The Ellsbury play didn't help at all. That's a catch that has to be made and if you can't make it, you have to keep the ball in front of you. But all that play really did was expose how bad Nova was last night. He had no command again, hitters were locked in on all of his pitches, and they pounded him.
Nova did get through the 4th inning and briefly give folks hope that the Yankees could pull out a miracle comeback, but that ended in the top of the 5th when he gave up a leadoff double Rasmus and 2-run home run to Evan Gattis to make it 7-0. That closed the book on Ivan and Nick Rumbelow gave up 2 more runs in the inning to make it 9-0. Chris Capuano took over for him in the 6th and melted down in the 7th to put the finishing touches on the blowout. Walk, walk, 2-run single, 3-run home run and there you have a 15-0 deficit. The trainer came out after the first walk to check on Capuano, but he stayed in the game and got shelled. Not sure what that was about.
There was no offense to speak of against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel. He held the Yankees to 3 hits over 7 scoreless, low-stress innings. After Carlos Beltran's double in the 4th, Keuchel sat down the final 10 Yankee hitters he faced in order and ended his night by striking out the side in the 7th. The only run they could scrounge up came against Vincent Velasquez in the bottom of the 9th. Ellsbury singled and Velasquez hit Chris Young to put 2 on with no outs, Brett Gardner grounded them over, and Greg Bird scored Ellsbury on another groundout. Manufacturing runs, baby!! Well, "run" as it were. Same concept. Series finale this afternoon.
- 7 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks in 4+ innings. Not good for Nova. With CC out, the Yankees need him to be better, not become the new drain on the bullpen.
- Speaking of which, I have to think Rumbelow and Capuano will be going down today, Rumbelow back to SWB and Capuano riding the DFA train again. He was somehow worse than Nova, getting charged for 6 ER on 3 hits and 4 walks. His ERA is up to 7.71.
- Things got a little testy in the top of the 6th when the Yankee bench took exception to Gomez throwing his bat and yelling in frustration on a flyout to center field. Joe was chirping Gomez from the dugout, something about playing the game the "right way" or whatever, Gomez yelled back at him to shut up, and John Ryan Murphy stepped in to have a word with Gomez on his way back to dugout, which brought players out from the bench. No punches were thrown and nobody got ejected. Too bad.
- He was useless in every other aspect of the game (0-3 with a K at the plate and Bucknered a grounder for an error in the 5th), but tip your cap to Brendan Ryan for being the only Yankee pitcher to not allow a run last night. He replaced Capuano to start the 8th inning and ended up pitching 2. The Astros got a few hits off him in the 8th, but he mixed up his change and knuckleball enough to get them 1-2-3 in the 9th.
- Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup and batting cleanup and he went 0-2 with a K before being replaced by Greg Bird once the game got out of hand. He looked pretty terrible running to first on a groundout too. That shin is still really bothering him.
- Ellsbury had half the team's hit total with 2. At least he's still hitting.