Tagged: Austin Romine

Dueling Dingers by All Rise & The Kraken…

Credit:  Larry W Smith-EPA

Yankees 16, Rangers 7…

Given it was the opening weekend for the NFL, I guess it was appropriate for the Yankees to win using a football score. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez both homered twice to power the Yankees to the series-clinching win over the Texas Rangers.  

The Yankees didn’t waste any time getting on the board. With two outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, Gary Sanchez hit a long home run to left center, a solo shot that traveled 412 feet, off Rangers starter A.J. Griffin for the early 1-0 lead.  It was El Gary’s 29th homer of the year.  

Credit:  Larry W Smith-EPA

The Rangers got the run back in the bottom of the 2nd when catcher Robinson Chirinos took Jordan Montgomery deep with a solo shot of his own to the right field bleachers.

Brett Gardner led off the top of the 3rd with a single to left past a diving Joey Gallo. After Chase Headley flied out to center for the first out, Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch on the back of his shoulder to put runners at first and second. A double to the wall in right by Didi Gregorius scored Gardner with the go-ahead run, while Sanchez moved to third.  Starlin Castro reached base when he hit into a fielder’s choice at third. Third baseman Joey Gallo made the decision to try and tag Sanchez who started toward home but turned back. Sanchez beat Gallo back to third so all runners were safe. Aaron Judge followed with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Sanchez. It was 3-1 Yankees.

With A.J. Griffin still on the mound for the Rangers, Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by a pitch leading off the top of the 4th.  Austin Romine lined a single to left, moving Ellsbury to second. That was all for Griffin as the Rangers brought in reliever Nick Martinez.  Brett Gardner greeted Martinez with a triple to the center field wall which scored Ellsbury and Romine. Chase Headley’s single to center through the drawn-in infield scored Gardy. Gary Sanchez doubled down the left field line, advancing Headley to third. Didi Gregorius singled to right, scoring Headley.  Sanchez moved to third. Starlin Castro hit into a double play at short, with the Rangers recording the outs at second and first but Sanchez scored.  Aaron Judge was next up to take swings against the Yankees-friendly Martinez.  He blasted a solo home run to center, his 40th of the year.  It was 9-1 Yankees and the end of Martinez’s enjoyable stay. Texas brought in reliever Yohander Mendez to replace Martinez and he retired Greg Bird on a pop out in foul territory to end the inning.  

In the bottom of the 4th, Jordan Montgomery walked the first two batters he faced (Robinson Chirinos and Joey Gallo). After striking out Rougned Odor, Montgomery gave up a run-scoring double to left over the head of Brett Gardner by Ryan Rua. Gallo moved to third.  Monty was removed at that point, failing to get the additional two outs he needed to qualify for the win.  Chad Green came in and surrendered a sacrifice fly to center by Delino DeShields which scored Gallo to make it 9-3. Green then struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning, leaving Rua stranded at third.  

The Yankees added to their lead in the 5th. Doubles to right by both Jacoby Ellsbury and Austin Romine had runners at second and third. After Brett Gardner grounded out to first, Chase Headley hit a grounder to third but the ball bounced off Joey Gallo’s glove. Shortstop Elvis Andrus got to the ball but he became distracted with Jacoby Ellsbury at third and had no play. The bases were loaded.  Gary Sanchez flied out to right field in foul territory for the second out.  Didi Gregorius singled to right, scoring both Ellsbury and Romine, but he was caught off first base by the throw from the outfield for the final out. The Yankees had increased their lead to 11-3.

Credit the Texas Rangers for refusing to roll over.  They led off the bottom of the 5th with a double to center by Elvis Andrus.  Mike Napoli’s single to left scored Andrus to make it 11-4. Green retired the next three batters to move the game to the top of the 6th.

After Starlin Castro grounded out to start the 6th, Aaron Judge blasted a long home run to left center that traveled 463 feet for his second HR of the game and 41st of the year.  12-4, Yankees.

Credit:  Larry W Smith-EPA

Gary Sanchez led off the top of the 8th with his second long home run of the game. The shot to center off Rangers pitcher Tyson Ross, which fell two feet short of Judge’s last blast, was El Gary’s 30th of the year and it increased the Yankee lead to 13-4.

Dellin Betances took over for Tommy Kahnle to start the bottom of the 8th.  Kahnle had relieved Green with two outs in the bottom of the 6th and had kept the Rangers off the board. Betances was not so lucky.  He started off right by striking out Drew Robinson but then proceeded to walk Ryan Rua and Delino Deshields.  Shin-Soo Choo took advantage of Dellin’s control problems by hitting a two-run double to right center to make it 13-6. It must have served as a wakeup call for Betances as he struck out the next two batters to end the inning.  

On to the 9th. Tyson Ross was still on the mound for the Rangers and he walked Jacoby Ellsbury to get things started. Austin Romine singled to left, with Ellsbury moving to second.  Tyler Wade singled to center to score Ellsbury.  14-6, Yankees, with Romine moving to third.  Up to the plate strolled Erik Kratz, pinch-hitting for Gary Sanchez and making his first official at-bat for the Yankees. His double to deep left center scored both Romine and Wade to make it a 16-6 game. Welcome to the Pinstripes, Mr Kratz!  That hit may have earned you a free, all-expenses paid trip to New York City.  

The bottom the 9th brought out Caleb Smith to relieve Betances. Smith retired the first two hitters on pop outs, but then he walked Brett Nicholas, who had the only Rangers hit in Saturday’s game against Luis Severino. Drew Robinson hit a long fly ball to deep left that fell in against the wall to score Nicholas to make it 16-7. Smith recovered and struck out Ryan Rua to end the game.  The Yankees win!

Credit:  Richard Rodriguez-Getty Images

The Yankees (77-65) pulled back to 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox with the win. Boston lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-1. The Baltimore Orioles trail the Yankees by 6 1/2 games after falling to the Cleveland Indians, 3-2.  It was Cleveland’s 18th consecutive win. The Rays trail the Yankees by 7 games. The Yankees also increased their Wild Card lead over the Minnesota Twins to 3 1/2 games. The Twins were defeated 11-3 by the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. The Los Angeles Angels are a game behind the Twins following their 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.  

Chad Green (4-0) picked up the win in relief of Jordan Montgomery.

Aaron Judge is only the second rookie in MLB history with at least 40 home runs. Mark McGwire holds the record with 49 in 1987. Judge also set the MLB record for most walks by a rookie when he walked for the 107th time in the 2nd inning. Didi Gregorius tied a career high with four hits, and same with Gary Sanchez in scoring four runs. The Yankees had 18 hits in total, ten of which were for extra bases.  

