A win! You’d think that, with Yankees leading 5-1 in the 7th and Dellin Betances-Andrew Miller-Aroldis Chapman potentially lined up, it’d be a breeze to finish. Well, it came awfully close at the end but they held on for a 5-4 victory.
Pineda: Actually Pretty Good Tonight
Michael Pineda was allowing hits from the very first inning. After striking out Cameron Maybin to begin the frame, he allowed back-to-back hits to J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. Well, you’ve seen this movie before. He went on to allow three runs en route to another loss, right? Wrong. He induced a double play from Victor Martinez to get out of the inning unscathed.
Pineda showed two of his usual traits today – striking out hitters (8 in 5.2 IP) and limiting walks (none allowed). He did allow more hits (7) than innings pitched but he managed to limit the damage to only one earned run. His slider was a plus tonight – generating 13 whiffs with the slider tonight, good for a 40.6% rate. Even based on the eye test, it looked like it had better bite than it looked all season. Encouraging!
Tonight’s outing brought Pineda’s ERA all the way down to… 6.41. Better than it rising, I suppose. I’m assuming they orked on fixing some of the kinks in bullpen sessions. We’ll see if he can sustain today’s success.
Zero to… Something
The Yankees were being perfecto-d by Matt Boyd through 4.2 IP. Boyd is not a bad pitcher at all but he hasn’t seen much ML success yet, with a 6.85 career ERA in 67.0 IP. Tonight, however, he was pitching pretty well. For the first four innings, he only struck out one but Boyd was inducing soft contact all around. His perfecto broke in the fifth with a Chase Headley walk.
Leading off the sixth, Rob Refsnyder hit a double to break Boyd’s no-no. He advanced to third on an Aaron Hicks fly out and scored on a Jacoby Ellsbury sac fly. Hey, a run! (Remember “too many homers” was a thing? Sigh.) The Yankees actually managed two more hits that inning – singles by Starlin Castro and Carlos Beltran – but did not score any more thanks to a Mark Teixeira strikeout. Fortunately for Yanks, the bats weren’t done.
The Seventh Inning Explosion
The Yankees scored four runs in the seventh. Wait, did I write that right? I did. A-Rod and Headley had back-to-back singles to lead off, setting up runners first and second with no out for Austin Romine. The Yankee catcher hit into a fielder’s choice that ended up resulting with A-Rod being out at third. However, Refsnyder hit the first pitch to left field for an RBI single, giving Yanks a 2-1 lead. Justin Upton seemed to make a good throw from outfield but Nick Castellanos cut off the throw and tried to get the runner out at second. Interesting choice.
The Tigers brought in Bobby Parnell to replace Boyd. Hicks, on the first pitch, hit a grounder that deflected off the glove of a diving Jose Iglesias for an RBI single, 3-1 Yankees. And that was just about the only pitch Parnell threw tonight, as they yanked him immediately for lefty Kyle Ryan to face Ellsbury.
Ellsbury, following the trend of first pitch-hitting, squared up on Ryan’s first offering for a 2-RBI triple. 5-1 Yanks. That’s probably the most fun I’ve had watching the Bombers in awhile. The Yankees very much needed an offensive inning like this and they got one.
Walking the Ropes
So the Betances – Miller – Chapman trio of Yankee bullpen is supposed to be pretty reliable, right? Well, they usually are but tonight, each of them had a little bit of a hard time. They all each gave up an earned run, which kinda cut it close because they turned a 5-1 lead to a 5-4 finish.
Betances started the seventh and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia on four pitches to start it off. On a 2-2 count, Betances allowed an RBI double to Mike Aviles, making it 5-2. After having a little command issue early, he went on to (casually) strike out three straight hitters to get out of the inning.
Miller came in the eighth and started it off with a five-pitch walk to Miguel Cabrera. After striking out the next two, he gave out another five-pitch walk to Upton. Coming into tonight, Miller had allowed only one walk all season. He allowed two in four batters tonight. Ian Kinsler followed it up with an RBI double that scored Cabrera but Upton was called out at home by a nice Gregorius throw. The inning ended with a 5-3 Yankees lead.
How about a third time? Chapman started the inning by loading the bases with no out. That two-run lead? Looking pretty shaky there my friend. However, Chapman induced a double play against J.D. Martinez – which scored a run but again, it’s two outs! Suddenly, it wasn’t too threatening anymore. Well, except that the next hitter was Miguel Cabrera. Fortunately, he grounded out to second on the first pitch, ending a wild ride. 5-4 Yankees win.
Box Score, Highlight, WPA and Standings
The Yankees head to Baltimore to face the Orioles in a weekend three-game series (fun! For me!). I may be attending one of the games so say hi if you’re going!