Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays 9, Yankees 5…
Despite two home runs by Aaron Judge, the Yankees couldn’t overcome shoddy pitching and lost the rubber game of the three-game series on Sunday to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pardon me if I don’t get excited when Jaime Garcia is on the mound. I know that he did a decent job last time out, but he’s a subpar starter at best and a future ex-Yankee. Unfortunately, he played to form on Sunday. I don’t know if it was the hangover from Saturday’s celebration or simply the usual dismal performance from Garcia that put the Yanks in a hole early.
I suppose I shouldn’t blame Garcia for the home run he allowed Teoscar Hernandez to lead off the game. Hernandez’s home run to the second deck of the left field stands on the second pitch of the game was his third against the Yankees in three games. Both Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray felt Garcia’s pain. The Jays up early, 1-0.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It didn’t take the Jays long to add to their lead. Kevin Pillar led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a double to the left field wall. With Russell Martin batting, Pillar easily stole third. Martin struck out, but Darwin Barney took advantage of the runner in scoring position to loft a sacrifice fly to center when he punched a low Garcia pitch. Pillar scored and it was 2-0.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Justin Smoak hit a one-out double to deep center between Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Garcia walked the next two batters, Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales, to load the bases. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough (of course, I had seen enough of Garcia when he was taking his warmup pitches before the game) and made his way to the mound.
Credit: Getty Images
Garcia was pulled and replaced with Jonathan Holder. Holder got Pillar to pop up in foul territory (third base side) for the second out, but then Russell Martin hit a double to deep right that Aaron Judge couldn’t get to. The double cleared the bases, and the Blue Jays were up 5-0.
The Yankees finally got to Jays starter Marcus Stroman in the top of the 4th inning. Chase Headley and Aaron Judge both walked to start the inning. Didi Gregorius singled to center to score Headley. Judge moved to second. It was a 5-1 game. Starlin Castro hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Gregorius out at second, with Judge moving to third. Unfortunately, Judge would stay at third as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Todd Frazier struck out against Stroman to end the potential scoring opportunity.
Bryan Mitchell was brought in to pitch the bottom of the 4th inning. No offense to Mitchell but he’s not the guy I would have brought into the game at that point. I like Mitchell but he’s been like gasoline poured on fire this season and not in a good way. Ryan Goins singled to left to get things started against Mitchell. After Teoscar Hernandez walked, Josh Donaldson singled up the middle to center field to score Goins, with Hernandez taking second. With Justin Smoak batting, Mitchell threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. It didn’t matter as Smoak walked to load the bases. Jose Bautista singled to right, scoring Goins, and the bases were still loaded. Kendrys Morales singled to left, scoring Hernandez and Donaldson. Bautista also tried to score but was nailed at the plate. After Mitchell hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch, Girardi finally pulled the plug on Mitchell. Not quite sure what took him so long to make that decision. Ben Heller came in and got Russell Martin to hit into an inning-ending double play. The Blue Jays held a commanding 9-1 lead over the Bombers.
In the top of the 6th inning, Aaron Judge led off with a home run to left, on a fly just over the wall, off Marcus Stroman. It was Judge’s 47th homer of the season.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to deep center. A walk of Todd Frazier ended Stroman’s day. Matt Dermody entered the game to face Greg Bird and exited when Bird doubled to deep right off the wall to score Ellsbury. Frazier moved to third. Ryan Tepera took over for Dermody and got Austin Romine to ground out to third for the final out.
Chase Headley reached base on a single up the middle with one out in the top of the 7th inning against Tepera. Aaron Judge followed with a two-run blast to left center to cut the Jays’ lead to 9-5. It was Judge’s second home run of the game and his 48th of the season (one shy of the MLB Rookie Record held by Mark McGwire).
From there, the Yankees couldn’t really mount much offense against Blue Jays bullpen. Jays closer Roberto Osuna took over in the 9th inning. After Osuna struck out Brett Gardner, the Blue Jays sent Ezequiel Carrera to right field to replace Jose Bautista. Joey Bats, perhaps playing his final home game for Toronto, made his way off the field through a series of hugs with the on-the-field players and received congratulations in the dugout. It is a foregone conclusion that Bautista won’t be back for the Blue Jays in 2018 given a $20 million mutual option that the team would be foolish to pick up for a player in the twilight of his career. It was a nice moment for the long-time Blue Jay.
|Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports|
Credit: Jon Blacker-The Canadian Press
Osuna struck out the next two batters, Chase Headley and Aaron Judge, to end the game.
The Yankees (86-69) lost further ground to the Boston Red Sox with their first series loss since being swept by the Cleveland Indians in late August. The Red Sox rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, and now hold a commanding five game lead in the AL East with seven games to play. The Minnesota Twins swept the Detroit Tigers with their 10-4 win on Sunday so they closed the gap in the Wild Card standings to 4 1/2 games. This definitely makes me wish that Jaime Garcia had been pitching for the Twins, and the not the Yankees, the last few weeks. We would have had a much greater lead.
Aaron Judge was clearly the hitting star with the two home runs, but he couldn’t do it all himself. God bless him for trying.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Dellin Betances looked good. Pitching the 8th inning, he did hit a batter (Justin Smoak) but otherwise retired the batters he faced. He ended the inning with a swinging strikeout of Kendry Morales. The Yankees really need to get this guy back to form and soon. Hopefully this was a step in the right direction.
I was hoping for better results yesterday but the Yankees need to focus on the task at hand. Time to head back to Yankee Stadium and make a strong home stand to end the season.
Next Up: Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
The Yankees and Royals play one game which is a makeup for the rainout on May 25th. At the time, the Yankees had taken two of three games from the Royals when the fourth game was postponed. Mathematically, the Royals still have a chance for the second Wild Card spot but their days are numbered (literally and figuratively speaking).
