Thursday, April 9, 2015

A little luck could go a long way for Yankees

The New York Yankees received a good deal of luck and some help from the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday night to earn their first victory of the season. The Yankees rallied from a 3-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning with just one hard hit ball. In fact, their bodies were hit as many times as they received hits in the inning.

The 4-3 win was certainly not pretty, but in the standings they all look the same and over the course of 162 games, teams that reach the postseason need to rack up a good number of these types of victories. It seems the Yankees have not had many "lucky" wins the last two seasons, so getting one under their belt this early on is surely welcomed.

It wasn’t all luck last night. Michael Pineda was sharp in six innings of two-run ball. He allowed six hits, struck out six and walked just one hitter. Pineda threw 96 pitches (62 strikes), indicating he is just about fully stretched out.

After Chris Martin registered a scoreless seventh inning to keep the game close, Dellin Betances came on in the eighth inning with the Yanks down a run. Betances looked erratic, just as he did during Spring Training, allowing an unearned run on one hit and two walks. Yes, it was rainy and hovering around 40 degrees, but the rest of the pitchers had to deal with the same conditions and looked fine in the process. Betances has not looked sharp and considering his control issues before last season, this could turn into an issue for the Yankees.

The bottom of the eighth proved that a team doesn’t need to smack the ball around to score runs. The Yanks scored three runs courtesy of a bloop double by Chris Young, a lined single from Jacoby Ellsbury, two walks, two HBP, a wild pitch and an infield single by Chase Headley which hit off the glove of Blue Jays’ closer Brett Cecil. It was not pretty, but it was enough.

Andrew Miller took to the mound in the bottom of the ninth for his Yankees’ debut. He was excellent, spotting his pitches right where he wanted. Miller needed just 11 pitches to finish off the Jays in order and struck out one batter in the process.

As of now, the Yankees will continue to mix and match in the eighth inning depending on the situation. It should be noted that Betances was facing the middle of the order when called upon, so he certainly has manager Joe Girardi’s confidence. Having both relievers perform at the top of their game could prove to be an immense plus for the club.

The Yankees’ offense is still trying to get things together. Ellsbury had a great night, getting on base all four times he came to the plate (two singles and two walks). He came around to score two runs and added a stolen base. That’s exactly the type of night the Yankees expect from Ellsbury at the top of the order. It is also important to note that Ellsbury missed a good chuck of Spring Training, but does not seem to have been affected by it.

Headley is the only other Yankee regular to be hitting over .200 (he’s 2-for-8) thus far. The club is hitting a collective .175, and after last season’s offensive debacle, it is going to be a focal point for detractors if the poor performance at the plate continues.

In the end, the Yankees are thankful for the win. All the W’s count the same and now the Yankees have one in their column.

Yankees' logo courtesy of

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a correspondent for FantasyPros, where he writes a weekly column covering the closer/bullpen situations around Major League Baseball. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.