Game 3 Recap: Pineda being Pineda, Rays drop Yanks 4-1

The first series of the season didn’t close out as the Yankees would have hoped yesterday. Pineda served of plenty of strikeouts, hits and runs over the first three innings, as expected, and the Yanks’ offense couldn’t struggled to build any momentum against Rays’ pitching. In the end, the Yanks dropped the first series of the season and have a day to rest before moving on to Baltimore.

The game started with opposing solo home runs in the first and second innings by the Rays and Yankees. The Rays, though, piled on three runs in the bottom half of the second with five hits, including one off the right field catwalk, and a stolen base.  From there, both teams scattered hits throughout the game, but the game was essentially over after the second inning.

Big Mike’s first start of 2017 resembled many of his 2016 efforts. His pitches missed a lot of Rays’ bats in last night’s contest, striking out six, but as the game progressed, Pineda couldn’t avoid the big inning, and the Rays strung their hits together and knock him out of the contest before the fourth. The Rays tagged Mike for three runs and five hits in the second inning. In typical Pineda fashion, the two through four spots of the lineup went 1 for 6 against him, Longoria striking out twice, but the five through nine spots tagged him for seven hits in just 3.2 innings of work. In truth Pineda probably could have gone deeper into the game, but Joe took the opportunity to flash his bullpen, and they responded with four and third of scoreless ball.

Alex Cobb, on the other hand, kept his mistakes to a minimum, scattering four hits over five and a third innings. Cobb’s only mistake came in the second, when he grooved a pitch that Ellsbury promptly jacked to right field. Cobb routinely caught the Yankees’ young right handed hitters off balance with change-ups and off speed offerings on the inner half of the plate, and the Yankees bats struggled to adapt throughout the game.

Between Cobb’s pitching, and Pineda’s inconsistency, this didn’t make for a terribly exciting Yankee effort. But the Yankees did manage one win in the series overall, and fans should be encouraged by the performance of the bullpen so far.

Game Notes:

· Jon Sterling officially hates Tampa’s ballpark. I thought him and Suzan were going off the rails when Morrison hit a pop fly off the catwalk in the second. Thankfully someone on his side talked them don’t. Great job, radio production team.

· Base-running gaff aside, Chase Headley had a great opening series. Chase had seven hits in the first series, which is a cool .636 batting average. He’s using the entire field at the plate and making strong plays with his glove. I bet my season prediction motivated him.

· Ellsbury actually hit a home run! More surprising, though, was Sterling’s call, which I have to confess I couldn’t remember Jacoby’s homer call before yesterday.

Yanks are off Thursday and in Baltimore Friday for a weekend series.