Yankees talking about an Evo-lution


DETROIT -- When it comes to pitching these days, you can twist a Sinatra phrase -- if you can make it at Comerica Park, you can make it anywhere.

Nathan Eovaldi -- Evo, to his manager -- made it in Detroit Tuesday, picking up his first Yankees win by beating arguably baseball's best lineup. He used four double plays in his seven innings to limit the Tigers to just a run, leaving his teammates impressed.

"If you can do it against the Tigers, you can pretty much do it against anyone," said Chris Young, who went 3-for-3, including another homer, in the 5-2 Yankees win.

Evovaldi is 25 with potential to be a top of the rotation starter if he can bundle all that force and talent in his right arm and find consistency. Heading into Tuesday, pitching coach Larry Rothschild made a subtle adjustment to Eovaldi's motion, instructing him to keep his right arm closer to his body as he brought the ball back on his delivery. It was designed to give Eovaldi more precision -- and it worked.

"It was an easy fix," Eovaldi said.

Manager Joe Giradi had enough faith in Eovaldi to send him out for the eighth inning. He allowed a leadoff double to Alex Avila that Dellin Betances cleaned up with three quick outs, two on strikeouts. Eovaldi, though, earned the victory.

"Evo was excellent," Girardi said.

The Evo-lution is something that the Yankees will need if they are going to make a run in the parity-ridden AL East, that features the Red Sox at 9-5 and three teams, including the Yankees, at 7-7.

The Yankees have had some exciting starting outings recently. CC Sabathia looked his best on Monday. Masahiro Tanaka was dominant on Saturday. Michael Pineda has yet to hit his regular stride, but could still be on his way to a special season.

If -- still a big if -- the Yankees can build on these performances, then maybe they can make some noise.

Eovaldi is a strike-thrower, which is one of the things the Yankees liked about him, but the subtle adjustment with Rothschild allowed Eovaldi to be consistent, working his slider and his curve off his mid-90s fastball.

One of Eovaldi's only bad tosses came throwing to first base. He ended the second by catching a Yoenis Cespedes liner that nearly took his head off. Eovaldi said he saw the ball, but it appeared he was looking away when he made the catch. He then fired to first to try to double-up a runner. He threw in the dirt, but Mark Teixeira saved him with a scoop to turn two.

The April weather felt like October as it rained and was frigid. It was 50 degrees at first pitch and dropped from there with an expectation it would be near freezing at some point Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Eovaldi worked with just a one-run lead into the seventh when the Yankees struck for three, led by Young and Stephen Drew's homers. That gave Eovaldi and the Yankees' pen the room they needed to send this one home.

By the end of the night, Eovaldi -- with his first victory as a Yankee and his ERA dropped to 3.12 -- had the Yankees' clubhouse talking about an Evo-lution.

"To be able to do that against this lineup is very impressive," Young said. "Their lineup is stacked more than [nearly anyone.] I can't think of too many other lineups that up and down are as strong as they are and, for him, to come in and kind of keep them off-balance and it kind of let's you know what his ceiling is."

"It is a great feeling," Eovaldi said.