The Yankees offense actually managed to score three run off of Sonny Gray tonight and Nathan Eovaldi pitched a solid game as well. However, in the end, the result did not favor New York — a pair of solo homers allowed by Yankee relievers doomed the team into an annoying 4-3 loss in ten innings. Less of these in the future, please.
In the first inning, the A’s drew first blood when Josh Reddick drove in Stephen Vogt from second base on a 2-out RBI single. Eovaldi allowed another run in the third after giving up three straight singles to start the inning. He did, however, manage to get out of that inning without further damage by inducing a strikeout from Ben Zobrist and a double play from Reddick, which was neat.
I thought Eovaldi was not great but he showed some promise with his work-in-progress pitch: the splitter. He continued to utilize his new weapon tonight, which ranged from 88-90 mph and got some swings-and-misses. Also importantly, Eovaldi generated 62.5% ground ball rate, much higher than a 45.3% career rate.
After that disastrous 0.2 IP, 8 ER performance in Miami, Eovaldi has gone 3-0, 2.38 ERA in 22.2 IP with 17 strikeouts. The righty is far from the finished product we’d like to see, but using more splitters and getting better outcomes than the first few months of the season is welcome progress.
In the bottom of the first, Brett Gardner singled and Chase Headley worked a walk against the All-Star RHP Sonny Gray. A-Rod flied out (and looked quite displeased doing so because it looked like a meatball) and Mark Teixeira followed it with a strikeout.
This was Gray’s first game back after missing a start due to salmonella. His velocity was fine but his command was missing just slightly. He showed a little rust but not too much, going 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 ER and striking out 5. Yes, that would be a more than acceptable outcome for most pitchers but this is Sonny Gray we’re talking about – a top 5 starter in the AL. It’s still a fine, serviceable line but not his best effort.
The Hanging Breaking Ball
The All-Star Dellin Betances came into the game in the ninth inning with the game tied at three. In his first inning of work, Dellin was dominant – three up, three down with two K’s. In the tenth inning, he entered the game again for possibly another inning of work. During the Brett Lawrie at-bat, the YES broadcast showed Chris Capuano warming in the bullpen and I thought “the offense better score a run in the bottom tenth before he comes into the game.”
Just a moment later, however, Betances threw an absolute hanger to Brett Lawrie. The A’s infielder didn’t miss a beat – Lawrie drove it over the left field fence for a tie-breaking homer. 4-3 A’s lead. I mean, boy, that was as hanging as Dellin’s breaking ball could be. After not allowing a homer in 54 straight appearances, Betances allows one each in back-to-back games. Go figure.
With one out in bottom tenth, Gardner worked a walk to get the tying run on base. Headley followed it up with a pop out and A-Rod walked after not biting on Tyler Clippard’s series of changeups.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Mark Teixeira came up to bat. He managed to lay off the first three pitches (all changeups) to make it a 3-0 count. Clippard then threw a fastball right down the middle for a strike, 3-1. Next pitch, the righty threw another fastball one down the middle and Teixeira was clearly timing his swing as if Clippard was throwing a changeup. The ball hit the bat as Teixeira’s hands were going through the zone and it fouled off. 3-2.
On the next pitch, it seemed like Teixeira was fully anticipating a fastball – he swung and only thing his bat hit was thin air. Clippard struck Teixeira out on a 80 mph changeup to end the game. 4-3 Athletics. Womp.
Yeah, so Chasen Shreve has been absolutely lights out for the Yankee bullpen this season but he can’t be great all the time. It was unfortunate that he put a 90 mph fastball right down the middle for Billy Butler to drive it over the left field fence – it was one of those pitches that big league hitters just should not miss. It was also unfortunate that it only took that one moment to tie the game for the A’s and erased Eovaldi’s win. Oh well.
Two of the biggest hitters of the team – A-Rod and Teixeira – went for a combined 0-for-9 with 5 strikeouts. Ouch. Imagine the game outcome if the cleanup guys actually cleaned it up.
The Box Score, the Standings, the Highlights, the WPA
The Yankees will send C.C. Sabathia against Scott Kazmir tomorrow. If you somehow don’t know, Kazmir has been one of the better lefties in the Major League while Sabathia, well, has not been good this season at all. This definitely does not inspire much confidence but… excuse me while I try to stay optimistic here but… strange things have happened in baseball before numerous times.