Andrew Miller Placed on DL, New York Yankees lose in extras


The New York Yankees appeared to be on their way to their eighth straight victory, but a Nationals game-tying home run in the eighth would send the game into extra innings, where the Yankees would eventually fall, 5-4. Some extra bad news was delivered after the game, as closing pitcher Andrew Miller, who did not appear in the game, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his forearm. Miller’s last appearance was in yesterdays game, when he took the mound with two outs in the ninth and a 6-1 lead.

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The bullpen had a bad day on the field as well, as left-hander Jacob Lindgren surrendered a two-run home run to Michael Taylor in the eighth inning, an inning that Dellin Betances would normally pitch had Miller been healthy enough to close. That tied the game at 4-4, and in the 11th inning, Chris Capuano surrendered a run off a two out single by Denard Span. Drew Storen came on to close the game, and the Yankees couldn’t threaten to tie the game as they went down in order.

There were some bright spots in the game for the Yanks, as starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi allowed just one earned run for the second straight time to bring his ERA to 4.13. Eovaldi faced Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals last month and gave up five runs in 4.1 innings.  Gonzalez had a poor outing as well, surrendering six runs in five innings, but both were on top of their game today.

Through the first two innings, Eovaldi was very efficient having thrown just 17 pitches to retire the first six Nationals he faced. He would retire eight straight to start the game, but ran into trouble with two outs in the third. After a double from Danny Espinosa, Span followed that with a double of his own down the left-field line to put the Nats up 1-0.

In the fifth, it was Espinosa causing trouble again, this time hitting a first-pitch curveball for a solo home run. Eovaldi would settle down for the next two innings, and he even started the eighth but was taken out after surrendering a leadoff single. Gonzalez was sharp as well, holding the Yankees to no runs and two hits through the first six innings. Then in the seventh, the Yankees bats came alive.

After a leadoff single by Chris Young and a Jose Pirela line out, Brendan Ryan came to the plate. The game was the first of the season for Ryan who just came off the DL treating calf and hamstring injuries. He would send a curveball over the head of Span in center field and slide in safely at third for an RBI triple. That would send Gonzalez out of the game while another lefty, Felipe Rivero, came on to pitch to Brett Gardner. Gardner would hit his 13th double of the year to tie the game at two a piece.

After Chase Headley flew out for the second out of the inning, Alex Rodriguez came to the plate with an 0-11 slump. He would break the skid with a double over the head of Span to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. They were not done yet as Brian McCann, who has batted .387 in his last 14 games, got a lucky bounce off the second base bag and into center field. Ian Desmond was positioned right behind the bag with the shift on, but could not react quick enough to the ball taking a weird bounce off the base. That would bring in A-Rod to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead that would evaporate in the next half inning.

Jun 10, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (13) hits an RBI double against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The loss reveals a new weakness for the Yankees this season; their bullpen. With the duo of Miller and Betances closing out games, a late-inning lead was almost a guaranteed victory. That may not be the case now as every reliever will have to move back an inning according to manager Joe Girardi. 24-year-old left-hander Chasen Shreve has pitched well in his 20 innings of work. He has a 2.16 ERA and will likely work the eighth inning as the Yankees are not afraid of working the youngster against right-handed bats. He has currently faced right-handed batters 64 times on the year while he has only faced lefties in nearly half that amount.

The seventh inning could spell trouble for the Yankees, and if they can’t keep their opponent’s bats in check, trade rumors may start to appear if the Yankees want to add depth to their pen. What they are missing is a right-handed reliever outside of Betances. They signed RHP Sergio Santos to a minor league contract yesterday. The bullpen currently holds four lefties, not including Miller, and two righties in it, so Santos may find his way back into the majors fairly quickly. Santos has pitched for the division rival Blue Jays, White Sox, and most recently, the Dodgers. Injuries have hindered his career, and his last season of 30-plus innings was in 2011, when he saved 30 games for the White Sox with a 3.55 ERA.

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