Remember the olden times when the Yankees got swept by the Rangers and saw their record fall to 22-22? That was actually last night. Maybe it’s just me, but after watching today’s game, that feels like quite awhile ago. The Yankee offense came alive and Nathan Eovaldi pitched quite alright to give the Yanks an easy 14-1 win over the Royals in a Memorial Day matchup.
Too. Many. Homers.
The Yankees hit three homers in the first inning. Three! Two of them came before Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals could record an out. After Brett Gardner doubled to start it off, Chase Headley hit one towards the bleachers for a 2-0 lead. Headley added two more hits for the rest of the day and his line is up to .255/.309/.416, good for an even 100 wRC+. His bat seems to be coming around as of late.
A-Rod followed it up with a single and Guthrie walked Mark Teixeira. Brian McCann then hit a screaming line drive towards the right field seats that was *almost* caught by leaping Paulo Orlando. It would have been a very pretty-looking Sportscenter highlight had he caught it, but the ball was just over his glove and found the seats. 5-0 Yankees in the first inning, no outs.
Guthrie had better luck against Garrett Jones (flyout) and Stephen Drew (bunt ground out). The righty the plunked Didi Gregorius and allowed a single to Slade Heathcott. Gardner, on a 2-2 count, squared up against a hanging breaking ball into the right field seats for a 8-0 lead. Man, it just seemed like Yankees were incapable of scoring when they really needed it for the past week (well, hence, the losing streak). An inning like this really makes you feel good and wonder “where has this been?”
When a pitcher is off, he can be very off. Royals manager Ned Yost did not take Guthrie out of the game to start the second inning and unfortunately for him, things got even worse. Guthrie walked McCann and Jones followed it up with a single. Drew, on a 0-2 count, hit a 93 mph fastball up and inside into the second deck. That was crushed and just summarized Guthrie’s day: he just didn’t have it, even on a 0-2 count.
Oh, and the Yanks weren’t done with dingers just yet. In the bottom seventh, Slade Heathcott took Greg Holland deep for the first homer of his young career. Almost six years after being drafted in the first round, the outfielder overcame a lot to fulfill the major league dream and hit one off one of the best relievers in baseball (granted, Holland looked really off today, but still). Heathcott is a talented guy and I hope he can stay healthy and learn his way around the bigs to fulfill his potential. Oh, and after the homer, Yankees were up 14-1. The score did not change for the rest of the game.
I don’t know how to feel about the “Nasty Nate” moniker. Sure, he throws hard and can overpower hitters, but his results does not really match up to that kind of hype (yet).
Nonetheless, Eovaldi had one of the better outings of 2015 today. The righty went 7 innings, struck out four, allowed only an earned run while also allowing 8 hits. It’s not an eye-popping line but that’ll do well. He had control for sure – throwing 76 pitches out of 103 total for strike, good for a 73.8 % rate. At times, however, I felt that his fastball went way too much the middle and Royals hitters did not miss it. Sometimes the hitters punish it for a big hit, but today, there weren’t much damage, which is nice. But I do hope he shows improvement in command sooner or later. Today’s game showed what he can give to the Yankees despite the imperfections.
(A seemingly-long awaited) Lindgren debut
We got what some of us have been waiting for since the end of last season – 2014 second-rounder LHP Jacob Lindgren made his ML debut, relieving Eovaldi in the eighth inning. Lindgren showed what he was advertised for – a fastball in low-90’s, a nasty slider that gets hitters chasing, and well, not the best command (two walks) but overall, he made a solid impression. With his high-draft pick pedigree and a nice 2-inning, no-run performance to close out the game, he definitely earned at least several more ML looks.
The YES broadcast compared Lindgren to Sparky Lyle, which is a huge compliment and a hard ceiling to reach (if we are talking about 1977 Lyle, that is). If Lindgren turns out as a high-leverage lefty reliever with swing-and-a-miss breaking ball and a passable command – I’m thinking B.J. Ryan – I’d be really, really happy. Also B.J. Ryan in prime is also a very high ceiling to ask for. I’m probably being tad optimistic here. But let’s not forget that Lindgren is projected to be a valuable ML reliever so that’s that. We’ll see how far he can go.
A-Rod added two hits – he now has 2,977 total hits and 23 away from his 3,000th. He’s now hitting a healthy .262/.363/.545 for the season, good for a 148 wRC+.
Jeremy Guthrie’s start today was awful – 1 inning, 9 hits, 11 earned runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout and 4 homers allowed. He didn’t look like the guy who was called to start the Game 7 of the World Series just this past October. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, he is the second SP ever to allow 11 earned runs in 1 inning or fewer. Good lord.
Here’s the box score, video highlights, win probability chart and updated standings. As of this moment, the Rays have yet to play the Mariners, but it’s kind of mind-boggling to think that the Yankees are only a game back from the first place. The AL East as a whole has been very meh this season. Tomorrow, Yankees are facing the Royals again. Adam Warren is up on the hill against Jason Vargas. Is today’s win a start of something? We shall see.