Game 79: NYY vs. LAA — Nasty Nate & Co.

Not a bad way to end the final West Coast road trip for the Yankees this year, especially when “Nasty Nate” is back on the mound and in good form once again. While his strikeout count was rather lower than usual (just 3 total), Nathan Eovaldi relied on his excellent defense to step up make some really great plays against the Angels. He was actually cruising along very good up until the 6th inning, but still, he gave a great outing, getting some of the more powerful hitters in the Angels’ lineup out with several routine plays. His total 94 pitches took him 5.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and no runs. Yes, he kept the Angels from ever daring to cross home plate tonight with the same kind of “Nasty Nate” stuff he’s becoming known for.

In his 6th inning, with 1 out, Eovaldi loaded the bases with a single and 2 walks. It was time to hand the ball over to Chasen Shreve, who is becoming quite good in these tough situations. With some apparent ease, Shreve got a quick 2 outs to end the inning, saving Eovaldi’s win opportunity. Shreve continued through the 7th, keeping the Angels scoreless and hitless under his watch.

Justin Wilson came on in the 8th inning, got 2 outs, and then gave up a solo home run. And it was onto Dellin Betances for a 4-out save. Betances, coming off the bench after not pitching since Saturday’s game in Houston, got a quick out in the 8th, but then found his own sticky situation in the 9th. He couldn’t make it easy, even hitting 99 mph on his fastball, giving up 2 walks. It was the final strikeout that sealed the deal, giving Eovaldi the win (his 8th of the season) and Betances his 7th save of the season.

On the flip side of things, the Yankees got a jump on the Angels and turned their pitching staff into a bit of batting practice. In the 3rd, Didi Gregorius led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Drew’s sacrifice bunt, then 3rd on Gardner’s groundout, before scoring on Chase Headley’s RBI single. And it was Garrett Jones to hit a big 2-out solo home run in the 6th.

And things got creative in the 8th for the Yankees after a lead-off strikeout. McCann singled and forced a pitching change, Jones walked, and Young singled to load the bases. Gregorius’ short single scored McCann but kept the bases loaded. The Angels pulled it together and got 2 quick outs to end the Yankees’ offensive attack.

Like I said, whatever was stifling the Yankees’ offense found another home (some would say in the Rays’ offense lately). Tonight, the Yankees got 12 hits, to the Angels’ 6 total hits. Thanks in part to Chase Headley’s great outing, snapping his recent low batting streak going 3-for-5 with an RBI in tonight’s game.

Final score in Anaheim: 3-1 Yankees, Angels take the series 2-1.

Yankees are on their way back to New York, with an off-day tomorrow before facing the Rays in a weekend. In case you haven’t heard, the AL East is currently in a very tight race for dominance. The Orioles, Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays all have 42 wins under their belt, but their difference in the standing is based on how many losses they have — Orioles 36, Yankees 37, Rays and Blue Jays 38. This means the top 4 teams in the AL East are within 1 game of 1st place. Basically, it’s very much anyone’s game.

Roster moves (I really need a catchy name for this almost daily paragraph): The Yankees called up outfielder Tyler Dugas from AA Trenton, signing him to the 25-man roster. With Beltran going in for medical exam and treatment tomorrow in New York, the Yankees felt they needed outfield support more than the pitching, which seems to have settled into a better momentum lately. In that vein, Esmil Rogers was optioned to AAA Scranton.

And you have a little over 24 hours left to vote for the All-Star Game starters. You can vote up to 35 times per email address until tomorrow night at 11:59 pm EST. Starters will be announced on Sunday, and the rest of the roster will be announced on Monday. Yankees aren’t really high on the most current list of fan votes, but the roster has to have at least one player from each team. Any ideas on who should get the nod for the Pinstripes? We’ll see if my (and your) opinions and ideas get met this weekend.

Also a Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, friends, and family!

Go Yankees!

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