Next Up:  Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field, Flushing Meadow (Queens), New York…

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by Hurricane Irma. It must be very tough for the Rays to be on the road while friends and family are dealing with the impact of the hurricane in Florida. It’s unfortunate that the Rays are unable to play this series on their home turf and we wish them  and their families the very best as they deal with the aftermath of the disaster.  

For the games on the field, here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA)

Rays:  Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58 ERA)

TUESDAY

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (9-9, 3.22 ERA)

Rays:  Blake Snell (3-6, 4.36 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-2, 4.88 ERA)

Rays:  Chris Archer (9-9, 4.00 ERA)

Wednesday’s game looks to be a bit of a mismatch so hopefully the Yankees can take at least the first two games.  

Odds & Ends...

Congratulations to the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders! They won their best-of-five International League Division Series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies) with a 1-0 victory on Sunday.  Nestor Cortes got the win with seven strong innings. He held the IronPigs to five hits and no runs. He walked a batter and struck out eight. Nick Rumbelow worked out of trouble in the 9th after two singles to record the save. He struck out Dylan Cozens to end the game and preserve the shutout win.  The RailRiders scored their only run in the 7th inning on a home run by Mike Ford.

The RailRiders will advance to the best-of-five Governor’s Cup Finals to play the Durham Bulls (Rays). The series begins Tuesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.  

The Yankees activated 1B Garrett Cooper from the DL and optioned him to the RailRiders. He had been on a rehab assignment with the Trenton Thunder. The Yankees are also expected to activate OF Clint Frazier sometime this week. He has also been on a rehab assignment with Trenton.  The Thunder will begin play in the Eastern League Championship Series on Tuesday.

Have a great Monday! The Yanks may still be on the road but they are back in NYC!  Go Yankees!  

Advertisements

Battle of Little Bighorn II, Texas-Style…

Credit:  Tony Gutierrez-Associated Press

Rangers 11, Yankees 5…

It felt like the Battle of Little Bighorn but unfortunately the Yankees were Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry Regiment. I had hoped the momentum from Thursday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles would carry over to Friday night in Texas.  Yeah, right.  The Yankees were unable to hold a lead against the Rangers and then were overwhelmed in defeat.

The game started right when the Yankees broke through with multiple runs in the top of the 2nd inning.  It can be argued that they should have scored more runs in the inning but still, you’d think a 4-0 lead with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound represented good odds.  

Credit:  Tony Gutierrez-Associated Press

The inning started with Matt Holliday’s single up the middle to center field.  Didi Gregorius reached base on a fielder’s choice but a throwing error (flip wide of second) by Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor failed to force Holliday at second so two runners on and no outs.  Chase Headley lined a single to right and the bases were loaded.  Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to right just over the head of a leaping Odor and Holliday scored the game’s first run.  Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch (left front foot) from Rangers starter Martin Perez which brought Gregorius home to score.  After a coaching visit to the mound, Perez struck out Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge.  Gary Sanchez, in his first game back after the three-game suspension, hit a single to left through the hole at short.  Headley and Ellsbury both came home to score, but Todd Frazier was tagged out at third to end the inning.  4-0, Yankees.  

Credit:  Associated Press

In the bottom of the 2nd, Masahiro Tanaka fell behind lead-off hitter Nomar Mazara on a 3-1 count. Mazara found the pitch he wanted and sent it high into the second deck in right.  Tanaka was able to retire the next three hitters, the last two by strikeout.  

On to the 3rd.  Starlin Castro reached base on a fielding error by third baseman Joey Gallo when the ball glanced off his glove into left field.  Matt Holliday hit into a double play which was unfortunate because Didi Gregorius followed with his 21st home run (a high fly to right).  The solo home run is a new career high for Didi.  The Yankees were up, 5-1.  

From there, the Rangers started to chip away.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Robinson Chirinos hit a one-out single to center past a diving Didi Gregorius.  Delino DeShields doubled down the left field line into the corner, scoring Chirinos.  After Shin-Soo Choo lined out to center for the second out, with DeShields moving to third, Elvis Andrus doubled down the left field line, a high hop over Todd Frazier’s glove, to score DeShields.  A wild pitch advanced Andrus to third, but Tanaka was able to strike out Nomar Mazara to end the inning.  Yankees still led, 5-3. 

The Yankees had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the 4th inning but Starlin Castro popped out to second baseman Rougned Odor in shallow right to waste a huge opportunity.  

After the Yankees went down quietly in the top of the 5th, the Rangers struck hard.  Rougned Odor got it started with a single to right.  Robinson Chirinos doubled down the left line, scoring Odor from first.  It was a one-run game.  Delino DeShields singled to left, moving Chirinos to third.  With Shin-Soo Choo at the plate, a wild pitch by Masahiro Tanaka (low pitch that got under El Gary’s glove) freed Chirinos to come home and score the tying run.  Choo doubled  to left on a high fly that Brett Gardner almost caught but he “heard” the wall. DeShields moved to third. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough of Tanaka and made the switch to bring in Tommy Kahnle.  Elvis Andrus greeted Kahnle with a single to right, scoring both DeShields and Chirinos.  Starlin Castro tried diving for the ball but came up just short.  The Rangers had taken a 7-5 lead.  Kahnle induced Nomar Mazara to hit into a double play, but a single to center by Carlos Gomez ended his latest appearance.  Chasen Shreve came in and struck out Joey Gallo to finally end the painful inning.

While the Yankees were unable to get anything going offensively against Martin Perez and the Texas bullpen, the Rangers struck again in the bottom of the 7th inning to put the game away.  It was the kill shot to Custer’s head.  With Caleb Smith taking over for Shreve, Shin-Soo Choo singled to left.  While Elvis Andrus was batting, Smith threw a wild pitch that bounced in the dirt past Gary Sanchez and Choo advanced to second.  Andrus subsequently walked.  Nomar Mazara’s hard single to  the right field wall loaded the bases, bringing an end to Smith’s stay.  Ben Heller entered the game in relief of Smith and the Rangers inserted pinch-runner Jared Hoying at first for Mazara.  Carlos Gomez hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Choo.  With Joey Gallo batting, Heller threw the second wild pitch of the inning (smh) and Andrus moved to third, beating the throw from Gary Sanchez.  Gallo’s single to right scored Andrus.  Hoying moved to second.  Heller got the second out of the inning when he struck out Mike Napoli. However, Rougned Odor’s bases-clearing triple to right increased the Rangers’ lead to 11-5.  Heller’s subsequent walk of Robinson Chirinos ended his unsuccessful appearance.  Bryan Mitchell came in to finally end the inning, but the bloody massacre had been completed.  

