Following the New York Yankees’ seventh straight Opening Day loss they looked to even up the series with Michael Pineda on the mound Wednesday night.
While Collin McHugh had a 19-win season in 2015, Pineda had a very inconsistent 2015 campaign and starting 2016 with a win would be exactly what he needed. Pineda did start off a little sloppy. Batters were making solid contact which would include Carlos Correa going yard in the very first inning. Luckily the Yankees would have their go on McHugh in the first inning as well.
There’s been a lot of doubt about this lineup and rightfully so with their age and health, but having veterans fill out your lineup can be extremely useful. The Yankees were the best first-inning team for most of the season last year. After a rather quiet night against Dallas Kuechel they needed to get back to the same offense they had last season. It’s safe to say they did that.
The first inning started with Jacoby Ellsbury reaching on catcher’s interference, something that happened three times last season alone to Ells. He does lean back a little with his swing so that explains why this happens more to him than others. After that Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez reached on walks to load the bases. Alex had an 0-2 count and made it back to draw the walk after looking at pitches low and away (a pitch he usually struggles on). With the bases loaded Mark Teixeira would single to right and drive in Ellsbury. Brian McCann would then also hit a shot to right for a double making it 3-1. Carlos Beltran would have a productive out driving in a run as well.
After Chase Headley followed with an RBI single up the middle Collin McHugh’s day would be over. He pitched 0.1 of an inning and gave up three hits, two walks, and five ERs. Michael Feliz would replace him, however, that wouldn’t stop the Yankees from scoring even more. After Headley to get to second, Starlin Castro would continue making Yankees fans fall for him. He’d rack in another RBI on a single. After Didi Gregorius hitting a single to right and a Brett Gardner walk the bases would be loaded again for Arod. However, he’d very angrily pop-out as he just got under the ball.
The bottom of the inning would go on for 36 minutes and the score would be 6-1. This was the best possible thing that could happen for the Yankees following yesterday. It also shows they can in fact repeat what they did last season as they ended being second in runs scored in the American League.
It’d be all fun and games for the Yankees as the five-run cushion seemed like it was more than enough. However, it’s like things are never that easy for the Yankees. Pineda would run into more trouble in the second inning. After a single by Luis Valbuena, a double by Preston Tucker, and Pineda hitting Jose Altuve the bases would be loaded. Up would be George Springer who’d make it a one-run game with a grand slam to left-center field making it 6-5. The Yankees would still have the lead, but it’s not what you wanted at all from Pineda.
The hitting wouldn’t stop in the second inning for the Yankees though. A walk from McCann and single by Beltran would have two on for Starlin Castro as he’d send a shot to left-center field. That’d give Castro six RBIs on the short season and even more fan-favorite points in the Bronx. It was no secret how much Castro improved the Yankees at second base on offense and defense, but it’s hard to imagine him starting like this. He hit fifth in the Cubs playoff lineups last season and he’s only hitting eighth in the Bronx. It gives the Yankees an unreal upgrade at the bottom of the lineup where they really needed it.
After Pineda finally had a clean inning in the third it didn’t hold the Yanks’ offense up at all. Jacoby Ellsbury would single followed by Brett Gardner’s third walk of the night and Mark Teixeira would clean it up with his first homer of the season. The score would move to 12-5 after just three innings.
Pineda’s last inning would be in the fifth where he’d give up another home run to Carlos Correa who is hitting out of his mind already. Pineda would go five-full giving up eight hits, six earned, and five strikeouts. He was very much so bailed out by the Yanks’ offense which will mostly cover up this outing. He’s going to need a bounce-back game next where he’s scheduled to pitch the first of three against the Toronto Blue Jays.
After Pineda, in would come Ivan Nova making his first appearance from the bullpen.
The Yankees would keep tacking on runs as Carlos Beltran decided to get in on the fun with a monster shot to left field making it 13-6. Come the bottom of the seventh with McCann and Aaron Hicks (who replaced Beltran) on after singles, Ronald Torreyes (who replaced Chase Headley) made his Yankees 2016 debut with an RBI triple off the wall in right field. That ball would be kept for Torreyes as a memory and hopefully one of many. With Torreyes on third, Starlin Castro would continue to completely demolish the Astros. With an RBI single Castro would be at seven runners batted in for these two games. Only two other players in the MLB have seven RBIs so far, Trevor story and who else but Robinson Cano.
After Pineda, in would come Ivan Nova making his first appearance from the bullpen. He’d go four inning give up four hits and no runs. If Nova can keep this up from the bullpen it will definitely be a hole filled after Adam Warren being traded and Bryan Mitchell’s injury. It would also put more pressure on CC to perform as expected.
Tomorrow the Yankees play their rubber match against the Astros with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound and for the Astros Mike Fiers. Eovaldi had more control over his ERA before his injury and he looks to continue it into 2016. These Yankees Astros games are something to look forward to from now. Since last season the two have had tough games against each other and mostly all of them being very close. Though they are two very different teams in age it’s no doubt they could end up making this into a rivalry and also see each other again in the postseason.