Before tonight’s game, New York and Tampa were tied at the top of the division with 11-8 records. Well, one of those two won and it happened to be the Yankees. New York now sits on the top of the division and it’s a very good feeling. Adam Warren delivered his best start of the season and the offense benefited from a few miscues from the Rays pitching to win this one 4-1.
A Warren-ted Compliment
The fifth starter looked much better today than on his other starts. From early on, Adam Warren’s fastball sat around 94 and he located his secondary pitches well. In the first inning, he got into a bit of trouble with runners on second and third and one out — he struck out the dangerous Evan Longoria swinging with a changeup inside and James Loney grounded out. In the second inning, Warren struck out all three batters he faced — Brandon Guyer, Kevin Kiermaier and Tim Beckham — and it was quite impressive. I mean, if Warren can bring on well-located fastballs around 93~94 miles per hour and can throw slider or changeup in any count, I think he’d be a pretty darn good number five starter.
Only noticeable blemish Warren left was the sixth inning. David DeJesus singled to start the inning and Warren uncorked a wild pitch to Steven Souza Jr. to let the runner advance to second. Souza flew out deep to center, advancing DeJesus to third. With the infield in, Warren induced a grounder from Asdrubal Cabrera … and Stephen Drew threw a cricket-pitch-like bouncer to Brian McCann — DeJesus was safe at home and the game tied up, 1-1. Warren took care of one more batter and Joe Girardi sub’d him out for Justin Wilson.
Man, if it weren’t for the Drew’s faulty throw, Warren probably would have been the winning pitcher. But what is more valuable is that he went out, showed some really good stuff and dominated the division rival lineup to give New York a chance to win. Warren’s final line: 5.2 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walk and 6 strikeouts. The last two figures look awesome given that he had allowed 8 walks and struck out only 6 in the previous 15 innings he logged before tonight. So yea, more of this please, Adam.
Scoring… more than the opponent
I don’t think tonight’s game will go down as especially memorable or anything but the team did what it could do to get a win — sometimes, it takes mistakes from the opponent. The game was in a 0-0 tie in the bottom of fifth. Rays starter, Nate Karns, had been cruising through the Yankee lineup and his command fizzled a bit that inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Rays manager Kevin Cash, not wanting to take any more chance, sub’d him out for a fresh bullpen arm Brandon Gomes. However, Gomes showed even worse command and walked Brett Gardner with bases loaded. Oops.
The Yanks’ next run was way more exciting. With the game tied at one, McCann unloaded a bunch of power into a Brandon Gomes meatball and sent the ball towards the second deck in the right field. It was one of those shots that you knew was gone right off the bat. 2-1 Yanks.
The ghost of Carlos Beltran followed it up with a line drive double to the center field wall. After Chris Young struck out, manager Kevin Cash brought in the lefty Everett Teaford to face Stephen Drew. I thought it was an interesting choice. Teaford had not pitched in the bigs since July 14, 2013 and he was mediocre in Korea last year (5-6, 5.24 ERA in 99.2 innings pitched with the LG Twins). Well, I guess they liked what they saw of him so far this year. He did not do his immediate job though — Drew doubled to right field corner to score Beltran. 3-1 Yankees lead.
Yankees scored again in the bottom of the eighth. McCann singled to begin the inning. Beltran and Young followed that up by striking out swinging (welp) but Drew singled and Didi walked to get the bases loaded. I thought it was quite odd that Cash did not substitute out Teaford by then. Instead, he stuck the lefty in to face Jacoby Ellsbury. On the third pitch, Jacoby took a 88-mph pitch to the right arm. 4-1 Yankees. Not the prettiest way to score but it’s a scoring nonetheless.
Warren pitched very well tonight but bullpen was flat-out awesome. Four pitchers — Wilson, David Carpenter, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller — combined for 3.1 innings pitched, allowed only one hit and one walk and struck out 4. So good. So good. We all could get used to this. The unofficial 8th inning guy Betances dropped an especially nasty curve/slurve to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera to end the eighth and that was just unfair. Cabrera knew that he was gone as soon as the ball got to the mitt. Dellin just looks like an unstoppable force at this point.
Box Score, WPA, Standings:
Tomorrow, the Yankees will have Chase Whitley making the first 2015 ML start of the year as a spot starter. He will face the current Rays ace, Jake Odorizzi. Will the winning streak continue tomorrow at YSIII? We shall see. Would be sweet to extend the division lead and take the series at home.