Boy, how’s this to get a road trip started? Yankees had a subpar home stretch and they went into the enemy territory with a 2-4 record. However, they grinded out a 6-5 win thanks to a very-unprecedented Stephen Drew grand slam in the seventh inning.
#BIGMIKE fun to watch but imperfect:
I personally feel that Michael Pineda’s stuff looked better today than in his first start. His changeup was on point today – generated a good amount of swing-and-misses and had a nice, deceiving fade to it. His fastball sat around 90~93 mph but, as the MASN broadcasters frequently pointed it, they had a lot of movement. His slider also looked good – it had a very sharp and big break. One thing that didn’t go 100% for Big Mike was his command. Okay, it’s not really easy to say that when he has 9 strikeouts and 0 walk but he also allowed 9 hits – one of them an elevated 91 mph fastball that Adam Jones smashed out of park – and 5 earned runs.
I think, overall, it was a positive outing. The Orioles aren’t a light-hitting team and with one or two less mistake pitches, his line would’ve looked at least noticeably better. If I had to choose one moment that stood out, on the first inning, Pineda whiffed Chris Davis with this pitch sequence: 1) a fastball strike on the outside corner 2) a diving 88 mph changeup for a swing-and-miss 3) slider down and in for a swing-and-miss. Can’t think of any at-bats that showcases the best of #BigMike.
His line: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. How is this for #FIPFriendly?
A Stephen grand slam? Just like how they Drew it up!:
Yankees tagged the O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen with two homers but 1) they were both solo HR’s and 2) that was all the run damage they did against the lefty. In the seventh inning, with the Orioles leading 4-2, Buck Showalter brought out Tommy Hunter to relieve Chen.
Yankees had a chance with runners on first and second with no out after a Chris Young single and a John Ryan Murphy walk. Didi Gregorius and Garrett Jones followed that chance up by flying out and runners stayed put. Ugh. New York caught a break when Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an infield single to make it two outs and bases loaded. Instead of Brett Gardner, who was penciled as the #2 hitter in the starting lineup, Stephen Drew stepped in as a pinch-hitter.
The infielder, who was hitting an abysmal .150/.182/.300 line before the game… hit a grand slam. Not just a grand slam, it’s a pinch-hit grand slam and boy, those are RARE . With two outs, bases loaded and on a 3-1 count, I guess Hunter wanted to throw a strike. Drew just turned around on a 95 mph fastball to give the Yanks a 6-4 lead. A few more of these and he’ll reach to a #TrueYankee status. Maybe.
Dellin forgot how to deal:
Joe Girardi brought in Dellin Betances to relieve Pineda in the seventh inning. As it was the theme from the Spring Training, Dellin didn’t look… good. Hitters weren’t biting on his curve and he seemed to have no idea where the ball is going. He did get lucky in two instances. With bases loaded with two outs, Betances struck out Chris Davis to get out of the jam. And in the eighth inning, Adam Jones, who got on the first base with a single, got thrown out trying to steal second by Murphy. Betances proceeded to walk Travis Snider and Girardi pulled him out. Ugh. He now has 3 strikeouts and 6 walks in 3 IP this season. That’s not a big sample but it’s not pretty. It’s also apparent that Dellin’s command is pretty derailed. Hope he figures things out pretty soon.
Andrew Miller still deals:
After watching the Dellin Betances theater, Girardi put in Andrew Miller to close out the eighth and the game. And boy, Miller looked good. The lanky lefty struck out Machado and Schoop swinging to get out of the inning and shut the O’s down in the ninth as well to earn his second save. Nasty.
Yankees had two other homers besides the big Drew GS – Young hit an absolute meatball/hanging curve from Chen into the left field seats to give Yanks a 1-0 lead. Few innings later, Tex hit a fastball right down the middle to tie it up 2-2. It’s nice to see guys with home run power to actually hit one out of the park and I hope this trend continues. Also, good to see Teixeira hit for some power! He did not reach his third homer of the season in 2014 until April 29. After tonight’s game, the Severna Park, Md. native has a 1.107 OPS. I went to a same high school as Tex and I’m a Yankees watcher – I’d love for him to excel.
Gardner left the game in the seventh inning after being hit by a Chen fastball in the first inning on the right arm. Fortunately for the Yanks, the X-ray revealed he’s fine and will be day-to-day. Whew.
This was an intriguing game to watch and we can only say that it was “fun” because the Yankees won. Here’s the box score from ESPN and a win probability chart from Fangraphs. Tomorrow, CC Sabathia is going to try to bounce from a mediocre first start last week. Let’s hope the warmer weather treats the big man well.