Well, that was less than pleasant to watch. While about 241 miles southwest of Yankee Stadium as new baseball history was almost made (see link), the Yankees were caught in a bit of a Royal mess, as it were.
Michael Pineda had a bit of trouble from start to finish of his outing tonight, making it just shy of 6 innings with a whopping 114 pitches, giving up 6 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, and striking out 7 batters. It was not a pretty picture. In the 1st, with 1 out (a single nicely caught stealing by a quick McCann), a batter (the first of 3 tonight) was hit by a pitch and moved to 3rd on a single. A walk loaded the bases, which allowed the lead runner to score on a sacrifice fly and the bases to clear with a rather beautiful 3-run home run. This put the Royals up 4-0 by the mid-1st inning. Not exactly the best way to start tonight’s game.
Pineda seemed to get things under control and keep the Royals from adding to their score up until the end of his night. In the 6th, with 2 outs on the board and 2 runners on base with a walk and a single, the 114 pitches were winking at the pitcher seemingly unable to get that 3rd out. So in came reliever Nick Goody, who clearly wasn’t going to have a good night himself. His first batter was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases, and a single scored 2 speedy runners to add more to the Royals’ lead.
That would be it for Goody. It was Phil Coke time. (I feel like there should be a Coca-Cola joke here. I’ll work on it and see how I can work it in next time he pitches. Any ideas can go in the comment section below.) Coke settled things down for the Yankees, and save a lead-off solo home run in the 7th, Coke virtually sailed his way through the next 3 innings.
The Yankees did their best to chip away at the Royals early lead. In the 2nd, Carlos Beltran continued to climb the All-Time Home Run leaders chart hitting #399 with a solo home run into the right field seats. Hicks then hit a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on Chase Headley’s single. But with the bases loaded 2 walks later, the Yankees fell into their April pattern of not hitting well with runners in scoring position (that’s the RISP stat everyone is talking about).
In the 5th, Gardner led-off with a walk, moved to 3rd on Castro’s double, and scored on Brian McCann’s ground out. But that would be it for the Yankees’ offense tonight. Not that the Royals’ pitching was all that stellar tonight, just once again, the Yankees weren’t adding much up around the base paths.
Final score: 7-3 Royals.
I heard a statistic during the game tonight that last year’s team practically lived off the home runs, while this year’s team is only scoring half their runs off their home runs. I’m not sure why this matters. A run is a run is a run. And while they are the “Bronx Bombers” for a reason, I think everyone would just rather them win on however they get runs scored in that game. I don’t think any less (or for that matter any more) of the team when they get home runs versus when they score via small ball (like RBI hits, sac flies, etc.).
Someone suggested it’s a male pride thing (or just a pride thing, in general). I don’t know if that’s the case. Home runs are a big deal in the moment. They get on the highlight reels, and they excite fans in the stands. But a win is a win regardless of how the runs are scored. So if I have to choose between a win and a home run, I don’t know one professional ball player that would choose a home run.
Because your team can score the most home runs all season long, but if they don’t have the most wins, they’re joining you with watching October baseball rather than playing it.
To be fair, I could use a little more run scored, and I do like it when they smack one out of the park. But that’s only important if that adds up to wins. Otherwise, you’re just building personal statistics. And baseball is a team sport for a reason.