The Yankees flew south for the summer… well, for two days, at least. For an odd 4-game split with the Marlins, the Yankees are in Miami for a couple of days before they turn around and host them in the Bronx. Because the MLB schedule said so, I guess. I’ve said this before, but the schedule is rather strange this year for the Yankees, and this 4-game split is just one example to prove my point.
It would have been a much better game for the Yankees if their offense hadn’t dried up — 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 10 times over the game. The lone run the Yankees scored was a big solo home run in the 2nd by (who else?) Mark Teixeira, his 18th homer of the season. And that was it. The Yankees just weren’t hitting or scoring runs beyond that.
Now, due to some pretty decent planning (nice job, Girardi!), the Yankees will send up their two starters that have pretty decent hitting records (or at least hitting records in the fairly recent history) — Tanaka tonight and Eovaldi (the former Marlin) tomorrow. And why is this important? Because the Marlins play in the NL, which means no DH.
So it was Masahiro Tanaka who got the start today against the Marlins, and he really did a decent job once again — 94 pitches over 7 innings, giving up 9 hits, 2 runs, and no walks, and striking out 6 batters. In the 2nd, a double scored on a deep single to tie up the game. Then in the 7th, a lead-off home run pushed the Marlins into the lead.
Now, then things got interesting. A single was sitting on 1st, and Tanaka threw over for a pick-off attempt. The runner was called safe, the Yankees challenge, and it was rightly overturned. And the game finally got interesting.
In the 8th, both starters were out of the game. And the Marlins called on what has to be their equivalent to Betances. He faced 3 of the Yankees good hitters and struck them all out — his fastballs ranging from 97-100mph and interspersed with curves and sliders in the low-80s. It was really nasty to watch. They have quite the gem in that pitcher.
And then it was Jose Ramirez’s turn on the mound for the Yankees, though he probably wishes he could get tonight back. A single, a hit-by-pitch (to Miami’s version of Jeter), and a walk loaded the bases without a single out. That was it. It’s one thing to lose a game when the opposing team earned their win, but it’s quite another to just give it away and let them run with it. So it was on to Sergio Santos, who desperately needed to redeem himself after his Yankee debut last week. Santos threw 10 pitches to get Miami batters to strike out twice and then line out directly to right field to a waiting Garrett Jones.
Final score: 2-1 Marlins.
For most of the game, it felt like it was just dragging right up until things started getting interesting — that 7th inning challenge and then that really rollercoaster 8th inning. But despite the feeling, it was still just a 2 hour, 41 minute game. And there were 33,961 fans (an almost sold-out crowd) to watch the show, decently split down the middle on loyalties. There were plenty of Yankees fans, often split family loyalties all over the stadium to enjoy the game.
Okay, tonight’s weird discovery (because I don’t really follow any of the other teams for obvious reasons): the Marlins are one of the many teams that have their players’ last names on the back of their jersey. But on the back of #51 isn’t “Suzuki” but rather “Ichiro”. Now, in case you were thinking that because the Japanese reverse the order of their names (surname then first name) that this actually works, you are wrong. His family name (surname, last name, whatever you call it) is Suzuki, and his first name is Ichiro. But I don’t think most people would know who of him would ever think “Suzuki”. I think he’s just “Ichiro” to everyone — like many other one-named phenomenons (Shaq, Jordan, Magic, Tiger, LeBron, Babe).
Injury update: Ivan Nova will complete one more rehab start before his return in pinstripes. He’s still with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team to do so, but the reports are coming back great. It’s going to be good to get Nova back in the rotation and shake up the pitching a bit. It will be interesting to see how everything falls into place around that move.
(And congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks on their Stanley Cup win. I know a ton of Lightning fans who aren’t very happy tonight, but there’s always next year. Or the year after that…)