Clearly, the cold didn’t bother the Yankee bats today. After being shut out by Jordan Zimmermann and company yesterday, New York struck back with an 8-4 victory thanks to dingers and a big Jacoby Ellsbury three-run triple. Oh yeah, and fifth starter CC Sabathia threw a solid game to start off his season, which is always neat.
Hot Offense In Cold Detroit
Al from Miami, playing in the frigid weather, delivered a solo homer in the first inning on a Mike Pelfrey 92-mph fastball down the zone. It looked like a solid line drive off the bat and just didn’t sink until clearing the left field fence. Talk about a frozen rope in freezing weather.
The Yankees padded their lead in the second inning. Brian McCann singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. A Carlos Beltran ground out sent him to third. Starlin Castro failed to bring him in (grounded out weakly to first) but Didi Gregorius did the job by lining an RBI single to left. 2-0 Yanks.
They were far from done with Pelfrey. In the fourth inning, with one out, McCann walked and Beltran added another baserunner with a single. With two runners on, Castro hit a liner to right to J.D. Martinez that momentarily went into his glove, but dropped in for base hit. Because it appeared that Martinez made the catch for a second, McCann didn’t get a solid start and stopped at third base. With bases loaded, Gregorius hit a sac fly to bring McCann in. 3-0 Yankees. Ronald Torreyes’s infield single loaded the bases once again. Jacoby Ellsbury delivered the knockout blow by hitting a deep three-run triple that made it 6-0 Yanks. New York roughed up Pelfrey in his Detroit debut.
Six Inning CC
The Yankee fifth starter, CC Sabathia, was up for a tough task: facing that Tigers lineup in the cold. It’s not like he came off of an inspiring Spring Training either (5.51 ERA in 16.1 IP). For the first three innings, however, he was literally perfect, throwing only 34 pitches as well. His fastball sat around 85-87 mph, which is more Mark Buehrleian than vintage Sabathian.
In the bottom of the fourth, however, the big man faltered a bit. Sabathia allowed his first baserunner in the fourth with a four-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler. After retiring Justin Upton, he walked Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez to load the bases. Maybe it was the cold or maybe it’s other things, but it was a totally different story with Sabathia’s command that inning. After striking out J.D. Martinez, Sabathia surrendered a two-run single to James McCann.
The bases were re-loaded with an Iglesias single, and up came Mike Aviles, who was 9-for-25 (.360) against Sabathia in his career. Aviles hit the first pitch hard to left but Brett Gardner ran in down to end the inning. That frame could have gone been a lot worse. 6-2 Yanks.
CC gave up another earned run in the seventh when Kirby Yates let the inherited runner score. Sabathia’s final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. All things considered, not a bad start. He is also the first Yankee starter this season to pitch six full innings, so there’s also that.
Rest of the Game
Just as the Tigers were close to bringing some momentum on their side after scoring two in fourth, the Yankees took it right back. In the top of fifth, McCann got on base with a single (again) and Carlos just launched a 92 mph fastball from Buck Farmer into the right field seats for a 8-2 lead. That pitch was up and center, and, well, you know what hitters like to do with mistakes like that.
The Yankees did surrender two more runs in the bottom of seventh: a Kirby Yates wild pitch and RBI ground out by Ian Kinsler. That was just about all the damage that Yankee bullpen allowed though. Joe Girardi plugged in the Dellin Betances–Andrew Miller duo to take care of the last two innings. They went as well as you’d expect: Dellin struck out the side in a scoreless inning and Miller struck out one in a perfect frame. Ho-hum. Yankees won 8-4 in the second game of the series.
Starlin Castro had two hits today – the second one happened to be the 1,000th of his career. He’s still a young guy – a 90’s kid (born in March 1990) so I think that makes it pretty impressive. Our Katie Sharp wrote earlier this week that, with that accomplishment, he’s in company with some special names.
Torreyes impressed in ST with his bat control and he showed off his skill today. Starting at third on Chase Headley‘s day off, he went 3-for-4, bringing his season average to .800 with a 2.000 OPS. Yes, they are in a grand total of five at-bats, but it’s cool to see someone like him finally have some ML fun after being sent around many teams last offseason.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The Yankees play the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game tomorrow against the Tigers. It will be a matchup of highly-paid starters: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Justin Verlander.