Here is today’s scheduled pitching matchup:
Royals: Jake Junis (8-2, 4.05 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (12-5, 3.81 ERA)
The Yankees currently lead the season series with the Royals, four games to two. At the time of the rainout, the Yankees were 27-17.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be in town for three games beginning Tuesday night.
Odds & Ends…
The Washington Nationals plan to activate RF Bryce Harper off the disabled list today to begin their series in Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals, who already look like the best team in the NL with the recent collapse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will try to get Harper in top form before October.
Have a great Monday! Hopefully today is a royal success for the home team. Go Yankees!
Yankees 7, Mets 5…
Bryan Mitchell tried to give the game away, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 9th and then allowing a grand salami by former Yank Curtis Granderson, but Dellin Betances came in (“it’s not really what you want to do” –Joe Girardi) to restore order and give the Yankees the series sweep over the New York Mets.
This should have been an easy win with the dominance of Luis Severino and the power of Gary Sanchez but it was a nail-bitter at the end. If the Mets had gotten a runner on base against Betances, they would have brought the potential game-tying run to the plate. But Dellin is no Aroldis Chapman (of late) and he shut the door.
This game should have been all about the Kraken. Gary Sanchez is rapidly becoming Mr August although I’d be okay with Mr August through October. He owned August last year and he owns it again this season. Brett Gardner led off with a bouncer back to Mets pitcher Steven Matz and reached second when Matz’s throw sailed over first baseman Dominic Smith’s head. Aaron Hicks walked. After Aaron Judge struck out (record extended), El Gary came to the plate and sent a Matz pitch into the left center stands as a souvenir. The Yankees led 3-0 to give Luis Severino some backing before he had even thrown a pitch.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
The Yankees got to Matz again in the fourth inning. Tyler Austin singled to right, his second hit of the game. Ronald Torreyes followed with a single to left, a roller through the hole at short. The best hit of the night, sorry Gary, came when Luis Severino popped a bunt that fell in for a single to load the bases. The Yankees bench went nuts over Sevy’s first Major League hit. Brett Gardner, showing the professional hitter that he is, lined a double into the left field corner. Both Austin and Torreyes scored. Sevy stopped at third, huffing and puffing (not seriously). After Aaron Hicks grounded out, Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded again. The Mets pulled Steven Matz and replaced him with reliever Chasen Bradford. Gary Sanchez greeted Bradford with a single to left (through the hole between third and short), which scored Severino and Gardner. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud was unable to hold Yoenis Cespedes’ throw, otherwise, he might have had a play on Gardner at the plate. The Yankees had scored 4 runs and now led 7-0.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Luis Severino was dominant after his collapse against Boston last weekend. He pitched into the seventh inning. He got the first out…a ground out by Amed Rosario, but from there, the inning deteriorated. A fly ball to right by Travis d’Arnaud was dropped by Aaron Judge and d’Arnaud was able to reach second on the two-base error. With Matt Reynolds batting, a wild pitch by Severino allowed d’Arnaud to move to third. It was another case where Gary Sanchez didn’t have his glove low enough to stop the pitch. Matt Reynolds looped a single to center to score d’Arnaud and the Mets had their first run of the game. Brandon Nimmo also singled to center, and Sevy’s day was done. He could only watch from the dugout as both runners were his responsibility. The Yankees brought in lefty Chasen Shreve, causing Tweeter to blow up with the “Chasen History” references due to the appearance of two Chasens (Shreve and the Mets’ Bradford) in the game. Shreve struck out Curtis Granderson for the second out, but walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases. In perhaps what would prove to be one of the game’s biggest moments, Shreve struck out Michael Conforto to end the threat.
Shreve easily set down the Mets in the 8th, but Bryan Mitchell was brought in for the 9th to close it out. Sadly, he was ill equipped for the job on this night. Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double to the wall in left. Matt Reynolds singled to right while d’Arnaud was held at third. Following a coaching visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild (it didn’t work), Mitchell walked Brandon Nimmo to load the bases with no outs. Curtis Granderson came up and jumped all over the first pitch from Mitchell for a grand slam to right. Manager Joe Girardi was visibly unhappy (along with Yankees fans), and finally pulled Mitchell. Enter Dellin Betances. 1-2-3, game over. Yankees win!
The Boston Red Sox had the day off so the Yankees (65-55) picked up a 1/2 game and now trail the Sox by 4 games as they head to Boston for the weekend. The Tampa Bay Rays continue to slide, falling to the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-3. The loss, combined with the Blue Jays win, created a three-way tie for the AL East Cellar (the Baltimore Orioles were idle). All three teams trail the Yankees by 6 1/2 games.
Excellent pitching performance by Luis Severino (10-5). After giving up 10 runs (8 earned) in his last start, Sevy bounced back to allow only four hits and one run (none earned) over 6 1/3 innings. If not for Judge’s error, he probably could have gone deeper into the game. He walked three batters, but struck out nine in lowering his season ERA to 3.18.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
Also, you can’t say enough about the huge bullpen performances by Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances, who picked up his eighth save. Both pitchers had the outcome of the game in their hands and they triumphed.
As for Mitchell, I know that he is capable of providing long relief but I’d probably send him down to Triple A and recall hot reliever Ben Heller with Caleb Smith, also capable of going long, in the pen.
Gary Sanchez…The Kraken…El Gary…The Sanchino. Two hits, including the homer and five RBI’s. Jump on his back and hold on…the man is on fire.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
The streak continues. Aaron Judge extended his own Major League record for strikeouts (by a non-pitcher) to 34 games. I’d like to see a nice clean 4-for-4 day to put this one in the history books. For this game, Judge went hitless in four at-bats and was punched out three times.
