Blah, that was a clunker of a series opener. A little of this (bad pitching), a little of that (bad defense), and a little of everything in between (0-for-7 with runners in scoring position) sent the Yankees to a 6-3 loss to the Pirates in Friday night’s series opener. Have I mentioned I hate watching pitchers hit? Because I hate watching pitchers hit. It’s Friday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:
- CC’s Dud: It was clear right away CC Sabathia was not sharp. He allowed a first inning leadoff homer to Jordy Mercer and then a two-run shot to Josh Bell in the second inning. Sabathia’s velocity was down a bit — he was more 87-88 mph than 90-91 mph like he’d been in his previous starts — and he was missing his spots consistently. He did grind it out and give the Yankees five innings, but at the end of the day, falling behind 4-0 after two innings was too much to overcome.
- A Near Comeback: The Yankees have Fighting Spirit, so they didn’t go quietly after falling behind 4-0. Chase Headley drove in Brett Gardner from first with a double in the third inning, then Greg Bird drove in two runs with a ground ball that snuck under Josh Harrison’s glove in the fifth. Harrison, the second baseman, was in shallow right field for the shift. Aaron Judge chugged all the way around from first to score on the play. The big man can really run. Judge is sneaky fast. That brought the Yankees to within 4-3, but alas, three runs were not enough to win on this night.
- Late-Inning Mistakes: The Pirates tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh thanks in part to a brutal Starlin Castro error. He Luis Castillo’d a pop-up. It was bad. Tommy Layne then walked the only man he faced — lefties have a .417 OBP against him this year, which doesn’t bode well for his job security — and Jonathan Holder allowed a run-scoring single. Two things. One, why not just leave Adam Warren in after the dropped pop-up? He’s perfectly capable of getting lefties out. And two, why is Tyler Clippard pitching down three in the eighth instead of Holder when the game was closer in the seventh? Bullpen roles, man.
- Leftovers: The Yankees did bring the tying run to the plate with two outs in the eight and ninth innings, but Matt Holliday struck out out and Judge grounded out. Darn. Had the right guys at the plate at the right times. Just didn’t work out … the Yankees had ten hits total, including two by Castro and three by Jacoby Ellsbury … Bird went 0-for-4 and yanked two foul balls about 430 feet each. Just a little too quick, Greg — in case you missed it earlier, Didi Gregorius started his minor league rehab assignment tonight. He’s inching closer to a return.
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees and Pirates will resume this series Saturday afternoon. That’s a 4pm ET start. Michael Pineda and Jameson Taillon are the scheduled starters.