Ladies and gentlemen, your new number 2 starter. Nathan Eovaldi turned in another great performance last night, albeit a shorter one that it probably should have been, and the Yankees salvaged something from this Arizona series.
Eovaldi gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the 1st, which was a fluke in its own right as a ground ball up the middle that hit the bag and turned into a double, and then proceeded to sit the Diamondbacks down in order. They were able to turn that fluke double into a run with a pair of productive outs in the inning, but they never put another man on base through the 6th. 18 up, 18 down. Eovaldi was cruising and looking more and more like the evolved form of himself that has been coming together over the last year plus.
The 1 run in the bottom of the 1st didn't matter because even when it was scored it left the D'backs behind. The Yankees wasted little time getting themselves on the board in the top half. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and Brett Gardner immediately brought him home with a 2-run dinger. Ellsbury drove in the first insurance run in the 6th by singling home Chase Headley, and scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 9th for the final Yankee run.
Eovaldi was only at 85 pitches after his 6 marvelous innings, but with a well-rested bullpen and desperate for a win, Joe pulled the plug on him and went to his big 3. Dellin Betances walked 2 but escaped scoreless in the 7th, Andrew Miller gave up a solo home run to Chris Owings in the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman converted his fourth save since rejoining the team last Monday. It was clearly a case of over-managing by Joe, but it worked out and they got the W so I'm not going to harp on it. Now it's on to Oakland for a weekend 4-gamer.
- Ellsbury was everywhere on offense last night. 3-3 with a double and 2 runs scored plus 2 walks. On base 5 times out of 5. That's good leadoffing.
- Gardner also had 2 hits in 5 at-bats and Chase Headley went 2-4. That's 10 hits, 7 RBI, and 6 runs scored for Headley in his last 10 games.
- Mark Teixeira went 0-5 with 3 strikeouts. No bueno.
- The best part of Eovaldi's outing? All the GB outs. This wasn't him pumping 101 MPH heaters by guys, this was Eovaldi mixing pitches, hitting spots, and getting hitters to swing at the pitches he wanted them to. This was a great pitching job and the dynamic stuff that made it up was the secondary storyline. Kudos to Eovaldi. The Yankees really needed a start like this and he came through again.