I'm sure people will say that my quick post about the Yankees beating up on some of the AL's best aces was a guaranteed jinx for their chances in this afternoon's series finale against Detroit, and maybe it was. But then this is why this team has been so maddening to follow and write about this season. They look like world beaters against one of the best pitchers on the planet one day, they can't scratch more than 2 across against a rookie and a collection of B-team relievers. That was a big body blow series loss.
I feel like I write the same basic thing about Hiroki Kuroda for every start he makes. He was pretty good, not great, gave up a few runs on a few hits in a few bad innings and he was out after 6+. That was the script again today. 2 Detroit singles and a sac fly got them their first run in the 2nd, and Rajai Davis put a good swing on a sinker on the outer half with 2 outs in the 5th to drive home the second run. In his other 5 innings, Hirok was spotless with only 2 hits against him. Typical Hirok. Even got the bonus inning in the 7th.
The Yankees were a lot of all or nothing as well in their first 6 innings against rookie starter Kyle Lobstein. They put a run on the board in the 3rd (Zelous Wheeler single, error, Jacoby Ellsbury RBI single) and 4th (Martin Prado single, Carlos Beltran double, Brian McCann ribbie groundout), and sent the minimum number of batters to the plate in the other 4 frames. Lobstein didn't record a single strikeout, so it's hard to give him too much credit. The bats just didn't show again.
Joe has a well-rested bullpen, so it was strange to see him not go to David Robertson to keep the Tigers off the board in the bottom of the 9th after using Betances for the 8th. Shawn Kelley got the nod instead and he turned a messy situation (leadoff double and walk to the Martinezes) into a potential brass balls escape situation (2 straight strikeouts) and then a walk-off loss situation when he hung a first-pitch slider to Alex Avila. Avila knocked it off the wall in right-center for the game-winning Detroit hit. Losing the game with your 3rd-4th best reliever on the mound while your best waits in the bullpen is a terrible way to go down in a playoff race.
- Ellsbury has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, and those 10 are split into 2 separate 5-game hitting streaks. I like the recent one in which he has 10 hits, 3 homers, and 7 RBI better.
- Good to see the real Dellin Betances back on the hill today. 1 inning, 13 pitches, 7 strikes, 2 strikeouts. Welcome back, guy.
- Horrific day at the plate for Big Mac. Grounded into a double play to end the 2nd, grounded out with runners on second and third with 1 out in the 4th, struck out swinging on 4 pitches with the go-ahead run on third in the 9th. Not even 2 steps forward, 1 step back for him anymore. It's more like 1.5 steps forward, 2 steps back.
- 6 ER, 4 BB, 11 K over 19.2 innings for Hirok in his last 3 starts. Guess that late-season regression scare was nothing more than that.
- Seriously, I really don't see how Joe can justify not using D-Rob in the 9th. I'm going to have to sleep on that and see how it sits with me in the morning.