Monday, April 25, 2016

Eovaldi Flirts with No-No, Leads Yanks to 3-1 Victory

     On a warm night in the heart of Texas, the Yankees began their nine game road trip with game one of a three-game set against the Texas Rangers. A small town outside of Houston, Alton, has produced two major league fireballers; Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, owner of seven no-hitters and Nathan Eovaldi, looking for his first. The Yankees righty toed the mound with his 5.79 ERA, and was looking to capitalize on a skillset that does not quite match his season statistics. On the mound for the Rangers was Cesar Ramos, a southpaw making his Rangers debut. Called up from Triple-A Round Rock, Ranos was making a spot start for Cole Hamels, who had to miss his turn in the rotation due to a groin injury.  Additionally, with Aaron Hicks and Alex Rodriguez missing tonight's game due to injury, the Yankees were playing shorthanded, only having two players available for substitution on the bench.
     Early in the game, it looked like "same problems, different night". In the top of the second, the Yankees loaded the bases with only one out and were unable to drive a single runner in. However, in the top of the third, Jacoby Ellsbury took Ramos deep to right on a 3-1 pitch, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Then after Carlos Beltran drew a walk, Mark Teixeira drilled a double to the deepest part of the ballpark in centerfield, scoring Beltran, pushing it to 2-0. Fast forward to the top of the sixth, Ramos served up yet another long ball, this time to second baseman Starlin Castro, extending the Yankees lead to 3-0.
    Nathan Eovaldi, on the other hand, was masterfully dominant. Using his off-speed pitches, predominately his splitter,"Nasty Nate"kept Ranger hitters off all night long, flirting with a no-hitter through six innings. The first blemish in the H column came in the bottom of the seventh, when rookie Nomar Mazara lined a 3-2 pitch into left field for a single. As soon as the ball left the bat, you could see the look of disappointment on Eovaldi's face. He knew what was on the line and it just wasn't meant to be tonight. Later in the inning, Prince Fielder recorded the Rangers second hit off the Yankee right-hander, doubling to right-center field. Eovaldi's final line was absolutely phenomenal, allowing just the two hits in seven innings, with no runs and striking out six in the process.
     And, speaking of things that hadn't happened, Delin Betances allowed his first run of the season, a solo homerun by catcher Brett Nicholas, making the score 3-1, where it would stay. Andrew Miller locked down his fifth save of the season, as the Yankees went on to win the all-important game one of a series on the road.
     Look for the Bronx Bombers to keep it rolling in game two tomorrow, with first pitch at 8:05 PM ET.

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