Game 44: TOR vs. NYY — #NastyNate vs. the Knuckleball

Let’s just say that there’s a reason tonight’s starter has been dubbed “Nasty Nate”. In the first game of the mid-week series against the visiting Blue Jays, the Yankees began their brief home stand (brief as in just this 3-game series) behind Nathan Eovaldi, easily one of the more successful starters on their rotation. Tonight was no exception.

Eovaldi threw 100 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up just 2 hits and 3 walks, keeping the Blue Jays scoreless, and striking out 5 Toronto batters. The lineup didn’t get very far with much of anything tonight while Eovaldi was on the mound. Eovaldi was allowed to go into the 7th inning, but after walking the lead-off batter, it was time to turn over the ball to the reliable bullpen. Starting with Betances who breezed through the 7th inning in three outs, including 2 strikeouts. Yates and Cessa then finished off the game with an inning a piece, keeping the Blue Jays scoreless and carving their own niches into the increasingly reliable bullpen.

The Yankees faced the well-known knuckleballer today. And the funny thing about this particular pitcher is that some days, he’s practically unstoppable. And some days, he’s basically just throwing batting practice. Tonight was the latter kind of day (though to be fair, he did strike out 7 Yankee batters on his own tonight).

In the 1st inning, Ellsbury hit a lead-off triple and then scored on Carlos Beltran’s grounder into a force out. Beltran then hit a lead-off solo home run in the 4th inning. And in the 7th, Ackley led-off with a single, moved to 2nd and then 3rd on a couple of ground outs, and then scored on Austin Romine’s ground-rule double. That would be it for the Blue Jays’ starter.

The first reliever gave up a nice single to Jacoby Ellsbury to scored Didi Gregorius to add to the Yankees lead. The next reliever loaded up the bases with a single and 2 walks before a force ground out got the lead runner (Teixeira) going home, but kept the bases loaded. Another reliever gave up a sacrifice fly to Chase Headley to score Beltran and a single to Gregorius to score Hicks to cap off the Yankees’ scoring for the night.

And it would be a fairly nice shutout this nice evening in the Bronx. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night in the City.

Final score: 6-0 Yankees

Alex Rodriguez was about 70 miles southwest tonight with his rehab start with the AA farm team, the Trenton Thunder. He went 2-for-4, with an RBI tonight, coming off an oblique injury. Luis Severino will head to Tampa for his rehab start soon, which leads to many conversations about the possibility of a 6-man rotation. I mean, who would you demote or put in the bullpen after this recent upswing and 6-game winning streak? (Yet another decision I’m glad I’m not responsible for making…)

Coming up in June: HOPE Week (June 6-10) and Old Timers’ Day (June 12). Some great things are happening once the Yankees return home again after this final home stand this month.

Go Yankees!

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