|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1…
Admittedly, I was glad that it was David Price on the mound Thursday and not Chris Sale. For an ace, I’ve never been worried when Price is pitching against the Yankees as they generally seem to come up big against him. Thursday was no exception.
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As John Sterling says, “Gary is scary”. A night after Chris Carter almost hit two home runs, Gary accomplished the feat for his second multi-homer game in a week. They had meat in them as both occurred with runners on base (solo homers seem don’t carry the same bang for the buck in a statement of the obvious). Like Wednesday’s game, the Yankees scored first with Brett Gardner’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the 2nd. Then, like Chris Carter the day before, Gary Sanchez got a hold of David Price’s pitch with Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday on base and deposited it over the left-center wall to give the Yankees a nice cushion. Sanchez went deep again in the 5th, with a blast to center off Price, scoring Starlin Castro. Gary was 2-for-4 with 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.
Gary has hit Price well in his brief career. He is 4-for-7 with four home runs. As Gary starts to heat up, it is scary to think what the Yankees offense is capable of when it is hitting all cylinders. Even when they are not, it seems like someone is coming up big (unless your name is Chase Headley).
It was also an impressive night for Aaron Judge, even without any homers. He was 3-for-4, with two runs scored, pushing his season batting average to .330. His single in the sixth inning off Red Sox reliever Fernando Abad was the hardest hit ball of the year according to Statcast. With exit velocity of 119.8 mph, Judge pushed two of his own prior efforts to second and third on the Exit Velocity leaderboard.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Brett Gardner took the lead in the Bald Brothers Battle with his 13th home run of the season, a fly to center in the 8th when the game was no longer in doubt. I was really hoping that Matt Holliday would be able to match Gardner two batters later, but he was hit by a pitch, taking the bat out of his hands prematurely.
I have to mention the great running catch by Ronald Torreyes in the 9th. As a defensive substitution for Didi Gregorius after Austin Romine had pinch hit for Didi, Torreyes ran toward the left field foul area after Xander Bogaerts hit a sharp fly. Sliding past the foul line, Torreyes made the catch to record the first out. Plays like this show the 2017 Yankees are a team that likes to have fun. You could see the appreciation from his teammates as Torreyes walked back on field.
Just when you thought Chris Carter was finally starting to hit, he was 0-for-4 as his batting average slipped below .200 again (.195). He was the only starter not to reach base through a hit or a walk. Chase Headley committed his 10th error of the season, matching his season total last year.
Lost among the stellar night by Sanchez was a tremendous start by Michael Pineda (7-3). After the disaster in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays, Pineda was on top of his game against the Sox. He held Red Sox batters to only four hits over seven innings, and only allowed one unearned run. He walked two and struck out eight in the dominating performance.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
The quartet of Pineda, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery have really been fun to watch with the most recent run through the rotation. Masahiro Tanaka, not so much…
As for the bullpen, I thought Adam Warren and Giovanny Gallegos did good jobs. Warren pitched a clean 8th inning, recording one strikeout. Gallegos came on in the 9th, and easily got the first two batters out. Manager Joe Girardi then made a pitching change to bring Dellin Betances into the game. Betances clearly had rust, having not pitched for about five days. He walked Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez subsequently took 2nd on defensive indifference. Dellin struck out the next batter, Jackie Bradley, Jr, but the ball got away from Gary Sanchez for a wild pitch, and JBJ made it safely to first with Ramirez taking third. Like Ramirez, JBJ then took 2nd on defensive indifference. Josh Rutledge followed with a walk to load the bases. I have to say that I was getting a bit concerned, even with a 9-1 lead. Fortunately, Dellin ended the game with the next batter, Pablo Sandoval, on a called third strike. For what should have been a short one-out stint, Betances ended up throwing 17 pitches. Hopefully, the work proves beneficial for the upcoming Baltimore series.
|Credit: Charles Wenzelberg|
Coming into the Boston series, the Red Sox could have taken the AL East lead with a sweep. But thanks to two Yankees victories following the opening game loss, New York (34-23) increased its lead to 3 games. The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Washington Nationals, 6-1, dropping 3 1/2 games back.
I never thought that we’d hold Boston to only one run in two games, but it’s been a very fun couple of nights. I am hoping for a similar result in the upcoming series against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
Odds & Ends…
Greg Bird should be back soon. He is saying that he is as close to 100% as he has been since spring training. On Thursday, he moved up from High-A Tampa to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on rehab assignment. He was 1-for-3 with a single and two walks in SWB’s 3-2 loss to Lehigh Valley. I liked his comments when asked how will he know when he’s ready: “Some magical sign. Lightning will strike my bat”. He was kidding, of course, but if he starts hitting like he did in Spring Training, it’s going to be a very fun summer.
Here are the pitching match-ups for the three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles that begins tonight.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 3.67 ERA)
Orioles: Chris Tillman (1-3, 5.59 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (4-2, 2.90 ERA)
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.86 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka, Yikes! (5-6, 6.55 ERA)
Have a great Friday! As always, Go Yankees!
