Yankees Steal Win From Jays in 8th Inning

The Yankees played their second game of the 2015 season yesterday against divisional foe the Toronto Blue Jays. Michael Pineda squared off against knuckleballer RA Dickey and each man went six innings allowing two runs and one run respectively. Dickey didn’t allow an RBI off a hit. 

For most the game the Jays led 2-1 before scoring again to take a 3-1 lead on the Yankees in the top of the eighth off of a very shaky looking Dellin Betances, though it wasn’t earned. In the bottom half, Joe Girardi pinch hit Chris Young for Didi Gregorius to which Young stroked a lead off single.

Ellsbury and Gardner then each reached base to load them with none out. A wild pitch brought home Young from third, but Carlos Beltran struck out failing to score the other runners. With a base then open, Mark Teixeira was walked to bring up Brian McCann. Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil, already struggling with command issues, hit McCann to walk in the tying run. Chase Hedley then singled to take the lead.

In the top of ninth, newly signed left Andrew Miller was brought in to close out the game. Miller disposed of the Jays 1-2-3 with a strikeout to earn the save and seal a Yankee win.

    The first taste of Miller Time was sweet.

W: Betances (1-0) L:Loup (0-1) S: Miller (1)

My Take ----
A win is a win right? If I’m being perfectly honest, the Yankees had no business winning this game. Their lack of offense continued and who knows if they could’ve driven in the runs that were allowed on a wild pitch and hit batter. The Yankees were given this one by the erratic Brett Cecil, but each win counts so I won’t complain.

Mark Teixeira reminded us why he’s one of, and probably, the best defensive first basemen in the game. Teixeira was wrangling in throws that weren’t even close all night including a beautiful stretch for the last out. It’s particularly frustrating to see the infield arms struggle (two errors, many other potential ones saved by Tex) so much seeing as the defense was something that was supposed to be far improved from last year. Either way, with Teixeira taking the throws at first, he’s bound to save a bunch of trouble.

                        Tex is the man.

Speaking of Teixeira, he did something interesting last night. In his at-bats against RA Dickey he batted right handed and ended up ripping a double into left field his first at bat. I’ve been a proponent for Teixeira batting strictly right handed where he makes best contact for a while now, but this was just because it is apparently easier to hit a knuckle baller while hitting from the same side of the plate instead of the opposite side. Regardless Tex showed the ability to go the other way in spring and he’s looking ready to silence the ridiculous crowd of nay-sayers against him.

Carlos Beltran on the other hand looked completely lost. And this is nothing new, to be honest. Yes, Beltran is healthy now, but as I’ve written before, he just doesn’t look able to read or hit big league pitching anymore. His timing still doesn’t look right and it could have cost the Yankees the game last night when he struck out with runners on second and third. My point is Beltran doesn’t belong in the three hole, at least for right now.

While our first taste of Miller Time was splendid last night, the D-Train did not look so good. It would be silly to make any generalizations from spring training, but Betances has brought his command issues north with him from Florida and it’s a little scary. His stuff is just fine – his fastball is still sitting in the mid to high 90’s and his breaking ball is still breaking, but it’s clear he has no clue where these pitches are going to end up once he throws them.

Before the season, I was a big supporter of Betances getting the closing job, but at least for this month it looks like Miller needs to be closing while Betances works on getting that control back. Miller looked incredibly poised and sharp and I am quite happy with giving him that role, but let’s hope Betances can get back to form so the Yankees can really utilize their monster bullpen the way the Royals did last year.

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