Sunday, April 24, 2016

Rays Sting Pineda, Avoid Sweep, 8-1

     At the start of the afternoon, Yankee fans were looking for their brooms in anticipation of the Yankees first series sweep of 2016. Those hopes were quickly dashed by the abysmal pitching performance by Michael Pineda. On the other side, Drew Smyly has been the best pitcher for Tampa Bay, although he has not received the run support he's needed so far this season. But that would quickly change.

     Pineda's nightmare started with two outs in the top of the first. Evan Longoria began the assault by smoking a double off the top of the centerfield wall. Corey Dickerson then launched a first-pitch fastball into the right-field bleachers, making the score 2-0. Steve Pearce followed with a single and was driven in on a double by Brad Miller, 3-0. And then the left-field bleachers were visited by a blast off the bat of the birthday-boy Steven Souza Jr., scoring Miller and making it 5-0. And remember, this all happened with two outs.

     With the New York Yankees having to embark on a nine-game road trip, Girardi was forced to leave the big right-hander in the game, as to not overwork the bullpen before hitting the road. Which is why Pineda was still pitching in the top of the third when Steve Pearce launched yet another homerun into the left-field seats, extending the Rays lead even farther, 6-0.

     Smyly, on the other hand, was cruising for the Rays through the first four innings. His only blemish came in the bottom of the fourth when Alex Rodriguez doubled off the left-field wall, scoring Brett Gardner, inching the Yanks closer, 6-1. It did not, however, take long for the Rays to respond. In the top of the fifth, Souza belted his second homerun of the game, the fourth allowed by Pineda, making it now 7-1. Pineda would be pulled in the top of the sixth, sporting an ugly final line of 5.0 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 4 HR and 9 Ks.

     What gets lost in a blowout like this is that the bullpen continued to pitch exceptionally well, striking out seven and only allowing two hits and one run, a Logan Forsythe solo shot off of the latest victim of the Scranton Express, Nick Goody. If the Yankees could put together a string of quality starts, their win/loss totals would look completely different.

     Here's to hoping the Yankees right the ship tomorrow, as they begin their nine-game road trip in Arlington, beginning at 8:05PM ET.

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