The Yankees went down meekly from there, including three strikeouts in the top of the 9th, sending the Rangers into celebration on the field.  

Credit:  Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

This was a very ugly loss.  It had started to feel that Masahiro Tanaka was back on track after his struggles earlier in the season but this game reopened doubts.   It was the kind of game that makes one hope that Tanaka opts out of his contract at the end of the year.  But of course the bullpen did him no favors, nor did the team’s hitters.  Michael Kay made a good observation about why Joe Girardi would go with second tier relievers when the game was still tight.  I wondered the same thing when they brought in Caleb Smith who was followed by Ben Heller when Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and David Robertson were rested and ready in the pen.  

Sadly, the Boston Red Sox throttled the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3, to increase their lead in the AL East to 4 1/2 games.  The Yankees (75-65) maintained their 4 1/2 game edge over the Baltimore Orioles.  The O’s were the latest victim of the Cleveland Indian’s winning streak which now stands at 16 games (MLB’s longest streak since 2002).  The Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 8-5, to move within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees in the Wild Card Standings.   

Odds & Ends…

As a result of Hurricane Irma, the Yankees’ series with the Tampa Bay Rays this week (Monday through Wednesday) will be played at Citi Field in Queens instead of Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, FL.  There had been speculation that the games would be played in Chicago but it makes sense to use the Mets’ turf since the Rays are currently in Boston and most of he players are traveling with their families due to the impending storm in Florida. Lucas Duda at home in Citi Field…has a certain ring of deja vu to it.

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Austin Romine’s original two-game suspension for the Motor City Brawl has been reduced to one game (last night).  I am glad the suspensions are behind us. Erik Kratz, thanks for riding the bench and please don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders evened their play-off series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at one with a 4-2 victory last night.  Chance Adams was the winner.  He pitched five innings, allowing five hits and two runs.  He walked too many (four) but struck out five.  The hitting stars were Miguel Andujar (3-for-5 with two doubles and a RBI) and Mason Williams (2-for-4 with three runs scored).  Game 3 is tonight at PNC Field in Moosic, PA.  Brady Lail (6-5, 5.17 ERA) gets the start for the RailRiders.

The Double A Trenton Thunder pulled off a rare feat when Justus Sheffield and Taylor Widener combined for a no-hitter to beat the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in Game 3 of their play-off series.  The Thunder lead the Eastern Division Championship Series, 2 games to 1.

Have a great Saturday!  I’m hoping y’all get a win down deepinaharta Texas! Go Yankees!

The Motor City Brawl…

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Tigers 10, Yankees 6…

Damn, I wish we would have/could have won this game.  It left a very bad taste on Getaway Day as the Yankees fell to the Detroit Tigers in a fight-marred game.  I can’t say that I’ve seen too many games where the manager and his replacement are both tossed at different points of the game.  

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It was a back and forth game until the Tigers finally pulled away in the latter stages of the game after several skirmishes.

The Tigers scored first in the bottom of the 1st when Justin Upton took Yankees starter Jaime Garcia deep with a solo blast to left. Upton got all of it with the barrel of his bat and you knew it was gone by simply the sound.  I’ve tried to give Garcia every benefit of the doubt but I am starting to believe that the Minnesota Twins traded Garcia to the Yanks a week after they had acquired him because they wanted a way to make up ground on the Yankees.  

Aaron Judge led off the 2nd inning with a single to center.  He advanced to second on a wild pitch in the dirt by Tigers starter Michael Fulmer.  Didi Gregorius grounded out to the second baseman, Ian Kinsler, with the relay to first.  Judge moved over to third.  He was brought home when Chase Headley punched a single to left.  The game was tied at 1.

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd but Garcia was able to get out of the inning when Miguel Cabrera lined out to right.

Gary Sanchez led off the 4th inning with his 27th home run of the season, a shot to center.  Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones could only watch as the ball sailed over the fence.  The homer was El Gary’s fourth of the series.  The Yankees had taken a 2-1 lead, but the Tigers came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie it.  Nicholas Castanellos led off with a double to center in the gap as center fielder Aaron HIcks was in right center due to a shift.  Castanellos moved to third on a fly out to left by James McCann, easily beating the throw from Brett Gardner.  John Hicks got a hit through the infield on the left side which brought Castanellos home.  The game was tied.

The Yankees jumped ahead in the 5th inning.  Ronald Torreyes led off and reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Ian Kinsler. The ball rolled past the pitcher and Kinsler attempted to make the play but bobbled it.  Toe moved to second on a ground out by Austin Romine. The grounder rolled up on the shortstop, Jose Iglesias, so his only play was at first. Brett Gardner singled to deep short, with Toe moving to third (wisely holding up).  A sacrifice fly to center by A-A-Ron Hicks scored Toe.  The Yankees led, 3-2.  The incident that probably sparked the later fights occurred with the next batter when Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez in the hip.  I honestly couldn’t tell if Fulmer’s pitch was intentional or not.  Fulmer’s reaction seemed to imply that it was not. The HBP moved Gardy into scoring position, but the Yankees couldn’t capitalize when Aaron Judge went down swinging to end the inning. 


The Tigers tied the game again in the bottom of the 5th.  Mikie Mahtook led off and reached first base on a fielding error by Didi Gregorius (a routine grounder that rolled under Didi’s glove; this one hurt as it would open the door for the Tigers).  Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, pushing Mahtook to third.  Jaime Garcia was mercifully pulled from the game (don’t let the door hit you on the way out) and replaced by Adam Warren.  Sadly, Warren was about as effective as Garcia.  He struck out the first batter he faced, Miguel Cabrera, but then Nicholas Castanellos hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Mahtook to tag and score.  Upton took third.  The game was again tied.  Walks to James McCann and John Hicks loaded the bases.  After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, JaCoby Jones singled to right,  a liner just over Ronald Torreyes’ head, scoring both McCann and Hicks.  Jose Iglesias followed with a ground-rule double to left center (a one-hopper over the wall) to score Hicks.  It was 6-3 Tigers.  Tommy Kahnle replaced Warren and struck out Ian Kinsler to get out of the inning. 

Tempers were ignited in the 6th inning. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th, Tommy Kahnle threw behind MIguel Cabrera and was immediately ejected.  It brought out a furious Joe Girardi and he was tossed. Girardi’s beef was that there was no warning from the umpiring crew after Gary Sanchez was hit by Fulmer. Aroldis Chapman warmed up and entered the game.  As Miguel Cabrera walked back into the batter’s box, he was running at the mouth with words directed at catcher Austin Romine.  Romine flipped off the catcher’s mask and Cabrera shoved him, clearing both benches.  

