Having a good day? Why not add a Yankees’ West Coast sweep to garnish it? The Yankees not only won three straight against the Seattle Mariners for a sweep, Nipponese ace Masahiro Tanaka pitched like he never missed a beat in his first start off the DL — certainly a welcome sight any day of the season.
Stuff-wise, Tanaka looked really good. His fastball velocity was around 91~94 mph, touching 95 and 96 at times. Against left-handers he threw some aesthetically-pleasing 2-seamers that spilled over into the strike zone. His other pitches — slider, splitter and the occasional get-me-over curveball — worked as he planned. When you have a guy like Tanaka with the command he showed and pitches he’s able to mix, you have a formidable ace.
The righty did run into a little trouble though. In the bottom of the third, Tanaka allowed a leadoff triple to Brad Miller. Dustin Ackley followed it up with an RBI double to deep left. Later on, Logan Morrison hit a single that would have scored Ackley … except Ramon Flores’s strong arm totally denied the Mariners a run. He threw Ackley out at the plate. Well, those three hits were all the baserunners Tanaka allowed today.
Despite his 80-pitch limit, Ma-kun managed to throw seven innings (78 pitches and 58 strikes). His last pitch, by the way, clocked at 96 mph. How about that? Especially after all the velocity concerns the media and fans had at the beginning of the season. Pretty good to have another ace-caliber guy in the rotation, doesn’t it?
Offense did, well, just enough
Taijuan Walker looked quite impressive in top of first, showing off a mid-90’s fastball and swing-and-miss offspeed pitches. In the second inning however, Mark Teixeira drove a pitch just above a right-center field wall to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. It was his 16th home run of the year. His power is just unreal this season. He has a .333 isolated power stat, which leads the American League. Gluten-free!
In the fourth inning, with a runner on first base, Garrett Jones turned it loose on an 89-mph offspeed pitch and hit it into the right field seats. 3-1 Yanks. Boy oh boy, Jonesy is hot right now. He now has two homers in Safeco Field as opposed to Robinson Cano’s one. He now has a .258/.292/.452 line in 65 plate appearances, good for an about-league-average 104 wRC+. Given ohow cold he was in April and a portion of May, I’ll take it.
So yeah: two homers and three runs. Thanks to strong pitching, Yankees didn’t need any more run support. Love that this team is capable of driving balls out of the park again.
Chris Capuano entered the game as the eighth inning guy. He allowed a single but struck out Miller. Esmil Rogers and Andrew Miller were warming in the bullpen, and with one out in eighth, Girardi opted for the big lefty to get a five-out save. Heh. I sort of feared Esmil Rogers-as-the-eighth-inning-guy scenario.
Miller, who is a great reliever no doubt, can get into a trouble or two with his sometimes-imperfect command. He hit the pinch-hitting Rickie Weeks (just barely on the right leg) to put another runner on. Then against Mike Zunino, he completely lost the plate, allowing a four-pitch walk to a guy who only walked 3.8% of the plate appearances last season. Bases loaded and only one out, welp.
With a two-run lead in jeopardy, Logan Morrison stepped up to plate. Miller threw three consecutive balls, seemingly getting closer to make it a 3-2 ballgame. The lefty then threw two fastball strikes in a row – the second one being right down the middle that Morrison swung and missed. On the pitch No. 6, Miller threw a slider down and away that fooled LoMo for a swinging strikeout. Whew. That was stressful. Miller came back out in the ninth again and had a much cleaner inning – two strikeouts and only a single allowed for a 17th save of the year.
Brian McCann exited the game in the second inning after limping a bit grounding out. Later, we learned that he has a sore right foot and will go to New York tomorrow to get an MRI. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
Box Score, WPA, Standings, etc.
The Yankees get a day off tomorrow and return to Bronx. They will face the Angels for another three-game series. Enjoy the rest of your night and the Yanks’ day off, guys.