Game 101: NYY vs. HOU — 15 strikeouts stop Yankees sweep

So, Houston finally proved why it’s one of the better teams in the AL West tonight. Honestly, it was rather impressive to watch their pitchers command the game. It’s just unfortunate the batters swinging away at those pitches happened to be wearing Yankee away greys.

Anyway, Masahiro Tanaka had a bit of an off-night. And that sounds funny to say because if you look at his stats, they aren’t really that bad in the long run. But we’re so used to Tanaka being near-flawless that any kinks in his outing seem rather drastic and dramatic. Over just 5 innings, Tanaka exhausted 94 pitches, giving up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and striking out just 4 Houston batters. In the 2nd, with 1 out and 2 runners on base with those 2 walks, a single scored the lead runner and a stolen base precariously put runners in scoring position. But Tanaka pitched his way out of trouble and kept the Astros to that lone run in the 2nd.

But in the 3rd, the Astros came back and attacked. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a ground out and then onto 3rd on an errant wild pitch before scoring on a single. But then a solid 2-run home run gave the Astros a hefty lead in the first third of the game. The Houston crowd seemed rather pumped, something that was certainly missing over the last two nights.

Tanaka handed the game off to Adam Warren, back in his #43 Yankee uniform once again, and slid into the game like a hand into an old glove. Just 7 pitches in the 6th inning, and Warren shut down the Astros before Luis Severino came out for a 2-inning outing, his first from the bullpen this year. He too breezed his way through the Astros’ line-up, adding 3 strikeouts of his own to the Yankees’ total.

And the Yankee offensive contribution was simply stymied by the Houston pitchers tonight. Their starter alone struck out 10 Yankee batters. Without Brian McCann’s monster lead-off home run in the 4th, the Yankees would’ve been blanked tonight. They really didn’t get many opportunities to do much more than that all evening.

Final score: 4-1 Astros, Yankees win series 2-1.

Also, today was Alex Rodriguez’s 41st birthday, and for his birthday gift, he got to watch the Yankees lose from the bench. Actually, it’s always a toss-up. Do you play and then contribute nothing to the loss and feel bad on your birthday? Or do you watch and cheer on your teammates but not feel personally bad because you didn’t do anything to add to the loss? Or (and most likely) do you imagine that you could’ve done something to help turn things around and wish they would’ve let you play? Yeah, that’s the one. Tough call. But Rodriguez isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so there are many opportunities to contribute to more Yankee wins in the future! And a happy birthday to him!

The Yankees are now on their way to Tampa for their weekend series there. They take a travel day tomorrow to fly across the Gulf, so they can rest up for the coming weekend. The Rays are the only team in the AL East that rank lower than the Yankees, so fingers crossed for some advancing in the standing for the Yankees following this series.

Go Yankees!

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