I don’t know, the Minnesota Twins might want to consider forfeiting the Wild Card game. Seriously, the Yankees seem to have the Twins number as evidenced by the sweep of the most recent three-game series. I only hope that it continues into October assuming the Twins are successful in holding off the Los Angeles Angels for the second Wild Card spot.
For the first two innings, the game appeared to be a pitching duel between Yankees ace Luis Severino and the ancient Bartolo Colon. A few isolated hits but no serious threats. Then, in the top of the 3rd inning, the Twins came out charging. Kennys Vargas singled on a soft bouncer to short that Didi Gregorius tried to barehand..unsuccessfully…with one out. Jason Castro followed with a single, a line drive to right. Runners at the corners. Brian Dozier drew a walk and the bases were full. Joe Mauer, battling Sevy for 13 pitches, singled to right, scoring Vargas. After a trip to the mound by Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild (which never seems to work), Jorge Polanco lashed a single to right just past a running Greg Bird who nearly had the ball, Castro and Dozier scored. The Twins were up, 3-0. Severino evaded further trouble by retiring the next two batters.
All I could think was, “We’re going to let Bartolo Colon beat us? Really?”. Fortunately, the Yankees heard me. Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double to the right field wall, sliding into second just under the outfield throw. After Brett Gardner struck out, Aaron Judge hammered a Colon pitch over the wall in right for a two-run home run. It was Judge’s 45th of the year and his 100th RBI. Amazing. This was a guy who was almost beat out of a job by Aaron Hicks in Spring Training.
Credit: Bill Kostroun-AP
Gary Sanchez was up next and he delivered his 32nd home run with a shot to center in Monument Park. Drop the accolades for Judge and pick them up for Sanchez. 32 homers…the most ever for a Yankees catcher despite missing nearly a month of the season. More homers than Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada accomplished in one season. Incredible. The game was tied.
Credit: Bill Kostroun-AP
Luis Severino did not return for the 4th inning. 3 innings worked, 5 hits, 3 runs, a walk, and 3 K’s on 71 pitches. He needed 46 pitches for the 3rd inning alone. A no decision that pushed his season ERA back over three (3.03).
Credit: Andrew Theodorakis-The NY Post
Chasen Shreve took over for Severino. Given Shreve’s recent performances, I was feeling a little shell-shocked. But he retired the first batter he faced, Max Kepler, on a swinging strikeout. Eduardo Escobar followed by flying out to left on a ball that took Brett Gardner to the warning track. Whew! So far, so good. Then, he walked Kennys Vargas. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Get that bum out of there! Nobody listened to me, so Shreve was able to pitch to the next batter, Jason Castro, who grounded out to second for the final out. Okay, Shreve, that wasn’t bad. I feel better now…
The bottom of the 4th arrived and, man, so did the rejuvenated September 2017 Yankees. Well, Matt Holliday excluded. He started the inning with a pop out to first in foul territory. Jacoby Ellsbury, playing like a man who is worth $153 million, tripled to left (actually, it probably should have been an error on left fielder Eddie Rosario who didn’t take a good route to the ball and it bounced out of his glove). Todd Frazier walked. Greg Bird doubled to the right field corner with Ellsbury scoring on the play and the Toddfather moving to third. The Yankees had their first lead of the game. Paul Molitor decided to make a pitching change and brought in Tyler Duffey to replace Colon. I was worried that our little rally was going to be short-fused. Silly me. Brett Gardner lined a single to center which scored Frazier. Bird moved to third. Aaron Judge struck out to briefly bring the return of my pessimism, but Gary Sanchez lightened my mood with a single to right, scoring Bird. Didi Gregorius was up next and he crushed a three-run homer to the second deck in right. It was Didi’s 25th home run of the year, giving him the most for a Yankees shortstop in franchise history. After the hit, Didi turned around and apologized to Jason Castro for dropping the bat in front of him. Class act by a very classy guy.
Credit: Bill Kostroun-AP
The Yankees had scored 6 runs and now led 9-3. Starlin Castro grounded out to short to end the inning but I was okay with that.
