Boy, that was ugly. The Yankees’ pitching staff allowed 18 hits tonight against a poor Phillies lineup. Eighteen! The Yankees’ offense did manage to score eight runs and made a late run, but, as the final score indicates, they fell short. If one had told me the Yankees were going to score eight runs, I would have predicted an easy Yankee win but alas, you can’t predict baseball.
(Relative) calm before the storm
With two outs in the first inning, Big Mike hung a slider in a 1-2 count to Maikel Franco, who is one of the few on the Philadelphia Phillies who is good at baseball. The 22-year old Dominican didn’t miss any of that pitch and put it beyond the left field fence. 1-0 Phils.
Luckily for New York, Kevin Correia (at least on paper) is much more hittable. Yankees started the bottom of the first with two straight singles. A-Rod went on to strike out but Brian McCann hit a sac fly to tie it up at 1.
With two outs, Carlos Beltran worked Correia into a 3-2 count and drove an RBI double to left to score Chase Headley from first. 2-1 Yankees. Garrett Jones singled but Beltran got thrown out at home. New York still got out of the inning with a lead. You would think that Yankees would end up score more and Michael Pineda settles down nicely for an easy win, right? Well …
Pineda’s velocity was good tonight. His command was less than ideal. But luckily, the Phillies lineup isn’t exactly a Murderer’s Row … or so you would think.
In the top third, Pineda allowed three straight baserunners (two singles and a walk) to loaded the bases with no outs. Ryan Howard followed that with a two-RBI single to retake the lead for Philadelphia and Domonic Brown’s GIDP scored another run for a 4-2 Phillies lead.
Things didn’t seem to be any better in the fourth. In fact, it got a whole lot worse. Pineda allowed two straight singles to start the inning. Freddy Galvis attempted a push bunt and the ball went down the line … and it just managed to stay fair. Oof. It was that kind of night for Pineda.
With bases loaded and no outs, Ben Revere grounded into force out to home. The next hitter, Cesar Fernandez, hit a double to right to drive in two more. That was a hanger of a slider that not many big leaguers would miss and Pineda paid for it. Maikel Franco, who had already homered this game, added a two-RBI single to knock Pineda out of the game. 8-2 Phillies.
Tonight was a culmination of not a lot of things working for the big guy. Sure, there were a good amount of soft/unlucky singles for Pineda but he also wasn’t getting swings-and-misses to strike guys out. In fact, he struck out no one in 3.1 innings pitched. Pitchers have bad games and Pineda just happened to have one of his worse ones against one of the worst lineups in the league. Oh well.
By the way, after tonight’s game, Pineda’s ERA is at 4.25 and he’s allowed 96 hits in 84.2 IP. He definitely has shown ability to keep the walks down (12) and strike out hitters (87) for a solid 2.89 FIP but, well, he’s been allowing too many hits recently. I think he will rebound – he’s got too much talent not to be better than his ERA – but it’s not ideal to see him go through this while every win is so important for the Yankees right now.
Extra note: tonight was only the second time Pineda recorded zero strikeout in an ML start – the first after the pine tar game.
In the bottom fourth, after two outs, Chris Young singled to right and Stephen Drew reached on an infield hit. Brett Gardner followed it up with a three-RBI home run to tighten the gap at 8-5 Phillies lead. Progress!
Come bottom fifth, the Phillies took out Correia and brought in fireballing LHP Jake Diekman. Diekman walked A-Rod in four pitches but took care of McCann with a pop-up. Beltran, who has been hitting much better lately, hit a double to the gap to get the runners on second and third with one out. If it were A-Rod ten years ago, he would have scored easily, but remember, we are talking about a guy almost at 40 who came off hip surgeries in last few years.
Garrett Jones, who is capable of hitting balls to outfield, hit a pop up that A-Rod would have no chance scoring on. Blah. Two outs and Didi Gregorius had to face a flame-throwing lefty to drive runs in … and that didn’t work out well for New York. Gregorius struck out to end the trouble for Diekman and the Phillies. That was painful to watch.
New York had another opportunity in the sixth when Drew and Gardner walked with one out. Diekman, bringing his A-game fastball on, struck out both Headley and A-Rod swinging to get out of the trouble. Again, painful.
The lesser evil
Chris Capuano came in relief for Pineda in the fourth inning. After Pineda failed to strike out anyone, Capuano struck out the first batter (Ryan Howard) he faced, because of course.
In the fifth, Capuano tossed a (relatively) clean inning for the Yanks. After plunking Chase Utley, the lefty struck out Cameron Rupp and Cody Asche and got Galvis to line out to left.
In the sixth, with one out, Cesar Hernandez hit a single to right. Maikel Franco then came to bat and, on a 3-0 count, the Dominican swung as confident as anyone could and boy, he did show what he can can. He hit a homer way up in the left field bleachers for a two-RBI home run. 10-5 Phillies.
Another pitching debut!
Remember the A.J. Burnett trade after the 2011 season? Well, the Yankees got RHP prospect Diego Moreno out of it. New York also got the minor leaguer with an awesome name Exicardo Cayones but he later became a part of the package to the Angels when the Yankees traded for Vernon Wells in March 2013.
After pitching in the minors for a bit more than five seasons, Moreno displayed a solid showing for the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders in 2015: 2.27 ERA in 35.2 IP with 26 hits and 8 walks allowed and 29 strikeouts.
As advertised, Moreno threw pretty hard. His fastball sat around 95~97 mph. On the first hitter faced in ML level, Moreno plunked Rupp in the ribs. Ouch, that’s gonna hurt for awhile.
Moreno also had a changeup around 88~90 mph that garnered him his first ML strikeout from Cody Asche. The righty went on to allow a consecutive singles to Galvis and Revere but got Cesar Hernandez to force ground out to home. Moreno then accomplish something Pineda or Capuano couldn’t – he actually got Maikel Franco out – on a swinging strikeout nonetheless.
All in all, not a bad debut for the righty – a full inning of work with two hits allowed but no runs and two punch outs.
Late inning attempts
The Phillies brought in another LHP (Elvis Araujo) for the bottom of seventh. McCann hit a fastball right in the screws for a homer to the second deck in right field to lessen the gap at 10-6. The offense failed to come up with much in the rest of the seventh and the eighth.
In the bottom of ninth, the Phillies turned to their closer and our old fiend, Jonathan Papelbon. A-Rod greeted him with a deep double to left to lead off. McCann flew out but Beltran reached on an infield single to second to get the runners in corners with one out.
Garrett Jones, who was earlier denied of an RBI in the first and failed to capitalize on a big RISP situation in the fifth, hit a deep double to left to drive in both Rodriguez and Beltran. 11-8 Yankees. Unfortunately for New York, Papelbon got both Gregorius and Young to pop out to end the game. Bleh.
Chasen Shreve came in the top of eighth and tossed his eleventh consecutive scoreless outing. How about that? Meanwhile Manny Banuelos threw a shutout for the Braves Triple-A team tonight. So that’s also that.
Buried by this loss was a big night from Brett Gardner – the gritty guy went 4-for-4 with three RBI’s and a walk. His line is up to .290/.361/.472 and that’s more than what you could ask for from a leadoff guy.
Box score, standing, video highlights, WPA
Yankees have the big lefty CC Sabathia take the mound against Sean O’Sullivan. On the paper, Yankees should have an edge but then again, the team had a huge edge in the Pineda vs. Correia matchup… on the paper. We’ll see how the next one goes.