Two words: Big Mike. That's all you need to know to know what this afternoon's game was all about. Michael Pineda was a man on fire today, striking out 16 in 7 1-run innings to lead his team to another game and series victory over the Baltimore Orioles. He didn't walk a batter and his only blemish was a solo home run by JJ Hardy in the 2nd. He was spectacular. The offensive charge in support of him was led by Carlos Beltran. No really, it was. Beltran went 2-2 with 2 BB and his first home run of the year. That got the Yankees on the board in the bottom of the 4th and sparked a 4-run inning against Bud Norris, capped off by a 2-run double off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yanks tacked on runs in the 5th (Brian McCann solo homer) and the 7th (Didi Gregorius RBI double), and that was more than enough for Pineda and Dellin Betances. He came on in relief of the shaky Esmil Rogers, who wouldn't get through the 8th, and recorded the final 5 outs.
That's 20 wins for the Yankees in this still young 2015 season. No other team in the AL can say they have that many. I'll take that.
- Pineda had 21 called strikes and 22 swinging strikes. His slider was absolutely unhittable and his 54/3 K/BB ratio is unfathomable. It's almost crazy to think that Baltimore got 6 hits off him in his 7 innings. Good for them for at least managing that I guess.
- Not exactly the usual suspects for the offense today. Beltran was big, McCann also walked and scored 2 runs, and Didi had 2 hits and 2 RBI.
- Stephen Drew even had a decent day, getting on base 3 times and scoring a run.
- The top 4 spots in the order were a combined 2-16 with 2 BB. Good to see the rest of the lineup step up for a change when they had an off-day.
- Betances is the best relief pitcher in baseball. There, I said it. 23 pitches, 15 strikes, 2 more Ks. It's like last season never ended.