This week’s Yankees-Marlins series can be characterized by one simple word: unpredictable. The teams played four games, split between New York and Miami, and the dichotomy present doesn’t stop there. Both teams had their moments of clarity and precision, however also present was sloppy, lopsided play.
The first two games, played in and won by Miami, were polar opposites of each other. In the first game, Bronx product Tom Koehler outdueled Masahiro Tanaka for 7 innings for a 2-1 win. Koehler allowed just 3 hits and 1 run through 7 innings, striking out 5 and walking 2. Adeiny Hechavarria tied the game in the 2nd with a run-scoring single. Derek Dietrich broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 7th with a solo shot off of Tanaka. Altogether, the Marlins collected 10 hits, including 2 apiece from former Yankee Ichiro Suzuki, Christian Yelich, Dietrich, and Hechavarria.
Tanaka was almost as impressive. He allowed 2 runs on 9 hits in 7 innings, but couldn’t get any offensive support. Didi Gregorius had 2 hits and Mark Teixeira had a solo homer in the second, and that’s it. The Yankees could only get 2 runners into scoring position and failed to get both home.
Tuesday night was just plain horrible. A 12-2 Yankees loss began with a matchup of flip-flopped starters. Nathan Eovaldi of the Yanks and David Phelps of the Marlins faced their former teams after being swapped in the same trade last December. Eovaldi got just two outs and was pulled after giving up 8 runs, and the rout was on. Miami hit just one home run, Giancarlo Stanton‘s 3-run blast in the 5th, but hit .500 in 18 at bats with RISP and amassed 16 hits. Dee Gordon led the way with 3 hits, and Yelich, Dietrich, and Hechavarria each had another multi-hit game.
Phelps went 7, giving up just 2 runs. Mason Williams had a pinch-hit RBI double in the 7th, an inning after Brian McCann had an RBI single to get the Yankees on the board. Chris Capuano saved the bullpen, coming in after Eovaldi’s meltdown, giving up only 2 runs in 4 relief innings. Defensively, the Yankees did not commit an error in an otherwise unenthusiastic performance.
The ship was righted on Wednesday night. Starter Michael Pineda took a no-hitter into the 7th and struck out 9 and allowed only one hit, a solo home run to Yelich in a 2-1 win. That was all the offense allowed by the Yankees’ bullpen, which consisted of Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances, who got 5 outs to record his fourth save of the year.
Jose Urena pitched well, but allowed 4 walks and 6 hits in 6 innings. Alex Rodriguez collected hits 2,996 and 2,997 of his career and RBI number 2,002 in the first inning. Carlos Beltran also had two hits and an RBI to scrap out a win in a pitcher’s duel.
Parity was returned on Thursday, as the Yankees took the final game 7-3 at home. CC Sabathia was substantially better than he has been all season thus far, giving up only 3 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. The big plus for Sabathia tonight is that he walked none and struck out 7, showing an uptick in confidence that had been lacking until today. The only major blemish on his night was a solo home run by Stanton. Otherwise, the Marlins could only score on a groundout by Christian Yelich and a sacrifice fly by Jeff Mathis.
Alex Rodriguez got the offense going in the first with an RBI single, one of his two hits to push him onto the ledge with 2,999 hits (reliever Sam Dyson walked him in the 9th). They remained quiet until the later innings, when they scored 2 in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and 4 in the 8th. Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran homered, and Brian McCann had 3 hits and an RBI. Mason Williams continued his hot first stint with the big league club with two doubles. The Yankees bullpen was lights out, allowing 1 run in the final 3 innings.
After a sluggish start, the Yankees were able to pick it up in the home portion of the set both offensively and on the mound. Here are some takeaways from the last four days:
Offensive MVP: Alex Rodriguez- 4 for 7, 2 RBI, 2,999 career hits.
Offensive Slug: Stephen Drew– 0-10 in the series.
Pitcher of the Series: Michael Pineda– Took a no-hitter into the 7th in a turning-point win.
Pitching Nightmare: Nathan Eovaldi– 2/3 of an inning, 9 hits, 8 runs.