Credit: Associated Press
Yankees 12, White Sox 3…
Two young Bombers collected their first Major League hits to help power Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees to the victory over the Chicago White Sox. Throw in another Aaron Judge home run and it was a good night at the office (even if it was a slightly wet and windy one).
When I saw the lineup card, I was a little concerned when I saw that two “fresh” rookies would be starting. But on this night, they were exactly what the doctor ordered. The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Brett Gardner walked to open the game. Following outs by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and a passed ball that moved Gardy to second, Didi Gregorius reached first safely on a throwing error by White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Gardy scored on the play. Chase Headley and Austin Romine both walked to load the bases. Miguel Andujar, a new arrival from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, stepped to the plate and chopped a single to center which scored Gregorius and Headley.
Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka escaped a bases loaded jam in the 2nd but he wasn’t so lucky in the 5th. After the White Sox opened the inning by loading the bases with two hits and a walk, former Yankee Melky Cabrera lined a single to left, scoring two runs. Fortunately, Tanaka was able to get out of the inning without any further damage. 3-2, Yankees.
The Yankees wasted no time in re-establishing a multiple run lead. In the top of the 6th, against Sox reliever Jake Petricka, Austin Romine doubled with one out. After Miguel Andujar hit a grounder for the second out, Tyler Wade followed with his first Major League hit, a fly ball that dropped in for a double to score Romine. Ronald Torreyes then laced a sharp double to right, scoring Wade. 5-2, Yankees. White Sox manager Rick Renteria came out to talk to Petricka and was thrown out when he began jarring with the Home Plate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. The Yankees two-out hit parade continued as Brett Gardner singled to center to score Torreyes. Aaron Judge came up and lined “a bullet” to left for his 27th home run of the season. 8-2, Yanks.
Credit: Jonathan Daniel-Getty Images
Tanaka (6-7) finished his day by striking out the side in the bottom of the 6th. I really didn’t know what to expect out of Tanaka for this start. I didn’t know if last week’s stellar performance against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers was an aberration or a sign that Tanaka was back on track. Fortunately, it appears the turbulence may be a thing of the past…or at least I hope so. Tanaka’s final line was very solid. 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 5 SO. He threw 101 pitches, lowered his season ERA to 5.56 and most importantly, did not give up any home runs.
It started to rain in the 7th inning. It got a little tense in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Wade, playing left field, was charged with an error. A fly ball that normally would have been destined for center field drifted toward left with the aid of the wind. Brett Gardner, playing center field, was moving with the ball and attempted to catch it but so was the left-fielder Wade. Their gloves collided causing the ball to bounce out of Gardy’s glove. The White Sox put a second runner on base on another wind-aided fly ball that Ronald Torreyes missed. There was also a fly in foul territory that normally would have been caught if not for the wind. Despite a subsequent walk that loaded the bases, Chad Green was able to strike out Todd Frazier to end the threat. Whew! I was very worried that the wind was going to help the White Sox get back in the game. I guess there’s a reason they call it the Windy City.
In the top of the 9th, Didi Gregorius hit a one-out two-run homer to increase the lead to 10-2. In a bit of deja vu from earlier in the game, both Chase Headley and Austin Romine walked in front of Miguel Andujar. Like the first inning, Andujar didn’t miss the opportunity. He lined a double to center to score (again) both Headley and Romine. Nice debut performance by Andujar with 4 RBI’s on the night. He finished 3-for-4 with a stolen base. He was probably left wondering what’s so hard about baseball at this level.
Chicago’s Adam Engel homered off Tyler Webb in the bottom of the 9th to make it 12-3 but then Webb settled down and retired the next three batters (two by strikeout). The Yankees win!
Then it was off to bed for the Baby Bombers…
After so many close games and disappointing losses, it was nice to have a blowout. The Yankees (42-34) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the win. The Boston Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins, 4-1. The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2, so they are three games back.
Odds & Ends…
Former Yankees top prospect Jesus Montero, 27, is looking for a new team. He was released on Tuesday by the Triple A Norfolk Tides, the top farm team for the Baltimore Orioles. Montero recently completed a 50-game suspension for a banned substance and was only batting .143 in 49 at-bats with 14 strikeouts for the Tide. After Montero’s trade to the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 deal that brought Michael Pineda to New York, he has spent time in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization in addition to his latest Minors stint with the O’s. I guess that means the Red Sox or the Rays are on tap next. It’s been a hard road for the player once billed to be the next greatest catcher for the Yankees. Now he’s struggling to just stay in the game at first base or DH. Sad story for the guy who was supposed to be Gary Sanchez before Gary Sanchez was.
News started breaking early on Wednesday about the promotion of third base prospect Miguel Andujar to the Yankees. Andujar had just been promoted from Double A Trenton to Triple A Scranton on June 19th. In 67 games for the Thunder, Andujar had a slash line of .312/.342/.494 with 7 HR’s and 52 RBI’s. Out of 79 total hits, 23 went for doubles. He also had a team-high 10 errors. In 7 games for the RailRiders, Andujar was hitting .308 with 1 HR and 2 RBI’s (8-for-26). It is a small sample size but he only committed one error at Triple A. He hit well during Spring Training but his fielding was questionable. Nevertheless, he is known as an above-average defender. He now has a golden opportunity to out-perform an over-priced, 33-year-old veteran. Yesterday’s debut, even if he was at DH and not third, was a great start.
