Chris Archer ain't nothing. Yankees have faced him twice in the last 10 days and beaten him both times. If only they could have won a few more games against other pitchers in that timespan. Archer got outdueled by Luis Severino last night as the Yankees rode their blue chipper's right arm, Greg Bird's bat, and the bullpen A-Team to a much needed series victory.
Severino struggled to his spots and keep his fastball out of the middle part of the strike zone his last time out against the Blue Jays. He didn't have those same struggles last night and the aggressive Tampa lineup just plain couldn't keep up with his stuff. He was working 96-97 with his fastball and low 90s with his slider, and he seemed to make his best pitches when he was on the verge of getting into trouble. He stranded 2 after a leadoff double and a walk in the bottom of the 2nd, struck out 2 to strand a runner in the 4th, and worked out of a 1-out, runners on second and third jam in the 5th by inducing a weak groundout and a pop out to the catcher.
The offense got on the board early against Archer. Carlos Beltran led off the top of the 2nd with a walk and came all the way around to score on Greg Bird's double in the next at-bat. Then Archer settled in and retired 10 straight batters into the 5th. After Severino's great escape to end that inning, the lineup gave him another run on 2 walks and a bloop single by Chase Headley to make it 2-0. A little reversal of BABIP fortunes.
Severino exited after 5.2 innings with 1 run against him on a weird double to deep center in the 6th, and Joe rode his bullpen horses hard to the finish. Justin Wilson got 3 outs to give way to Dellin Betances, who walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th before striking out James Loney on 3 pitches. He worked a much cleaner 8th thanks to a bunt pop up double play, and after a Greg Bird insurance homer in the top of the 9th, Andrew Miller came on and shut the door with 3 strikeouts. Just enough offense to get a lead and just enough good pitching to hold it. The 2015 Yankee Way.
- Jacoby Ellsbury broke out of his slump with 2 hits against Archer. I think he's hitting like .700 or so against Archer in his career. Too bad he can't hit anybody else.
- Nice bounce back start for Severino. 5.2 innings, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts. Got 13 swings and misses.
- Bird was the only other Yankee hitter with multiple hits. Got that slugging percentage up over .500 now.
- Andrew Miller is in full beast mode right now. He's face 12 batters in his last 3 appearances and struck out 10 of them.
- Postseason magic number is down to 13.