(Courtesy of the AP)
This has been a strange week. Off-day Monday, bad game Tuesday, rainout yesterday. It's been hard to get into a good writing rhythm, so I can't imagine what it's like for the guys who have to actually try to hit a baseball being thrown at them at 90+ MPH all the time. Hopefully the Yankees weren't rusty. They can't afford to be with the way they're swinging the bats and their margin for error wasn't going to be very big if Hiroki Kuroda hadn't figured out his command issues from his last start. The bats didn't wake up, Hirok didn't completely figure it out, and the series ended in disappointing fashion, a quasi-sweep at the hands of the Mariners.
- The teams traded 1st inning runs on a Robinson Cano ribbie double and Jacoby Ellsbury's first Yankee home run to lead off the bottom of the 1st. They also traded rally-killing double plays in the 2nd, then Cano regained the lead with his club thanks to a Derek Jeter fielding error to start the 3rd.
- Kuroda's slider command was absent again, and his splitter being off made matters worse. He left a few up in the zone with 2 outs in the 4th and it led to 2 more Seattle runs.
- Seattle starter Roenis Elias really settled down nicely after the Ellsbury leadoff HR. He struck out the side after that in the 1st and struck out 8 total through 5 innings, including the side again in the 5th. Yanks couldn't do a thing with his curveball.
- Kuroda finished with 6 straight outs and 3 Ks and his night was over after 6 innings. The bullpen came on and did its job keeping the game within reach as Matt Thornton, Adam Warren, and Shawn Kelley combined for 3 shutout innings.
- The Yanks tacked another run on in the 6th thanks to a pair of 2-out singles and a Cano error, but that was all they could muster against Elias, who went 7 strong. So much for having the advantage of missing King Felix.
- They didn't fare much better against the bullpen. A 2-out Ichiro single in the 9th was all they could conjur up for a late-game rally.
- Ellsbury: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K. First home run in pinstripes. That's worthy of a "huzzah!"
- Mark Teixeira: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 LOB. Got on base twice. That's something I guess.
- Kuroda: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 7 K. Not a horrible line by any means. It actually could have been worse. Overall, Kuroda's stuff and command were both better last night. The 7 strikeouts were a really good sign given his low K rate early on. He still hasn't fully found his slider though, and it was the misses with that and his splitter in key at-bats that made the difference.
- Brian Roberts: 0-3, 2 K, 2 LOB. Yeah no, he should definitely keep playing over Kelly Johnson. Totally worth it to see if he ever picks it up.
The Rays come to town for a weekend series and maybe the Yankee bats can wake up against David Price, who they crushed last time in Tampa. Vidal Nuno gets the ball for New York tonight.