Credit:  Reuters

After things started settling down, it was interesting to see Romine’s brother Andrew over getting the story from Austin.  It seemed to me that the melee was incited by Cabrera.  The umps tossed Austin and Cabrera.  The move forced the Yankees to forfeit the DH when Gary Sanchez was moved to catcher. 

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In a valiant comeback attempt, the Yankees tied the game again in the top of the 7th.  Ronald Torreyes led off with a walk. Jacoby Ellsbury, pinch-hitting for Aroldis Chapman, also walked.  The Tigers pulled Micheal Fulmer and replaced him with Daniel Stumpf.  With Brett Gardner at the plate, a wild pitch by Stumpf that got away from James McCann allowed Toe and Ellsbury to move to second and third.  Gardy then singled to center with a fly that just dropped in, scoring Toe and moving Ells to third.  A sacrifice fly to the left field wall by Aaron Hicks scored Ellsbury.  The Tigers made another pitching change to bring in Alex Wilson.  Gary Sanchez greeted Wilson with a single up the middle to center field and Gardy scored to tie the game at 6.

Dellin Betances took over in the bottom of the 7th and he was ejected when he threw a ball that hit James McCann in the head. That was not pretty.  I was glad to see that McCann was okay. I think the ball got away from Betances.  I don’t think he was purposely head-hunting.  Plus, it didn’t make sense to hit a batter in that spot.  Game tied, no outs. Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, the interim manager when Girardi was ejected, was also thrown out for arguing.  David Robertson replaced Betances and hit John Hicks on the hand with an unintentional pitch.  JaCoby Jones walked to load the bases.  Jose Iglesias doubled to left center over Brett Gardner’s head, clearing the bases.  The Tigers had re-taken the lead, 9-6.  

In a retaliatory move, Alex Wilson plunked Todd Frazier (hip) in the top of the 8th.  The benches were cleared a second time.  Brett Gardner was the one who had to be pulled out of the crowd, kicking and screaming. Both Wilson and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were ejected.  Shane Greene entered the game and shut the Yankees down from there.  

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

In the bottom of the 8th with Caleb Smith on the mound, James McCann got a measure of revenge when he took Smith deep for a solo blast high over the wall in left center.  

Brett Gardner led off the top of the 9th with a single to right off Greene, but Aaron Hicks grounded into a double play.  Gary Sanchez ended the game by striking out on a foul tip.  A tough loss, particularly the way it went down.  

The Yankees (68-58), fortunately, did not lose any ground in the AL East and remain 4 games back.  The Cleveland Indians apparently solved the Chris Sale mystery as they bludgeoned the Boston Red Sox, 13-6.  The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, to move into a third place tie with the idle Baltimore Orioles.  Both teams are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

There were no heroes in this game.  The umpiring crew was a joke.  They let the game get out of control.  There was even a scuffle in the Tigers’ dugout when Victor Martinez had to be restrained from going after Justin Verlander after the two exchanged words.  Yankees third base coach Joe Espada finished up the game as manager after Rob Thomson was thrown out.  

Gary Sanchez took criticism after the game for his sucker punches on Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castanellos.  He could be facing a suspension at a time when the Yankees need him the most.  With both Sanchez and Austin Romine potentially losing time due to suspensions and Kyle Higashioka on the DL at Triple A, the catching position is suddenly very thin.  The most disappointing part of the day is that suspensions will only hurt the Yankees and not the Tigers since they have nothing to play for at this point in the season. Maybe a suspension of the umpire crew is in order…

Next Up:  Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…

The Yankees return home to host the Mariners for Players Weekend.  It should be fun with the relaxed uniform standards and player names or nicknames on the jerseys.  Hopefully the Yankees can shake off Thursday’s brawl and return to the winning ways they experienced in taking the first two games from the Detroit Tigers.  

It’s unclear if Robinson Cano will play this series.  Don’t You Know was pulled from a game on Wednesday with hamstring tightness and was scheduled for tests yesterday.  At the present time, he’s listed day-to-day.

Credit:  Associated Press

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Mariners:  Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.78 ERA)

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.99 ERA)

SATURDAY

Mariners:  Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75 ERA)

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.38 ERA)

SUNDAY

Mariners:  Andrew Albers (2-0, 3.60 ERA)

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (9-10, 4.86 ERA)

The Mariners are currently tied for third in the Wild Card Standings with the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels.  They trail the Yankees by four games and the second WC team, the Minnesota Twins, by just a 1/2 game.  

Have a great Friday!  Back home and time to take care of business.  Let’s Go Yankees!

There Was Almost Life After Sale…

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2…

The Yankees had victory in their hands but Aroldis Chapman was unable to hold a one-run lead in the 9th and the Yankees fell to the Boston Red Sox in extra innings.  

This was one tough.  I felt very uneasy with Chapman taking the mound.  The Yankees really needed an insurance run in the 8th when Didi Gregorius struck out in the bottom of the 8th with runners at the corners and two outs.  I was concerned that Chapman would not be able to hold a one-run advantage.  Unfortunately, I was right.  Dellin Betances may have righted the ship but Chapman has not.  I don’t know if it’s the World Series “hangover” (too many pitches thrown in an extended season), but…right now…the Yankees have two better closers in Betances and David Robertson.  

It was expected that Chris Sale would be tough and he was.  Entering the game, his season ERA was only 1.15 against the Yankees in two starts.  We could have used that 0.15 of a run.  After Boston had scored the game’s first run in the top of the 5th on a run-scoring single by Jackie Bradley, Jr, the Yankees struck back against Sale when they got their turn at bat.  Chase Headley lined a one-out single to center.  After Ronald Torreyes struck out, Austin Romine tripled to right to score Headley.  Mookie Betts was at the wall but couldn’t make the catch on Romine’s hit.  The game was tied at 1.  It would be the sole run the Yankees would score off Sale.  He went 7 strong innings and only allowed 4 hits and the single run, while walking 2 and striking out 12.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Still, the Yankees had a chance.  Jordan Montgomery, struck in the head by a line drive during batting practice on Saturday, was excellent.  He kept the Yankees in the game, holding the Red Sox at bay to match Sale’s dominance for 5 1/3 innings.  The Red Sox were able to get only two hits off Monty, and the run in the 5th.  Throwing 84 pitches, Monty did walk 3 batters but struck out 4.  