To make room for Andujar, the Yankees placed DH Matt Holliday (viral infection) on the 10-Day DL retroactive to June 25th. Holliday has been battling the symptoms of the allergic reaction he first encountered in Oakland. He’ll return to New York for further tests. We wish Matt the best and hope to see him back on the field in the near future.
We thought the Chris Carter Experiment was over, but alas, it might not be. The Yankees have announced that Carter, previously designated for assignment, has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple A. He now represents the next option should the Yankees decide it is necessary to place Tyler Austin on the disabled list (hamstring). So, just when you thought it was safe to watch a Yankees game again…
Happy Thursday! One final game in Chicago before the getaway to Houston, Texas. Let’s Go Yankees!
Yankees Baseball is back!
Okay, it’s only spring training but it’s great to see the Pinstripers take the field again.
Credit: Butch Dill, USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, the Yankees won their spring training opener over the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-4, at Steinbrenner Field. The game featured a monster home run by right fielder Aaron Judge that bounced off the scorecard. Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa, in competition for rotation spots, both pitched two innings of scoreless, no-hit ball. Granted, spring training games mean absolutely zilch at this point but after a winter that saw Boston gain the premier pitcher in the American League (Chris Sale) and a NFL championship, it is time to turn the page.
The spring opener also featured a triple by Clint Frazier, scoring two runs in the eighth inning. Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t play (the only regular not in the starting lineup), but I couldn’t help but wonder how much better Frazier would look in centerfield than Ellsbury. Patience, young Grasshopper, patience…
It’s early, but Matt Holliday’s veteran influence on the team is showing. When Holliday first arrived in the Major Leagues with the Colorado Rockies, he had guys like Todd Helton and Larry Walker to look up to. He has said that his former teammates Mark Sweeney and Todd Greene were also crucial to his development both on and off the field. Holliday comes from a baseball background. His father, Tom, was a long-time assistant coach with Miami (FL), Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Texas, NC State, and Auburn. Tom Holliday also served as head coach of Oklahoma State from 1997-2003. Matt’s brother Josh is the current head coach of Oklahoma State. Matt understands the value of mentorship and is setting the example that will be replicated and paid forward by the current Baby Bombers for years to come.
When it was the announced the Yankees had signed free agent slugging first baseman Chris Carter, there was some question where he would fit in. The Yankees already have Matt Holliday at DH, with plans to rotate other players through the role as a form of rest. At first, the Yankees have starting favorite Greg Bird and last year’s boy wonder junior in Tyler Austin. One sportswriter (I do not remember who) wrote that these things have a way of working themselves out. Subsequently, Austin broke his foot and will be lost for six weeks. This certainly opens the door for Carter to make an impact at first, even if he isn’t the starter (and is a sub-standard fielder). But, man, those long home runs are going to look beautiful in Yankee Stadium.
Early Season Loss…
I guess there’s a reason the Yankees try to avoid going to arbitration with their players. It is never a joyous process. When the Yankees offered $3 million for Dellin Betances but he wanted $5 million, the gap was too wide for compromise. It set the stage for a contentious arbitration battle between player and team. After Betances had to sit through 90 minutes of hearing about his faults, the arbitrators ruled in favor of the team. Betances is certainly worth $5 million but that’s not how the process works. He’ll eventually get his money. It would have been best if the two sides had said nothing following the arbitrators’ decision, but Yankees team President, bad hair and all, had to hold a press conference to berate the agents for Betances. It was a very poor decision by Levine, an experienced labor attorney.
It’s possible that Levine’s actions will make future contract negotiations with Betances and his agents very difficult and may eventually lead to Dellin’s departure. I am not a fan of Levine, and feel the team would be better served promoting GM Brian Cashman to President, Baseball Operations, and hiring a new general manager.
Off-Topic: Mayans MC…
As a fan of the TV series Sons of Anarchy, I am excited that a pilot spinoff series about SOA’s rival motorcycle club, the Mayans, is currently in development. The pilot episode will be filmed in March. FX has not announced that Mayans MC will be part of its fall lineup but that’s the hope.
After months of only hearing that SOA creator Kurt Sutter was writing the new Mayans MC series with Elgin James, and that Sutter would direct the pilot episode, the casting decisions are starting to be announced.
The first name was Edward James Olmos who will play the father of the protagonist, a young prospect in the Santo Padre Chapter (Mexi-Cali border) of the Mayans MC. Olmos’ character, Felipe Reyes will have at least two sons. The lead character is Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (the prospect) and will be played by JD Pardo. The other son, Angel, will be played by Clayton Cardenas, and is a full-patch member of the MC.
The President of the Santo Padre Chapter is Esai “Taino” Osorio, who will be played by John Ortiz. The Osorio character has history with original SOA character Marcus Alvarez who was the president of the Northern California chapter of the Mayans (played by Emilio Rivera).
I am excited for this series and hopeful that it reaches its goal of making the fall TV lineup. The casting decisions, so far, have been excellent, and I am looking forward to seeing who they cast in the female roles (primarily the woman that EZ Reyes loves).
After the misstep with The Bastard Executioner, I am glad to see Sutter return to the genre and world that has served him so well. There will never be another show like Sons of Anarchy, but hopefully the Mayans MC can make its own mark.