Everybody knows I'm approaching Costanza freakout territory with the Yankees be-boppin' and scattin' all over me. Carlos Beltran being scratched with an aggravation of his elbow bone spur wasn't helpful, and to be honest I don't think I could have taken another loss like last night's. Luckily for me they were generous enough to change it up tonight, losing the lead well in advance of the 9th inning.
Michael Pineda wasn't doing anything fancy against the Houston lineup. He was throwing strike 1, getting ahead in the count, and the Astro hitters were swinging early and often and hitting into a lot of outs. No strikeouts for Big Mike through 3, but all 3 innings were perfect and took an efficient 34 pitches to complete.
Things got a bit hairier the second time through the order. Pineda's cutter wasn't cutting as much and he got touched up for a run in the 4th on a leadoff single and 2-out double by Dexter Fowler. He gave up another pair of hits in the 5th, but escaped that 2-out jam unscathed and worked the 6th in short and easy order. Joe let Pineda back out for the 7th but was quick with the hook again and removed him at 89 pitches after he walked Jason Castro to start the inning.
It was a slow, steady, and not fully realized attack for the Yankee lineup against Scott Feldman. They stranded 2 in each of the first 2 innings and looked destined to squander another opportunity in the 4th when Chase Headley got gunned down trying to steal second. But Stephen Drew made the best of that by finishing his at-bat with a home run, and Ichiro led off the bottom of the 5th with a single and came around to score on a Jacoby Ellsbury bunt single to put New York ahead 2-1.
With his bullpen perpetually over-worked, Joe's options in relief of Pineda were limited. David Huff got a strikeout and then couldn't retire Marwin Gonzalez (still have no clue who that is), and it took all of 6 pitches for Esmil Rogers to surrender 4 straight hits and 4 runs to put Houston up 5-2. The offense went down quietly from there, stranding 2 in the 7th, 1 in the 8th, and 2 in the 9th to help secure the season series win for the 'Stros.
- Final line on Pineda: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Got 9 outs on the ground too. Not too shabby. He deserved better.
- The Yanks were super aggressive on the basepaths in an effort to generate more offense. In addition to Headley's caught stealing in the 4th, they stole 4 bases off Feldman and Castro (Jeter, Ichiro, Ellsbury- 2).
- Second straight multi-hit game for Ellsbury to go along with his 2 swipes. 2 hits for Ichiro as well, just his second multi-hit game since July 11th.
- Another solid night of all-around failure with RISP. 1-8 with 10 men left on base.
- The Yanks haven't had a starter complete 7 innings since Shane Greene's 8-shutout inning gem against Detroit on 8/7. No length from the rotation and a short and ineffective bullpen is a tough way to live in MLB regardless of how well or not well you're hitting.