Apologies for not weighing in on these games earlier, but I had a rather busy weekend and just didn’t have time. The Yankees took on the Los Angeles Angels in a three game set at the Stadium this weekend and, despite an ugly start, they ended up banding together to take the series two games to one. Here are some tidbits from the games.
The first game was horrible, so we won’t talk too much about it. Basically, Hiroki Kuroda had nothing going, and C.J. Wilson had everything going. This led to a 13-1 smashing at the hands of the Halos. Kudos to Bruce Billings, who was called up before the game and ended up eating 4 innings worth of garbage time to save the rest of the bullpen. Billings was rewarded with a DL stint for his troubles, as he apparently strained his elbow at some point in the game. It wasn’t pretty. Hopefully Kuroda bounces back this week. I believe he’s going Wednesday against the Mariners.
Vidal Nuño, who has been officially named the fifth starter, took the ball in game two; and, while he didn’t get smacked around, he didn’t pitch particularly well. He didn’t have good location, which for a guy who tops out at 90 mph, is a big problem. That being said, he mostly limited damage, and got some good defense to help him out of most of the day’s jams. Overall, he only pitched 4.2 innings, which isn’t very good, but he kept the Yankees in the game throughout that time, so it wasn’t all bad. The real pitching hero of this game was Dellin Betances. Betances, who is starting to establish himself as a possible big time reliever for this team, pitched 2 big innings in relief, and ended up getting the win. The bullpen was overall great, chipping in 4.1 scoreless innings. Shawn Kelley and Matt Thornton pieced together the bridge to closer David Robertson, who hammered down the save.
The offensive star of that game was rookie John Ryan Murphy. The kid had one major league RBI coming into this game, but he didn’t disappoint. He hit a two out, two run single in the bottom of the third, which capped a three run rally and gave the Yankees, at the time, a 3-1 lead. Later, after Nuño had blown the lead and barely escaped a loss (thank you Jacoby Ellsbury for your amazing defense), Murphy led off the bottom of the fifth with his first major league home run. That dinger gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead, and that would be the final score.
Game three of this series was very similar to the second, but with a slightly better pitching performance. Masahiro Tanaka got the ball in this one, and he clearly didn’t have his best stuff, walking 4 Angels and hitting another. Considering the fact that he only had 2 walks on the year coming into this game, that’s a wild night! That being said, Tanaka really minimized the damage against a very tough lineup by striking out a career high 11 dudes. For the season, Tanaka now has 46 Ks and 6 walks, which is ridiculous. More importantly, a late Mark Teixeira home run kept him from getting the loss in this one. He hasn’t lost a regular season game since August 19, 2012 (my 30th birthday). Here’s hoping he never loses again.
The Angels basically gave away this game in the bottom of the 8th inning. Two walks, a ridiculous passed ball by Chris Ianneta (seriously, it was a fastball down the middle) and a wild pitch gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. David Robertson came in and slammed the door, and the Yankees had won the series. It wasn’t the prettiest series, but the bullpen really shined.
Up next is a day off Monday, and then Robinson Canó comes to town. Here’s to cheering him politely during his first at bat, and then booing him vehemently for the rest of his natural life.
Featured image courtesy of: John Minchillo/AP
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