Yankees Falling Fast
Yanks Drop Further from First Place after Series Loss to Houston
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK (SPORTS)- The Yankees ended a very disappointing homestand with a mark of 5-5 after winning the first three contests.
Before the 10-game home stand began, the Yanks had compiled a record of 32-21 in games at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks had hoped/expected to be secure in first place at the conclusion of the just ended homestand with Minnesota, Cleveland and Houston, but the Wednesday matinee 6-2 loss dropped them to 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East.
The three-game series with the Astros was especially embarrassing and does not portend well for the final month of the 2015 season for the New Yorkers. Houston pitching limited the Yanks to four runs in the three games combined. They held the Yankee batters to a minuscule batting average of .165 in the series (15 for 91), and even worse with RISP the Yanks were 0 for 14.
Thanks to the outstanding pitching of Nathan Eovaldi on Monday night, the Yanks were able to register their only win of the series, 1-0 with a walk-off sacrifice fly by Carlos Beltran in the bottom of the ninth, an inning without a Yankee hit. Beltran has been especially effective at the plate as of late. He extended his current hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the first on Wednesday. He has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games, .338 (23 for 68).
On Tuesday evening, the Yanks were again held to only one run. Dallas Keuchel, the Houston starter, registered his 15th win of the season. Yankee pitching was very troubling as it gave up a season high of 15 runs. Yankee starter Ivan Nova yielded seven runs in four innings. Infielder Brendan Ryan was called upon to pitch the eighth and ninth frames during which he held the Astros scoreless. To add to the club’s embarrassment, he was the most effective of the Yankees pitchers.
Wednesday’s matinee was another disaster for the Yanks. Michael Pineda, in his first start in more than one month, surrendered five runs in 4.1 innings. Each of the nine batters in the Houston starting lineup reached base safely during the contest. The two home runs by designated hitter Evan Gattis raised his team’s total to 174, first in the majors. The win for starter Collin McHugh was his 14th of the 2015 campaign.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s winning pitchers combined total of 29 is the highest of a duo of every major league club.
The Astros are no longer the mediocre National League team of past years. Their 71st win on Wednesday is the highest total they have achieved since 2010 (76-88). Yankee skipper Joe Girardi described the first place club in the American League West, “They pitched very well; they field well; they hit the ball out of the ballpark, and they run the bases well [first place in the American League in stolen bases-97]. That’s a pretty good combination.”
Girardi admitted his team did not hit well, “We didn’t swing the bats well enough versus Cleveland and Houston. It’s been somewhat inconsistent. We got a lot og guys scuffling at the same time. With that’s it’s tough to score runs.” He still remains hopeful. “They can get refreshed. Hopefully, the day off [Monday] will help us physically.”