Sunday's game was supposed to be an important start (or audition, if you will) for Chad Green. The significance of it was slightly lowered by Ivan Nova's excellent outing the day before, making the chance of an immediate Nova-for-Green swap in the rotation nonexistent, but Green had a game to remember nonetheless.
In his first start, the former-Tiger went four innings, giving up six runs (four earned) and was handed the loss. That was over a month ago, though, and Green looked like a completely different pitcher on Sunday. Maybe it was the dismal Padres offense or 'just a lucky day' for Green, but the righty looked like he belonged on a big league field in the Yankees' 6-1 win. With a fastball that lived in the mid-90's (and topped out at 97) and serviceable secondaries to boot, Green backed up the shiny 1.54 ERA and 4.32 K/BB ratio he put up this season in Triple-A.
The six inning start was briefly interrupted by none other than former Yankees great Yangervis Solarte, who lined a ball 347 feet away into the left field stands, but Green would cede just two more baserunners and struck out eight on just 75 pitches. Maybe he doesn't have a permanent spot in the rotation yet, but Green has more than earned another start for New York.
Surprisingly, Green's exciting start wasn't the biggest news of the game. Instead, it was Mark Teixeira reaching the 400 home run plateau, and then surpassing it in rather explosive fashion. Since returning from the disabled list on June 25th, Teixeira had hit two home runs. He doubled that on Sunday with his sixth and seventh home runs on the year, a solo and two-run home run, respectively. Neither were particularly game changing, as the Yankees already had the lead, but the pair of dingers both took care of a milestone and maybe, just maybe, the Yankees first base woes for the moment.
Speaking of game changing, Didi Gregorius has been doing a whole lot of that lately. Sir Didi struck again against Andrew Cashner, driving his ninth home run of the year into the seats to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead they wouldn't surrender in the fourth. The first run came in the second on a Ronald Torreyes double play that scored, you guessed it, Gregorius, and Brett Gardner brought home Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the ninth with a single.
The Yankees spectacular middle relief corps did allow two runs in the ninth, when Anthony Swarzak gave up two runs (on a single and Alex Dickerson home run) without recording an out. Aroldis Chapman was brought in, meaning all of The Big Three were used in the win. Luckily, Chapman threw just 12 pitches in his clean inning of work (of course, including a strikeout) and should be available tomorrow when the Yankees face the White Sox and the suddenly-terrible James Shields.
Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller are both unlikely to be available, though, as they've pitched on back-to-back days. Miller followed up his game-losing home run on Saturday with a hit and walk allowed on Sunday, though he'll be perfectly fine because, well, he's Andrew Miller. Betances also allowed a pair of baserunners with two hits, but struck out two and came away unscathed.
The last game of this series felt like a pretty good one, so it's easy to forget the Yankees actually lost two of three against the 35-47 Padres this weekend. The White Sox aren't the stoutest of opponents, but a good series will be important with New York drawing the surging Indians after that to end the first half.