Credit:  Jason Scenes-EPA

With Sale out of the game, the Yankees finally broke through with a run in the 8th against Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.  Aaron Hicks worked a one-out walk.  Aaron Judge singled to right, Hicks moved to second.  Another walk, this time to Gary Sanchez, loaded the bases.    Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Hicks with the go-ahead run.  The Yankees led, 2-1.  The Red Sox pulled Barnes and replaced him with reliever Robby Scott to face Didi Gregorius.  A single by Didi in this spot would have been huge, but sadly Scott struck out Didi on three pitches.

Enter Aroldis Chapman, goodbye potential win.  With two strikes on Rafael Devers, Chapman unleashed a 103 mph fastball and Devers was ready for it.  Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks could only watch as the ball landed over the wall in left center.  The game was tied.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun

The Yankees could have won the game in the bottom of the 9th.  With Addison Reed pitching, Chase Headley led off with a walk.  Ronald Torreyes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Headley to second.  Jacoby Ellsbury, pinch hitting for Austin Romine, grounded out to first, but Headley was able to advance to third.  The potential winning run just 90 feet away.  The Sox replaced Reed with closer Craig Kimbrel to face Brett Gardner.  It was a big opportunity for Gardy but but he struck out to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman was still on the mound when the Yankees took the field in the 10th.  With one out, he hit Jackie Bradley, Jr with a pitch and walked Eduardo Nunez.  Manager Joe Girardi finally had the stones to remove Chapman and replaced him with Tommy Kahnle.  Kahnle walked the first batter he faced (Mookie Betts) to load the bases.  Andrew Benintendi’s single to right scored JBJ with the go-ahead run.  Kahnle was able to retire the next two batters but the damage had been done.  The Sox were up, 3-2.

Craig Kimbrel easily retired the Yankees in the bottom of the 10th, and the Red Sox walked off the field with the game and series win.

It won’t get any easier when the Yankees play in Boston next weekend.  The Red Sox do not fear Chapman, nor should they have any reason to.  “He’s my closer”, Joe Girardi said after the game.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

The Yankees (61-55) fell a season high 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.  They had a chance to make a statement and it didn’t happen.  The Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees.  The Rays lost, 4-3, to the Cleveland Indians while the O’s were thumped, 9-3, by the Oakland A’s.  The A’s are 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees, while the O’s are trailing by four.  The Yankees hold the Wild Card advantage by 1 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels (where did they come from?…) and 2 games over Jaime Garcia’s former team (for 6 days), the Minnesota Twins.  

Aaron Hicks made a great diving catch in the first inning to rob Eduardo Nunez of an extra-base hit.  

Aaron Judge had three more strikeouts on Sunday to extend his consecutive game streak to 30.  He trails the record that Adam Dunn set, for non-pitchers, in 2012 with strikeouts in 32 consecutive games.  The Yankees really need Judge to make the necessary adjustments to get out of this funk if they are to have any October aspirations.

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images

Next Up:  New York Mets at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY (2) and Citi Field, Flushing, NY (2)…

The Yankees play a quick two-game set at home against the Mets before the series resumes at Citi Field for two games beginning on Wednesday.  The series follows some recent bad blood between the two teams over contentious failed trade negotiations leading up to the trading deadline.

Here are the pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Mets:  Rafael Montero (1-8, 6.06 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Cessa (0-3, 4.83 ERA)

TUESDAY

Mets:  Jacob DeGrom (13-5, 3.21 ERA)

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-7, 3.39 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.82 ERA)

Mets:  Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.85 ERA)

THURSDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (9-5, 3.32 ERA)

Mets:  Steven Matz (2-6, 5.54 ERA)

May Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia finally got some runs to work with, and may Luis Severino pitch much, much better than he did last Saturday against the Red Sox.  As for Cessa today, at least he’s facing a pitcher with 8 losses and ERA above six.  

Odds & Ends…

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Yankees returned reliever Giovanny Gallegos to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and recalled LHP Caleb Smith (who had been scheduled to pitch for the RailRiders on Sunday but was scratched with the promotion).  LHP Nestor Cortes made the start for SWB in Smith’s place.  Cortes didn’t get the win but he held the Durham Bulls to one hit and one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings.  With no free passes, he struck out eight.  The RailRiders won the game on a two-run homer by Ji-Man Choi in the top of the 9th.

The Texas Rangers have released infielder Pete Kozma who was on the Yankees’ opening day roster as an injury replacement for Didi Gregorius.  The Rangers had previously sold reliever Ernesto Frieri, who was in spring training with the Yankees, to the Seattle Mariners for $1 earlier in the week.  

The Houston Astros have acquired reliever Tyler Clippard from the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later or cash considerations.  Clippard rebuilt his stock after the trade   from the Yankees to the White Sox.  Although he lost his first appearance for the White Sox, he won his only other decision in 11 appearances and finished with a 1.80 ERA and two saves.  The Astros get a much better pitcher than the Yankees had earlier this year.

Have a great Monday!  A win today would be great!  Let’s Go Yankees!

Toe-Powered Offense Falls Short…

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

Rays 5, Yankees 3…

Ronald Torreyes tried but nobody else in the offensive lineup was cooperative as the Yankees lost the fourth and final game of the series with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Yankee hitters were 1-for-11 in scoring opportunities so this one goes down as a game of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’.

On a day when it was announced the Yankees had acquired left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, one of the other lefties in the rotation…Jordan Montgomery…failed to get out of the third inning.  Like Saturday, the Rays took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  Montgomery struck out Peter Bourjos, walked Steven Souza, Jr, and struck out Evan Longoria.  Lucas Duda singled to left as Souza, Jr took second.  Trevor Plouffe followed with a single up the middle, scoring Souza, Jr with the game’s first run.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

The Yankees grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second.  Chase Headley walked with one out  and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Rays starter Jacob Faria.  After Todd Frazier struck out, Ronald Torreyes hit a homer over the left field wall…2-1, Yankees.

Peter Bourjos led off the third inning with a double to the left field wall.  After Steven Souza, Jr struck out, Evan Longoria reached on an infield chopper as the speedy Bourjos took third.  Lucas Duda walked to load the bases with only one out.  For a moment, it looked like Monty might be able to work out of the jam.  He struck out Trevor Plouffe and had Corey Dickerson a strike away from ending the inning.  But Dickerson hit a 1-2 pitch into center field, scoring Bourjos and Longoria with the tying and go-ahead runs.  Wilson Ramos followed with a single to center, scoring Duda, and it was 4-2 Rays.  Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough, and pulled Montgomery, who had thrown 71 pitches despite an inability to get out of the 3rd inning, in favor of Luis Cessa.  Cessa threw a wild pitch which allowed Dickerson to take third as Ramos moved to second, but he was able to strike out Tim Beckham to get out of the inning.  

