Game 74: MIN vs. NYY — Tex & defense not strong enough against home runs

Sweep denied. Despite what was really a mostly average pitching game for the Yankees (as sad as that sounds right now), and a fantastically stellar defense (led by Mark Teixeira and Aaron Hicks), there’s not much you can do when all the runs in the game are scored off home runs.

I once heard a pitcher talking about the reality of home runs from a pitching perspective. A pitcher wants to throw strikes; a batter wants to convert those strikes to hits and runs. So that’s going to happen on occasion when those two desires collide, the pitcher gives up those home runs. It’s just unfortunate when it happens to happen more than once or twice in a game. It’s just awful when that’s basically the game for the starting pitcher.

Such was Nathan Eovaldi’s afternoon against the Twins in the series finale. The Yankees were going for the sweep, but it clearly wasn’t going to happen for this series. Eovaldi threw 92 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs, stirking out just 4 Twins batters. Like I said before, all of the runs in this game were scored on home runs. A 1-out solo home run in the 3rd inning kicked things off, but as Eovaldi kind of had the game under control for a while, it wasn’t that bad.

But then in the 6th inning, the Twins’ just surged. A lead-off single was caught stealing by the alert Brian McCann behind the plate. So with 2 outs and a walk, the Twins proceeded to hit 3 consecutive home runs (a 2-run and 2 solos) to solidify their lead over the Yankees this afternoon. Needless to say, Eovaldi’s afternoon was over.

Recently returned to the Bronx, Luis Cessa threw the 7th inning and followed suit by giving up a 2-out solo home run to push the Twins up even further. Cessa returned for the 8th for a couple of easy outs before Richard Bleier closed out that inning with a strikeout. Kirby Yates closed out the game for the Yankees and added his own allowed solo home run to the mix.

The Yankees’ offense wasn’t much this inning — a 6th inning double by Aaron Hicks broke up the Twins’ starter’s no-hitter bid, and a lead-off solo home run by Mark Teixeira in the 8th. To be fair, the Twins’ starter was very, very good today, and the Yankees just couldn’t get anything off him save Teixeira’s homer and 8 total strikeouts.

Final score: 7-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

Scranton Shuttle: For the sake of a fresh arm, Nick Goody was sent back to AAA Scranton. In his place, the Yankees recalled Luis Cessa, who promptly pitched in today’s game.

Next up: the Yankees host the Texas Rangers for a 4-game series before heading out of the road next weekend to the West Coast. And with the Yankees back at .500, the Yankees will need to go at least 50-38 for the rest of the season to match their record for last year. But sometimes, the All-Star Break is exactly what the team needs to rest and regroup and push forward into focusing on finishing stronger. It may be just what is needed this season. But only time will tell, as it always does.

Go Yankees!

{Media Note: writing on the road in hotels, airports, and planes isn’t exactly allowing for easy and consistent wifi. I will add in the links before the next game when I know I will have good wifi again. Not that it was much to see today, but sorry!}

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