Game 73 Recap: Astros 4 Yankees 0

Joe vs HOU III The Yankees did end up 5-3 on their latest homestand, which is pretty damn good when you consider that 3-game stretch of butt kickings they took.  They were out in Texas to take on the Astros last night, and Joe decided it would be the perfect opportunity to rest a bunch of hot hitters and play his B-squad against Dallas Keuchel.  Almost impossible to think that that strategy wouldn't work out.

The game got off to a very ominous start for the undermanned offense.  Leadoff hitter Chris Young (not a typo) singled to open things up, and the next 3 hitters (Headley, A-Rod, Teix) struck out in succession to end the frame.  That was bad enough on its own, but the strike 3 calls on Alex and Teix by home plate umpire Joe West were bogus.  So Keuchel had his A-game working and Joe West was going to make sure the game was another episode of The Joe West Show.  Greeeeaaaaaat...

All things considered, Adam Warren didn't pitch a bad game.  He gave up a run in the 2nd on a 2-out Preston Tucker double after the Yanks were unable to turn an inning-ending double play, another in the 4th on what became an inning-ending sac fly thanks in part to a Stephen Drew fielding error, and his last in the 6th after a 1-out single, stolen base, and throwing error by his catcher.  He didn't finish the 6th and he wasn't entirely sharp, but Warren was only a few pitches and a few better defensive plays away from going 6+ with 2 runs or fewer allowed.  He gave his offense plenty of chances to get into the game.

They never did.  Despite putting a runner on in each of the next 3 innings, the Yanks could never so much as advance one into scoring position against Keuchel.  He ground them up with his patented mix of moving fastballs and offspeed stuff, accumulating 11 strikeouts in 6 innings and 4 in a row from the 5th through the 6th.  Joe West and his friendly strike zone were a part of the performance, as always, but Keuchel was truly nasty and there was no way a lineup with a 6-9 of Pirela, Murphy, Drew, Petit was going to compete against him.

Chris Capuano came on in relief of Warren and he was about what you'd expect.  At least he saved the rest of the bullpen with 2.1 innings of 1-run ball.  That extra run didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.  Keuchel easily pitched into the 9th before running into any trouble, which came in the form of loaded bases with 2 outs.  But he had the luxury of facing Pirela as the 6th hitter and he got him to ground out on a changeup to end the game.

Game Notes:

- Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, and Didi Gregorius all got nights off against the lefty Keuchel.  I know a lot of people weren't happy with that, but I don't mind it.  Keuchel eats lefties alive, some of those guys have serious home/road splits, and Gardner and McCann could probably use a day off.  No problem with the decisions for me, just frustrating to lose a game in that situation knowing you really never had a chance.

- Warren didn't pitch poorly at all, but was that start great enough to keep his rotation spot intact?  I don't think so.  With Nova coming out and dealing and Joe publicly stating that CC isn't going anywhere, Warren is the easy odd man out.  Not that it's the worst thing in the world.  He'll be a great help in the 'pen.  He just shouldn't be the one going there.

- The 2 offensive bright spots last night were Carlos Beltran and Chris Young.  They each went 2-4 against Keuchel.

- Chase Headley went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts.  Tough way to end his 7-game hot streak, but hey, now he can come out and start a new one tonight.