The Yankees had a sense of humor with their Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones) reference after the game:
We could probably use Dany’s dragons as the Yankees head north to Massachusetts.
Next Up: Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston, MA…
The Red Sox come into the latest series well rested as they had the day off on Thursday following their walk-off win over the St Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. The Yankees meanwhile had to toil in Queens last night before hopping a plane for the short flight to Beantown.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 3.94 ERA)
Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz (12-4, 3.39 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA)
Red Sox: Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (7-7, 3.37 ERA)
Red Sox: Doug Fister (2-6, 5.56 ERA) / TBA
It’s unfortunate we won’t have Luis Severino for this series, but at least we have Sonny Gray. Gray will be making his first start in the Yankees-Red Sox wars. He’ll really find out that he no longer resides in Oakland (if watching last weekend’s series wasn’t enough). I am not sure if Boston has fully decided its starter for Sunday. Fister is a strong possibility but not a certainty.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have recalled 1B/OF Tyler Austin from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He takes the place of 1B Garrett Cooper. Cooper has been placed on the 10-day DL with left hamstring tendonitis.
Greg Bird was in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup last night at DH. He was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in the RailRiders’ 5-4 win over the Gwinnett Braves (a team that will soon be called something like the Buttons or the Sweet Teas).
Have a great Friday! May the Baseball Gods favor the Yankees this weekend. Go Yankees!
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
Red Sox 10, Yankees 5…
I have been guilty of using the word “ace” when it comes to Luis Severino but performances like Saturday when Sevy imploded against the Boston Red Sox serves as a reminder that he is not there yet. After the brilliant come-from-behind win on Friday night, it was the Red Sox who caught and then battered the Yankees.
Boston rookie left-fielder Andrew Benintendi, 23, became the youngest Red Sox player to have 6 RBI’s against the Yankees since 1920. He was just the second Red Sox hitter to belt two homers of three or more runs since legendary HOFer Jimmie Foxx did it twice during the 1938 season.
The game started beautifully. Severino retired the first three Red Sox hitters on six pitches to start the game, and the Yankees jumped on Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz in the bottom of the first. Brett Gardner led off with a single to left. After Pomeranz struck out Aarons Hicks and Judge, Gary Sanchez took advantage of the right field porch to give the Yankees the early 2-0 lead.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
Severino was still dominant in the second inning. He only needed 11 pitches to retire the four through six hitters of the Red Sox lineup, including a swinging strikeout of Hanley Ramirez to start the inning.
The game changed in the third inning. With the Yankees still leading 2-0, Severino walked Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley, Jr with one out. A fielding error by Todd Frazier (dropped the ball on the transfer from his glove) allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base and the bases were loaded. Mookie Betts singled to left in the hole through short, scoring Vazquez and JBJ, and the game was tied. Andrew Benintendi hit a sharp fly that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over for a three run homer. The Red Sox had taken a 5-2 lead. They got a couple more singles (by Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland), but the Yankees were able to get out of the inning when Xander Bogaerts lined out to left and Brett Gardner’s throw to second doubled Ramirez off 2nd for the final out.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press|
The Yankees looked like they were going to make it a game again in the 4th inning. Severino struck out the side to bring the Yankees to bat. Didi Gregorius led off with a single to center. Todd Frazier walked, and Chase Headley singled to center to load the bases. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first, but Gregorius came home to score and it was 5-3. The Yankees were unable to push any more runs across when both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner popped out against Pomeranz. The missed opportunity hurt because the Red Sox would make the Yankees pay the next inning.
Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth with a single to left. Mookie Betts doubled to left, with Nunez moving to third. Andrew Benintendi came up again and belted his second home run of the game, and 16th of the year, to give the Red Sox an 8-3 advantage. I am sure the ‘no doubt about it’ blast to the right center field stands caused the bars in Boston to erupt. After Hanley Ramirez flied out, Mitch Moreland doubled to left. Xander Bogaerts reached base on a throwing error by Didi Gregorius and Moreland moved to third. Manager Joe Girardi ended Severino’s day and brought in Giovanny Gallegos. Boston rookie third baseman Rafael Devers greeted Gallegos with a double to center, scoring both Moreland and Bogaerts. Gallegos retired the next two batters but the Red Sox had scored 5 times to increase their lead to 10-3.
The Yankees added a couple of solo home runs in the bottom of the 9th when both Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury went yard, but it was too little, too late. Red Sox reliever Robby Scott settled down and retired the next three Yankees to end the game.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees (61-54) fell back to 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox with the loss. It doesn’t bode well for Sunday with Chris Sale pitching for Boston. Sale hasn’t beaten the Yankees this year, but he’ll bring a 1.15 ERA into the game based on two starts against the Bombers. For a team struggling to score, Sale is not exactly a recipe for success. The Tampa Bay Rays were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees and remain 3 1/2 games behind New York. They were shut out by the Cleveland Indians, 3-0. The Baltimore Orioles moved back to 4 games behind the Yankees with their 12-5 win over the Oakland A’s.
