Well that was ugly. The offense had been clicking for a while heading into this afternoon's series finale against the Rays, but it sure laid an egg today. Not a lot of hitting and tons of striking out was the recipe for today, and it wasn't a good enough recipe to make 2 runs allowed by the pitching staff over 12 innings stand up.
Michael Pineda was effective again today while also being inefficient. He held the Tampa lineup to 2 earned runs on 6 hits, he didn't walk a batter while striking out 5, and he got 9 outs on the ground. The only time Tampa got to him was the 4th, when a pair of ground ball singles gave Kevin Kiermaier a chance with 2 outs. On the 9th pitch of the at-bat, he tripled to center to bring in both base hits and give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
The length of the at-bat was the other side to the story of Pineda's day. He threw 93 pitches to get 17 outs, and left before he could get out of the 6th after giving up a 2-out double to Logan Forsythe. The Rays made Pineda work, got his pitch count up, and got him out of the game. Joe was most likely going to take that course of action pitching Pineda on regular rest, and kudos to the Tampa hitters for getting something off Pineda and getting him out early.
The offense was non-existent today. Almost non-existent. They managed a total of 7 hits in 48 plate appearances, and 5 of those came from the top 2 spots in the batting order. Jacoby Ellsbury went 3- 6 at the top of the lineup and amazingly didn't score a single run. Chris Young went 2-4 and hit 1 of the 2 solo home runs that gave the Yanks their 2 runs. His was in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game at 2. The other one was off the bat of Chase Headley in the 5th to get New York on the board.
After that it was all quiet. They didn't record another hit for the remainder of the regulation 9 innings, they wasted a pair of 2-out walks in the 10th, stranded Ellsbury after he led off the 11th with another hit, stranded 2 runners in the 12th with 1 out, with the lead baserunner being Brett Gardner, and ended the game on a GIDP by Alex Rodriguez after Young picked up a hit. They just couldn't string anything together today and got zero contribution from the bulk of the batting order. Tough to win when that happens no matter how good the pitching is.
And it was plenty good. All hands were on deck and they tossed 6.1 innings of scoreless ball in relief of Big Mike. The highlights were another dominant inning by Dellin Betances, 2 shutout frames by Andrew Miller, and another strong showing by Chris Martin. Chasen Shreve was the last man left in the 13th and he sputtered after a scoreless 12th. It started with a 1-out walk, got turned into a RISP situation after the call to intentionally walk Evan Longoria with 2 outs, and fell apart when James Loney managed the shift-aided go-ahead hit in the next at-bat. I'm not a big fan of putting more runners on base in extra innings, so I can't say I agree with that decision. But with the way the offense performed today, the Yanks were probably in trouble anyway. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
- Brutal day for A-Rod at the plate. 0-6, 4 K, the game-ending GIDP, and 4 men left on base. Think he's pressing a tad for that 660th homer? Or is it being on the ASG ballot?
- Credit where credit is due, Tampa starter Drew Smyly had it working today. Double digit Ks in 6 innings is always impressive and that's exactly what he did.
- Ellsbury and Young were on base a combined 6 times. The rest of the team got on base a total of 5 times.
- 3 more strikeouts for Miller, and he finally got to face a left-handed batter. He's so, so good. Fastball running up to 96-97 and a mid-80s wipeout slider. Almost unhittable right now.
- 8th stolen base of the season for Ellsbury today. Also got caught stealing for the 4th time when Smyly picked him off. Can we maybe cut down on that a little bit?