The Yankees are Rangers opened up a three game set in Arlington, Texas on Monday. Let’s see how the series went:
Game 1: Eovaldi vs. Ramos
Nasty Nate was on full display on Monday, tossing 7 IP 2 H 2 BB 6 Ks and taking a no-hitter to the 7th. Exciting! Evo was clearly comfortable with all his entire pitching repertoire. He threw his fastball about half of the time with heavy use of his splitter. Here’s the zone profile:
The Rangers brought out five lefties against Eovaldi to maximize the oft-said “lefty vs. righty matchup” but he was able to neutralize any benefit of that. He worked inside and low to lefties with heavy use of his splitter. His splitter movement is shaky, but he got around two times the vertical movement on the pitch. Also to mention: Eovaldi got around 27% Whiff% on his split. Good showing by Eovaldi.
Yankees offense failed again in the RISP department but excelled in the non-RISP department. Weird team. Jacoby Ellsbury started off the scoring with a solo shot to right-center field in the 3rd inning. Brett Gardner stuck out, Carlos Beltran walked, and Mark Teixera doubled. 2-0 Yankees. The Yankees did not score again until Starlin Castro hit a dinger to left field on a 0-2 86 mph fastball. Meatballs and spaghetti.
The Rangers called up Cesar Ramos to make a spot start since Cole Hamels had a groin issue. The finesse pitcher relies mainly on his off-speed pitches with his fastball max velo hitting 89 mph. Ramos pitched well: 6.0 IP 9 H 3 ER 2 BB 5 Ks. Can’t ask for much more from a guy who’s mainly been pitching out of the pen the last two years.
The Rangers offense was outmatched by a brilliant performance by Eovaldi. They manged three hits all game, but one hit was a home run by Brett Nicholas (first of his career). Nicholas hit a hanging curve by Dellin Betances into right field. Betances now has a ERA!
Yankees take Game 1 due to a great performance by Eovaldi. Onto Game 2.
Game 2: Severino vs. Griffin
Severino was not at his best, or even close to it, during his outing against the Rangers. His command was extremely off and did not have good control of his changeup. His final line: 3 IP 7 H 6 ER 2 BB 1 K. If there is any silver lining from Severino’s outing, he did not give a home run.
The 21 year-old noted before the game that he did not have much control over his off-speed pitches compared to last year. He also pointed out he has “over-pitched” his off-speed stuff, not realizing the importance of varying speeds. There is good and bad to this; Severino will throw the occasional 91 mph change up, but if he misses with a high velo change, hitters will punish the pitch. The Rangers offense did exactly that Tuesday night.
The Yankees offense was incredibility terrible against Griffin. They looked completely overmatch against a guy who does not throw above-average heat. Through six innings, the Yankees only managed two base runners (both Ronald Torreyes singles). In the 7th, Brett Gardner was able to score off a misplayed hot shot to Elvis Andrus by Mark Teixeria. That’s about it for the Yanks offense. Thrilling.
A.J. Griffin made the Yankees look silly and he did it with great command and varying speeds. Textbook pitching. Background on Griffin: he throws a fastball (avg. 88 mph) about half of the time with a slider (avg. 84 mph), curve (66 mph), and change (81 mph). Griffin has been removed from the majors since 2013 due to TJS-related issues. Great to have him back in the big leagues.
Griffin did not have demanding stuff against the Yankees. Look at his zone profile:
A majority of his pitches were left over the plate, perfect for lefties. However, Griffin was able to control speeds and keep the Yankees hitters off-balance. Side note: Griffin threw up 64-66 mph curves which were beautiful. Slow and out of nowhere, gotta love it.
The Rangers offense scored 10 runs. Mazara is a force to be reckoned with. Here are the Rangers scoring plays:
4-0: Mitch Moreland singled to center (Liner). Adrian Beltre scored. Prince Fielder scored. Ian Desmond advanced to 3B.
5-0: Mitch Moreland advanced on a wild pitch to 2B. Ian Desmond scored.
6-0: Elvis Andrus singled to left (Liner). Mitch Moreland scored.
7-0: Ian Desmond homered (Fliner (Fly))
8-0: Brett Nicholas doubled to right (Liner). Elvis Andrus scored.
9-1: Mitch Moreland advanced on a wild pitch to 2B. Ian Desmond scored.
10-1: Rougned Odor homered (Fliner (Fly)).
Game 2 goes to the Rangers who blow out the Yankees.
Game 3: Sabathia vs. Perez
Sabathia pitched a good game, much better than Severino’s last game. He was able to pitch 6 IP 5 H 3 ER 3 BB 5 Ks. Not an over-powering performance but good enough to keep the Yankees in the game.
The big lefty had his off-speed pitches working early. The first three batters he faced, Sabathia threw first pitch curveballs to each. He was able to use his change and curve to get early strikes and threw in a some cutters which generated three of his five strikeouts. The one big mistake Sabathia made was leaving a fastball up to Elvis Andrus who drove in a run with his triple. That run gave the Rangers the lead.
The offense had chances for at least one big inning. In the 2nd, the Yankees had two on with no out. First pitch and McCann hits into a double play. With Teixeira on third base, Castro hit an opposite field single to drive in the first run. The 4th inning was the most disappointing for Yankees fans. Beltran started the inning with a hard hit ball to right field, then Teixeira hit a line drive straight to the second baseman, Odor.
Two hard hit shots must mean something, right? Indeed. Alex Rodriguez (his first game of the series) hit a solo shot to left field to tie the game. It was Rodriguez’s 100th home run in Arlington and 690th career home run. McCann and Castro both singled to follow but Headley ended the rally. No one big inning for the Yankees.
The lefty, Martin Perez, pitched just a bit better than Sabathia. He tossed 6 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 Ks. Perez worked his sinker to induce a 48 GB%, and two big double plays. Since 2013, Perez has a 1.29 double plays/9, which is way beyond any other pitcher. Perez gave up some hard contact in the 4th because the Yankees offense jumped on his first pitch fastballs. Luckily, it only resulted in one run but his fastball use is an area to look for in Perez’s future outings.
The Rangers first run resulted from heads up base running by Ryan Rua. With one out and Rua on third, Hanser Alberto hit the ball directly to Sabathia. Sabathia did not hold Rua long enough so when Sabathia threw it to first, Rua ran home and scored. The second run came off a Beltre single to bring in Bryan Holaday. The final and tie breaking run came in the 6th when Andrus drove in Odor with a triple. 3-2 Rangers.
The bullpen kept the lead intact, and the Rangers won the game 3-2, and the series 2-1.
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Image via Getty Images
Stats via Fangraphs and Brooks Baseball