So we not only witnessed A-Rod move up the all-time home run ranks, the Yankees also defeated one of their division rivals to start off the home series. When you look at results, not much to complain about, right? Well, it was a stressful one to watch but the bottom line is, New York won using some power hitting and a shutdown bullpen, which seems to be a formula that’s worked well enough to lead the division.
The inevitable has happened and it could have happened few innings earlier. First inning, with two runners on, Alex Rodriguez hit a towering fly ball to the opposite field. For a moment, it looked like Rodriguez was going to get a Yankee Stadium-aided homer … but none other than Delmon Young timed the jump right to rob it. Granted, it looked like a fly ball that a lot of outfielders would have been able to catch, but what if?
But you know what, A-Rod got another big fly two innings later. It was hit quite deep and no one had a chance to catch it. In fact, it landed left to the Monument Park, so yeah. If you want to hit a milestone homer, might as well as hit it big. And of course, that dinger put A-Rod ahead of Willie Mays for the No. 4 spot on the all-time home run list. Next up? Babe Ruth (714) for No. 3 spot.
One of those outings:
Here is Nathan Eovaldi’s line from tonight:
5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
First off, I wish he was able to finish the sixth inning just so the line looks neater (6, 6, 3, 3, 3, 3. Eh? Eh?) but Joe Girardi doesn’t care about that. Secondly, tonight’s start illustrated what keeps Eovaldi from taking his skills to the next level — making mistake pitches that result in hard contacts and the inability to finish off a hitter with a strikeout, which is frustrating given his gifted arm strength. But he’s still young and it’s up to him to learn and adapt.
I should also note that Eovaldi gave up two homers tonight — one to former Yankee minor leaguer Jimmy Paredes (who is hitting for a torrid 178 wRC+ in 65 PA this season) and Caleb Joseph. His 2015 HR/9 rate is now at 1.32, which is double his career figure of 0.66. Oh well. It’s one of the drawbacks of moving to a hitter-friendly ballpark. It was nice seeing him pump up mid-to-late-90’s heat (just for the sake of aesthetics, I must admit), but there’s a lot to work on for Nate. If he is able to develop, I have a feeling that we’ll have the pleasure of watching a special pitcher grow in front of our eyes for the next few years. Yes, I’m optimistic.
You know, Justin Wilson has a solid 2.79 ERA, but when he comes in, I feel like a pitcher with a 4.79 ERA is on the hill — probably because of his 5.59 BB/9. Thank goodness for his power stuff, which makes it easy to forgive his less-than-ideal command. Tonight, by the way, Wilson had a relatively easy outing after inheriting a 4-3 lead with two runners on. While he did not strike out any, he induced three grounders and a fly ball, retiring all four hitters faced. That’s all the Yankees needed from tonight’s 7th inning guy.
After Wilson, Dellin Betances game in and well … he did what Betances does the best — get hitters out. He got Adam Jones to ground out, Delmon Young to line out to Stephen Drew, and made Chris Davis look foolish with a swinging strikeout. Every time Dellin has a good outing, I always praise Yeezus that he took the $1 million bonus from the Yankees instead of going to Vanderbilt or playing basketball back in 2006.
With the score still at 4-3, the unofficial closer Andrew Miller came in for the save. Baltimore, by the way, is not a light-hitting team and there’s always a chance for a dicey situation whenever a runner gets on. So when Miller walked Steve Pearce to start the ninth … well … it felt dicey. But that feeling did not last long. J.J. Hardy popped out and the next two hitters struck out swinging to end the game. Boom. Save no. 12.
Overshadowed by A-Rod’s HR milestone was Mark Teixeira’s performance. Tex went 2-for-3 and both hits drove in runs — one of them a double to drive in the go-ahead run in the bottom of fifth. His 2015 line is at .223/.345/.606, good for a 148 wRC+ and .383 ISO. If only his BABIP could be higher than .153.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner also proved themselves as two of the hottest ML bats again. Both combined for 4-for-7 with a walk and scored three out of four runs for New York. Tonight was basically a Ells-Gardy-A-Rod-Tex show for the offense as the rest of lineup combined for a meager 3-for-19.
Box Score, WPA, Standings, etc.:
Tomorrow, Yankees take on the Orioles again. Adam Warren goes against Miguel Gonzalez. Here’s to hoping that the bats do something against this Orioles righty this time around. It would be sweet if the Yankees take the series as well especially because I live in Maryland.