|Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images|
Yankees 8, Orioles 3…
For a moment there, I thought the Yankees were playing a game of Home Run Derby between Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday. By the fourth inning, both players had two home runs. After chasing Orioles starter Chris Tillman and roughing up reliever Logan Verrett, the Yankees offense was finished for the night but like the 70’s show, Eight is Enough.
For both Gardner and Holliday, it was their tenth and eleventh home runs of the season. After the game, Gardner said, “Offensively we got off to such a great start early in the season, the last week or two we slowed down a bit collectively. It’s nice to put some runs back up, put some crooked numbers on the board and give Sevvy a lead he’s comfortable with.” The Yankees were able to put up crooked numbers in three of those first four innings as they cruised to the victory.
The maturation of Luis Severino continues. I thought he did an excellent job escaping the bases loaded jam in the second inning when he struck out JJ Hardy with Gary Sanchez completing the out by throwing to first. Severino (4-2) lasted 6 1/3 innings, limiting the O’s to only one run on seven hits. He walked a batter and struck out eight.
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Aaron Judge didn’t join the Home Run Derby but his bat was just as lethal. He had a two-run double in the fourth to cap the Yankees’ scoring and was 2-for-4 on the day, raising his season batting average to .323.
Rob Refsnyer got the start at first base. He was 0-for-3, but had a nice defensive play in the bottom of the third with a diving stop and quick run to first base to erase Seth Smith. Refsnyder, lifted for Chris Carter in the bottom of the seventh inning, was the only Yankees starter without a hit.
The Yankees bullpen did a great job except for a sloppy eighth inning when Bryan Mitchell committed a throwing error and subsequently allowed two runs. Tyler Clippard, overcoming his recent woes, cleanly got the final four outs. He struck out the dangerous Mark Trumbo to finish the game.
Credit Yankees pitching for the great job they’ve done with the O’s great Manny Machado. Machado was hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts. In the first two games of the series, he is 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.
The Yankees did receive a scare in the ninth when Didi Gregorius was hit on the hand with a pitch from former Yankees pitcher Richard Bleier, but he was able to shake it off and continue playing. X-rays after the game revealed no fractures. Whew!
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The Boston Red Sox hammered the Chicago White Sox, 13-7, behind former White Sock Chris Sale (who received a standing ovation from the crowd prior to the game). So, the Yankees (30-19) maintained their three game lead over the Sox in the AL East. Baltimore fell 4 1/2 games back.
The series concludes this evening with Masahiro Tanaka seeking to continue his rebound from an earlier slump. Greg Bird’s Grandview High School (Aurora, CO) teammate, Kevin Gausman, will oppose Tanaka.
Yankees in the News…
Okay, we may have to fast-forward to 2019 for this one…future Yankees outfielder Bryce Harper has been suspended for four games. After he was plunked on Monday by Hunter Strickland of the San Francisco Giants, Harper “charged the mound, threw his helmet, and fought”. Strickland was suspended for six games. Both players have appealed. The penalty is harsher for Harper as an every day player. We’ll have to wait and see if Gerrit Cole plunks a Giant in defense of his future Yankees teammate when San Francisco visits Pittsburgh at the end of June…
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Wanted: Billionaire. Yankees Legend Derek Jeter is searching for a new investment group after Jeb Bush dropped out of the bidding for the Miami Marlins. It will be interesting to see if Jeter joins up with the group headed by Tagg Romney, which also includes Tom Glavine and Dave Stewart. Jeter remains part of the Bush-less group so time will tell if they have the financial resources to top the Romney group. If not, it’s potentially the old ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ situation.
Jacoby Ellsbury is feeling better (finally) and has been cleared to fly to Toronto with the team on Wednesday. He is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday but there’s still no timetable when he’ll be ready. He could be activated this weekend. Given that I am completely comfortable with Aaron Hicks in center, I really wouldn’t mind if Ellsbury wanted to take another week off.
Tyler Austin was the starting DH last night for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in a 5-0 loss to the Columbus Clippers. He had two hits in four at-bats with a single and a double.
Considering Austin’s multi-position eligibility and much cheaper price tag, it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with Chris Carter when Greg Bird returns to health. Carter hasn’t hit enough to warrant future consideration in my mind. He is a below average hitter and fielder so if he’s not hitting home runs like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, he’s not worth the roster space. Maybe Austin should start taking some reps at third to expand his resume. Seriously, I think there’s more value with Austin than Carter. So, to Carter, I’d say SEE YA!
After taking a rest day yesterday, Aroldis Chapman will throw again today. Hopefully, all continues to go well for Chapman as he eyes a mid-June return.
Have a great Wednesday! Here’s hoping the Yankees take the series tonight before embarking on their flight to Toronto. Safe travels to the team and of course, Go Yankees!