Another night at Rogers Centre, another night north of the border, and another night of cruising behind some great starting pitching by the Yankees and then panicking when the bullpen opens. I’m not liking this latter pattern one bit.
Michael Pineda threw an absolutely outstanding outing tonight — 101 pitches through 8 solid innings, giving up 5 hits, 1 walk and no runs, and striking out 6 Toronto batters. He earned his 4th win of the season, and believe me, he earned every moment of that win.
The Yankees were also able to give him some run support because they were just hitting. To start the 11 total hits by the Yankees tonight, Jacoby Ellsbury led-off the game with his 1st of 3 hits tonight (continuing his massive hitting streak) and Gardner’s double moved him to 3rd before they both scored on Alex Rodriguez’s double to start the run-parade tonight.
In the 2nd, following 2 strikeouts, Petit singled, ended up on 2nd on a throwing error, and then scored on Ellsbury’s long single. Then in the 5th, with 2 outs and Ellsbury on 3rd, Mark Teixeira hit his 10th home run of the season — a 2-run home run out to those center field seats. And just for a bit of insurance, the Yankees came back in the 8th and added one more run — McCann walked, Drew singled, and then Didi Gregorius singled home McCann.
While the Blue Jays were on their 4th pitcher of the evening, the Yankees were up 6-0 going into the 9th inning. Pineda turned the ball over to David Carpenter, and things got tense once again. In 18 pitches, the Yankees went from a shutout game to a save situation — a lead-off solo home run (from that pesky former Yankee), 2 outs, a walk (and stolen base on defensive indifference), an RBI ground-rule double, and an RBI single.
Not willing to risk his shrinking lead, Girardi pulls in a reliable source, calling on Andrew Miller to throw 9 pitches to get that final out. First, he walked a guy (though replay clearly showed he struck out on a checked swing), but a long pop up to right field ended the game and landed Miller his 11th save this season. Not terrible for a guy who literally had 1 career save prior to pitching for the Yankees.
Final score: 6-3 Yankees.
Oh, and there were fire alarms once again. Because apparently, the losing team does everything they can to distract the Yankees from their focus. Once again, no one cared, and most were just annoyed at the false alarm. Seriously, whoever keeps doing this needs to just go away; it isn’t funny and it’s a federal offense. (Wait, is it a federal offense in Canada?)
Good news on the injury front: after his concussion, recovery, and rehab stint, Jose Pirela joined the team in Toronto today and is scheduled to be activated tomorrow; corresponding roster move yet to be determined. Also, Chris Capuano, injured quad at the beginning of Spring, currently on assignment with the Tampa Yankees, threw 4 innings at a game on Saturday; this is part of what is considered his extended Spring Training.
Not so good news on the injury front: Brendan Ryan, on rehab assignment for his calf strain, injured his hamstring (same leg) earlier this week and is now on rest for the week.
While the three guys listed above are scheduled for May returns, and with Nova and Tanaka looking at coming back in June if all goes as planned, it looks like the shifting roster will continue to do just that. A healthy team can only make things better. And continuing this rather strong streak the Yankees have started here can only mean good things.
Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. Whatever your own superstition dictates you should do. Mine says I should just hope for the best and stay positive.