Aaron Judge was cold as ice. He was 0-for-4, with two strikeouts. He extended his own team record with his 29th consecutive game with a strikeout. While Judge is still the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, Benintendi is the one making noise in the Dog Days of Summer. Later in the day, I turned on the TV to see Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger belt his 34th home of the season against the San Diego Padres. The other top rookies have made the necessary adjustments. Hopefully Judge can figure this out and follow suit. He is capable of doing to Boston what Benintendi did to the Yankees.
|Credit: Robert Sabo|
Luis Severino’s final line was very ugly. 4 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. He gave up the two homers to Benintendi. His season record dropped to 9-5 and his ERA was inflated to 3.32. Nice job by Gallegos after he got past the two-run double by Devers. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing only the double, and struck out 4. Bryan Mitchell pitched the final two innings, giving up three hits but no runs.
|Credit: Rich Schultz-Getty Images|
Odds & Ends…
Saturday opened with news that Masahiro Tanaka had been placed on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation. Tanaka will avoid pitching for 5 days but is expected to return when eligible. To take his place, the Yankees recalled reliever Giovanny Gallegos (who relieved Luis Severino in Saturday’s game). I had thought Bryan Mitchell would get the start on Monday in place of Tanaka, but his two innings of work probably means that Luis Cessa will be recalled to make the start against the New York Mets. No announcement has been made regarding who will make the start. Caleb Smith is scheduled to start for the RailRiders today so he’s probably not an option. The long-anticipated MLB debut for Chance Adams will have to wait since Adams pitched Friday night and is not an option for Monday.
The Yankees almost lost another starter when Jordan Montgomery took a ball to the head during Red Sox batting practice. Montgomery was signing autographs for fans down the right field line when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon. Talking to reporters later, Montgomery said that he’ll be fine and will make today’s start but you could clearly see a laceration on his ear from the seams on the baseball. Very scary but hopefully he’ll have no lasting effects.
|Credit: Kathy Willens-The Associated Press|
Have a great Sunday! Here’s hoping the Yankees can defy the odds against Sale and took the series with a win. Let’s Go Yankees!
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2…
The Yankees had their chances on Tuesday but like so many games recently, they struggled to get runs across the plate and left too many runners in scoring position stranded. Rookie first baseman Garrett Cooper was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI’s, representing the sole offense for the Yankees, in their loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. On the surface it looks like a good night for him, but it could have been much more as he came up twice with the bases loaded. But you can’t pin the loss on Cooper, this was a team effort.
The tone of the game was set early. Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the first with a double to right. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Russell Martin. Josh Donaldson, who entered the game with only 13 home runs, blasted a two-run shot to center. In retrospect, it could have been worse as a subsequent walk and double put runners at second and third, but Sabathia was able to get Kevin Pillar to ground out to end the inning.
Credit: Steve Russell-Toronto Star
The Yankees had a good opportunity in the top of the 2nd inning against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ when both Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius singled. Unfortunately, Todd Frazier hit into a 6-4-3 double play to eliminate Gregorius. With Headley on third, Garrett Cooper singled to right to score the Yankees first run. But that’s all the Yankees would get as Ronald Torreyes grounded out.
After an easy second inning for Sabathia, the third inning looked like the first. Russell Martin singled to left, and was followed by Josh Donaldson who hit his second homer of the game, a fly ball to the second deck in left. It gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead. A great running catch by Ronald Torreyes with Kendrys Morales in scoring position prevented any further runs.
Sabathia left the game after three innings as a result of knee pain. It was the worst pain that Sabathia has felt since he started wearing a larger knee brace several years ago. After the game, Sabathia said “It’s just hard to land. It’s hard for me to finish my pitches. It’s just hard for me to get over my front side and finish my pitches. When I can’t do that, I don’t know where the ball is going.” There’s no immediate word if Sabathia will miss his next start but he’ll head back to New York for further tests. We’re reaching the point where you have to wonder if every Sabathia start might be his final start for the Yankees. If Sabathia does miss time, Jordan Montgomery seems like the best alternative as a replacement but given he is at Triple A working under an innings limit, a short term option would probably be Bryan Mitchell.
Mitchell replaced Sabathia in the fourth, and provided a Chad Green-like performance. He went four innings, allowing only three hits and no runs.
The Yankees had a golden opportunity in the 6th inning. With one out, both Gary Sanchez and Chase Headley walked. After a fly out by Didi Gregorius, Todd Frazier hit a grounder to short and reached first base, just ahead of the throw, after a challenge overturned the on the field call which had ruled Frazier out at first. Garrett Cooper came up with his first bases loaded opportunity but failed to deliver with an inning-ending fly to right.
The Yankees offense was thwarted again in the 7th. Ronald Torreyes led off with a single, but was erased when Brett Gardner grounded to second for a double play. Clint Frazier followed with a single, but it was for naught when Aaron Judge struck out.
The last great chance came in the 8th. Gary Sanchez was hit with a pitch from Jays reliever Ryan Tepera on the left wrist (he stayed in the game after being checked out by the medical staff and Joe Girardi). Chase Headley was also hit by a pitch, after a challege review which showed the ball hitting Headley’s foot, to reach base. Didi Gregorius popped up in the infield for the first out, but Todd Frazier walked. It brought Garrett Cooper to the plate for the second time with the bases loaded. He hit a sacrifice fly to left which was deep enough to score Sanchez but you couldn’t help but wonder what could have been with a single or double in at least one of those bases loaded situations. The other runners were left stranded when Ronald Torreyes lined out.
The Yankees went down quietly in the 9th with Jays closer Roberto Osuna. It was another game of lost opportunities. The Blue Jays pitched carefully to Aaron Judge which led to two walks, but it probably wasn’t really necessary as Judge was hitless in three official at-bats (striking out twice). Clint Frazier was 1-for-4 but struck out three times. Overall, the Yankees left 10 men on base. It’s tough to watch the Boston Red Sox pick up former Yankee Eduardo Nunez and he hits everything in sight (16-for-40 with 8 extra base hits) and the Yankees can’t seem to get any extra base hits when they need them the most.
Obviously, it is not a good sign about CC Sabathia’s knee. The years have taken its toll on the pitcher, and he’s question mark every time out at this point (assuming that he is able to come back). Sabathia (9-5) took the loss. The four runs in three innings pushed his season ERA to 4.05. I hope that he’s able to make a successful return as his Yankees career winds down but I can’t say that I am overly optimistic.
