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Takin’ Care of Business: Yankees vs. Angels series recap

The Yankees returned home from a 10-game road trip after dropping a frustrating series vs the Orioles.  They lost late leads in the two losses and nearly blew a third.  The offense has been a similar story most of the season, full of missed opportunities.  The Angels would come in trying to find traction in their division as well.

Saved by the dinger

The Yankees hopes for getting off to a good start in the four game series would rest largely on the shoulders of Masahiro Tanaka.  Tanaka has not pitched to his usual standards recently, but still had pitched well enough to keep the team in most of these contests.  Tanaka would look very solid on Monday as he would go 7 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs.  For a while though, it appeared this performance would be wasted as the offense couldn’t get anything going against Matt Shoemaker.

With the team facing what seemed like something more than a 2-0 deficit after six innings, Brian McCann launched a solo bomb to right field and suddenly the stadium was alive.  Starlin Castro‘s solo home run to left field two pitches later gave the team new life and a tie score.  All of this with two outs in the inning.

With the bullpen doing its job in the top of the eighth, the Angels sent Shoemaker back out for the bottom half of the inning.  He would get the first two outs of the inning, but like the previous one, that was when the trouble began.  A pair of singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner put runners on first and third and brought about a pitching change.  The Angels would bring in Jose Alvarez to face Carlos Beltran and he would make them regret that decision with a three-run homer to right that would put the Yankees up 5-2 in quick turnaround fashion.

After Andrew Miller had struck out the side in the eighth, Aroldis Chapman would quickly dispatch the Angels in the ninth as the Yankees would win the series opener in exciting style.  Two-out home runs are awesome.  To do it in back-to-back innings to snatch a win after the offense had been totally silent is even better.  Tanaka once again gave the team a more than solid start and the sputtering offense got its act together just in time.

The carryover effect

The Yankees went into the second game of the series against the Angels hoping the late game offensive fireworks from game one would continue as well as hope that Michael Pineda would build on his successful outing against the Tigers last week.

The offense would jump out to a quick start in this one as Monday’s hero, Carlos Beltran, would hit a two-run shot as part of a 3-run first inning.  Austin Romine would provide the other RBI with a sacrifice fly.  Positive things would continue in the next two innings as the Yankees would take advantage of mistakes by the Angels and a spot start by former Yankee David Huff.  Starlin Castro’s second home run in as many days would give them a 5-0 lead after three innings.

Pineda used the early lead to his advantage and even retired the side in order in the first inning on only eight pitches.  His slider seems much improved and it definitely has more bite to it right now.  He is not leaving balls up in the zone as was the case early in the season.  Pineda’s only hiccup on the night would be the fifth inning, as he would allow three runs, including Kole Calhoun‘s two-run homer.  To his credit, he would settle down to go seven innings in this one.  All in all, a very respectable start giving up four hits and three runs in the outing.

The Yankees would add an insurance run in the seventh and with Chapman unavailable, the old standby of Betances and Miller would finish off the game with two effective innings.  The Yankees used good pitching and took advantage of the mistakes the Angels gave them to get an early jump on a guy making a spot start.  These are the games  you have to win and they took care of business and made it look relatively easy.  You also can’t say enough about the early season that Beltran has had, especially for a guy that is 39 years old.  He is on a current pace to hit the most home runs since his 2006 season where he hit 41.  Time to go out Wednesday and get the series win.

Blowing open a close one

The Yankees turned a back and forth game into a blowout with back-to-back four run innings on Wednesday night. The run support was definitely needed as Nathan Eovaldi didn’t have his best stuff.  Eovaldi struggled from the outset as a strikeout with the bases loaded prevented the Angels from scoring more than one run in the first inning.  Gregorio Petit continued to have a great series against the Yankees as he would take Eovaldi deep in the second on a curveball that well…didn’t curve.  That was a pitch that most major league hitters are going to do damage with.  Jefry Marte would add a second deck shot in the third to make it 4-2 Angels and the ballgame had the look of one the Yankees were going to let get away.

The Bombers would do just enough to keep the game close until the sixth inning when the flood gates would open.  Chris Parmalee, making his first start since being recalled from Scranton, hit a solo home run to tie things.  Parmalee would hit a second dinger an inning later and Carlos Beltran would keep his torrid June up with a two-run blast of his own.  For the month of June, Beltran is hitting .379 with an OPS of 1.228 with 4 home runs and 10 RBIs.  Parmalee worked the “reclamation project effect” to his advantage to go 3-for-5 and Beltran and Gardner also added three hits each.

Eovaldi didn’t have his A game on this night, but as has been the case more often than not during his tenure in the Bronx, the offense did him a solid tonight.  He lasted 5.1 innings, giving up 10 hits and 5 runs, while striking out 4.  The Yankees will go for the sweep on Thursday as Ivan Nova will try to push them back to .500 on the season.

Winning the games you should

The Yankees offense did its damage in the middle innings and Ivan Nova combined with the bullpen to dispatch of the Angels and complete a four game sweep and get back to .500 on the season.  Nova was pretty darn good up until the point that he gave up a two-run homer to Marte on the last pitch he threw.  He went 6.1 innings, giving up 6 hits and 3 runs, while striking out 5.  Nova has been a real boost since moving to the rotation.

The Yankee offense had been shut down for the first four innings against Jhoulys Chacin before erupting for five runs in the fifth.  They strung together hit after hit, including another RBI hit from Parmalee and a two-run double from Beltran.  The downside to the game came in the seventh when Parmalee would have to leave the game with an apparent hamstring injury when he stretched to catch the final out of the inning.  The bullpen would finish the game off by striking four of the eight batters they would face as the final score would be 6-3.

This would mark the second four game sweep of an AL West opponent this season, the first coming in Oakland last month.  The Yankees came out and took care of business against a team that is struggling to put together a regular pitching staff.  The top of the order has been getting the job done lately, with Gardner and Beltran being especially hot at the moment.  They have gotten back to the break even mark by beating up on non-division opponents, but still haven’t gained much ground on the first place Orioles.  The homestand continues over the weekend as the Detroit Tigers come to town.