Fresh off of taking three out of four games on the road against the Twins, the Yankees returned home to face last weeks midweek opponent, the Colorado Rockies. The Yankees lost both games of the short series last week and were hoping for different results this time out. The team came into the series at 34-35, 6.0 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles.
Digging an early hole
The Yankees would send Ivan Nova to the hill on Tuesday looking to get the righty back on track after a series of bad starts had sent his ERA northward towards the 5.00 mark. Nova would get off to a rough start in this one as he would allow a home run to Charlie Blackmon on the third pitch of the game. A couple of infield singles, an error, and a fielder’s choice led to a 3-0 deficit before the Yankees came to bat.
Nova was pretty meh on this night, which has been par for the course for him lately. Yes, there was some sloppy play behind him, but he has been his own worst enemy. Too many hanging curveballs, home runs, baserunners, etc, etc. He would only last 4.0 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs. And two home runs to Blackmon, who has been a tough out for the Yankees in the past week. That makes 27 runs given up in his last 34 innings and an ERA that has now ballooned to 5.18 on the season.
The offense was not much better and was not able to produce enough to overcome Nova’s pitching, even though they would manage ten hits for the game. 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position with 7 left on base. End of discussion. Ballgame over. Gardner, Beltran, Didi, and Refsnyder would have two hits apiece.
The bullpen would manage to cobble together five innings of two run baseball to keep it from getting out of hand, but in the end the Rockies would end up winning 8-4. It will be C.C. to the rescue on Wednesday afternoon as the two game set comes to a close.
Everybody loves a walkoff
In a game of large lead changes, Sabathia would manage to pitch his worst game of the year. Unable to command location on his pitches, C.C.’s line of 4.1 IP, 7H, 6R, 5 ER, 2BB, 3Ks was pretty ugly. He managed to wiggle out of trouble right away in the first inning with the aid of Gardner throwing out a runner at the plate. Things would unravel for him beginning in the third inning, however. This was despite being staked to a 4-0 lead courtesy of a Chase Headley grand slam.
C.C.’s own throwing error would help lead to two Rockies runs in the third. Nick Hundley would crush a 3-run homer in the fourth and after a leadoff walk in the fifth, he would exit the game. Anthony Swarzak was pretty ineffective as he would promptly give up a double and home run and suddenly the Rockies had turned the deficit into an 8-4 lead. Things suddenly looked like deja vu from the week prior.
The Yankees would make a comeback in the seventh marked by Beltran’s 3-run home run and Didi’s RBI single that would tie things at 8 apiece. The Big Three in the bullpen would do their job by striking out six in three scoreless innings. This would set up the walkoff heroics from Starlin Castro on Jason Motte‘s first pitch in the bottom of the ninth.
The 9-8 win would salvage a split of the two games with the Rockies and leave them at 35-36, still 6.0 games behind the Orioles. The team has wavered back and forth just above and below the .500 mark for weeks now. There definitely have been missed opportunities to put pressure on the top three in the division. At times the Yankees have had the look of a team capable of going on a streak of winning baseball and at times they have looked not so good. At the end of the day these inconsistencies add up to, well, average. Which is a pretty good description of this club right now. After the second off day of the week, a three game set against the Twins awaits this weekend.