If you assume that the amount of weirdness in a baseball game over the course of a season is normally distributed, this game had to be at least one standard deviation above the average level of weirdness. At the end of it all, the Yankees came out on top 3-2, stretching their winning streak to six games.
Carlos Martinez had an…interesting start for the St Louis Cardinals. The hard throwing right-hander threw 62 pitches before a ball was even put in play, and ended up striking out 11 batters while walking 8 in 5.1 innings of work.
Martinez struggled with command early, walking four men in the first inning while the Yankees took a 1-0 lead when Brett Gardner scrambled home on a wild pitch. The usually exceptional Yadier Molina had a rough inning, giving up a passed ball and the wild pitch that could arguably have been a passed ball as well.
The 1-0 lead held until the bottom of the sixth, when Ronald Torreyes skied a popup into shallow left field. The converging Cardinal defenders seemed to lose the ball in the sun and it fell into no man’s land. Torreyes jogged out of the box, assuming he’d just popped out, but picked up the pace as the ball fell and managed to stretch his single into an awkwardly-slid-into double. Two batters later, a softly hit ground ball from Aaron Hicks led to Martinez throwing the ball well wide at home, allowing Torreyes to score. Chris Carter’s RBI single driving in Brett Gardner made it 3-0 and ended Carlos Martinez’s night.
The Yankees threatened again in the 8th, as Gardner reached first and advanced to second on another ball that got past Yadi Molina. The mistake wasn’t costly, however, as Hicks and Carter struck out to end the inning.
CC Sabathia, meanwhile, continued his stellar start to the season. The Yankees needed depth today with both Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman unavailable, and CC did not disappoint, going 7.1 innings while walking one and surrendering one run. As has been his trademark, Sabathia could keep the ball on the ground, inducing seven ground ball outs. Jedd Gyorko eventually ended CC’s outing with a solo home run to right field.
Sabathia does owe some thanks to his defense, as sparkling plays from Gardner and Starlin Castro certainly helped him get deeper into the game.
What a catch by Brett Gardner!! #GGBG #Yankees pic.twitter.com/qYJFRukc24— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) April 15, 2017
Adam Warren came in relief of CC, and kept up his streak of consecutive outs by finishing the eighth. Warren has retired all 20 batters faced to start the young season, which I think is pretty good.
Tyler Clippard worked the ninth, struggling somewhat. He struck out Matt Carpenter before allowing a home run to Stephen Piscotty to nearly the same spot as Gyorko’s dinger. Following a strikeout of Yadier Molina, pinch hitter Matt Adams had maybe the cheapest hit against the Yankees this season, dribbling a ball that never made it to the infield dirt. Walking Greg Garcia heightened the tension and leverage, but Clippard’s third strikeout of the frame, sitting down Randal Grichuk, ended the threat and secured the Yankees’ second straight series win.
WPA wise, the Yankees were paced by CC Sabathia (.390) and Brett Gardner (.161), although Gardy’s number doesn’t reflect the catch in the second inning.
The Yankees send Michael Pineda out for the sweep tomorrow, on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at 8:05 EST.