The Yankees and the Orioles are the ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball" game tonight, and as much as it pains me to have to watch with the way they're playing right now, I can't not watch them when I have the chance. So with the play on the field being of little entertainment, I figured I could try to make tonight's game a little more watchable with the first live blog since Opening Day. The Yanks send Hiroki Kuroda to the hill tonight to try to salvage something from this series. Here's the lineup that will attempt to support him:
1) Brett Gardner- CF
2) Ichiro Suzuki- RF
3) Robinson Cano- 2B
4) Travis Hafner- DH
5) Zoilo Almonte- LF
6) Lyle Overbay- 1B
7) Jayson Nix- SS
8) Chris Stewart- C
9) David Adams- 3B
First pitch is set for a little after 8 PM EST/7 PM Central. Live blog will start sometime shortly before then.
6:48 PM- Here's some pregame food for thought- Yasiel Puig entered today's game with 1.8 fWAR in 102 plate appearances. Combined, the 8 non-Gardner and non-Cano Yankee players with more than 100 PA each this season have 1.3 fWAR.
7:02 PM- Did Karl Ravech really just call it a "shark tank" at the Tampa stadium? Karl, they're the Rays for crying out loud. Come on, buddy. You're better than that.
7:09 PM- So Chris Tillman has been hot lately, huh? That's not good news for the Yankee lineup.
7:15 PM- Really nice at-bat by Cano to work a 2-out opposite field single. I really don't understand how all the ESPN talking heads can say he's expanding his strike zone while at the same time saying he's taking more walks than ever. It's one or the other, guys, and the walks are proof that he isn't expanding his strike zone.
7:17 PM- Vernon Wells with a .316 OPS since May 15th. Jeee-zus...
7:18 PM- Pronk goes down staring at the best pitch he saw in the whole at-bat and Cano is stranded to end the top of the 1st.
7:22 PM- Probably not the start Hirok was hoping for. He hung a 2-1 slider to Manny Machado and Machado SMOKED it into the left field seats. That kid is fucking good.
7:26 PM- Really nice play by Nix to rob Markakis of a single up the middle. No chance Jeter gets that any time in the last 5-6 years. I'll never be a Nix fan, but that was a certified Web Gem.
7:28 PM- Down goes Stewart! Down goes Stewart!
7:34 PM- Overbay swings through 3 fastballs for the first out of the inning in the 2nd. Not for nothing, Lyle, but they were just low 90s.
7:38 PM- 2-out hit for Stewart and the Yanks have a little first-and-third rally going with 2 outs. Too bad Adams has been as close to a guaranteed out as you can be in baseball...
7:41 PM- And he draws a walk. That'll work, Dave. Odd choice of pitches there by Tillman. Didn't locate and didn't really attack an incredibly weak hitter. Gardner needs to make him pay for that.
7:45 PM- And he does by drawing another walk. I thought he should have taken his chances and swung at the obvious 3-1 fastball. Shows what I know. Tillman all over the place with all his pitches right now; can't get his curveball down.
- 7:48 PM- He gets Ichiro to pop out to end the inning and leave the bases loaded. Yanks did enough to tie the game at 1, but as usual failed to truly capitalize on a great scoring opportunity.
- 7:52 PM- Fuckin' A, Chris Davis is good. Got a 2-1 fastball and just lined it the other way for a home run to left. Kuroda wanted to go away and didn't get quite away enough. 5 batters faced, 2 HR allowed.
- 8:01 PM- Perfect sign that this has become a bad baseball team. Hafner bloops one down the left field line and gets thrown out easily trying to stretch it to a double. Bro, you're fucking Travis Hafner. You could never run. That's just stupid.
- 8:09 PM- 3rd inning, 3rd home run given up by Kuroda, this one to Nate McLouth. Another cement mixer slider. 3-1 Baltimore.
