Credit: Richard Rodriguez-Getty Images
Yankees 3, Rangers 1…
Luis Severino was spectacular on Saturday as he combined with two relievers to one-hit the Texas Rangers. Sevy didn’t get the win, but he was masterful a day after Masahiro Tanaka’s implosion. Manager Joe Girardi went with the “A” team for the bullpen, using David Robertson (the winner) and Aroldis Chapman (the save).
Brett Gardner kicked off the game with a single to left. However, the Yankees came up empty when Chase Headley hit a sharp fly to center that Gardy thought was going to drop in. He took off for second and thinking the ball would fall, he accelerated for third. Unfortunately, Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez made a great catch. There was no chance for Gardy to get back to first so the Rangers were able to complete the easy double play. Gary Sanchez popped out to short so it was time to start the Luis Severino Show.
The Yankees came up with a great defensive play of their own in the bottom of the first when Jacoby Ellsbury, echoing shades of his younger self, recorded the final out with a diving catch to rob Elvis Andrus of a hit. The play received an ovation from Severino on the mound.
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Rangers’ Carlos Gomez had to be helped off the field during an at-bat when he rolled his right ankle after hitting a grounder to second and suffered a high ankle sprain.
Through the early innings, Severino was cruising but unfortunately so was Rangers starter Andrew Cashner. The Yankees threatened again in the top of the 3rd when Brett Gardner hit a two-out single to left. Chase Headley singled to right to put the runners at the corners, but Gary Sanchez went down swinging to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, with the Rangers still searching for their first hit against Severino, Joey Gallo walked to start the inning for the Rangers. Will Middlebrooks hit into a fielder’s choice at third and the Yankees erased Gallo at second but they were unable to turn the double play. Rangers backup catcher Brett Nicholas, starting in place of Robinson Chirinos who had the day off, doubled to the right field corner to score Middlebrooks. It was the only hit the Rangers would get off Severino and the Yankees bullpen for the duration of the game.
Luis Severino pitched through the 7th inning but the Yankees still trailed 1-0.
In the top of the 8th with Andrew Cashner still on the mound for the Rangers, Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch. That would be all for Cashner, who did a magnificent job. The Rangers brought in Alex Claudio to replace Cashner. The Yankees sent up Matt Holliday to pinch hit for Greg Bird. Holliday singled to right and Frazier moved to third. Tyler Wade replaced Holliday at first. After Brett Gardner fouled out to the catcher, Chase Headley hit a sacrifice fly deep to center to score Frazier. The game was tied. Gary Sanchez singled to left past shortstop Elvis Andrus, moving Wade to second. However, the Yankees were unable to capitalize when Didi Gregorius grounded out to the defensive shift at short/second to end the inning.
David Robertson pitched a clean bottom of the 8th to send the game to the 9th.
With Alex Claudio still pitching for the Rangers, Starlin Castro led off the 9th with a single to right. Aaron Judge hit a grounder to third and the throw erased Castro at second. The Rangers were unable to turn the double play when the relay to first pulled Joey Gallo off the bag so Judge was safe. Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to right which advanced Judge to third. The Rangers replaced Claudio with Ricky Rodriguez. Todd Frazier was hit by pitch, again, so he took first and Ellsbury moved to second. The bases were loaded. Tyler Austin, who had entered the game in the bottom of the 8th to replace Bird, singled to left on a hard hit ball which brought Judge home with the go-ahead run.
Credit: Larry W Smith-EPA
Brett Gardner was unable to advance the runners when he popped out to short. It brought Chase Headley to the plate with the bases still packed. He patiently took a walk which brought Ellsbury home with the second run of the inning. The Yankees led 3-1. The Rangers made another pitching change to bring in Nick Gardewine. Gardewine ended the Yankees rally by getting Gary Sanchez to hit into a fielder’s choice which forced Headley at second.
Bottom the 9th and the heart of the Rangers order due up. It was time for the return of Aroldis Chapman to his endeared role as the Yankees closer. He did not disappoint. After Elvis Andrus grounded out to second (Starlin Castro’s brilliant throw to first just beat the runner as confirmed by the challenge replay), Chapman struck out both Nomar Mazara and pinch-hitter Mike Napoli to end the game. The Yankees win!
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees (76-65) were unable to make up any ground on the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, behind Chris Sale, dismantled the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-0, and maintained their 4 1/2 game lead over the Yankees. The Cleveland Indians won their 17th game in a row. Their 4-2 victory over Baltimore pushed the O’s 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
It was an incredible effort by Luis Severino. He pitched seven innings, allowing only the single hit and run. He walked three and struck out ten. The outing lowered his season ERA to 2.96. David Robertson (7-2) picked up the win and Aroldis Chapman captured his 17th save.
For the Yankees offense, they had nine hits but all were singles. Brett Gardner (2-for-5) was the only hitter with multiple hits. Chase Headley had 2 RBI’s and Tyler Austin had the crucial game-winning RBI in the 9th.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have a change in the pitching match-up for today’s game. Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.14 ERA) will start in place of CC Sabathia, who was moved to Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field in Queens. A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09 ERA), who had originally been scheduled to pitch on Saturday until Andrew Cashner was moved up, will start for the Rangers. The Minnesota Twins lost so they are 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card Standings (holding the 2nd spot). The Los Angeles Angeles and Texas Rangers are 2 and 2 1/2 games behind the Twins, respectively.
