It was a cold opening day for the New York Yankees, as they took on the Houston Astros this afternoon. In the rematch of last season’s AL Wild Card Game, Masahiro Tanaka and Dallas Keuchel faced off once again.
Coming off of a shaky season riddled with injuries, Yankees’ fans have been worried about what they will get out of Tanaka this year. He pitched well to start the day, and ended up going 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, and two runs.
New York’s manager, Joe Girardi, decided to pull Tanaka with two outs in the top of the 6th inning. Carlos Correa tied the game at 2 with an opposite field homerun, on a Tanaka sinker that didn’t have enough bite. He then walked Colby Rasmus, and Girardi made the switch to Chasen Shreve.
The next few innings went scoreless, until Dellin Betances took the mound in the top of the 8th. Betances is expected to be a key part of New York’s impressive late game relievers, with Andrew Miller, and the suspended Aroldis Chapman behind him.
Betances struggled right off the bat, allowing a walk to his first batter, Jose Altuve. Altuve then stole second, and everything fell apart for the Yankees. Carlos Correa hit a dribbler to the mound, that Betances fielded and threw over Mark Teixera’s head. Altuve scored from second on the throwing error, and the Astros took the lead 3-2.
Girardi left Betances in the game at this point, and he continued to struggle. He walked Colby Rasmus, following a steal from Correa. Luis Valbuena turned it into a 5-2 ball game with a 2 RBI single.
The young flame thrower caused a lot of stress in the Yankees’ organization last year, when it appeared like he lost some of his velocity and control. He understood what his issue was and worked hard on it this offseason, “The [velocity] wasn’t there and then I was trying to do a little more to get it faster and I think my mechanics were out of whack”.
Betances’ bad inning would prove to be too much for the Yankees’ bats, despite a Didi Gregorius solo shot in the bottom half of the 8th inning. New York’s two middle infielders, Gregorius and Starlin Castro, provided all of the run support today. Castro had a two run double in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
The Yankees will look to bounce back tomorrow night against Houston. Michael Pineda will be on the mound for New York and Collin McHugh will be pitching for the Astros.