The Yankees stumbled out of the gate in 2014 by losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Astros, mainly because their offense didn't produce and they scored a total of 7 runs in the 3 games. 120 games later, they found themselves hosting Houston in an almost identical situation. Despite taking 2 of 3 from Tampa over the weekend, the offense continues to be laughable in its day-to-day production and Joe rolled out another different lineup tonight against lefty Brett Oberholtzer looking to spark something that could lead to more than 4 runs. It didn't, and some shaky bookend pitching led to another disappointing loss against an inferior opponent.
Yankee starter Chris Capuano was a slightly better version of his usual self over the first 4 innings. He put exactly one runner on base in each frame and missed the strike zone by a lot on occasion, but was mixing his pitches well and keeping the young/over-aggressive Houston lineup off balance on his way to 6 strikeouts.
The Yankee lineup was happy to match Capuano's zeros against Oberholtzer the first time through the order until Joe's lineup changes led to the first runs of the night in the 4th. Martin Prado, hitting 6th, stroked a single to left with 2 outs, setting the table for the 7th-hitting Brian McCann. McCann went down 0-2 and then got a hanging curveball that he deposited into the right field second deck for his 14th home run of the year and a 2-0 lead.
Capuano cruised to a quick 2 outs in the 5th, then it seemed like he started to hit the wall. A double and a bloop single brought home the first Houston run to cut the lead in half and he walked Jose Altuve on 5 pitches before getting the third out. Dexter Fowler smoked a leadoff triple on a hanging slider in the 6th and scored on an RBI groundout to tie the game, and a pair of consecutive singles by the following 2 batters brought Capuano's night to an abrupt end after 5.1 innings. Adam Warren got the call and continued to look completely shot, giving up the go-ahead 2-run single to somebody named Marwin Gonzalez on a flat slider of his own.
It didn't take long for the Yankee offense to bounce back from the lost lead. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to lead off the bottom of the 6th, Carlos Beltran worked a 1-out walk, and Prado delivered with a 2-run double to left against a tiring Oberholtzer to drive him from the game. They had a chance to grab the lead in the 8th when Ellsbury singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error, but he was gunned down at home trying to score on a Beltran grounder.
Shawn Kelley and Dellin Betances combined to strike out 4 in 2 scoreless innings to get the ball to D-Rob, and for the first time since the end of July he didn't have it. He walked 2 straight with 1 out before grooving a 3-0 fastball to Chris Carter that Carter hit for the eventual game-winning 3-run home run. A 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th sealed the deal.
- McCann's homer was his 6th of the year against left-handed pitching. He's absolutely eaten southpaws alive this year and been really, really horrible against righties. Go figure.
- Strange night for Capuano. He looked good when he got to 2 outs in the 5th and then 6 of the final 8 batters he faced reached base. Ended up throwing 103 pitches though, so kudos to the 'Stros for working him hard.
- Another nice game for Prado, who may be starting to come around with the stick. He's got 6 hits (2 HR), 3 R, and 4 RBI in his last 3 games.
- Ellsbury also had a 3-hit night. Nice to see that after a tough weekend for him in Tampa.
- Beltran was 0-3 with the walk and run scored. He has 1 hit in his last 28 at-bats dating back to 8/9.
- The Carter homer was the first off Robertson since the June 1st blowup against the Twins. Really bad timing, but it happens.