Saturday night’s game was not a good one. I felt like our bats missed a lot of hittable pitches and our pitching was not very good either. Whitley struggled leaving too many meatballs but overall was not horrible. His mistakes were taken advantage of though with 3 dingers against. His stuff is not sharp enough to leave that many fat pitches.
Sunday saw us reverse the 6-2 win in our favor and this was on the strength of an extremely impressive box score by Pineda. In 7 innings, Pineda struck out 16 batters and didn’t walk anyone. He allowed a solo HR but came out after throwing 111 pitches in those 7 innings. Veteran readers of this blog know I have always been a big fan of Pineda; I was one of the few people who liked the controversial trade that sent Montero to Seattle for him. He is now 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA for us this year. That being said, he was not as dominant as his stat line showed today. Being able to mix in a 93-95 MPH fastball with solid breaking stuff and a sinking changeup about 9-10 MPH less than his fastball keeps teams off balance. Add the fact he doesn’t give away bases by walking batters and he will be effective. But 16 K’s was slightly more because Baltimore swung the bats terribly tonight. Again, I don’t want to downplay the effectiveness of his stuff, but there were a lot of mistakes, specifically on his breaking ball tonight that they just missed very hittable pitches.. Even in his last inning (the 7th) when his velocity had dropped to 91 MPH he hung two breaking balls and both were missed.
Regardless, not walking anyone and getting that many strikeouts is amazing; not sure I have ever seen 16 K’s with 0 walks?
As for the game, Didi and Beltran showed some signs of coming out their season long slumps with a few hits each. Though Didi was part of one of the two bad base running plays the Yankees had. On a double Didi tried to stretch it to 3rd with 2 outs (not a good idea) and Drew was on first. When Didi got thrown out he was barely tagged before Drew touched home plate. 4 mistakes in this situation. 1) the on deck batters had their hands up for Drew to stand up (which was correct but they should have been pushing him to run hard) 2) Drew needed to run hard the entire time 3) They should have held Didi at 2nd base with 2 outs 4) Didi should have either held up on his own or at least be aware enough to force a run down to guarantee the run scored (which would have been ok at 7-1 going into the 8th inning).
The other base running blunder was Gardner in the 1st inning. Because we won, nobody will say boo about it, but this was idiotic. 1st and 2nd with 2 outs, and McCann is up with a 2-0 count on him. Gardner gets a decent jump and tries to steal 3rd. The pitch is outside which made the throw easier for the catcher (and ball 3 to McCann) and Gardner was just tagged in time for the final out. Instead of a 3-0 count with 1st and 2nd we end up being out of the inning. Horrible, boneheaded judgment…especially in the first inning where pitchers can have trouble getting into any rhythm.
I know I had some negativity in a 6-2 win, but those base running mistakes can cost us in a game where the other team plays better.
Still it was fun watching Pineda today and if you would have told me we would have tallied our 20th win after 32 games I would have signed on the dotted line and been very happy! I also like that Toronto is in 3rd because I still think they are the team to worry about as our main competition in the division.