With the disappointing Toronto series in the rearview, the Yankees needed to start winning games and fast against some lesser competition. They did just that last night back at home, jumping out to an early lead against the Chicago White Sox and holding on for the win behind a strong team pitching performance.
Michael Pineda took the hill to start and believe it or not, he actually outpitched Chris Sale last night. The White Sox singled off him a ton, even loading the bases with 2 outs in the 3rd inning, but never did any damage with them. The only time they got to him was on Trayce Thompson's solo home run to lead off the top of the 6th. Pineda's fastball was lively and moving, his slider was sharp, and he gave his team a solid start.
Joe used a bit of an unconventional lineup against Sale, sitting Gardner, McCann, Bird, and Didi. While the righty-heavy lineup didn't do much damage against Sale, the one bit they did do was crippling. Sale hit Jacoby Ellsbury to start the bottom of the 3rd, replaced him with Chase Headley on a fielder's choice, then walked Alex Rodriguez. This brought Carls Beltran to the plate, and after seeing a bunch of fastball earlier in the count, he squared up a 2-2 one and drove it out to left for a 3-run home run. Seems like he's been doing that a lot lately. From bases loaded and nothing to show for it in the top half of the inning to a 3-0 deficit in the bottom. It's been that kind of year for the White Sox.
Joe didn't play around with the lead once Pineda exited. This game had Wilson-Betances-Miller all over it and that's who Joe went with. Justin Wilson wasn't exactly sharp. He loaded the bases on 2 walks and a single in the 7th to put Dellin in another highest of high-leverage situations. Betances immediately walked in a run on the first batter he faced before recovering and striking out Adam LaRoche to end the inning. Things went much smoother for him in the 8th and Andrew Miller struck out 2 in a scoreless 9th for his 35th save of the season.
The Yanks really need to take 3 of 4 in this series and last night was a good start on that goal. Magic number is down to 5.
- Not a whole lot of offense to show beyond Beltran's home run. He went 2-4 with the 3 RBI, Chase Headley had 2 hits batting in the 2-spot, and the rest of the team had 3 hits.
- 18 swinging strikes for Pineda, 18 called strikes, and 34 total that batters made contact with. He was pretty damn nasty last night. Don't let the 8 hits in 6 innings fool you. Got his ERA back below 4 too (3.99).
- Rob Refsnyder got the start at second base. Seriously. He went 1-3 with a strikeout.
- Betances' three true outcomes adventure continues. He's faced 50 batters in his last 10 appearances. 31 of them have either struck out, walked, or hit a home run.
- Did anybody realize that A-Rod's slugging percentage has dropped below .500? That makes me sad.