Today was Chase Day as the original, Chase Whitley, toed the rubber in game two of the four game set against the Texas Rangers. His counterpart would be Nick Martinez, another one of the Rangers' many unfamiliar names currently littering their rotation. Nothing of note happened for most of this game, because these offenses are terrible. But it had a nice ending, so the eye pain was sort of worth it.
After an uneventful first frame, defense complicated matters for the Yankees in multiple ways in the second inning. A Zelous Wheeler throwing error on a Leonys Martin bunt sent him to second and a subsequent wild pitch had him on third with none out. But two key strikeouts and a grounder to Wheeler that wasn't flubbed got Whitley out of danger. Martin then flashed some leather in the bottom of the frame as he made a leaping grab of a near Brian McCann solo homer. The zeroes continued on into the fifth when more defensive follies actually worked in the Yankees favor. With Robinson Chirinos on second after a double, Dan Robertson hit a chopper that neither Derek Jeter or Brian Roberts made much of an effort to get to, resulting in an infield single. Apparently Chirinos thought the single went through to the outfield and gave the Yankees a nice break by running home. Roberts threw home and Chirinos was out by a country mile.
Both starters were effective, but neither was allowed by their managers to get eighty pitches. Martinez is fresh off the DL, so it's not surprising he got the hook in the sixth. Whitley got to 75 pitches in the seventh when his day ended since Joe Girardi loves his matchups and bringing in Matt Thornton to face Martin was standard procedure at this point. Thankfully no disasters ensued, as Martin bunted foul with two strikes and Adam Warren came in to close out the inning without incident. Dellin Betances took over in the eighth and did Dellin stuff, striking out two.
The next small bit of excitement came in the bottom of the eighth when "New Chase" Chase Headley came in as a pinch hitter. He did not immediately vault himself into Yankee Lore as he struck out swinging. Clearly San Diego robbed the Yankees blind. In the bottom of the ninth the Yankees had their best scoring opportunity to that point when Jeter smacked a one-out double. The Rangers opted to walk Jacoby Ellsbury and face Carlos Beltran. Beltran then did the most predictable thing ever and grounded into an inning-ending double play. Free baseball the quality of which no one would ever ask for.
David Robertson finished the tenth for his second scoreless inning of work, and then gave way to Shawn Kelley who worked an uneventful eleventh. The Yankees had another first and second rally in the bottom of the eleventh, but an Ellsbury groundout ended whatever delusions of offense we may have been having. David Huff followed his mates with a scoreless twelfth. The team had an even better chance at scoring, thanks to a Beltran single and a misplayed McCann bloop. Try as they might, it wasn't enough help from the Rangers to hand the Yankees the game. Roberts was walked intentionally to load the bases, but Cervelli lined out to Adrian Beltre and Headley missed his third chance to be the hero by grounding out weakly to second.
Because you can't expect even the punchless Rangers to not do anything forever, J.P. Arencibia led off the 13th inning with a solo home run off of Huff. Surely, that would end this pitiful display. Oh, but you would be mistaken! Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 13th with a double and moved to third on a Jeter sacrifice. Ellsbury then singled in Gardner to tie the game. But since these are the Yankees, they couldn't go the full inning without massively blowing another golden opportunity. Beltran followed Ellsbury with a single of his own, but McCann put dreams of the night ending to rest with a crushing double play. Even more free baseball you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
Last man standing Jeff Francis took the mound for the 14th and held the mighty Rangers at bay. Roberts hit a one-out double in the bottom of the inning to bring another glimmer of hope. Cervelli followed that up with a single. It put runners on first and third for Headley as he finally took advantage of his opportunity to play hero and singled home Roberts for the win. We eagerly await your number retirement ceremony, Chase.
Game three of the series is tomorrow at 7:05 PM. Texas will send a pitcher of some renown in Yu Darvish to the mound, so a no-hitter is to be expected. The Yankees will counter with David Phelps.