Game 89: NYY vs. CLE — Slipping away, Swished out of a win

Okay, let me just say Masahiro Tanaka was rather Tanaka-like for the first 4 innings and then thing kind of unraveled a bit. I’d blame Lake Erie or the weird Midwestern weather right now, but the truth is that sometimes things just don’t work when you want them to. Tonight, he pitched the second game of this 4-game series against Cleveland, his first start after being named to the All-Star Game team this weekend. 6.2 innings, 99 pitches, a whopping 10 hits, all 5 of Cleveland’s runs, and just 5 strikeouts — looking at those stats and people would think you were talking about a different pitcher.

The Yankees tried to stack the deck early again tonight. In the 1st, Gardner walked, advanced on Ellsbury’s single, and scored on Teixeira’s single. And then just as McCann strikes out, the Yankees orchestrated a double steal which resulted in a throwing error, so that Ellsbury scored and Teixeira ended up at 2nd. Then in the 2nd, Ichiro singled, advanced on Johnson’s walk and on Wheeler’s sacrifice bunt, and finally scored on Gardner’s ground out. The Yankees’ quick 3 runs and their lead would vanish by the middle of the game.

The Indians held onto a single run from an RBI double in the bottom of the 1st until things started cracking in Tanaka’s outing in the 5th. Tanaka started allowing more hits, but was able to scrape by with a minor RBI double in the 5th. But the damage was a 2-run home run by former Yankee Nick Swisher in the 6th to put the Indians on top. And then a 2-out solo home run in the 7th by the Indians, jumped the score to 5-3 Indians, and forced the Yankees to bring in Thornton in relief of Tanaka. Shawn Kelley’s 8th inning was virtually flawless, get out of that inning in just 10 pitches.

The Yankees kind of let this one slip through their fingers and currently are split this series 1-1 with the Indians.

New pitcher Brandon McCarthy shaved off his beard (something that made his wife very happy) and played the number dance that is becoming quite a thing for new Yankees. He had been wearing #32 with Arizona, but #32 was retired for Elston Howard. Other numbers McCarthy has worn are also unavailable, so he finally settled on #38.

And following Shane Greene’s outstanding performance yesterday, the Yankees will be keeping him in the regular rotation, moving Chase Whitley to the bullpen. Whitley could be called on for the much-needed hole of long-term relief. Bruce Billings has been optioned back to AAA Scranton. All these pitching moves come at a very crucial time as it doesn’t look like either Sabathia or Pineda will be back any time soon, if at all this year. The starting five they had so locked in back in March has been reduced to 2 (Kuroda and Tanaka) with all these crazy injuries. We continue to wish a speedy and whole recovery to all those battling injuries.

Go Yankees!

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