Game 39: NYY vs. ARI — #NastyNate returns & denies sweep

If anything could be said about tonight’s final game in Arizona is that sometimes it takes a former NL pitcher to make a dent in a NL team. So what do the Yankees do? Send up former Marlins pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. And while he didn’t contribute that much to the offense, “Nasty Nate” showed up again and just dominated. And for that, the entirety of Yankee Universe is grateful.

Eovaldi threw just 85 pitches through his 6 innings, giving up just 1 hit and 1 run, and striking out only 5 batters. That lone run came in the 1st inning. A lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on another ground out. And after that lead-off hit, Nasty Nate refused to allow any further base runners. The Diamondbacks were officially stymied in their efforts for a sweep.

In the mean time, the Yankees were working on their offense to help Eovaldi get his 4th win of the season. Right off the top of the game, Jacoby Ellsbury worked a walk and then scored on Brett Gardner’s solid 2-run home run. This gave the Yankees an early lead they never surrendered the rest of the game. It’s like they made a decision to deny the sweep to the D’backs and just stuck with it.

In the 6th, Headley (because who else right now) hit into a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt by Eovaldi (his minor offensive contribution), and then scored on Ellsbury’s single. That kicked the poor Arizona starter out of the game. But it’s not like he was having the best night — 101 pitches in under 6 innings, giving up 10 hits and 2 walks to the Yankees batters.

Anyway, in the 7th, Eovaldi passed the ball onto the “Warriors Three” to finish out the game with their own flair for the dramatic. Dellin Betances first put 2 batters on base with walks before ending that drama with the requisite 3 outs, including 2 strikeouts. Andrew Miller gave minor hope to the Arizona fans giving up a lead-off home run in the 8th (the 1st hit since their lead-off double back in the 1st inning), but then quickly ended all their hopes and dreams with 3 consecutive, decisive strikeouts. And Aroldis Chapman set them down in order, despite the fact that his 102 mph fastballs had trouble finding the strike zone.

The Yankees added a bit of a cushion in the 9th inning for their pitching staff. With 1 out, Ellsbury walked and Gardner singled, before they moved into scoring position on Ackley’s groundout. For some reason, the D’backs pitcher decided to load the bases by intentionally walking Brian McCann. And as everyone looked at Teixeira to snap his own slump of late, a wild pitch easily scored the speedy Ellsbury before Teixeira fell back into his slump and struck out to end the inning. But that was cushion enough.

Final score: 4-2 Yankees, Diamondbacks take series 2-1.

The Yankees head out to Oakland for a long weekend series there to complete their first West Coast trip of the season. The rest of this month is an awkward schedule of back-and-forth, here-and-there. I can’t imagine trying to balance the schedule of 30 teams, and I’m certainly glad I don’t have to be the one to do this. And that is the sole reason I don’t complain more about the schedule during the season. Because in some karmic twist, because it’s my kind of “luck” if you will, I would end up being the one to have to do something like that.

So instead, I’m just grateful it’s not my job. And I’ll just shake my head knowingly and hope for a quick and successful (read: major Yankee wins) weekend and through this month to get them on the plus side of the standings. Because it’s better to have a positive outlook and take my less-than-positive opinions in stride than be “rewarded” for my negativity. (I just checked my phone and email. It’s still not my job. Exhale…)

Go Yankees!

{Media Note: I’m traveling, and as usual, there is often hotel internet issues. I really should just find a Starbucks to write these posts when I travel. It would be easier to post efficiently.}

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