The Yankees made it a one-run game in the bottom of the 4th.  With two outs, Todd Frazier walked on four straight balls and scored when Ronald Torreyes doubled to the left field corner.  Frazier slid in under the throw from the outfield to score while Torreyes moved to third but Toe was left stranded when Austin Romine grounded out.

The Rays added an insurance run in the top of the 8th against Yankees reliever Chad Green.  Mallex Smith, pinch-hitting for Tim Beckham, led off the 8th with an infield single.  Smith stole second, easily sliding in under the tag.  With two outs, Steven Souza, Jr doubled off the left center wall to bring Smith home for the Rays’ fifth and final run.

The Yankees had numerous scoring opportunities in this game, but none bigger than the bottom of the 9th.  After Gary Sanchez struck out against Rays closer Alex Colome, Brett Gardner singled to left.  A wild pitch moved Gardy to second and Clint Frazier reached first when Colome threw four straight pitches outside of the strike zone.  With the tying run at first and one out, the Yankees had the heart of the lineup representing the winning run at the plate.  Aaron Judge had the first opportunity but got under a pitch and popped out to Trevor Plouffe in foul territory.  It came down to Matt Holliday for the Yankees’ last chance.  He weakly grounded out to Evan Longoria who easily threw Holliday out at first.  

The Yankees could have won this game, leaving a total of 22 men on base, but it was not meant to be.  The bullpen did a very good job after Montgomery’s early exit.  The combination of Luis Cessa, Chasen Shreve and Chad Green pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing only 3 hits and the 8th inning run given up by Green.  They walked 6 batters but struck out 11.  Shreve and Green worked out of a bases loaded threat in the top of the 7th inning. The trio gave the Yankees the chance to win so that’s all you can ask.  

Fortunately, the Boston Red Sox also lost on Sunday, by the same 5-3 score to the Kansas City Royals, so the Yankees (56-47) maintained their half game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East.  The Rays picked up a game so they are 3 1/2 back after losing three of four to the Yankees over the weekend.

Austin Romine left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the 6th inning.  It was a tough game for him.  He was struck in the throat by a bounced foul ball earlier in the game, and was hit in the head by Steven Souza, Jr’s bat on a follow-through of his swing.  Although he stayed in the game to run after getting hit, he was replaced at catcher by Gary Sanchez the next inning.  The cameras showed a bruised welt on Romine’s hand but x-rays proved negative.  Manager Joe Girardi does not expect any DL time for Romine, and of course Romine’s attitude was the usual ‘just cram the hand in the glove and go’.  

Credit:  Getty Images

Clint Frazier had quite a second inning.  Right before Romine got the ball to the throat, Frazier caught a fly ball in front of Brett Gardner who had tried to call Frazier off.  The next batter, Adeiny Hechavarria, hit a ball to the left field wall and Frazier timed his leap and catch perfectly to take away an extra base hit.  Bad play-good play, but fortunately both were for outs.  

Next Up:  Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…

The Yankees entertain the Detroit Tigers for a three-game series at the Stadium beginning today.  By game time, the Trading Deadline will have come and gone.  It’s time to focus on winning the AL East.  Newcomer Jaime Garcia, having pitched last Friday in Oakland for the Twins, will be unavailable to pitch until Thursday, thereby missing the Detroit series.  

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Tigers:  Michael Fulmer (10-8, 3.35 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03 ERA)

TUESDAY

Tigers:  Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 6.18 ERA)

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.66 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Tigers:  Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.69 ERA)

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (8-9, 5.09 ERA)

Odds & Ends…

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Yankees optioned lefty starter Caleb Smith to Triple A and recalled lefty reliever Chasen Shreve.  After the game, they optioned RHP Luis Cessa to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (presumably to make room for LHP Jaime Garcia).

I had thought Tigers reliever Justin Wilson would be the next ex-Yankee traded this month in  what has been a flurry of transactions involving former Pinstripers.  I was wrong.  Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox made their latest veteran dump when they sent OF Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals.  This is Melky’s second tour with the Royals where he spent the 2011 season.  But Wilson wasn’t far behind as word spread that he was on his way to Wrigley Field by the end of the day.  

Congratulations to third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers for becoming a member of the 3,000 Hit Club.  Beltre reached the milestone on Sunday with a double off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wade Miley.  Beltre is currently in his 20th MLB season and is the first player born in the Dominican Republic to reach 3,000 hits.  

Credit:  Tom Fox-The Dallas Morning News

As of this writing, I don’t know what to think about the Sonny Gray rumors.  On Saturday, it sounded like the Yankees were making significant progress with the Oakland A’s but then yesterday, nothing (implying a potential impasse).  With the clock clicking down, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.  While I remain optimistic the Yankees will get Gray, there is a good possibility that Jaime Garcia is the Yankees’ last acquisition before the deadline.  Although the Yankees are rumored to be looking at Yu Darvish as a backup plan, I think that is far less likely to happen.  I’m hoping we’ll be looking at Sonny skies before game time today but prepared to move on with the arms and bats currently on the roster.  

Have a great Monday!  It’s should be a wild ride up to 4 pm Eastern today but afterwards, let’s start a new winning streak.  Go Yankees!

The Toddfather and the Triple Play…

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Yankees 4, Reds 2…

Todd Frazier’s Yankee Stadium debut will be hard to forget.  I am not talking about the 500 or 600 people that traveled up to the game from Tom’s River, New Jersey.  With the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning, Frazier came to bat and promptly hit into an inning-ending triple play.  Fortunately, the Yankees squeezed one run out of it but not exactly a stellar debut.  Nevertheless, thanks to a magnificent Jordan Montgomery and 2 later RBI’s from  the third out of the triple play (Didi Gregorius), the Yankees prevailed over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

The second inning started so nicely for the Yankees.  Matt Holliday, Didi Gregorius, and Chase Headley all singled to load the bases with no outs against Reds starter Luis Castillo.  It set the stage for Todd Frazier’s Yankee Stadium debut.  I was thinking Grand Slam.  How beautiful that would have been.  But it was not meant to be as Frazier hit a grounder to shortstop Jose Peraza on a 3-1 hitter’s count.  After erasing Headley and Frazier, the Reds had Didi hung up between second and third.  He had broken for third base and then had second thoughts and ended up running out of the base path for the third and final out but not before Holliday had crossed the plate with the game’s first run.

