Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rookie Has Himself a Night

...and that rookie is none other than Yangervis Solarte, who before this season spent nine years in the minor leagues without a call up to the Majors. Solarte, who played third base today in place of Kelly Johnson, went 3-3 including an RBI hit in the seventh to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Solarte also scored two runs tonight, as he was the clear catalyst to the Yankees offense that has been otherwise anemic throughout this first series in Houston. In addition, he made a sparkling defensive play in the eighth inning on a sharp line drive off the bat of Jose Altuve. Another back-up who had a night to remember was Ichiro who went 2-4 with a double and two runs scored. In other words, Ichiro and Solarte are the reasons that the Yankees are going into Toronto with a win in this series. None of their big time players did anything in this series aside from McCann who had a couple of nice hits in the first two games of the season. It's unfortunate that I'm praising the Yankees offensive efforts tonight, being that they scored four runs against a team that won 51 games one year ago and the Yankees have one of the most explosive offensives in all of baseball, but again as I said last night: the Yankees need to take small licks in an effort to get their lineup to work well together as a unit.

Ivan Nova, tonight's starter, went only 5.2 innings and struggled to find his command for the majority of the start. Nova did not have a clean inning in any of his turns on the mound, resulting in five walks and six hits in less than six innings. To put it in perspective, Ivan Nova allowed 13 base runners in 5.2 innings, with the last two coming on 2 HBP of the Astros catcher Jason Castro who left in the middle of the game due to discomfort where he was hit with pitches. Nova loaded the bases twice in the first inning but after a stern talk with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Nova settled down and despite struggling only allowed two runners to come around and score.

The Yankee bullpen was initially a frightening proposition to think about, but Girardi and company have something figured out and it worked tonight. David Robertson earned his first save of the season without Mariano Rivera looking on from the bullpen. However, Shawn Kelley could be a major asset to this team. Kelley, who is a strikeout machine left two batters whiffing in the eighth where he could be lethal if he continues what he has done for the Yankees
since last season.

Tomorrow night will be the long awaited debut of Japanese superstar Masahiro Tanaka as he will make his first start for the Yankees against the Blue Jays who went 2-2 to start the season against the Rays in Tampa. Dustin McGowan will make the start for Toronto as the world will be all eyes on the Yankees and Tanaka.

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