Each time it feels like the offense can go no lower, the Yankees find a new way to dismay us the following day. This time, the bats floundered against Nathan Eovaldi, who strolled his way to a complete game shutout, the first pitcher to do so against the Yankees since Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in 2015. And that’s not even the worst thing that happened in the Yankees losing effort.
With all the injuries the team has suffered through the first month, it felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone watching events transpire in the bottom of the first. After striking out the initial two batters, Brito gave up a deep fly ball to left off the bat of Adolis García. In his very first play in a Yankees jersey, the recently-recalled Jake Bauers made a sliding catch up against the wall to save a run and immediately clutched his leg. It was hard not to think of the Dustin Fowler incident six years ago, but thankfully Bauers was able to limp off under his own power. The good news ends there, however, as he was replaced by Aaron Hicks in between innings without a chance to even swing the bat.
Bauers’ initial X-rays were negative and he was officially diagnosed with a right knee contusion.
Brito worked himself into a spot of bother in the third giving up a leadoff single followed by a double to Bubba Thompson to put runners on second and third with no outs. Anthony Volpe made a heads-up play to throw out the runner at home on a groundball, and Hicks saved two runs with a leaping grab in center, though he almost took out a teammate in the process for the second time in two innings.
The rookie starter wouldn’t be so lucky two innings later. After serving up a leadoff single to Robbie Grossman, Brito missed with a 1-0 changeup to the No. 8 hitter and former Baby Bomber Ezequiel Duran, who yanked it 431 feet into the left field upper deck to open the scoring at 2-0, Rangers.
The Yankees ended up letting Brito go five, and to be fair there wasn’t that much to complain about his outing. Other than the mistake to Duran, he looked in far better command of his pitches than the two clunkers against Minnesota. Across those five frames, Brito held the Rangers to two runs on four hits and a walk against five strikeouts on 59 pitches. Only three more Texas baserunners reached following his departure as Ron Marinaccio, Ian Hamilton, and Wandy Peralta combined to toss three scoreless innings.
Meanwhile, Eovaldi looked like a man on a mission, carving up the Yankees lineup with fastballs, splitters, curveballs, and cutters. The velocity on the heater was up almost two mph over his season average as if he was pitching with something to prove. As we mentioned in the game thread, Eovaldi has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball so far and it felt like today those hens came home to roost.
The Yankees managed just three hits off the former Bomber, singles from Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the third, Anthony Rizzo in the fourth, and Willie Calhoun in the fifth. The curveball bedeviled them all day, accounting for half of Eovaldi’s eight strikeouts while generating a 56-percent whiff rate. He needed 113 pitches to solidify the complete-game shutout as the Yankees offense never looked remotely close to scoring, dropping this one, 2-0.
New York will look to salvage a series split tomorrow with Nestor Cortes set to face Martín Pérez. First pitch is scheduled for 2:35pm ET so be sure to join us in the game thread.