On Friday night, the Yankees lost to the Kansas City Royals, 1-0, in the first game of their series at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lost even though the Royals did not score an earned run off of them. The hopes of getting the second wild card are fading since they are now 4.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners. It is important that, as Joe Girardi said, the Yankees win most of their remaining 23 games.
Michael Pineda pitched seven innings, only allowed three hits, had four strikeouts and allowed his unearned run in the third inning. In the third inning, Alcides Escobar ended up being safe at second as a result of a hard hit ground ball that kicked over Headley’s glove for an error. Norichika Aoki was the next batter and his single to center scored Escobar for Kansas City’s only run. Escobar was the only Royal who advanced to second off of Pineda.
Pineda has now allowed two runs or less in all eight of his starts this season and has an outstanding 1.80 ERA. However, he only has three wins this season because the offense has combined to score six runs in the games that he has gotten a no decision or loss. He has pitched better than the Yankees could have hoped for and since returning from his more than three-month stay on the disabled list he has only allowed one walk in five starts.
“Tonight, my change up worked really good and my fastball too,” Pineda said. “Everything was working good. I had control and good command of the ball tonight.”
The Yankees offense went up against James Shields, who is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he is firing on all cylinders. He definitely was on Friday, as he pitched 8.1 innings, had six strikeouts, zero walks and only allowed three hits. Shields, whose nickname is Big Game James, won his 13th game and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth-inning when Brett Gardner hit a double to the wall in right center. However, Brian McCann popped out to third with runners on first and second to end the inning. That was the best scoring opportunity that the Yankees would have the whole game.
In the sixth inning, Gardner just missed hitting a home run but his fly ball to right was caught by Lorenzo Cain right in front of the wall on the warning track. Shields allowed six runs against the Yankees at Kaufman Stadium on August 25, but in this game he located all his pitches and resembled the pitcher he was in 2011, when he finished with a 2.82 ERA and was an All-Star.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was impressed with Shields and thought he was much better than when they faced him last time. “He just didn’t make any mistakes,” Girardi said. “There were no balls in the middle of the plate. He has got really good stuff.” Shields has actually pitched better against the Yankees recently since he has a 3.67 ERA against them in his last seven starts but a 4.33 lifetime ERA against the Bronx Bombers.
After Friday’s start, Shields has now pitched 200 innings in eight consecutive seasons.
Derek Jeter hit a single to center in the ninth inning, but the dominating reliever, Wade Davis struck out Carlos Beltran looking on an outside fastball to end the game.
The Yankees will look to have their bats wake up against Danny Duffy on Saturday. He has a 2.42 ERA on the season, but the 25-year-old has a 4.76 in one start against the Yankees this season. Brandon McCarthy will start the 4:05 p.m. game for the Yankees. McCarthy, who has a 2.80 ERA in 10 starts with the Yankees, will try to avoid his third consecutive loss.