- 8:11 PM- He follows that up with another one to Machado and helps Manny's doubles record chase. Life's tough for Hirok when he isn't commanding his slider or splitter down and that's the case tonight. He might have to go to the split earlier than usual if he wants to keep this game close.
- 8:14 PM- Couple of nice plays on hard-hit grounders by Cano and Adams ends the inning before it could really get out of hand.
- 8:34 PM- You'd think Buck Showalter had found the cure for cancer the way the ESPN guys talk him up. Who knew that finally learning to treat a clubhouse full of grown men as such would net positive results?! All hail, Buck!
- 8:38 PM- Good pitching by Tillman or more typical bad Yankee offense? Either way, he's faced the minimum through the last 3 innings after his adventurous 2nd and hasn't had to work hard to do it.
- 8:41 PM- Kuroda did start going to his splitter in the 4th inning and struck out the side. He's also started burying the slider better, so whatever he was screwing up on in the first 3 innings he appears to have fixed it.
- 8:46 PM- So are stupid baseball fans obligated to boo Manny Machado because he was a huge A-Rod fan growing up? If we're following their simpleton logic, that's how it should work, right?
- 8:48 PM- Stop jumping around at first base like an idiot, Brian Roberts. Nobody is afraid of you as a base stealing threat anymore and your poor brain can't afford to be sloshing around inside your skull more than it has to.
- 8:49 PM- Nasty sinker by Kuroda to K Machado. That's 5 strikeouts out of his last 6 outs recorded and the game stays at 3-1 through 5.
- 8:53 PM- And Robbie Cano makes it a 1-run game with a BOMB into the right-center field bleachers. Tillman got ahead 1-2 like he wanted, just made the same mistake Kuroda did twice and left a slider up.
- 9:04 PM- God I hate 21st century America. 4 people behind the screen all taking pictures of Chris Davis in the on-deck circle. Watch the game, morons!
- 9:05 PM- Slick play by Cano deep in the first base hole and out in shallow right to rob Davis of another hit. It's another 1-2-3 for Hirok.
- 9:09 PM- This is where playing with the all righty 3-man bench really hurts the Yankees. With Nix, Stewart, and Adams scheduled to face O'Day in the 7th, you'd like to have a lefty bat to go to in this situation, if for no other reason than to take the bat out of your shittier hitters' hands and force Buck to make another move. All Joe has is Wells, Romine, and Gonzalez.
- 9:12 PM- Somebody give that dumbass Baltimore fan down the left field line a Nat Sherman cigar for interfering with McLouth and giving Nix a chance to draw that walk. Thanks, guy.
- 9:14 PM- Kruk "firmly believes" that A-Rod is going to come back and play this season. Way to go out on a limb, John. Although I did half expect him to buy into all that tabloid-suggested insurance fraud garbage.
- 9:25 PM- Gardner and Ichiro pop out to end the inning. Didn't even hit a ball deep enough to advance Nix to third base.
- 9:34 PM- I knew Kuroda was going to be in trouble after losing that battle to Wieters and there it was on that hanger to Hardy. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, nobody out in the bottom of the 7th, and that's it for Hirok. This is pretty much the game right here.
- 9:43 PM- Nice arm there, Brett. Really bringing back memories of Johnny Damon's heyday in pinstripes. Wieters scores on the sac fly to make it 4-2. Can't blame that on Logan.
- 9:48 PM- Logan does the job and Ks McLouth to end the inning. All in all you have to be happy with that. Only 1 run across and the game is still within reach with Cano leading off the 8th.
- 9:56 PM- Joe and Buck match wits in the matchup game in the 8th and Buck wins both. Troy Patton got Cano to fly out and Tommy Hunter strikes out Vernon Wells on 3 pitches. No surprise on that second out.
- 10:04 PM- I hate to be a quitter, but I'm in charge of my department while the boss is on vacation this week and I've got little reason to expect the bottom of the order to come through with a comeback in the 9th. I'm going to bed. Game recap will be up tomorrow.