Credit: Fred Thornhill-The Canadian Press via AP
The Yankees (59-52) fell four games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss. The Red Sox defeated Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 behind Chris Sale and his 13 strikeouts. So the Rays remain 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels and stayed four games behind the Yankees.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees recalled RHP Bryan Mitchell to take the roster spot vacated when LHP Jordan Montgomery was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Poor Mitchell had to find a new number since his preferred #55 has been claimed by Sonny Gray. He chose to stay with the matching double digit combo and went with #66. #88, anyone?…
It was good to hear that both Greg Bird and Starlin Castro took batting practice at Rogers Centre yesterday prior to the game. While I am not overly optimistic that we’ll get anything out of Bird this year, I am pulling for the player to finally show a glimpse of what we saw during Spring Training. Ronald Torreyes has softened the blow of Castro’s absence but it will be good to get the regular second baseman back on the field again.
OF Aaron Hicks has been re-assigned to Double A Trenton as part of his continuing rehab assignment. He may be activated for this weekend’s series against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx. We’ll soon find it if it is Clint Frazier or someone else that goes down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. If Frazier stays, the losers are probably Garrett Cooper (potential option to Triple A) and Jacoby Ellsbury (fifth behind the other four outfielders).
The Blue Jays scratched today’s scheduled starter, Cesar Valdez. Valdez was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury. Nick Tepesch (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will start in his place against Masahiro Tanaka.
It was a very nice gesture by the Colorado Rockies to hang the late Don Baylor’s jersey in their dugout for yesterday’s game at Progressive Field in Cleveland against the Indians. Baylor was the first manager in Rockies history, serving from 1993 to 1998. The Rockies will have a tribute planned for Baylor when they return to Coors Field in Denver on August 14th versus the Atlanta Braves. Following Baylor’s passing, Rockies owner Dick Montfort issued the following statement: “He was a big man with an even bigger heart, a friend of so many. His persona will be a part of our club heritage forever. This is a sad day in Colorado and for all of baseball.”
Credit: Tony Dejak-Associated Press
Have a great Wednesday! One more day to Sonny Gray! Let’s Go Yankees!
Yankees 6, Twins 3…
On Tuesday, the Yankees faced baseball’s oldest player and a former Yank. With a 2-8 record and 8.14 ERA for the Atlanta Braves, Bartolo Colon looked to be a feast for the young Baby Bombers. But after he shut down the Yankees in the first inning like a young ace, I had fears that Colon was going to be a master, for one night, against the Yankees. Fortunately, he wore down quickly and the Yankees got to him in the fifth inning to rally for the victory over the Minnesota Twins.
|Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports|
Admittedly, it was a little hard to focus on the game as rumors were swirling about the Yankees potential acquisition of Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox. The trade became official after the game but more on that later.
I like Yankees starter Luis Cessa and he’s done well at Triple A. But for whatever reason, it just has not translated at the Major League level for him…yet. It felt like it was going to be a long night when Colon breezed through the top of the Yankees batting order in the first inning including a strike out of Aaron Judge. Cessa, on the other hand, struggled out of the gate. He walked the first two batters and hit Miguel Sano with a pitch to load the bases with only one out. After getting Max Kepler to pop out, Cessa walked Robbie Grossman to give the Twins the early 1-0 lead. Fortunately, Cessa struck out Eddie Rosario to prevent any further damage. One run on no hits…not exactly how you want to start a game.
|Credit: Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Cessa walked the first batter of the second inning but settled down to retire the next three batters. With the Yankee offense still unable to get anything going against Colon, the Twins added to their lead in the third when Miguel Sano homered to center (a solo shot into the bullpen).
The Yankees finally got on the board in the top of the 4th. Aaron Judge opened the inning with a single to left. Didi Gregorius hit an infield grounder to third that was deflected off Colon for a single. Clint Frazier hit into a force out that erased Gregorius at second but Judge advanced to third. Chase Headley singled to center, past a diving Brian Dozier, to bring home Judge and it was 2-1 Twins.
The Twins got the run right back in the bottom of the inning. Jason Castro hit a one-out double to the right field wall and Brian Dozier hit a fly ball that nearly went out of the park, bouncing off the upper part of the scoreboard area on the right field fence, as the Twins regained the two-run advantage, 3-1. Cessa was able to retire Zack Granite on a ground out, but the Yankees brought in Chasen Shreve to secure the final out, a ground out by Joe Mauer.
The 4th inning had showed the Yankees were finally starting to make progress against the ancient Colon but the 5th inning showed why Colon is no longer an Atlanta Brave. Ronald Torreyes singled to left center and moved to third on a ground rule double by Brett Gardner, a fly ball that bounced just inside of the left foul line before falling into the left field stands on the foul side. Gary Sanchez then doubled to left, scoring both Torreyes and Gardner. The game was tied at 3. Twins manager Paul Molitor had seen enough and pulled Colon in favor of reliever Ryan Pressly. But the results were no different. Aaron Judge singled to center to score Sanchez and after Matt Holliday struck out, Didi Gregorius blasted a two-run homer to right. The Yankees had their first lead of the series, 6-3.
|Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports|
The Twins came right back in the bottom of the 5th and it looked like they might get some runs back. Miguel Sano doubled to left and Max Kepler singled to right, moving Sano to third. Fortunately, Chasen Shreve struck out the next two batters and induced Jorge Polanco into an infield popout to leave Sano stranded at third.
