Noah K. Murray - USA TODAY Sports

Game 17 Recap: *Loud Explosion Noises*

The more optimistic people in the world often try to seek out silver linings in even the most ghastly of tragedies. For instance, one could point to the fact that Michael Pineda struck out nine batters in just five innings. One could note that Pineda only walked one batter.

However, one could also note that after quickly retiring the first two batters of the game, Pineda surrendered five runs in the first inning. He did this by reminding all of the assembled fans and viewers on television what exactly a fastball right down the middle of the plate looks like. The more optimistic people in the world could try to say that, at the very least, that Pineda was throwing strikes. Yet there are strikes, and there are strikes.

That’s a strike. Disregard what the inaccurate FoxTrax system says, that’s as middle-middle as it gets. There would have been something very wrong indeed if Steven Souza hadn’t launched it into Niagara Falls. With Drew Smyly on the mound, the game was over before the Yankees could even come up to bat.

Smyly, who came to the Rays in the David Price deal, is a left-handed pitcher. As we know from watching the past week or so of Yankee baseball, that is bad news. He also happens to be rather excellent at the whole pitching thing. He worked seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits and striking out six. The Yankees looked largely feeble for the entire game, except for when Alex Rodriguez doubled in the red-hot Brett Gardner. Rodriguez left the game with an oblique injury that he sustained while taking swings in the cage before the sixth inning. He hasn’t exactly been an offensive force (.145/.242/.273 on the season), but he represents the plurality of the right-handed power on the team. Also, the world is quite simply a worse place when A-Rod isn’t being a massive goober on a baseball field. The results of his MRI are not known at this time. In other pain-related news, Corey Dickerson repeatedly thwacked Brian McCann’s head with his backswing, and Aaron Hicks is still lost in his first trip into the Yankees’ special non-DL injury wasteland. Things are just going swimmingly.

That all being said, Kirby Yates and Nick Goody deserve credit for soaking up garbage time innings and keeping the more important bullpen arms untouched before the start of a tough series with the Texas Rangers. So, that’s nice.

The Play: Corey Dickerson’s Two-Run Bomb

The second hit allowed by Pineda was the one that sealed his fate. Evan Longoria had just doubled off the center field wall when Big Mike badly missed his spot and left that fastball on a silver platter for Dickerson. The lefty slugger was the biggest get of Tampa’s offseason and did his job (beating up the other team’s catcher hitting the ball a long way) today.

Top Performers 

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, I guess? (1-2, 2B, RBI)
Rays: Steven Souza (2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI)


– Oblique injuries are tough cookies and A-Rod is ancient, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him head to the DL. Between that and Aaron Hicks totally not needing to be DL’d (wink wink nudge nudge), a roster move or two appears imminent.  This is ideally when it would have been nice to have Greg Bird, but life is a cruel mistress indeed. Ben Gamel feels like the guy to take Hicks’ spot, and Rob Refsnyder could provide the right-handed bat that the Yankees are losing in A-Rod while also providing a little flexibility. (EDIT: The Yankees say A-Rod’s MRI came back negative and he will travel with the team to Texas.)

– No, Aaron Judge is not coming up. Chill.

– Chase Headley is now hitting .149/.293/.149. Feel the excitement.

– Cole Hamels was supposed to start against the Yankees tomorrow, but was scratched due to a groin issue. That’s a big break. Hamels is one of the best lefties in the game right now. No official word on who the depth piece that rains death and destruction onto the lineup tomorrow will be, but Cesar Ramos is apparently the favorite.

– Cesar Ramos throws with his left hand.

The Quote

*Aghast intake of breath upon discovery of where exactly Pineda was leaving his pitches* – Paul O’Neill and Ken Singleton

The Play

Greg Bird’s medical situation is awful, but hey, Mark Teixeira can still pick it!  Here he makes one of his patented diving stops to rob Kevin Kiermaier of a hit.

Up Next

The Yankees will start a series with the Rangers deep in the heart of Texas. Nathan Eovaldi will toe the rubber for New York.

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