Building off that awesome walk-off win over the Red Sox was a fun idea for a few hours. The Yankees had one of their worst offensive showings of the season on Friday night and dropped the series opener to the Royals by the score of 1-0. Let’s recap the loss:
- Big Mike: Considering he was fighting his command and leaving the ball up in the zone early on, Michael Pineda pitched very well on Friday. He only run he allowed came after the usually reliable Chase Headley whiffed on a hard-hit ground ball, allowing Alcides Escobar to hustle a single into a double and eventually score on Norichika Aoki’s single up the middle. Pineda held Kansas City to the one unearned run on three singles in seven innings, walking none and striking out four. He retired the final eleven men he faced. It was obvious Pineda was not on top of his game in the first few innings but he figured out how to pitch effectively anyway. Very nice to see.
- Shut Down: The Yankees grabbed their biggest win of the season on Thursday night and responded with three singles and a hit batsman on Friday. They did not have a runner reach third base all night and it wasn’t until Derek Jeter singled with one out in the ninth that they had a man reach base with fewer than two outs. The Yankees did put the tying man at second that inning — pinch-runner Antoan Richardson stole second — but Brett Gardner (swinging) and Carlos Beltran (looking) struck out to end the game. Thirteen of the final 14 men they sent to the plate made outs. James Shields was cruising and probably could have thrown ten innings if Ned Yost wasn’t so quick to go to his bullpen. The offense was completely overmatched.
- Leftovers: Dellin Betances struck out one in his perfect eighth inning, giving him 124 strikeouts in 82 innings. The franchise strikeout record for a reliever belongs to 1996 Mariano Rivera (130 in 107.2) … David Robertson struck out two in a perfect ninth. Between Pineda and the two relievers, the Yankees retired the final 17 men they faced … Jeter, Headley, and Gardner (double) had the three base hits. No one on either team drew a walk. Coincidentally, both clubs went 3-for-30 with eight strikeouts at the plate … Pineda has a 1.80 ERA and the Yankees have somehow lost six of his nine starts … the Bombers lost a game without allowing an earned run for the first time since May 1996.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. Depending on the outcome of the late games, the Yankees will end the night either four games (Tigers and Mariners lose) or five games (Tigers or Mariners win) back of the second wildcard spot. FanGraphs puts their postseason odds at 2.3% at this very moment. Brandon McCarthy and Danny Duffy will be the pitching matchup on Saturday afternoon.