The Yankees loaded the bases again in the 6th inning but Matt Holliday hit a grounder for the final out leaving the bases full. From there it was up to the Yankees bullpen. Adam Warren was great. He pitched two innings of hitless ball in the 6th and 7th, striking out 2. From there, it was a high wire act with Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. Robbie Grossman doubled off Betances to open the bottom of the 8th. After striking out Eddie Rosario, Betances hit pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar with a pitch. He struck out Jason Castro but walked the dangerous Brian Dozier to load the bases. Zack Granite hit a hard fly ball to right looked to be trouble for a second but it fell short of the wall into Aaron Judge’s glove for the final out. A few groans from the Target Field crowd…
Aroldis Chapman took over in the 9th but it was not easy. He walked Joe Mauer on a full count to start the inning. A wild pitch moved Mauer to second and eliminated the possibility of a double play. Miguel Sano grounded out, Ronald Torreyes to Garrett Cooper, moving Mauer to third. Fortunately, Chapman retired the next two batters for his 10th save as the Yankees evened the series at a game apiece.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees (48-44) remained in third place in the AL East with the win as both the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays won. The Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-4, in 15 innings and the Rays beat the Oakland A’s, 4-3. The Yankees are 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and a 1 1/2 games behind the Rays.
Throughout the game, I was keeping an eye on the Los Angeles Dodgers game in Chicago against White Sox. Todd Frazier had been held out of the game, and neither David Robertson nor Tommy Kahnle pitched despite Chicago’s use of multiple pitchers in the 1-0 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. The White Sox game ended before Aroldis Chapman shut down the Twins. Interestingly, Tyler Clippard, one of the rumored players going to the White Sox (which turned out to be true), was warming with Aroldis Chapman in the top of the 9th inning and might have come into the game had the Yankees been able to add to their lead.
The Yankees conclude the series in Minneapolis this afternoon.
The Yankees Are Officially Buyers…
What is old is new again! The question whether the Yankees would be buyers or sellers or hold pat was answered after the game when the rumored deal with the White Sox became official. In exchange for New Jersey native Todd Frazier and former Yankees David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, the Yankees sent their #4 prospect, outfielder Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, OF Tito Polo and reliever Tyler Clippard to Chicago.
|Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images|
I am sad to see Rutherford go but all things considered, it is a position of depth and there is still a possibility the Yankees could make a run at Bryce Harper when he becomes a free agent so Rutherford was a bit redundant (particularly given the breakout performance of Double-A outfielder Estevan Florial). I’ve always liked Ian Clarkin and had hoped that he would eventually find his way to the Bronx after injuries prevented the lefty pitcher from advancing more quickly. Polo is an unranked prospect that the Yankees acquired from the Pirates in the trade that sent Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh. I am obviously not disappointed to see Clippard go, especially since Robertson and Kahnle represent significant bullpen upgrades.
I remember being so disappointed when the Yankees lost Tommy Kahnle to the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and he stuck with the Rockies for the entire year. I was very aware of him when the Rockies traded him to the White Sox last November. He was a good reliever in Denver and has been even better for the White Sox.
|Credit: Paul Sancya/AP|
I hated to see David Robertson leave via free agency. I remember when there was the potential that the Yankees could sign both Andrew Miller and David Robertson but inevitably they chose to sign Miller and take the compensation pick (SS Kyle Holder) to let the highly regarded Robertson sign elsewhere. During his first year with the White Sox, he was placed on waivers after the trading deadline and the Yankees put in the winning claim. There was no activity in trade talks but I remember the momentary excitement about Robertson’s possible return.
Todd Frazier has the ability to play first base in addition to third but time will tell whether Manager Joe Girardi uses Frazier or Chase Headley at first. Given that Frazier is clearly a rental, I suspect that he’ll be the regular first baseman but that is Girardi’s decision to make.
With Clippard off the roster, the Yankees still have to make two moves today. My immediate thought would be the demotions of Ji-Man Choi and Luis Cessa to Triple A. But Garrett Cooper could be the odd man out if the Yankees feel he would be better served by starting every day for the RailRiders.
Also, it will be interesting to see if Clint Frazier gives up #30 to Robertson. I personally think he should. He had no prior attachments to the number. As for Todd Frazier, he wears Paul O’Neill’s number which has not been retired. I wonder if he is forced to choose a new number or if the Yankees finally allow the number to be worn again. All things considered, it is just a two month rental so it probably makes more sense to keep #21 in moth balls.
Welcome (or welcome back) to the Yankees, Todd, David and Tommy!
Odds & Ends…
To make room on the active roster for RHP Luis Cessa who started Tuesday’s game, the Yankees optioned RHP Bryan Mitchell, Monday’s starter, to Triple A. Poor Mitchell, he’s probably getting tired of the Bronx-to-Scranton Shuttle.
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins placed former Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes on the 60-day disabled list. I guess I really haven’t been following Hughes’ career in the Twin Cities, but I did not realize that he’s been battling Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). As defined by Wikipedia, TOS is a condition in which there is a compression of the nerves, arteries or veins in the passageway from the lower neck to the armpit. He had part of a rib removed through surgery last year and is experiencing recurring symptoms which could lead to the removal of the remainder of the rib to alleviate pressure. I sincerely hope that Hughes is able to get medical treatment he needs and is able to make a complete recovery.
Have a great Wednesday! A wonderful day to grab a victory and hop a plane for the Great Northwest! Let’s Go Yankees!
Twins 4, Yankees 2…
The Baby Bombers tried but without too much help from the veteran leadership, the Yankees fell to the Twins in Minneapolis.
New first baseman Garrett Cooper finally had his coming out party with three hits (two doubles) and his first Major League RBI. Clint Frazier, penciled in at #2 in the lineup, contributed two speed-earned doubles.
