Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Owens Owns Yankees in First Start

Owens pitched well before Boston's bullpen unraveled (Vavel)
The lopsided score of last night's game in the Bronx would seem to suggest that poor Henry Owens got shelled in his first big league start. Given that New York routed Boston 13-3, you might have assumed the Bombers mopped the floor with the kid.

But that was hardly the case. The Yankees went to town after Owens left the game in the sixth, putting a dozen runs on the board. Two of those were charged to Owens, who departed with two on and nobody out, but it's still damn impressive that he only let up one run to the first-place Yanks in an August road start in the Stadium.

The 23 year-old started well enough, fanning Jacoby Ellsbury for the first K of his career. He quickly ran into trouble, though, as Chris Young grounded a seeing-eye single through the left side and Alex Rodriguez worked a seven-pitch walk. That set the table for Mark Teixeira, who's having one heck of a bounce back year. Like Rodriguez before him, Tex battled Owens to a full count before shooting a single up the middle, plating Young with the game's first run.

Just three batters after recording his first major league strikeout, Owens had surrendered his first earned run. It didn't take long for him to clean up the mess, however, as he retired Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to end the inning.

After Chase Headley opened the bottom of the second with a single, Owens got into a groove. He retired 12 in a row after that, striking out four as he cruised during his second time through the order. Meanwhile, Boston took the lead with two runs in the fifth, giving Owens a shot at the win.

Alas, it was not to be. The same Yankees who roughed him up in the first tormented him again in the sixth. Young led off with a single, then Rodriguez ripped a doubled. Having thrown 96 pitches and facing a tough spot with Teixeira up again, Owens was lifted in favor of Robbie Ross. Ross promptly imploded, allowing another RBI single to Teixeira followed by a go-ahead two-run double from McCann. Having re-taken the lead, New York was just getting started.

No longer in line for the win, Owens could only watch as the Yankees hung nine more runs on the Sox in the seventh, putting the game out of reach. He'll have to hope for better relief work (and more run support) his next time out--another road start in Detroit on Sunday. He's slated to face Justin Verlander in what will be an interesting matchup of the rising star versus the washed-up has-been.

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