The Royals lost starter Danny Duffy to injury after just one pitch on Saturday afternoon (sore shoulder) and the Yankees acted accordingly, beating up on some spare September call-up arms to win the game 6-2. They scored in four of the first five innings. Let’s recap:
- Six Runs: It wasn’t a picket fence (one run per inning) but it was close enough. The Yankees scored their first run on a double (Martin Prado) and a single (Mark Teixeira) in the first inning, their second and third runs on a double (John Ryan Murphy), a triple (Jacoby Ellsbury), and a sac fly (Derek Jeter) in the third inning, their fourth run on two singles (Chase Headley and Murphy) and an error (Salvador Perez) in the fourth inning, and their fifth and sixth runs on two doubles (Prado and Carlos Beltran), a walk (Headley), and a single (Ichiro Suzuki) in the fifth inning. Nice, diverse attack by the offense. No evil homers but they did go a sweet 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
- Loud Outs: The final line on Brandon McCarthy was two runs on six hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, but it seemed like he gave up a lot of loud outs, particularly on balls hit to the outfield. He uncharacteristically had seven outs on the ground compared to eight in the air. That’s fine though, McCarthy put his defense (particularly Ellsbury) to work and for the most part they helped him out. He struck out four and threw 75 of 105 pitches for strikes (71%), which was a ton. McCarthy didn’t miss many barrels on Saturday (eight swings and misses) but he kept KC off balance enough that the loud contact resulted in outs, not hits.
- Bullpen: The Yankees are in must win mode nowadays, which is why Joe Girardi went to his usual late game trio of Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson despite having a four-run lead. They retired all seven men they faced on 22 total pitches — Kelley got one out while the other guys threw full innings. Between McCarthy and the relievers, 14 of the final 15 Royals to bat made outs on the afternoon. There was nothing even close to the threat of a late-inning rally, which is exactly how it should be.
- Leftovers: Prado went 3-for-3 with two doubles and was still hobbling noticeably due to his hamstring issue. I was surprised he didn’t come out for defense late … Prado, Murphy, and Ichiro all had multiple hits — Ichiro came off the bench and only got two at-bats — while Ellsbury, Teixeira, Beltran, and Headley had one hit apiece. Jeter, Brendan Ryan, and Zelous Wheeler were the only starters who failed to reach base … Royals lefty Brandon Finnegan made his MLB debut with two perfect innings. He’s the first 2014 draftee (17th overall) to reach the show. Most assumed that would be Yankees lefty Jacob Lindgren.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late game, the Yankees will be either 3.5 games (Mariners lose) or 4.5 games (Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. They’re 8.5 games back of the Orioles in the AL East, in case you’re wondering what’s going on there. FanGraphs has the team’s postseason odds at 3.7% at this moment. Shane Greene and Yordano Ventura will be the pitching matchup on Sunday afternoon, Derek Jeter day. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the ceremony.