Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 2, Rangers 1…
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s Ronald Torreyes! The unlikely hero delivered in the 10th inning with a walk-off run-scoring single as the Yankees took the first game of a three game set from the Texas Rangers.
The game, delayed for an hour and forty minutes by rain, was a classic pitcher’s duel between Japanese greats Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka. The duel may have ended with goose eggs and no decisions for both pitchers, but they were incredible as the game did not see its first runs until the 9th inning. Worried about Tanaka prior to the game, he showed that he was anything but a concern as he pitched 8 innings of three-hit scoreless ball, Walking just two, he fanned nine. Darvish went 7 innings with no runs and two hits, and did one better than Tanaka with strikeouts (10). I am not sure what we’ll see the next time Tanaka takes the mound but with Darvish as his motivation on Friday night, he was magnificent.
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
I was worried that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo would torch Tanaka pitches but he struck out with two runners on in the third inning, and grounded out in a similar situation in the eighth as the last batter Tanaka faced. Gallo finished 0-for-4 and 3 strikeouts.
The Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman in for the 9th inning of the scoreless game. He struck out the first batter, Shin-Soo Choo, but Elvis Andrus followed with a single. Struggling with his command, Chapman, who was sweating profusely, hit Nomar Mazara with a pitch in the shoulder. With Adrian Beltre at the plate, Andrus stole third. A great defensive play by third baseman Torreyes in stopping a wide throw from Gary Sanchez prevented more damage at that point. But when Beltre struck out, the ball got away from Sanchez and Andrus ran home for the game’s first run.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th, Torreyes went down on a groundout for the first out. But no worries, Brett Gardner came up and delivered with a game-tying home run to right. Aaron Hicks grounded out for the second out. Aaron Judge singled to put the potential winning run at first. Unfortunately, Matt Holliday struck out to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, the Rangers loaded the bases against Chad Green and Chasen Shreve with two outs but Shreve got Andrus to pop out to end the threat. This set the stage for the home half of the 10th. With one out, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled, with Sanchez taking third. Chris Carter struck out on four pitches (surprise, surprise). But no fear, Ronald Torreyes stepped up to the plate. The little man with the big stick. A line drive single to center scored Sanchez with the winning run. The Yankees win.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The victory allowed the Yankees (40-31) to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East Standings. The Red Sox had defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 15-5, to remain 2 1/2 games back.
After the game, the Yankees mercifully ended the Chris Carter experiment. He seemed lost at the plate, with another 0-for-4 performance and three strikeouts.
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post
Carter had a chance to be a hero in the bottom of the 8th with Gary Sanchez on first and two outs. But he feebly struck out swinging. There was something about that weak final swing that gave me an “I’m done” feeling. It was reinforced in the 10th when Carter struck out with a huge opportunity to be the game’s hero. Apparently, GM Brian Cashman felt the same way as Carter was designated for assignment immediately after the game. Tyler Austin, who has homered in his last three of his last four games, was recalled to take Carter’s place. In the 27 games at Triple A after his reactivation from the DL in late May, Austin has hit .300/.366/.500 with 4 HR’s and 21 RBI’s for the RailRiders. Of his 30 hits in 100 at-bats, 17 have gone for extra-bases. The alarming statistic is 32 strikeouts but Austin has really been heating up with the bat over the past week. He has played error-free baseball at first. Welcome back, Tyler! Trust us, we are very glad to see you.
Big Papi, The Man Among Boys…
The Boston Red Sox retired the number of David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night in their game against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Big Papi was a thorn in the Yankees’ side for many years. Time and again, a game was ended with a Big Papi blast. I am very glad that #34 will no longer be an active number worn when the Red Sox come to town. My biggest fear was that he would “un-retire”.
Credit: Stuart Cahill
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr expressed it well when he said, “That just lets you know what a special impact he’s made in the community and the organization and all of baseball. What he’s done for the city, the team, people around him, it’s well deserved. I know we couldn’t be any happier for him.” I agree. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I couldn’t wait for the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton (may he rest in peace) to retire, and I felt the same about Papi. More than anything, it is a sign of how much respect I held for those men.
A close friend of mine who is a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan, and Boston-area resident, did post this comment on Social Media: “This is just my humble opinion, but I think it is much too early for the Red Sox to be retiring Ortiz’s number. With the exception of Johnny Pesky, the honor of having a number retired by the Red Sox was reserved for those players who entered the Baseball HOF.” My response…whatever it takes to keep him from coming out of retirement.
Odds & Ends…
Chance Adams is a friggin’ rock star. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 11-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, the RailRiders’ ace was magnificent. Pawtucket didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning. Adams (5-2) finished six innings strong, allowing just the one hit and no runs. He issued two walks, while fanning eight. The outstanding performance lowered Adams’ season ERA to 2.12. At some point in the not-so-distant future, it will be determined that Adams has nothing left to prove at the Triple A level. In my mind, he’s just a couple of Luis Cessa bumps and bruises away from stepping on the main stage (or the potential first call if another starter…I hope not…is injured). Why not take a Chance?…
The Boston Red Sox are going hog wild in an attempt to find help. Yesterday, they signed pitcher Doug Fister, released by the Los Angeles Angels, and shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta, who was cut by the St Louis Cardinals. Injuries to their pitching staff forced the Fister move. The disaster known as Pablo Sandoval brought in Peralta. I still think the Red Sox will be heavy players for Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas at the trading deadline. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Sox should have about $9 million to play with before they risk crossing the luxury tax threshold.
