I said I wasn't going to watch this afternoon's game against the Royals and I meant it. I'm happy to say that the Yankees made me look foolish for making that decision, as they crushed Kansas City in the series opener on the strength of way too many homers and a solid outing by Nathan Eovaldi.
Jeremy Guthrie got the ball for KC today and he had absolutely nothing. The bottom of the 1st went like this for New York: leadoff double, 2-run home run, single, walk, 3-run home run, flyout, groundout, HBP, single, 3-run home run, single, walk, K. The homers came from Chase Headley, Brian McCann, and Brett Gardner, and just like that the Yankees staked Eovaldi to an 8-0 lead. Another 3-run dinger by Stephen Drew in the 2nd made it 11-0 and ended Guthrie's day, making him just the second pitcher in the last 100 years (!!!!) to give up 11 or more runs in fewer than 2 IP.
Eovaldi had the advantage of the huge cushion to work with, and he used that to turn in a mostly stress-free 7 innings of 1-run ball. He used his fastball early in the count to get quick strikes and let Kansas City swing themselves into outs and he threw more than 1 really good slider for swings and misses. He did have some hard contact here and there, which is customary for him, but he limited damage and worked efficiently with a big lead, which are both good things.
The one run Kansas City did muster came in the 5th on a Jarrod Dyson RBI single, and the Yankees didn't waste any time in getting it back. Gardner (single) and Headley (ribbie double) teamed up at the top again to get the run back and make it 12-1 and any hope of a miracle comeback was vanquished.
For good measure, the Yankee rookies got in on the fun in the later innings. Slade Heathcott, getting the start again in center field, hit his first career Major League home run off KC closer Greg Holland in the bottom of the 7th to give the Bombers 5 on the day and an even 2 touchdowns and 2 extra points. And when Eovaldi's day was done in the 8th, it was Jacob Lindgren who got the call to wrap things up. He did so in what I expect will become his usual fashion. 2 scoreless, hitless innings, 2 walks, 2 Ks.
- Monster numbers across the board for the offense today. 14 runs on 14 hits, 7 walks, 5 homers, and 2 doubles. No way you should ever lose with that kind of production.
- 5 different players had multiple hits, including the top 3 spots in the order (Gardner, Headley, A-Rod). Every starter scored at least 1 run. 4 different guys drove in 3.
- Eovaldi's line: 7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Also got 9 outs on the ground. The line between him being really good and really bad is thin and based almost exclusively on whether or not he can locate his fastball down in the zone. Today was an example of how effective he can be when he's doing that.
- Mad props to Slade for the homer, the 2-hit day at the dish, and a smooth, easy-looking defensive day in center. He's only a few games in, but he looks comfortable and not at all overwhelmed.
- Triple short of the cycle for Headley today. That's 2 straight multi-hit games for him. Hopefully that's the start of a turnaround at the plate.
- Speaking of hopefully, it was all too predictable to see Joe wait for an extreme low-pressure situation like this to get Lindgren in a game. Hopefully that routine doesn't last too long and Lindgren starts to earn Joe's trust quickly. He could really use a reliable middle relief arm right now.