Michael Pineda is back and in better than expected form for someone who hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since April. Easing him back into the rotation, Pineda threw 67 pitches over his strong 5 innings against the Orioles, allowing just 2 hits and 1 run, and striking out 4 batters. For 4 innings, Pineda was working a no-hitter, shutting down the Orioles in order with such precision. The 5th inning dented his attempt when he allowed a lead-off double, a single, and then an RBI sacrifice fly.
In the mean time, the Yankees gave him a small window of a lead in the 3rd inning. Drew led off that inning with a double, and then Francisco Cervelli planted a long 2-run home run into left-center field (just his 2nd home run of the season). After the 5th inning, the Yankees clung to their 2-1 lead for quite a while, with a much-needed win in sight.
Dellin Betances pitched the 6th and 7th innings, keeping that possibility of a win for the returning Pineda intact. But then the 8th inning happened. Betances came back for the 8th, but gave up a solo home run to tie up the game. So they called on Shawn Kelley to finish the inning. It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t until more damage was done that he finally got that the inning was over. Kelley gave up a single and a walk before hanging a perfect slider right over the plate so that the Orioles best hitter could slam a 3-run home run and blow the Yankees’ hopes for a win out of the water.
The Yankees tried to make a come back in the 9th. Teixeira worked a walk, and Beltran doubled, so Chase Headley’s groundout scored Teixeira. But one out later, the score was firmly 5-3 Orioles. Another Yankee loss in the books, and the team heads down to Florida for the weekend.
A couple of interesting plays made tonight — Martin Prado jumped at the perfect time to snag a ball right at the right field wall in the 4th inning, and the Girardi ejection in the 7th inning. The Prado jump grab is really a beautiful play, especially for someone who hasn’t spent much time in right field and is still getting used to that position. The ejection was different, as I’m not sure I agree with it. I can understand the call in theory — if the runner did step out of the base path and the throw was technically obstructed. But I don’t really agree that’s what happened and perhaps an explanation or a review (can those calls even be reviewed?) might have been a better option rather just tossing an arguing manager. I mean, it’s not 2013 anymore. Isn’t that why we asked for and got replay this year? I know I’m not the only one confused here on the replay and what is an arguable call anymore. Again, I guess it’s the big guinea pig season for all that now.
In roster news (because what post this season isn’t complete without that kind of news?)…
Brian McCann will most likely come off the DL this Saturday; I imagine that means Romine will head back to Scranton in his place.
Masahiro Tanaka’s rehab is progressing to throwing on flat ground, a big step towards his targeted September return.
After sending Bryan Mitchell back to AAA Scranton and pulling up Chris Leroux to fill the 25-man roster on Monday, to make room for the returning Pineda today, the Yankees designated Leroux for assignment.
An off-day and travel day for the team tomorrow, but at MLB, things are heating up. The race to elect the new commissioner to replace retiring Bud Selig is on, and the owners vote until they can reach a consensus (at least 23 of the 30 votes for approval). It’s quite a heated race so far, much like most political elections. It will be something to watch how this unfolds.