In a two-game series in which 50 runs were scored between archrivals, it makes sense that the offense took center stage in London. But what gets swept under the carpet in games like these is the absolutely horrific pitching performances that are unfolding. When it’s a two-sided offensive battle, fans of both sides usually forget about their team’s bad pitching, especially if the offense bounces right back. That’s what may have occurred in this series.
Well, I’m here to remind you that yes the Yankees scored a combined 29 runs in two games, but they also gave up a combined 21. It all began with Masahiro Tanaka in game one, who only got two outs before he was taken out after giving up six earned runs on four hits and two walks.
Some may suggest that he was distracted or negatively affected by outside influences, being that he was starting the first ever Major League Baseball game in Europe. However, before the series even began, he went on record saying that this was not a sight-seeing trip; it was strictly business. Tanaka was prepared and focused from the get-go.
Chad Green and David Hale combined to pitch three shutout innings, only until Nestor Cortes Jr. and Tommy Kahnle combined to give up seven more runs over the next three frames. Even some pitchers that didn’t give up runs in the first game still pitched rather poorly. Chad Green gave up four hits, luckily none of which came around to score. Adam Ottavino only recorded two outs, giving up two hits and a walk in his outing. This truly uninspired pitching performance was saved by the offense tacking on 17 runs on 18 hits.
It didn’t get much better in game two, as the opener Stephen Tarpley gave up three home runs in the first inning, en route to allowing a total of four earned runs. Later in the game Chance Adams would give up another four earned runs while only recording two outs. In total, the Yankees used eleven pitchers for a total of 15 appearances in two games.
Some factors that could have affected the game were the field and stadium dimensions, or the fact that it was so ridiculously humid and hot. Those are factors that can indeed influence a pitcher’s psyche and physical play. It’s possible that the pitchers were set up to fail from the get go—even the Red Sox struggled on the mound. Regardless of outside influences or factors, though, one cannot deny that these were poor performances.
In the end, this is just yet another reminder that this team needs to upgrade their pitching staff. Sometimes a bullpen game is effective, but when you have another starter to eat up innings, it can save your bullpen arms in the long run. And while they’re at it, another reliever wouldn’t hurt.
Yankees pitchers can relax on the plane ride home, but they better thank the bats. Without them, this two-game series could have looked a lot different.