After dealing with multiple double-digit runs-allowed scenarios over the past week, the Yankees found themselves in a much tamer situation Tuesday night. The pitching managed to find its footing somewhat, getting into jams but avoiding any big damage or lopsided frames. Unfortunately, the offense also mellowed out and didn’t find many positions to threaten.
J.A. Happ got off to the usual trouble Yankee pitchers have found in the first inning of late. Happ got Ketel Marte to flyout for the first out of the inning, but then proceeded to load the bases on a pair of base hits and a five-pitch walk. Adam Jones made it count, lifting a sacrifice fly to right for the Diamondbacks first run of the game, but Happ managed to avoid further damage by inducing a popout from Wilmer Flores.
Happ cruised through the next two innings, but was rudely disrupted by a solo home run from Christian Walker to start the fourth. Jones promptly drove a double to left on the next pitch, and scored two batters later on a single from Nick Ahmed. Happ settled down and got out of the inning with the score still manageable, and worked around a few more hits to give the Yankees six innings of work. It wasn’t the greatest performance, but considering Happ’s season so far, it was more than enough for the Yankees to work with.
That said, the Yankees couldn’t seem to get behind Happ tonight. They were facing a struggling rookie pitcher in Taylor Clarke, one who was prone to giving up home runs, but the Yankees found nothing until an error gifted Aaron Judge second base to start the sixth. Edwin Encarnacion immediately converted on the opportunity, drilling a double to center that put the Yankees on the board, but the lineup couldn’t keep the rally going afterward.
The Diamondbacks answered immediately in the seventh, welcoming new pitcher Luis Cessa with a solo shot to left-center off the bat of Carson Kelly. Cessa pitched the final three innings of the game without incident after the home run, but any momentum the Yankees had started was quickly ended by the blast. The only chance the Yankees had came in the eighth when Tyler Wade, who was not originally in the game but entered after Luke Voit was injured on a swing, sent a ball out into right in the eighth.
Wade’s home run withstanding, the Yankees went down in order in the final two frames, sealing a 4-2 loss to open the home stand. They were without DJ LeMahieu, who is being cautiously sidelined with a groin strain, and they may find themselves without Voit again after the first baseman felt something wrong in his swing. He reportedly is dealing with a core injury. Hopefully that doesn’t develop into something major.
Oh, and the trade market got even thinner in the span of time that the Yankees were on the field. We’ll have to wait and see if this team looks any different by the time they wrap up this series on Wednesday.