The Yankees have won four straight games, including three against the Orioles. Remember when this series was supposed to be grim for New York? Completely different so far. They could pull off a four-game sweep now.
Sure, the O’s lineup is pretty banged up. Manny Machado is sick, so is Chris Davis. Hyun Soo Kim just landed on DL and Matt Wieters was also scratched. However, it was just an ordeal for Michael Pineda earlier this year pitching to any ML lineup. That being said, seeing an outing like that from him is quite encouraging.
Tonight was Pineda’s first scoreless start of the year. How about that? It seemed like he was surely going to have “one of those innings” in the fourth, when he got into a bases loaded, one-out situation. However, Big Mike turned to his most effective weapon to disarm the next two hitters. His slider was pretty filthy tonight. He threw it 45 times and generated 18 swings-and-misses, good for a 40% whiff (!) rate. He struck out Nolan Reimold on three straight sliders and got Ryan Flaherty strike out swinging on a fifth-pitch slider to end the inning. He had, however, thrown a whopping 79 pitches in four innings by then.
Pineda got into more trouble the next year, when he put a runner on third with one out in the sixth. Mark Trumbo led off with a double and advanced to third on Pedro Alvarez’s ground out. After a mound visit, Pineda reverted back to his nasty mode, striking out J.J. Hardy and Reimold to end the inning, and his night. He walked off the mound having thrown 6 scoreless innings with 5 hits allowed, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. It wasn’t a perfect start but it’s the type of an outing that makes you hopeful about his season (or trade stock).
A First Inning Run?????
Prior to tonight, the last time the Yankees scored a run in the first inning was on June 21, during the home series against the Rockies. What is today? July 20. Almost a full month has gone and Yankees finally, finally scored a run in the first inning today.
On the very first pitch of the bottom of the first, Brett Gardner drilled a slider that deflected off of RF Joey Rickard’s glove and ended up becoming a triple. It seemed like Rickard was going to make a nice catch on the wall but he couldn’t hold onto it. On the very next pitch though, Jacoby Ellsbury seemed to be reluctant to break the streak by popping out. However, Carlos Beltran hit a sac fly to drive Gardner in to make it 1-0.
A Pretty Decent Offense?
The Yankees scored five runs in five different innings today, which, I guess, makes for a neat scoreboard display: no 2’s, no 3’s, just a whole lot of 0’s and 1’s all around. They took that 1-0 lead into the fourth and Mark Teixeira hit a solo homer to make it 2-0. He hit a 88 mph pitch that was more of a line drive than a fly ball, and it just didn’t really sink until it got into the short porch seats. Tex is having a pretty abysmal season (58 wRC+ after this game) but hopefully some dingers will turn it around.
New York could have piled on way more runs in the sixth. Ellsbury led off with a single and Beltran saw a huge open space on the third base side and easily bunted for a single. Brian McCann worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Gallardo, clearly shaken a bit, walked Teixeira in four pitches to force in a run. 3-0 Yankees. With two of the hottest bats in the team coming up (Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro), you’d think Yankees were to score more. However, Gregorius struck out and Castro grounded into a double play to end the frame in an anticlimactic sense. Oh well.
But pout not, the Yankees came back to score another run in the seventh. With one out, Ronald Torreyes squared up on a 88-mph pitch to right field for a triple. Torreyes was a late addition to the lineup tonight after Chase Headley couldn’t play for “personal reasons.” Gardner skied a sac fly to center to bring Torreyes in. 4-0 Yankees.
Wait, not done yet! Former Yankee RHP Chaz Roe came in to pitch the eighth for the Orioles. Beltran, who already had an RBI and a hit this game, drilled Roe’s fastball into the right field seats for a no-doubt solo home run. It seemed like Roe was trying to pound Beltran inside the zone but simply missed the spot. A good hitter like Carlos will punish that mistake ruthlessly and boy, that home run was majestic. Beltran knew right away and just tossed the bat lightly before starting to job. 5-0 Yankees.
The Yankees’ lead was at 3-0 heading into the top seventh so it seemed like the time for the No Runs DMC equation. Dellin Betances tossed an easy one-strikeout perfect frame to start that sequence … but once the offense scored another, Joe Girardi decided to plug in Nick Goody and Chasen Shreve for eighth and ninth respectively. Both of them threw a scoreless inning each to finish off the game, which was neat. They were able to rest the big arms Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, and the lesser guys in the bullpen didn’t allow any damage.
Box Score, Highlights, WPA and Standings
The Yanks play a matinee match tomorrow to try to sweep the Orioles. Big man CC Sabathia will square up against the O’s ace Chris Tillman.