To be fair, this was quite a pitching duel this Sunday afternoon. Nathan Eovaldi faced off with one of the Rays’ better starters. (There are 3 on their rotation, and the Yankees faced all 3 this weekend.) And neither the Rays nor the Yankees were willing to give up the win for the weekend, and today’s game was certainly proof of this.
Eovaldi started today’s game, and while it wasn’t his best outing, it was still pretty good in the scheme of things. He threw 105 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and a single run, and striking out 7 Rays batters. The lone run he gave up came in the 3rd inning — a 1-out single moved to 2nd on a ground out, then 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on a single. But other than that, there was minimal allowance for the Rays to add to their small score.
The Yankees on the other hand seemed quite stymied by the Rays starter today for much of the game. He was actually throwing a no-hitter for the first half. The Yankees got their first base runner in the 6th inning due to a throwing error on Dustin Ackley, which was challenged but the call stood (there wasn’t enough to overturn it). But an easy double play ended that hope.
Then in the 7th, Gardner worked a 1-out walk to get the first legitimate base runner. Then the Rays gave up their lone hit of the day to Starlin Castro. It just happened to be a 2-run home run into that “Ducky” section of left-center field. But that would be it for the Yankees’ offense.
And for some crazy reason, that was all they needed in the end.
Okay, that reason was easy — the “Warriors Three”. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman just plowed their way through the next 9 outs to close out the game and deliver a win and the series to the Yankees, ultimately dominating with a total of 14 strikeouts (including Eovaldi’s 6). It was like the perfect example as to why the Yankees compiled the “Warriors Three” in the first place.
Final score: 2-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.
Injury update: Dustin Ackley, who’s been featured often at 1st base to cover Teixeira during his rest and recovery from neck spasms, jammed his shoulder on a sliding dive back to 1st today (after reaching on that error in the 6th). He will stay in Tampa for an MRI to determine whether he will be headed to the DL or just a few days rest. He said he felt it “pop out of place” for a moment. Yeah, take a couple of days to rest that one.
Like I said, Mark Teixeira has been out for a few games when his neck started acting up with spasms, leading to not being able to even turn his head at times. But between rest and treatment with cortisone shots, Teixeira was initially thought to come back into the lineup today. But they gave him an extra day. That is until Ackley came out of the game in the 7th inning with his own issues. Suddenly, a Sunday return for Teixeira wasn’t off-the-table, but a reality, and he played the rest of the game at 1st.
And Carlos Beltran came out of yesterday’s game, mostly because the score spread was so large, but also because he felt a weird tightness near his scapula (the shoulder blade). So they opted to rest him today, and all seems well enough for him to be back in the lineup in Toronto tomorrow.
Luis Severino was officially sent to his rehab assignment with the Single-A Tampa Yankees tonight across the state on the other coast. He is scheduled to throw about 50-60 pitches. He’s still on the DL due to his triceps strain, which may or may not have been the cause of his recent pitching struggles (depending on who you talk to). He would technically be available to pitch in Detroit for the Yankees, but I doubt they will want to risk a short rehab start on the young pitcher who’s been through quite a few struggles this season.
Anyway, the Yankees are headed up to Toronto now for their series against the Blue Jays, a quick game against the Tigers to make-up for the “snow-out” from earlier this season, and then ending the away trip in Baltimore. It’s going to be a long week, but today’s result gave them some hope to continue their upwards climb in the division standings (against their division rivals).