Things were looking a little brighter in Yankeeland heading into yeterday's series finale against the Rays. They had taken the first 2 games of the series, the second in dramatic walk-off fashion on Saturday, and were in a position to complete the sweep before heading back out on the road. That brightness lasted all of 5 pitches, as Michael Pineda imploded in the top of the 1st inning and put the no-show offense in a hole way too big to climb out of.
But boy, those first 5 pitches were something. Pineda struck out leadoff hitter Logan Forsythe on 3 pitches and induced a quick ground ball out from Logan Morrison. He had an 0-2 count on Evan Longoria to get out of the inning quickly, but Longoria fought back to even the count and then doubled to deep center on a 2-2 meatball fastball. From there it unraveled quickly. Corey Dickerson hit a 2-run homer on the next pitch to get Tampa on the board, then Steve Pearce singled, Brad Miller doubled, and Steven Souza hit another 2-run dinger to make it 5-0. It took only 9 pitches for all that damage to be done and the boo birds were justifiably out at the Stadium.
The offense didn't muster up much of a fight against Drew Smyly. The only run they scored came in the bottom of the 4th after Brett Gardner took a pitch off the batting helmet to get on base and came around to score on Alex Rodriguez's 2-out double into the left field corner. He missed hitting a home run by about half a foot. The Yanks had 2 on and no outs in the 5th and didn't plate a run, and they wasted 2 on and 1 out in the 6th. That was all she wrote for the offense.
The Rays kept playing long ball to make sure there wouldn't be even a hint of a threat of a comeback. Pearce went solo in the 3rd to make it 6-0, Souza went deep again in the 5th to make it 7-1 and give Pineda 4 HR allowed for the day. And just for good measure, Forsythe hit one off Nick Goody in the 8th.
You want to keep looking at the positives and point to the series victory, but yesterday was a disappointing way to end that series and a bad note on which to hit the road. Bats need to wake up in Texas.
- Pineda's line: 5 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. Of course he struck out 9 in the game, of course he did. The frequency with which Pineda grooves fastballs right down the middle of the plate is unbelievable. The guys is just a strike thrower to a fault and he really doesn't have the ability to locate those pitches on the corners. McCann sets up there, gives him the glove, and he misses it right down Broadway every time. What can you do?
- Biggest news from the game was A-Rod leaving early with an injury after his double. Dustin Ackley pinch hit for him in the 6th and the report is that A-Rod "tweaked" his left oblique swinging in the cage before his scheduled at-bat that inning. The MRI on his oblique came back negative, which is a major sigh of relief, but we'll see how long he's out for. The Yankees can't play with 23 guys if both A-Rod and Aaron Hicks still need a few days.
- Rough day at the plate for Brian McCann, who took a golden sombrero with 3 men left on base.
- Nice job by Kirby Yates soaking up some innings after Pineda's departure. 2 scoreless, 4 strikeouts, 42 pitches.
- Chase Headley went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout, dropping his season line down to .149/.293/.149. Via Katie Sharp, Headley's 58 plate appearances without an XBH are the most in baseball. 7 hits, all singles. Holy crap that's bad.