The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders won Game 3 of their Governor’s Cup best-of-five first round series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies). The 6-1 win, behind the arm of Brady Lail, gives the RailRiders the 2-1 series advantage. Donovan Solano was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Mason Williams was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Billy McKinney homered for the second time in the series with a two-run shot in the 6th inning.
Credit: Fred Adams-for Times Leader
Game 4 is scheduled for today at 1:05 pm at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. Nestor Cortes (2-4, 1.49 ERA) takes the mound in the potential series-clinching game. he’ll face Jacob Waguespack (9-7, 3.42 ERA in A-Adv and AA this year).
The Double A Trenton Thunder crushed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets), 9-1, in Game 4 of their Eastern League Division Series to win the series and advance to the Eastern League Championship Series. They’ll face the Altoona Curve (Pirates) with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday night at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, NJ.
As expected, the Yankees signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop prospect Ronny Rojas. The Yankees have long been tied to the youngster but he didn’t turn 16 until August 23rd. Rojas was rated as the eleventh best unsigned international prospect earlier this summer by MLB.com. He is the highest rated Yankees signing behind OF Everson Pereira, who was rated fourth.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s take this series and head for NYC! Go Yankees!
To act or not to act…
When is the beast (i.e., the YES Network) going to start screaming, “Feed Me!”…
Okay, okay, I know…the Yankees are a strong team with or without reinforcements. Maybe it is just the residual effect of having to depend upon Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.
Not unexpectedly, the Yankees failed to reach agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. Early speculation had Nakajima returning to Japan for one more year since the Yankees wouldn’t afford him the opportunity to start. The Boston Red Sox seem like the natural fit given their need for someone with Nakajima’s talent and it doesn’t hurt that the manager can speak a little Japanese.
Just as they were not players for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I don’t really expect the Yankees to pursue Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. If the Yankees didn’t have any promising prospects it would be one thing, but the organization really likes outfield prospect Mason Williams. It goes without saying that you can’t sustain a championship squad with $100 million players at every position. Primarily, it is cost prohibitive, but secondly, the players quickly become less productive than their compensation (i.e., A-Rod) and you’re unable to do anything about it. Good, cheap young talent is the way to sustain a championship squad. That’s why Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos should both get opportunities to pitch in Yankee Stadium at some point this season. If either could prove that he is major league ready, it would significantly strengthen the perceived weak starting rotation.
There are plenty of ‘what ifs’ with the Yankees this year, but IF Phil Hughes can show he is indeed the 18-win game winner we saw several years ago and not the notorious injury risk and IF A.J. Burnett could convert last season’s first half success into full season success, the rotation would be in great shape for supplementation by Betances and/or Banuelos.
Like many, I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero can do on a daily basis with his bat. I am grateful the Yankees didn’t move him. I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but if Montero starts hitting like we know he can, he’ll quickly become a fixed commodity in the Bronx.
My primary wish at this point is the return of backup third baseman Eric Chavez. Yes, I would be in favor of a trade for Matt Garza or Matt Cain, or the free agent signing of Edwin Jackson on a short term deal, but I really think that a solid, proven replacement option for A-Rod is essential. When A-Rod goes on the inevitable DL stint during the season, I don’t want to see his replacement with a guy that is fighting to stay above the Mendoza line. I want a guy that is capable of changing the game, and that’s Chavez. He might not be able to do it every day anymore, but he’s still a superior performer if used properly. So, Brian Cashman, please talk to your owner and get this deal done.
Money for nothing and the chicks for free…
I have to admit that I am impressed with what Cubs president Theo Epstein has done so far. To unload the pariah known as Carlos Zambrano and get a young, quality starting pitcher in Chris Volstad was genius. I know that Andrew Cashner was a heralded pitching prospect, but I really like the move to pick up former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres for first base. I used to think that Alfonso Soriano was untradeable, but now, if you told me that Theo had traded him for a quality return, I would believe you wholeheartedly. I kind of feel bad for Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. Regardless of what he does, Theo will always get credit. San Diego GM Josh Byrnes is probably saying ‘Thanks, Dude’ every night.
What do you want to be when you grow up?…
I was a bit surprised to see Joe Torre step down from his job with Major League Baseball. I am sure that the attraction of being a major league owner was very appealing, but it’s hardly a sure bet. But I guess that Joe’s made his money, and he decided to gamble for the job he wanted, knowing that worst case, he is set for the rest of his life. One thing’s for sure, if Joe’s ownership group is successful in buying the Dodgers, my longtime idol, Don Mattingly, is secure as Dodgers manager. So, all I can say is ‘Good luck, Joe!’.
When did Arte Moreno become smarter than a fifth grader?…
I’ve been surprised to hear that the contract Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels is so backloaded. To pay the best player in baseball $12 million to play in 2012 is clearly the best return on investment that I’ve seen in a very long time. Sure, in 8 years, the Angels will be paying $30 million for a past-his-prime first baseman, but by that time, he’ll have legendary records within his grasp, and will help fill seats, which of course, will pay his excess salary. GM Jerry DiPoto is too new to give him credit, but this was a genius move by the Angels and it shows that the Cardinals were never going to pay that kind of money.
What a surprise…
It’s funny that I used the word ‘surprised’ in the last two paragraphs. That’s not the case with the Yankees where the crickets still reign supreme…
I know, the Yankees signed former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima but I don’t really see him making the team if Cesar Cabral impresses in camp. Crickets, just crickets…