Innings limits are a trick thing to deal with. You can do it the smart way, like the Yankees did with Luis Severino, and have a pitcher working with no restrictions late in the season when games are at their most important. Or you can do it the not-so-smart way like the Mets have done with Matt Harvey and end up getting killed in a game you probably should have won. I'm sure the Yanks will take wins however they can get them right now, and last night's late offensive breakout/Subway Series victory was a positive heading into the final showdown with Toronto.
Harvey was on top of his game last night. No doubt about that. The Yankee lineup got but 1 hit off him in 5 scoreless innings, a Brett Gardner single in the 3rd. Harvey created the rest of his own trouble with a walk and an error, but the Yankee bats were unable to turn those into anything. Harvey had all his pitches working, he was striking guys out left and right, and at 77 pitches he should have been good for another few innings. Thanks to the Mets' plan to manage his workload, however, he was done after 5 and the game was in the hands of his bullpen.
To say they dropped the ball would be a major understatement. They dropped the ball, puked on it, tried to pick it up, dropped it again, slipped in the puke and fell, and watched the puke-covered spontaneously combust and fall off the world's tallest cliff. It actually started off with some bad defense in the top of the 6th. Daniel Murphy threw a ball away and David Wright couldn't make a catch on a tough throw to put Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on the corners with no outs. Hansel Robles tried double up on a slider to Carlos Beltran in the next at-bat and Beltran roped a 2-run double to the center field wall. Just like that, all of Harvey's good work undone.
Then the Yankees really started piling on. Greg Bird drew a walk around a pair of strikeouts, and the red hot Dustin Ackley teed up a fastball and put it into the bullpen for a 3-run home run and a 5-1 lead. That ended Robles' night, but not the scoring. The Yanks pushed another run across in the 7th on a single, an HBP, and 2 walks, and went off for 5 more in the 8th on another string of walks, base hits, and a big 3-run shot from Greg Bird to complete the onslaught.
Most of those runs actually ended up being overkill, as we were treated to another "turn back the clock" edition of CC Sabathia. The big fella gave up back-to-back doubles to open the bottom of the 1st, issued 2 straight 2-out wallks, and then made like Jon Taffer and shut it down for the night. The Mets went down in order in the 2nd and 3rd, CC ended the 4th and 5th with big strikeouts to prevent potential 2-out runs from scoring, and he completed 6 1-run innings on a healthy 111 pitches. Looked good doing it too, striking out 2 in the 7th and holding his fastball velocity in the low 90s.
After the offense turned on the jets to get CC in position for a win, it was a low-leverage bullpen night. Nick Rumbelow fanned 2 in a perfect 7th, Chris Capuano gave up a run in the 8th because of course he did, and Nick Goody went 1-2-3 in the 9th. The magic number is down to 8, the division deficit is down to 2.5, the bullpen is rested, and the offense might be waking up. This Toronto series should be interesting.
- That's 2 ER in 17.2 IP with 18 K, 8 BB, and 0 HR for CC in his last 3 starts.
- 3-hit night for Ellsbury at the top of the order. First time he's done that since August 17th.
- Bird had the big homer and 2 walks, and is still looking good at .250/.336/.518. Gonna have to find a way to keep his bat around and in the lineup next year.
- No-contact night at the dish for Chase Headley. He went 0-2 with 2 strikeouts and 3 walks.
- Capuano's ERA is up to 7.94. I almost want to see it get up to 8 at this point.
- Yankees went 6-11 with RISP. Mets' bullpen went 4 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 11 R (7 earned). That's the game in a nutshell.
- Strange moment in the 3rd inning when John Hirschbeck went over to the Yankee dugout to tell Joe Girardi he had been ejected. Apparently Hirschbeck tossed him for arguing balls and strikes in the 2nd and Joe didn't realize it. Whoops.