The Twins struck first, picking up a run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Kennys Vargas walked and scored when Eddie Rosario lined a double to the center field wall. They added another run the next inning. Brian Dozier and Zack Granite both singled, and Joe Mauer walked to load the bases. In one of the game’s great plays, Miguel Sano hit a fly ball to Aaron Judge in right. Dozier attempted to score on the fly ball, but was nailed at the plate by an exceptional throw from Judge to catcher Austin Romine.
|Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP|
The Yankees nearly escaped the inning without any damage, but starter Bryan Mitchell, covering first base, botched a catch from second baseman Starlin Castro which allowed Max Kepler to reach base with Granite scoring the Twins’ second run.
The Yankees finally got on the board in the 5th. The inning opened with a challenge play that was ruled in Minnesota’s favor. Didi Gregorius was initially ruled safe at first on an infield hit and headfirst slide, but replay subsequently showed that he was late to the bag as Adalberto Mejia’s foot touched base just before Didi’s hands. With two outs, Garrett Cooper doubled to right center, a smash to the wall. He scored on Austin Romine’s double over the head of right fielder Max Kepler. 2-1, Twins.
The game was tied in the top of the 7th when Chase Headley doubled to left center between the outfielders. He scored on Garrett Cooper’s second double of the game, a solid line drive to left.
Then the game fell apart for the Yankees. In the top of 8th, it looked to have the potential of a big inning that could have given the Yankees the lead. Clint Frazier hit a double to left, motoring around to second without hesitation. Twins reliever Taylor Rogers intentionally walked Aaron Judge to face Matt Holliday. It proved to be the right decision by Twins manager Paul Molitor when Holliday hit into a 6-4-3 double play which erased Judge at second. Frazier moved to third. After taking a big swing for a strike, Didi Gregorius attempted an awful bunt which just bounced up and down at home plate. Twins catcher Jason Castro was able to easily throw out Gregorius for the final out.
In the bottom of the 8th, Yankees manager Joe Girardi opted to stick with Caleb Smith. Smith had entered the game in the 6th inning in relief of Bryan Mitchell. For two innings, he was tremendous in retiring 6 batters with 3 strikeouts. I know it is easy to second guess Girardi after-the-fact, but I felt that Girardi should have brought in one of his veteran relievers for the pressure-packed 8th. Smith’s brilliant two-inning work would have been a great confidence booster in making his MLB debut so it would have been a good place to pull him, especially with the Twins’ 3-4-5 hitters coming up. But Girardi elected to stay with the hot hand. Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano opened the bottom of the 8th with singles off Smith. Mauer’s hit fell just short of Aaron Judge’s sliding glove and Sano’s seeing-eye single made it to left past a sliding Didi Gregorius. After striking out Max Kepler, Smith gave up a single to left by pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar which scored Mauer. Sano moved to third on the play, beating a throw from Austin Romine to Gregorius, and scored when Eddie Rosario doubled, a rolling liner, to right. The Twins had taken a 4-2 lead which would prove to be the game’s final runs. To Smith’s credit, with the bases loaded after an intentional walk, retired the next two batters get out of the inning.
|Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP|
The Yankees were unable to muster any offense in the top of the 9th in the rain against Twins closer Brandon Kintzler and went down 1-2-3.
|Credit: Star Tribune|
Doing the little things right could have won this game but it was not meant to be.
The Yankees (47-44) remained 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss. The Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3. The second place Tampa Bay Rays moved 1 1/2 games in front of the Yankees and 2 games behind Boston with their 3-2 victory over the Oakland A’s.
Caleb Smith (0-1) took his first loss of the season after his 8-0 start at Triple A. Bryan Mitchell’s final line wasn’t bad. 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 run unearned thanks to his own error), 2 BB, and 2 SO. Aaron Judge’s post All-Star Game slump continued with his 0-for-3 performance which dropped him to 1-for-21 for the second half. He struck out once.
Odds & Ends…
Michael Pineda’s consultation with Dr Timothy Kremchek for a second opinion has confirmed the need for Tommy John surgery. Dr Kremchek will perform the surgery today in Cincinnati. Although I doubt Michael ever pitches for the Yankees again, I wish him much success with the surgery and a speedy recovery.
Greg Bird will also have surgery on his ankle today. He is expected to be out for six weeks. While it is projected that he could be back in September, I’d find it highly unlikely given he has missed so much time the past two years. Even more unlikely if the Yankees swing a trade for someone like Yonder Alonso or Justin Bour. I hope this surgery puts Bird back on the path to be a contributing member for the Yankees.
Have a great Tuesday! Time to get back in the win column. Let’s Go Yankees!
Game 1: Yankees 3, Red Sox 0…
Michael Pineda goes on the DL with a season-ending injury so “who ya gonna call”? Apparently the answer is CC Sabathia. In the first game on Sunday, CC gave the Yankees exactly what they needed…six innings of scoreless two-hit ball. He blamed the five walks on rust, but he was otherwise very effective against the potent Red Sox lineup as the Yankees topped the Red Sox.
Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
Sabathia (8-3) walked the first two batters he faced in the game. A force out at second put runners at the corners with one out. But Sabathia was able to induce former Yankee Chris Young to hit into an inning-ending double play to keep the Red Sox off the board.
The Yankees were finally able to break through with the game’s first runs in the fourth inning against Sox starter Rick Porcello. Didi Gregorius lined a one-out single to right. Clint Frazier hit an infield grounder to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, but Bogaerts bobbled the ball for an error, allowing Frazier to reach first as Gregorius took second. Austin Romine singled to left, just past a diving Bogaerts, to load the bases. Ji-Man Choi hit a sharp fly ball to left fielder Andrew Benintendi, which scored Gregorius. Ronald Torreyes got all of a Porcello pitch with the barrel of his bat for a solid single to left, which brought Clint Frazier around to score in a close play at the plate. Brett Gardner took a pitch off the forearm to re-load the bases, but Chase Headley grounded out to first to end the inning. 2-0, Yankees.
