(Courtesy of the AP)
It was an ugly finish to the season-opening home series. The Yanks lost 2 in a row to Baltimore, 1 by way of blowout and the other by 9th inning pitching meltdown, fell out of the brief lead they held in the division, and dipped back below .500. They could have used a series-opening win against the Red Sox as a way to get things going in the right direction again. They had Michael Pineda and a very short bullpen with no Kelley or Warren, not necessarily an ideal pitching situation against the dangerous Boston lineup. As it turned it out, it ended up being just dandy.
- He gave up a few hard hit balls in the 1st, but Pineda settled in nicely and rolled through the Boston lineup the first time through. Mixing 4-seamers, cutters, and sliders, he didn't allow a single hit and struck out 4 through 3.
- A fielding error to start the bottom of the 4th opened the door for the Yankees, and it was the big hitters in the middle who put a run together. Carlos Beltran singled through the shift to put runners on the corners and Brian McCann yanked one inside the bag to plate a run. An Alfonso Soriano GIDP made it 2-0.
- Hand substance or no hand substance. Pineda was nasty through 6. He only gave up 2 hits, struck out 3 more, and even started using his changeup a little bit.
- So obviously we all thought Dean Anna was going to hit his first HR of the season before McCann, right? He did with 1 down in the 5th, starting another 2-run Yankee inning that ended with a Jacoby Ellsbury RBI single.
- Joe let Pineda start the 7th, but he ran out of gas quickly and it showed when he hung a cutter up to Daniel Nava that Nava hit for a solo HR. 1 more hit and it was over for Pineda and on to the bullpen. Cesar Cabral struck out the 2 batters he faced and handed it over to David Phelps, who cruised through the final 2.1 innings in order to get his first career save.
- Pineda: 6+ IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. All the talk today is going to be about what was on his hand. It should be about how nasty he was. You could tell he was amped up because he came out firing 94, 95, 96 in the 1st inning, then he settled down to low 90s for the rest of the night. The slider was electric though, almost unhittable, and he mixed his cutters and 4-seamers well. This was the Pineda the Yanks were hoping to get when they traded for him.
- Anna: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. When you hit your first Major League home run, you get your props after the game.
- Phelps: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Flawless. As bad as he looked in his first 2 outings, that's how good Phelps has looked in his last 2. He was commanding everything last night and he mixed pitches very well. A quick turnaround from Phelps is exactly what this bullpen needs to survive without D-Rob.
- Alfonso Soriano: 0-3, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1 LOB. Didn't really have any good at-bats. Too overaggressive.
It's lefty ace versus lefty ace when CC Sabathia and Jon Lester square off tonight. Let's make it 2, huh?