The Yankees picked up another run in the 4th inning.  Aaron Judge singled to right off Castillo and worked his way to third base courtesy of a Matt Holliday broken bat groundout and then balk by the pitcher.  Didi Gregorius scored Judge with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Another run came the next inning when Todd Frazier, shaking off the triple play, led off with a single to left.  Tyler Wade hit into a fielder’s choice which eliminated Frazier at second.  Austin Romine, a high school teammate of Colorado’s great third baseman Nolan Arenado, doubled to the right field corner with Wade motoring around to score the Yankees’ third run. The Yankees loaded the bases after Romine’s double but were unable to cash in when Matt Holliday grounded out to end the inning.

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Jordan Montgomery was amazing.  He had a no-hitter going until the top of the 6th inning when Scott Schebler led off with a double to the wall in right center.  Schebler ended up scoring when he moved to third on a fly out and came home on a ground out.  Monty pitched into the 7th inning and had two outs before he was pulled after giving up a single to Adam Duvall.  Tommy Kahnle came on to secure the final out.  Montgomery settled for a two-hitter over 6 2/3 innings, allowing the single run and walking a batter, while striking out 6.  We’ve been watching Monty “grow up” this season before our very eyes and it has been fun.  He does not pitch like a rookie and is showing that he can be an arm to rely upon down the stretch.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP

With the Yankees holding the slim 3-1 lead, things got a little too interesting in the 8th.  Dellin Betances, showing that his struggles are not behind him, got into trouble.  He walked the first batter, Devin Mesoraco, to immediately start in the hole.  After striking out Scott Schebler, he walked Jose Peraza.  Zack Cozart pinch-hit for Arismendy Alcantara and hit a grounder into a fielder’s choice, forcing Peraza out at second.  Mesoraco moved to third, with Cozart at first.  Billy Hamilton doubled to right, scoring Mesoraco and moving Cozart to third.  Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough and pulled Betances in favor of Adam Warren.  Meanwhile, the Reds replaced Cozart after he aggravated a quad injury running to third base with pinch-runner Robert Stephenson, a starting pitcher (the Reds were down to catchers on their bench).  Fortunately, Stephenson, representing the tying run, was left stranded at third when Warren struck out Eugenio Suarez.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees added a much-needed insurance run when Didi Gregorius homered to right center, a solo shot.  

Credit:  Charles Wenzelberg-The New York Post

The Yankees took a 4-2 lead into the 9th inning for closer Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman, unlike Betances, had no command issues as he easily dispatched the three Reds he faced for his 12th save of the season.  Yankees win!

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Yankees (52-46) moved to within a game of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East Standings with the victory.  The Red Sox lost another game in Seattle, this time a 6-5 loss in 13 innings (after the Mariners rallied in the bottom of the 13th trailing the Red Sox, 5-4).  The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 5-4, to remain 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

Ironically, although he has no official RBI as a Yankee, Todd Frazier has driven in two runs with a double play and now a triple play during his brief Yankees career.  Hopefully, he’ll start mixing in a few official ribbies.

Credit:  Anthony J Causi-The New York Post

After the game, Joe Girardi said that it was his intent to avoid using David Robertson in the game.  He continues to have confidence in Dellin Betances, as do we, but there’s no question that he needs to work his way out of this funk sooner rather than later.

Sonny Gray Watch…

Okay, I admit it.  I am ‘all in’ on the Sonny Gray rumors.  He was probably the most scouted major league player during last night’s match-up between Gray’s current (soon to be former) team, the Oakland A’s and the AL East’s very own Toronto Blue Jays.  I have to admit that I was channel flipping between games.  It was actually a ‘two-fer’ watch with Yonder Alonzo starting at first base.  

Credit:  Mark Blinch-AP

I am still expecting the Los Angeles Dodgers to pull a desperation move but hopefully they are more focused on Yu Darvish assuming the Texas Rangers can be persuaded to sell.

Gray’s outing against the Blue Jays didn’t go so well.  Although he didn’t allow any earned runs, the Jays scored four runs against him courtesy of his own throwing error which extended the second inning in the A’s 4-1 loss.  His final line:  6.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO.  He took the loss, dropping to 6-5 while his ERA was lowered to 3.43.  

A number of teams were present to scout Gray at Rogers Centre in addition to the Yankees.  They included the Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers, Pirates, Indians, and Royals.  Although they were not present, the Houston Astros remain a frontrunner to acquire Gray according to A’s beat writer Susan Slusser.  

Here’s hoping that GM Brian Cashman is able to ensure that Gray’s next start will be in pinstripes.

Odds & Ends…

Ex-Yankee relievers seem to be in high demand.  Last week, we saw David Phelps traded from the Miami Marlins to the Seattle Mariners and saw him over the weekend.  Yesterday, the Chicago White Sox, having already divested themselves of former (and now current) Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, shipped ex-Yankee reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers.  Swarzak had just picked up his first save on Monday after Tyler Clippard failed to close the previous game.  I guess it is a curse to effectively close a game for the White Sox this year but I am not complaining.  Justin Wilson is probably the next former Yankee reliever on the auction block.  

Speaking of ex-Yankees, the Boston Red Sox felt they needed one.  They acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez overnight from the San Francisco Giants for a couple of minor league pitchers.  Thwarted in their attempt to acquire Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox, they had recently called up top prospect Rafael Devers to man third base.  The Red Sox press release referred to Nunez as a utility player so he’ll presumably provide insurance for the 20-year-old Devers if the Red Sox opt to continue with plans with the youngster at the hot corner or possibly platoon with him.

Triple A outfielder Jake Cave has been named the International League’s Player of the Week for the week ending July 23rd.  Cave was 15-for-26 (.577) with 2 homers and 8 RBI’s. His on-base percentage was .607 and his slugging percentage was .885.  He hit safely in all seven games played, with multiple hits in all but two of the games.  Since his promotion from Double A, Cave has the most hits (47) of any player in the International League over that period of time.  I know that the 24-year-old Cave is desperately seeking a MLB opportunity.  If he can’t get it with the Yankees, I hope that he is included in a deadline deal that will allow him to make his MLB debt.  He’s earned it.

Have a great Wednesday!  One more with the Reds and then bring us the Rays!  Let’s Go Yankees!

Feliz Navidad, in June, for the Yankees…

Credit:  Associated Press

Yankees 13, Astros 4…

I have to admit that I thought Friday night’s game against the Astros was going to be a struggle.  The Yankees did not arrive in Houston until 6 am after playing and the losing the rain-delayed game in Chicago the night before.  They arrived deep in the heart of Texas to play MLB’s best team and were scheduled to face the very tough Lance McCullers, Jr, the son of a former Yankee.  It was noted before the game that McCullers had not given up more than three runs in any of his home starts this year.  Against the Yankees, he was 2-0 with 0.75 ERA since 2016.  Fortunately, the Yankees came together as a team…as they’ve frequently done this year…and came away with the decisive victory.