Yankees 7, Blue Jays 0…
The Yankees now have as many wins at Rogers Centre (two) as they had all of last year. They’ve also assured themselves that they’ll leave Toronto later today with no worse than a split of the four-game series and have the potential to take three of four.
There were questions about Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery coming into the game. Even Manager Joe Girardi was a bit testy before the game when the subject of hot prospect Chance Adams was raised. “Are you kidding me?”, Girardi said. “Chance Adams has one or two starts in Triple-A. That kid was like 16-5 last year between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s pitched really well here. Give Chance a chance to get ready. I like what he’s doing and he might pitch for us one day, but we’re not ready to start that.” Adams has actually had four starts at Triple-A and was 13-1 last year between High-A and Double A but that’s beside the point. The best answer to the Chance Adams question is to pitch like you belong in the Major Leagues.
Jordan Montgomery answered that question.
The tall lefty limited the Blue Jays to three hits over six innings. He did walk 3 batters but struck out 5 in lowering his season ERA to 3.67. It was a great performance by the 24-year-old and one that shows he wants to be part of the fun that is called the 2017 New York Yankees.
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The game was really a tale of two stories. The first half was a tight pitcher’s game as the Yankees were only able to score two unearned runs in the third through the game’s first six innings. In the third, with one out, Rob Refsnyder reached first base when Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki booted a ground ball twice for an E-6. Ref stole second (let’s see Chris Carter do that) to put himself in scoring position. After Brett Gardner flied out for the second out, the Aarons followed with doubles as Hicks scored Refsnyder and Judge scored Hicks. Those were the only Yankees hits until the seventh inning.
The Yankees finally scored an earned run off Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini in the seventh but it was a very good performance by Toronto’s 27-year-old right-hander. However, on this day, Montgomery was better.
With the pitching duel out of the way following the departures of both Montgomery and Biagini, the game turned into a Home Run Derby in the eighth inning for the Bombers. With reliever Jason Grilli, a former closer, on the mound, it was time for some fun. Brett Gardner opened the inning with his 12th homer of the year with a shot to right to put the Yankees up 4-0. After the Aarons contributed the first two outs of the inning, it was time for the show. First up, Matt Holliday. Obviously upset that his Bald Brother, Gardner, had taken the lead in their home run battle, evened the score with his 12th. “I gotcha Gardy!” I loved that line as Holliday returned to the dugout. The next batter, Starlin Castro, with the 9th pitch of the at-bat, just cleared the left field fence for his 9th home run of the season. That brought Didi Gregorius to the plate. With a shot to right, Didi completed the back-to-back-to-back homer barrage, ending Grilli’s day and capping the Yankees’ scoring. Man, I hated to see Grilli go…
|Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports, via Reuters|
Credit David Cone of the YES Network with the reference to Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Easy Money when talking about the Bald Brothers. “Why don’t you two put your heads together and make an @$$ out of yourselves.” The ending of the quote may not be appropriate for these two but it is a blast watching Holliday and Gardner match each other homer by homer.
It was an interesting stat that the Yankees won this game without hitting at least one single. All of the hits were either doubles or home runs.
Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances combined for three innings of hitless relief in support of Montgomery (3-4).
The Yankees (32-21) increased their AL East lead to three games as the Baltimore Orioles slipped back to third following their 5-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. The O’s are 3 1/2 games back.
Odds & Ends…
I need to preface this by saying that I hope Jacoby Ellsbury is not seriously hurt and will not have long-term health implications. According to the Yankees, Ellsbury has suspended baseball activities and will see a neurologist in New York tomorrow due to continued headaches after his concussion. I was glad to hear that Aaron Hicks will continue as the starter in center field although I hate to take satisfaction at Ellsbury’s expense. Ellsbury aside, Hicks has proven he deserves to be a starter in the Major Leagues. The former top Twins prospect is having a career year and is such a part of the success so far this season.
There is not much to report from AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RailRiders were two-hit in a shutout loss to the Toledo Mud Hens so it was an off-night for everybody.
Although the talk is that Gleyber Torres will be promoted to the Yankees later this summer if Chase Headley continues to scuffle, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that New York is more likely to pursue a more proven veteran for the hot corner if the Yankees remain in the pennant chase.
Congratulations to Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels who hit his 600th home run in grand fashion…a grand slam off Ervin Santana of the Minnesota Twins.
|Credit: Mark J Terrill-Associated Press|
Also, a shout out to Miami Marlins starter Edinson Volquez. He threw the season’s first no-hitter yesterday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Miami. He accomplished the feat with just 98 pitches and he did it on a day when he paid tribute prior to the game to his good friend and former teammate, the late Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura. Yesterday would have been Ventura’s 26th birthday. After the game, Volquez dedicated the performance to late Miami ace Jose Fernandez and Ventura.
|Credit: Wilfredo Lee-Associated Press|
Have a great Sunday! Hopefully the Yankees can continue the winning feeling today to help make the flight back to New York a happy one.