It’s not like the day started out any easier. From a near picture perfect Opening Day to the overcast clouds and freezing drizzle of tonight’s game, it seems as if 48 hours does change things.
Michael Pineda got the start tonight against the Blue Jays. A high pitch count tonight off the hit-loving Canadians (at least in league affiliation), Pineda threw 96 pitches over his 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, while striking out 6 batters. In the 3rd, with no outs, the Jays hit a single, a double, and an RBI single to start that inning their run production. In the 5th, 2 singles and a throwing error put runners in scoring position to score a second run on a sacrifice fly.
The Yankees took one back in the 6th. Ellsbury singled, stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly. As Pineda handed off the ball to reliever Martin in the 7th, the score was 2-1 Toronto, but Martin kept it that way, giving up absolutely nothing to the visitors.
And then came the mighty 8th inning. Reliever Dellin Betances made his 2015 regular season debut. He walked his second batter and gave up a single to put runners on the corners, but a bad throwing error on a pick-off ended up with another Blue Jays’ run scored. 3-1 Toronto.
But for some reason (maybe because they’re the Yankees, after all), the Yankees weren’t ready to just take the loss lying down. So when it was their turn in the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees pounced on the new pitcher (the Jays’ 3rd one in the game, after 2 rather good ones in this game). Young led off with a double and ended up on 3rd on Ellsbury’s single, and then Gardner’s hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with no outs and forced a pitching change (yes, that was fast). A wild pitch scored the speedy Young before that batter struck out. Teixeira was intentionally walked to load the bases yet again, which made it far too easy to get another run when the pitcher hit Brian McCann to score Ellsbury to tie up the game.
Then, with fans on their feet cheering wildly, it was Chase Headley’s single that scored Gardner, the winning run and forced the Jays to go to their bullpen once again, who would finally catch up to the Yankees on a roll and get out of the inning.
Reliever (and splitting the closer’s job with Betances this season) Andrew Miller quickly earned himself the save with a quick 1-2-3, 10 pitch, 9th inning.
And yes, all those poor, cold, miserable suckers who left when it looked bleak before the 8th inning, you missed a great game and a great comeback. It wasn’t pretty or storybook like a walk-off home run. But its messy chaos still resulted in a win.
Final score: 4-3 Yankees.
And for all you Austin Romine fans out there. Yes, Romine was released last weekend as the Yankees opted to go with Murphy for that back-up catcher’s position. Things looked to be headed for a Romine signing elsewhere or a trade or something. But today, the Yankees announced Romine cleared his waivers and they optioned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Yes, Romine fans, you can catch him in pinstripes with the RailRiders.
If you’re up for a little speculation and dreaming, Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch used a simulated game to see how the current season could pan out following recent patterns of injuries and performances. Here’s April, May and June, July and August, September, finishing the regular season in October, the Playoffs, and the World Series, according to simulations. (Spoiler alert: The Yankees make it to the Series, but fall short in Game 6.) Just fun, light reading, giving reason to hope for 2015 — and think more positive than the Simulation for that 28th Championship.