Early on, it looked like it was going to be another struggle for runs that would potentially come up short.  The Astros scored their first run in the bottom of the inning when George Springer led off with a double against Yankees starter Michael Pineda.  He moved to third on a ground out and scored on a sac fly by All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve.

The Yankees picked up a run to tie the game in the third.  Brett Gardner led off with a double when the ball dropped in despite a running dive by Astros right fielder Josh Reddick.  It looked like McCullers might escape when he struck out the next two batters, but Didi Gregorius doubled  down the first base line to score Gardy.

The Yankees had two runners in scoring position in the top of the 4th with no outs.  Unfortunately, both Tyler Wade and Chris Carter struck out.  The inning was over when the runner on third, Austin Romine, attempted to score on a wild pitch.  Nice trick slide though as Romine tried unsuccessfully to evade the tag.

Credit:  Bob Levey-Getty Images

In the bottom of the 4th, the Astros led off with two singles.  A throwing error by right fielder Tyler Wade put runners at second and third.  After former Yankee Brian McCann struck out, another former Yankee, Carlos Beltran, hit into a ground out which scored the lead runner.  Marwin Gonzalez followed with a single to score a run and the Astros led, 3-1.  With McCullers Jr pitching well, it looked like it would be difficult to make a comeback.  

But the light at the end of tunnel occurred in the sixth inning.  Didi Gregorius opened with a single.  After Chase Headley struck out, Austin Romine walked and the Astros made a pitching change.  They brought in Michael Feliz to replace McCullers Jr.  Ronald Torreyes greeted Feliz with a single to left, scoring Gregorius.  Tyler Wade struck out for the second out, but Chris Carter, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury followed with run-scoring singles to put the Yankees up, 5-3.  A fielding error allowed Gardy to advance to 3rd.  He scored the fifth and final run of the inning when Feliz threw a wild pitch.  6-3, Yankees.  I really hated to see Feliz go but the Astros brought in Reymin Guduan and he secured the final out.  

Credit:  Karen Warren-Houston Chronicle

Nevertheless, the 7th brought more Yankee offense.  Chase Headley and Austin Romine opened with singles, and Ronald Torreyes walked to load the bases.  Tyler Wade hit a grounder that erased Headley at home and Chris Carter (wait for it) struck out.  So, with two outs and the bases loaded, Brett Gardner, who largely struggled during the month of June, came to the plate.  On a 3-2 count, Gardy put one over the right center field wall for the grand slam (his 15th homer of the year, and just two away from his career high).  

Credit:  Bob Levey-Getty Images

With the seven run lead, Michael Pineda’s night was finished.  Much better results than the last time Pineda faced a Texas team.  Pineda (8-4) went 6 innings and allowed 7 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), and struck out 3.  He didn’t walk anybody and more importantly, he didn’t give up any home runs.  It wasn’t a perfect outing but he gave the Yankees exactly what they needed…a fighting chance until the offense got untracked.  

The Astros picked up a meaningless run in the 8th when Josh Reddick opened with a double and advanced to third on a throwing error by Jacoby Ellsbury.  He scored when Jose Altuve grounded out.  Despite a subsequent single allowed, Bryan Mitchell, who had relieved Pineda in the 7th, was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.

The Yankees tacked on three more runs in the 9th.  Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade both walked.  Chris Carter struc…I mean…doubled to score Torreyes.  Brett Gardner lofted a sac fly to right to score Wade, his 6th RBI of the game.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit into a groundout, scoring Carter.  The runs gave the Yankees the final margin of victory, 13-4.  Bryan Mitchell set down the Astros in order in the bottom of the ninth to earn his first save of the season.  Great job by Mitchell to protect the bullpen and to keep the Astros down.  

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-4, in 11 innings, so the Yankees (43-35) remain one game behind in the AL East Standings.  The Tampa Bay Rays also won in extra innings (6-4 over the Baltimore Orioles) so they are still 3 games behind the Yankees.

This was a great team victory.

Ronald Torreyes, the “Tall” One…
Credit:  Karen Warren-Houston Chronicle

Odds & Ends…

All of our hearts are with Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler as he begins his recovery from knee surgery on Thursday night.  It will be a long, hard road of recovery and rehabilitation.  It’s been reported that he’ll be on crutches for three months before he begins physical therapy.  Everyone is hopeful that he’ll be ready by the time training camp in Tampa opens next February.  I thought it was cool the team had a face-time call with Fowler in Joe Girardi’s office before yesterday’s game.  

In the aftermath of Fowler’s devastating injury, the Yankees made a few expected moves on Friday.  With the placement of Fowler on the 10-Day DL and the demotion of Ronald Herrera to Triple A, the Yankees recalled RHP Bryan Mitchell and 3B Miguel Andujar.  For Andujar, he returns as a Major League Vet albeit with just one game under his belt.  But it will be hard for him to match that terrific first impression (3 hits, 4 ribbies).  I hope his defense is ready to play at the MLB level.  I’d like to see him get a few turns at third as an alternative to Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes.  I am glad to see that Mitchell is back.  He is a Major League pitcher that just gets caught in the numbers game.  But he’s always been one of my favorites.  Best of luck…and health…to both men.

Clint Frazier, according to multiple reports, will be called up today for his first trip to the big leagues.  I was surprised when the Yankees recalled Miguel Andujar after previously saying they wanted him to get more reps at third.  Nothing against Andujar and of course he had the greatest possible MLB debt performance, but the Yankees have a greater need in the outfield.  Rob Refsnyder is not the right answer to rotate with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge (keeping those guys fresh).  I’ve heard the most likely candidate to be sent down will be reliever Bryan Mitchell who made an extended appearance in last night’s game in relief of Michael Pineda.  I assume that Andujar is another potential candidate for the trip to Scranton, PA.  He was a convenient call-up for the Yankees following Fowler’s injury because he was still in Chicago.  Frazier will be the 10th Yankee to make his MLB debut this year (counting Fowler’s very brief appearance).  

Credit:  J Conrad Williams, Jr

CC Sabathia pitched a simulated game on Thursday and is expecting to make his next start.  I assume that Luis Cessa will be return to Scranton when Sabathia is activated off the DL.  Still no word about Matt Holliday as tests continue.  This is a bit frightening, to say the least.  I really hope this is not something more serious than we’ve been led to believe.  Tyler Clippard was away from the team on Friday to attend his grandmother’s funeral.  He is expected back today.

Have a great Saturday!  Even better if the Yankees can pull out a second victory against a very tough Astros squad.  Let’s Go Yankees!