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PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 18: Nathan Eovaldi #30 of the New York Yankees gets ready to deliver a first inning pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 18, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Yankees won 4-2. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Stung in the desert: New York Yankees vs DBacks series recap

The Yankees began a seven game trip to the West Coast with a stop in Arizona to face the Diamondbacks.  The Yankees were coming off of a ten game homestand that saw them win seven games and the offense began to come to life.  A few injuries were beginning to mount, but the hope was to keep their winning form on this short trip.

Well, that was a dud

Chad Green would get the start in the series opener for the Yankees, making his major league debut.  Green, acquired from the Detroit Tigers in the offseason in the Justin Wilson deal, was working in place of the injured Luis Severino.  Other than a home run given up to Paul Goldschmidt, Green looked respectable through four innings of work.  The fifth inning would be his undoing, however.  A dropped throw on a bunt, a walk, a three-run home run, and a double would put an end to his evening.  Green would allow six runs on eight hits in four-plus innings with five strikeouts.

Green showed a lively fastball that was consistently clocked in the mid-90s, but his slider seems to be his only offspeed offering.  And on Monday, it was not good enough.  He will need to work on a second offspeed pitch to be effective at the big league level.  A quick look at the at-bat of Jake Lamb in the fifth inning that helped end his debut shows he got ahead in the count quickly 0-2.  But the lack of an out pitch allowed Lamb to work the count back to 3-2 and from there he just sat on a fastball for a 3-run jack.

Before the fifth inning, the Yankee offense had managed to tie the game at 2-2.  In the fourth inning, they strung together three hits in a row to get one run, but were foiled from doing further damage by Green striking out with the bases loaded.  Jacoby Ellsbury tripled in the next inning and scored when the throw bounced off his helmet and went into the stands as he slid into third.

The Diamondbacks would come up with all the run support they needed in the fifth.  Nick Goody, Conor Mullee, and Phil Coke would finish the game in mop up duty, with Mullee making his major league debut as well.  The offense couldn’t come up with anything else as well and the Yankees dropped the opener 12-2.

Can’t find that elusive third out

Michael Pineda made the start on Tuesday night, looking to overcome two serious issues that had been plaguing the big right-hander.  The first inning has been a struggle for Pineda in 2016 as he came into this outing with an incredibly horrible 13.50 ERA in the first frame.  He would give up a pair of singles in this one, but would come back to pick off a runner and strikeout two to get out unscathed.

Pineda’s other issue this season has been getting the third out in an inning and that one was alive and well in this game.  Opponents are batting .447/.448/.882 against Pineda with two outs.  The DBacks would score a run in the second inning after the first two batters made outs.  Arizona would tag Pineda pretty hard and he would exit after five innings.  9 hits and 5 runs could not be offset by his 9 strikeouts.  Pineda has a season ERA of 6.60.  He’s not fooling anybody and seems to have a concentration issue with two strike counts and with two outs in an inning.

The Yankee offense didn’t have much to say early against Zack Greinke as Starlin Castro‘s solo home run would be the only real blemish in the first seven innings.  The Yankees would start a rally in the eighth by scoring a pair of runs to pull within two, but Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira would both strikeout to end the inning with a runner on.  Didi Gregorius would end the game with a groundout as the tying run.

The final score of 5-3 would end the Yankees string of series wins at three and mean Nathan Eovaldi would go to the hill on Wednesday trying to play the role of stopper and keep the team from getting swept.

Nasty Nate saves the day

Eovaldi was on point on Wednesday night and helped the Yankees salvage one of the three games in the series.  In six innings of work, Eovaldi gave up only a leadoff “double” to Jean Segura and would retire the last 18 batters that he would face.  Segura’s hit was a ground ball that deflected off of second base and as the ball trickled into left field, he used his speed to make it into second.  He would come around to score on a pair of groundouts.

Eovaldi was completely in control in this one.  10 of his outs were generated from ground balls.  Five strikeouts and 85 pitches in his six innings.  The Yankees have been looking for length from their starters and this may have looked on the surface as an opportunity for just that.  But, with the weapons in the bullpen and “the formula” in place with a 3-1 lead, Girardi probably made the right call.  Get the “W” and get out of town.  Eovaldi still has the “times through the order penalty” mystique working against him in 2016.  The third time through, opponents are batting .319 with a 1.011 OPS.  That’s more than enough info to make the decision to bring out the arsenal to finish the game off.

Offensively, the Yankees got things going right away.  Ellsbury would lead off with a walk and Gardner would deposit a 1-2 pitch from Shelby Miller in the right field seats for a 2-0 lead.  Ellsbury would later drive in a run on a single in the sixth and score the final run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch.  The table setters at the top of the order would combine to go 5-for-8 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI.

Andrew Miller would cough up a solo home run to Chris Owings in the eighth but the Yankees would take this one 4-2.  They head to Oakland for a four game set against the suddenly resurgent and homer happy A’s.