Happy Saturday! Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
The Yankees claimed the 2009 American League Eastern Division Championship with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. The win also assured the Yanks of the best record in the AL, which will allow them to choose their play-off format to maximize the use of a 3-man rotation.
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
The win was the Yankees 100th of the season. This was so improbable at the start of the season when Alex Rodriguez was sidelined for six weeks due to hip surgery, the Boston Red Sox were invincible against the Yanks in winning their first 8 meetings, and the bullpen was in a complete state of flux.
Credit: Bill Kostroun/AP
Fast forward to September 27th and the Yankees were spilling champagne all over the Yankee Stadium clubhouse floor. What a great way to christen the new Stadium!
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
Sorry, Big Papi, no champagne for you in New York!
Joe Girardi gets my vote for AL Manager of the Year. The only other possible consideration, in my mind, is Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire if the Twins can overtake the Detroit Tigers in the final days of the season.
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
The Red Sox may be focused on playing in October but for a day, the Yankees could relax and enjoy knowing they are the division champs and can now look forward to the next level…the ALDS against the Tigers or Twins.
I would have excused the Yankees for a loss to the Kansas City Royals on Monday night, but the Hangover Guys continued their winning ways with an 8-2 victory and 101st win.
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
It was a fantastic sports weekend for me. Born and raised in an Iowa farming community, I have been a lifelong fan of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Growing up, 3-8 seasons under coach Bob Commings were the norm. But then Texan Hayden Fry came to Iowa City and the uniforms were updated to their current Steelers-like design. Even Herky the Hawk received a facelift. Hayden instilled a winning pride at the school. This year, the Hawkeyes started the season by barely overcoming the University of Northern Iowa, but followed it with two victories, including a win against bitter in-state rival Iowa State Cyclones. Unranked, they went to State College, PA on Saturday night, and emerged with a 21-10 win over the 5th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Very exciting!
Credit: Matthew Holst/Press-Citizen
But clearly Sunday was the day. Besides the Yankees’ division championship, the highlight reel featured Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. With 2 seconds left, Brett Favre fired a 32-yard TD pass into the end zone which was hauled in by Greg Lewis. The Vikings prevailed 27-24. After watching Favre turn excitement into bitterness for so many years, it was nice to experience a reversal of fortune.
Credit: Pioneer Press
This just might be a good sports year for me… J
Correction: As Greg of Red Sox Ramblings astutely pointed out, I misidentified Jason Varitek in my last blog. Varitek wears #33, not #37. I had crossed his age with his uniform number. My apologies to the RSN. But guess what, Tek’s still old! 😉
I leave for a few days, and the world falls apart…
The Yankees are losing to the Washington Nationals tonight, 3-0, in the 8th inning. If they lose the game, the Nationals will win the series, 2 games to 1. Aren’t the Nationals supposed to be the baseball’s worst team? I was worried about the series going in, because I know that this series had disaster spelled all over it.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was more news awaiting me…
Jonathan Papelbon told Jody McDonald and Bert Blyleven on Sirius XM Radio that he’d consider joining the Yankees when his contract with the Red Sox is up. Umm, thanks but no thanks…
The Yankees are apparently one of several teams that will be taking a look at pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Cubs, Rays and Angels will also be watching Pedro pitch in the Dominican Republic tomorrow. Note to Yankees: Look but don’t touch!
GM Brian Cashman indicates that he does not expect the team to any major moves prior to the trading deadline this year. He likes the team he has assembled, and wants to see what how it does once the injured guys (Jose Molina, Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte) return. I don’t know what Cash calls it, but I’d call it third place. Meanwhile, the Rays look to improve and the Red Sox have John Smoltz ready to go on June 25th and of course you know that Theo won’t stand pat. This might be the part of the marathon where the elite runners begin to make separation from the rest of the pack. I can only hope that Cash is playing with his poker face…
Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times
Chien-Ming Wang is going to remain in the rotation. I guess the Yankees want to be assured of a loss every fifth day…
Alex Rodriguez is 8 for 51 in the month of June. Even Big Papi is looking much better than A-Rod right now…
Bill Greene/Globe Staff
I am not ready to break out the ‘Joe’s gotta go!’ card, but at what point does pitching coach Dave Eiland begin to take some responsibility for the woes of the pitching staff?
Oh well, hopefully, my perspective will improve tomorrow and the Yankees will return to their winning ways…
Frank Franklin II/AP
I spent the last couple of days in Denver, and had a great time! It was strictly a business trip, but Colorado is always a fun place to be. I lived there a few years ago, so it was great to be back in the Mile High City. If visiting (and you are a meat eater), you’ve got to try The Fork in the foothills of Morrison, CO. I had William Bent’s Buffalo Tenderloin Filet Mignon and it was one of the most tender steaks that I’ve had in recent years. Very flavorful! I didn’t know about The Fork when I lived in Denver but wish I had.