Have you ever seen a group of newborn puppies playing? Half of the reason, or more than half, whatever, it's so much fun to be around them is how ridiculous they are when they try to do anything. They can barely walk and can barely see, so when one actually tries to do something it's like a malfunctioning bumper cars ride. One is usually enough, but get a whole group of them together? Oh man, that's almost too much. There has to be a limit, though. Nine seems as logical a number as any to be consider too many. At that point someone's going to get hurt and then there will be tears.
The Yankees tried their best to do something to win the game, but ended up just falling down in a heap. Tommy Milone gave the Yankees a couple chances to cut into the lead, but it just wasn't happening. Milone had a 5.89 K/9 coming into the game. He left the game with a 6.38 K/9. Not a strikeout pitcher Tommy Milone struck out ten people tonight thanks to some awful swings on good changeups and backwards lineup stacking. Semi-blind puppies usually run into something eventually, but not always. It's more fun when they do.
In keeping with tradition, Russell Martin and Robinson Cano each hit a homer late in the game to give the Yankees their only offense. Cano's home run in the ninth was an opposite field rocket in one of the more spacious ballparks in baseball. If this becomes a consistent part of his game...I don't know what happens, but it probably won't be good for other teams.
Since it's against baseball canon to use the closer in a tie game on the road, Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley were tasked with getting the game to extras. Not an actual baseball cannon because that would be holy shit it actually exists! Rapada did his one batter part, but Eppley was another story. Consecutive hits for Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith and Brandon Moss ended the game right there. Eppley is supposed to be the righty specialist, but both righties got hits. Eppley was left in to face a lefty and he also got a hit. That about sums up how the whole game went. Puppies fall down and look ridiculous sometimes. It's not good, but it's not completely unexpected either.
Ivan Nova wasn't sharp, but was just blunt enough to be an effective tool. Jemile Weeks drove in Coco Crisp from third after a leadoff triple and a pair of double from Brandon Moss and Brandon Inge scored the only runs for Oakland against Nova. It's hard to fault Nova for holding the A's to two runs over 6.2 innings, but his pitch selection and location demands some ruler on the knuckles treatment.
Not the worst performance possible, but it's tough to not think that Nova needed to mix things up more. Nova threw 50 fastballs tonight and 39 curveballs. He threw a combined total of 11 sliders (10) and changeups (1). Milone showed how effective the changeup can be as a putaway pitch, so it's kind of odd to see Nova only attempt it once.
After Josh Reddick doubled on a fastball to start the fifth, Nova didn't throw a single fastball the rest of the inning. He got away with it, but that's a dangerous groove for a pitcher to get in; especially when everything is up in the zone. Yoenis Cespedes nearly took his head off on a liner in the seventh, presumably because he sat curveball after seeing almost nothing but that in previous trips to the plate. Seems like this is something that can be easily corrected for future games, but it would be nice to see these things get corrected in the present.
Remember that three or more runs per game thing? That's done. Save for Martin, the bottom third of the lineup combined to do absolutely nothing. Not really much else to say about the offense outside of striking out too many times. Milone is a good pitcher at home and he kept the Yankees down tonight. Baseball happens sometimes. This was more a good, young pitcher stepping up against a pretty daunting lineup and holding his ground. Good for him, bad for the Yankees.
Injury note: Nick Swisher left the game with a hip flexor injury. He's saying it's a day-to-day thing and it's more of a quad injury, but who knows. Leg injuries are tricky and can linger for awhile. Might be a good idea to hold him out for the next few days, if not for the remainder of the road trip, to get fully healthy. They'd survive without him, but that's not exactly ideal.
Play of the Game: Robinson Cano's game-tying home run leading off the ninth (+35%)
Phil Hughes tries to play the role of stopper tomorrow against Jarrod Parker. Phil Hughes the stopper. Hold on to Yoenis.
Oh, and there are actual puppies. They are here. You will watch them and you will not be able to stop watching them, even when they do nothing.