Yankees pitchers styming Tigers’ imposing lineup
The imposing Detroit lineup that is among the strongest in the major leagues has not been much of a match against Yankees pitching the past two nights. Although the clubs have divided the first two games of the four-game series, the Yankees have been impressive with their mound work.
One night after CC Sabathia was hung with a tough loss in a 2-1 complete game, Nathan Eovaldi earned his first victory with the Yankees on the strength of seven-plus solid innings in which he allowed merely one run as well. The Tigers brought some drama to the game in the bottom of the ninth with a run on a bases-loaded walk, but Andrew Miller ended the 5-2 Yankees victory with a strikeout.
Eovaldi found out that the double play is indeed a pitcher’s best friend as the Yankees turned four twin killings behind him. The righthander with the power arm spaced out eight hits and one walk and got four strikeouts in an outing that took him one batter into the eighth inning. That alone was a good sign for Eovaldi, who threw 101 pitches over five innings in his previous start.
Eovaldi has his usual high-octane fastball but kept the Tigers off balance with a biting slider that proved his most effective pitch. His one hiccup came in the seventh inning, a wild pitch that put J.D. Martinez on third base from where he scored on a fly ball to center by Yoenis Cespedes. A sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk accounted for the runs by the Tigers, who entered play with a team .303 batting average and averaging 6.4 runs per game. Detroit was hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees were only 1-for-11 in such situations and scored one run in six innings against Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein on a two-out, opposite-field double in the first by Mark Teixeira. But the soft underbelly of the Tigers is their bullpen. Chris Young and Stephen Drew poled solo home runs in the seventh off lefthander Ian Krol, and righthander Al Albuquerque wild-pitched home another run. An error by Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos gift-wrapped a Yankees run in the ninth.
Young had three hits and is now batting .344 with four home runs. He is making a strong case for himself as an alternative against left-handed pitching instead of switch hitter Carlos Beltran, who was on the bench Tuesday night. Detroit is throwing another lefty Wednesday night, David Price, so expect Young out there again with Girardi perhaps giving one of his left-handed outfielders, Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner, the night off.
In two nights at Comerica Park, Yankees pitchers have held the offensive-roaring Tigers to four runs. Detroit has 17 hits, although only three for extra bases, all doubles. Miguel Cabrera, normally a Yankees killer (.338 career average, 18 home runs, 46 RBI) is 1-for-7 and has grounded into two double plays in the series.
It is up to Adam Warren Wednesday night to keep the effective pitching coming for the Yankees.