I have recently been commenting on some trends I noticed in the performance of various teams. The Yankees tend to fall behind early and to score late, and they mostly win if they ever lead. The Pirates and Nats win despite woeful offenses. The Royals are scoring a lot of runs lately. The Dodgers aren’t scoring at all.
Yesterday the Yankees fell behind early (1-0 and 3-2) but scored late and won 5-4. The Royals broke their streak of scoring 8 runs a game but scored 5 and beat Tampa Bay yet again. The Dodgers were shut out by the Giants for the third straight day – it is the only 3-game sweep all by shutout in the 128-year history of the rivalry between the clubs, out of nearly 1000 3-game series. So all of those trends could be safely said to have continued.
But the Pirates scored 11 runs in downing the Phillies, despite Chase Utley returning and hitting a HR in his first AB (!) and going 3 for 5 – the pitching obviously deserted them: they were out of starters due to a rainout, so they went with 6 relievers and three of them (Valdes yikes3, Savery YIKES6! and Qualls YIKES6!) didn’t have it. The Pirates vaunted pitching wasn’t great either (McDonald GS 42 and two Ineffectivee outings) but Pittsburgh won 11-7.
And the Nats ALSO scored 11 runs in downing the Rockies 11-5 in Colorado.
It was a day for blowouts, much more than the day I commented on: the Mets scored 17 runs on 24 hits (!!!) and downed the Cubs 17-1 in Wrigley. Other games: Boston 10-4 over Toronto, Angels 13-1 over Orioles, Texas 13-9 over Detroit (OK, slugfest rather than blowout), White Sox 12-5 over Twins. There were a couple of close games but if this were to continue the Year of the Pitcher III would go out the window.
Meanwhile, the Yankees put Sabathia on the DL before the game today, retroactive a couple of days, with a groin strain. He is expected to miss only 2 starts, and return after the all-star break, but it is obviously not good news. Perhaps it explains some of his recent struggles: he has been the Yanks’ LEAST reliable starter during their 15-3 run to the top of the standings. Worse by far is that Andy Pettitte took a like drive to the ankle, and X-Rays show that it is fractured. He will miss at least 6 weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprise if it finished him altogether – a 40-year-old with that kind of injury may not come back. Remember, too, the theoretical #2 starter Michael Pineda and all-world closer Mariano Rivera have both also been lost for the season. Whether or not a team can absorb this kind of shock to its pitching staff and still make the playoffs is problematical – my personal prediction is that they WILL make the playoffs but WILL NOT win the division. Of course, right at this moment the only team in the division actually playing well is Boston, who are 6 1/2 behind.
The Yankees actually got some hits with runners in scoring position in the sweep of the Indians: 1 for 5 on Monday but 4 for 8 on Tuesday and 3 for 8 yesterday. That makes 8 for 21 which is more than acceptable. They still have only 1 win all year when they don’t hit a HR, but only 14 such games out of 74 played.
I love this game! I admit I love it more when the Yankees are winning