Credit: Michael Dwyer-AP
In the top of the 5th, Didi Gregorius lined a fly ball into the right field stands just fair of the Pesky Pole for a two-out solo home run as the Yankees increased their lead to 3-0.
Aaron Judge finally got his first hit of the series in the 7th when he reached first base on an infield grounder against Red Sox reliever Austin Maddox.
In the bottom of the 7th, Tyler Clippard (Yikes!) replaced CC Sabathia. Like Saturday, the first batter he faced (Brock Holt) singled to start the inning. Despite my Clippard-induced uneasiness, he retired the next three batters to get out of the inning.
After the Yankees failed to score any runs in the top of the 8th with two men on base, the Red Sox brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the inning after Chad Green two-out walks to Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis. Fortunately, Jackie Bradley, Jr went down swinging as Green preserved the shutout.
Manager Joe Girardi brought in Aroldis Chapman for the 9th, his third consecutive appearance in three days. Unlike Friday night, Chapman did his job, despite a two-out single by Dustin Pedroia, to earn his 9th save of the season.
The Yankees (47-42) moved 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East with the win. Pending the outcome of the second game of the double-header, the Yankees also slid back into a second place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays finally lost to the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3.
Game 2: Red Sox 3, Yankees 0…
In the nightcap, the Red Sox reversed Game 1’s score as they shut out the Yankees. It was the first time this season the Yankees have failed to score.
The Yankees have generally fared well against Red Sox starter David Price but not on this night. Price scattered 7 hits over 8 scoreless innings and struck out 8. He did not walk a batter. Masahiro Tanaka (7-9) gave the Yanks length (he went 7 2/3 innings) but he was unable to match Price’s performance.
|Credit: Adam Glanzman-Getty Images|
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, the Red Sox broke their 24-inning scoreless streak when Christian Vazquez singled and Mookie Betts clobbered a Tanaka pitch over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park for a 2-0 lead.
Garrett Cooper picked his first Major League hit in the 5th inning when he lined a double to the wall in left. He was left stranded but it was good to see him finally have a productive at-bat.
The Red Sox picked up another run in the bottom of the 6th. Mookie Betts led off with a liner that deflected off Masahiro Tanaka’s glove. On the run, Starlin Castro scooped it up and hurriedly threw a low throw to first baseman Garrett Cooper which Cooper was unable to handle. Betts, without hesitation, advanced to second. An error was charged to Castro. After Betts moved to third on a groundout by Andrew Benintendi, Dustin Pedroia hit a hard single into left field, just past Ronald Torreyes at third. Torreyes misread the velocity of the ball, otherwise, he could have moved into proper position to potentially get the runner at home. The run increased the Sox lead to 3-0.
With Gary Sanchez on base in the eighth, Aaron Judge had a chance to make it a one-run game when he launched a high fly to the Bermuda Triangle in center. But Jackie Bradley, Jr made a leaping catch to snag the ball which would have landed in the Sox bullpen. “I thought it had a chance. But I just hit it to the wrong part of the park and the wrong centerfielder. Jackie’s been making plays like that for a long time,” Judge said after the game.
|Credit: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images|
The Yankees had a chance in the 9th against closer Craig Kimbrel. Didi Gregorius, 0-for-5 with 5 K’s lifetime against Kimbrel, ripped stand-up double off the left field wall. With two outs, Brett Gardner, pinch-hitting for Garrett Cooper, walked. It brought Chase Headley to the plate representing the tying run, but sadly, Headley struck out to end the game.
The Yankees (47-43) fell back into third place with the loss, 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays are 1/2 game ahead of the Yanks.
HR Derby Hangover: It was not a great series for Aaron Judge. He was 1-for-18 with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks. Hopefully the Land of 10,000 Lakes helps him get back on track.
Next Up: Minnesota Twins at Target Field, Minneapolis, MN…
The Yankees will see one of their former starters this series when Bartolo Colon takes the mound on Wednesday for his first appearance as a Minnesota Twin. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez will be able to meet up with fellow Home Run Derby participant Miguel Sano. Like the Yankees, the Twins (46-45) started the season strong but have tailed off lately.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups.
Yankees: Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 5.06 ERA)
Twins: Adalberto Mejia (4-4, 4.43 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-3, 4.18 ERA)*
Twins: Bartolo Colon (0-0, 0.00 ERA) — He was 2-8 with 8.14 ERA for the NL Braves.
*Cessa is listed as the scheduled starter, but with Caleb Smith on the active roster, I wonder if Smith makes his MLB debut this game.
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.78 ERA)
Twins: Jose Berrios (8-3, 3.70 ERA)
Odds & Ends…
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Boston will formally file a protest over the lack of an interference call in Saturday night’s 4-1 victory by the Yankees. In the 11th inning, Matt Holliday, forced out at second on an infield grounder to first base by Jacoby Ellsbury, raced back to first thinking that Ellsbury had been forced before the throw to second. His action prevented Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland from catching the relay from Xander Bogaerts and Ellsbury was ruled safe at first. Farrell felt that it should have been a double play on interference. The Yankees didn’t score in the inning so the net effect was inconsequential. I am not really sure what purpose the protest serves. It was clearly not an intentional act by Holliday as he thought that he was still in play.
Upon completion of yesterday’s double-header, RHP Domingo German was optioned to Triple A. Bryan Mitchell, who served as the “26th man” for the double-header, was moved onto the 25-man roster and will start tonight’s game.
Have a great Monday! Hopefully the Yankees will be right on target at Target Field. Let’s Go Yankees!