The Yankees lost a game they really needed to win today. At the start of the day, New York needed a win to ensure that they hosted the wild card game, regardless of what happened with the Astros, Rangers, and Angels. The Rangers beat the LA to claim the AL West and eliminate the Angels from the playoff picture and the Diamondbacks came out on top of the Astros, ensuring that the Yankees would host the wild card game. Though everything worked out in the end (thanks Paul Goldschmidt), the disappointment comes more in the fact that they needed to go into the playoffs with a win. They end the season now losing three of their last seven games and an offense that doesn't look like it has much fight in it.
Michael Pineda didn't do much to get the Yankees a win today as he allowed three runs on six hits in just 3.2 innings. He put the Yankees into an early deficit in the first inning when he allowed a single to Gerardo Parra and a double to Chris Davis before Matt Wieters knocked in two runs. In the fourth, Pineda allowed a double to Wieters and a single to J.J. Hardy before Joe Girardi decided to pull him and try to keep the game close. There's nothing wrong with that decision, and it might have even been the right call, if not for the fact that they then turned to Chris Capuano, of all people, to keep the game close. Ryan Flaherty hit a come-backer that bounced off Capuano and looked like an easy out for Dustin Ackley. Unfortunately, the Yankees second baseman completely missed the ball, allowing a run to score. Girardi (for some reason) then decided to walk Nolan Reimold to load the bases and Parra singled to score two more runs.
Joe Girardi makde another questionable call to go to Bryan Mitchell in the fifth inning. He hasn't been very good for most of the season and this outing didn't change anything. He walked Manny Machado before serving up a two-run home run to Chris Davis. He wasn't even able to get out of the inning after another walk. From there, James Pazos, Andrew Bailey, Branden Pinder combined for two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts in 2.2 innings before Justin Wilson and Andrew Miller pitched the eighth. They each got a batter out before Caleb Cotham was called on to (seemingly) allow a two-run home run to Chris Davis.
The Yankees offense struggled once again to come up with the big hit, leaving 17 left on base. They were able to scratch out a run in the second when Greg Bird doubled and came around to score after two ground balls from Chase Headley and Dustin Ackley. They didn't manage much for awhile, a Dustin Ackley triple with two outs being their best opportunity over the next three innings. In the sixth, Ackley singled and was knocked in by a Didi Gregorius triple. They really had something going in the seventh when they scored a run from three consecutive singles by Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Greg Bird. Headley walked to load the bases and Ackley hit a sharp hop to shortstop that got another run in.
The Yankees offense came up short, but it was at no fault to Carlos Beltran, who had three hits and a walk on the day. Bird had two hits, Ackley had two hits and two RBI, and Didi had a hit and a walk, while Alex Rodriguez had two walks. Unfortunately, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner were pretty brutal, striking out three times and leaving five on base between the two of them. It was pretty ugly. It's amazing to think that a team with 10 hits in a game isn't a very good offense, but the Yankees have struggled all year to figure out a way to win even when everything isn't going their way.
The Yankees head off into the playoffs with a clean slate and a 0-0 record. Hopefully the pitching and the offense take Monday to get things right and they come out on Tuesday fresh and ready to compete. They only have one more chance to keep the season alive, so the team that just got swept by the Baltimore Orioles can't show up to Yankee Stadium.