Chasen Shreve did his job in the top of the 5th with no complaints or inner dialogue from me. In the bottom of the 5th, former Yankees farmhand Nik Turley took over for Tyler Duffey. Matt Holliday, deciding he wanted to join the party, started the Yankees half of the inning with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk on four pitches. After a game delay when Todd Frazier hit a young fan with a foul ball, he flied out to center but Holliday tagged and moved to third. With Greg Bird at bat, Turley unleashed a wild pitch that got away from Jason Castro and Holliday came in to score. Ellsbury moved to second. Bird then singled on a grounder to first that the first baseman momentarily lost after stopping the ball to put runners at the corners. It was another hit that probably should have been ruled an error. Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the back and the bases were loaded. That would be all for Turley and he was replaced by Michael Tonklin. Aaron Judge hit a fly to right, scoring Ellsbury. The Yankees were now up, 11-3. Gary Sanchez singled to left to reload the bases, but Didi Gregorius struck out on a foul tip to end the inning.
Shreve returned with another solid inning in the 6th to help restore some of my confidence in the young Las Vegan left-hander. By the bottom of the 7th, both teams began making multiple substitutions. The Yanks rode the arms of Ben Heller and Domingo German to the finish. Nice job by both but special mention for German. He pitched two scoreless innings with no hits and a meaningless walk in the 9th. He struck out a total of four Twins including Kennys Vargas to end the game. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (85-67) increased their lead in the Wild Card standings to seven games over the Twins with 10 games to play. The Twins retained their 1 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who lost to the Cleveland Indians, 6-5. The Boston Red Sox swept the Baltimore Orioles with a 9-0 win on Wednesday, so they remain three games in front of the Yankees. The win clinched a post-season berth for the Red Sox.
Chasen Shreve (4-1), by virtue of Severino’s early departure, got the win. Three Yankees had three hits (Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird) and two had three RBI’s (Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius). Sanchez had two ribbies. Judge now has 101 RBIs, becoming the fourth Yankees rookie to reach the 100 RBI mark, joining Tony Lazzeri (1926), Joe DiMaggio (1936), and Hideki Matsui (2003). Judge also became the third rookie in MLB history and eighth player in Yankees history with 100 runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 walks. This was yet another great team victory. Thumbs down, Everyone!
Next Up: Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada…
The Yankees enjoy their final day off of the regular season today (barring any rainouts) before embarking on their last road trip with a quick three-game set north of the border starting Friday night. The Blue Jays, picked by many to finish as high as second in the AL East prior to the season, have successfully held off the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, for rights to the AL East Cellar although they’ll need to keep losing to fend off the O’s.
It may be a down year for the Blue Jays but they always seem to play the Yankees very tough. Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (12-11, 4.73 ERA)
Blue Jays: Marco Estrada (9-8, 4.84 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (8-7, 4.06 ERA)
Blue Jays: Joe Biagini (3-11, 5.33 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (9-11, 3.38 ERA)
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman (12-8, 3.01 ERA)
Marco Estrada, who had been due to become a free agent after the season, signed a one-year contract extension for $13 million this week. So, he’ll be a happy man on Friday night.
I really hope that the Yankees find the perfect combination of excellent pitching from Sonny Gray and run support on Sunday.
Odds & Ends…
The downside to Wednesday’s victory was the injury of a young girl who was hit by the foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier in the 5th inning. The girl, a toddler, was attending the game with her grandparents. She was apparently struck in the mouth.
After the game, the Yankees released a short statement: “The child who was struck with a batted ball today was given first aid at the ballpark and is receiving medical attention at an area hospital. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, prevents the team from giving more information. We will have no further comment at this time.”
Our prayers and well wishes to the young girl for a full and speedy recovery.
Credit: Bill Kostroun-AP
Credit: Abbie Parr-Getty Images
Joe Girardi said after the game that the little girl was “doing OK”. This was a wake up call for the Yankees organization to extend the netting to protect fans.
I do feel bad for the Twins fans. Many of them are fans of the Minnesota Vikings like me. The Vikings took one on the chin last Sunday when they were steamrolled by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-9, behind backup QB Case Keenum. So it has not been a great week for sports fans in and around Minneapolis/St Paul, MN. But I certainly do not feel bad enough that I wanted the Twins to escape with a victory. How sweep it is!
Have a great Thursday! It’s a day off…let’s enjoy! Go Yankees!
Credit: Bill Kostroun
Orioles 6, Yankees 4…
The Yankees apparently forgot that it was Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound yesterday. Jimenez entered the game with a 5-10 record and 6.75 ERA. It’s pretty much representative of who the pitcher has been the last few years. On Sunday, he may as well have been Chris Sale…5 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. He was certainly a better version of Sonny Gray on this day.
For as much as Sonny Gray has given the Yankees so far, they could have picked up an average starter for much less (somebody better than Jaime Garcia) to give them three wins since the July trading deadline and kept Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian in pinstripes. I know, that’s a bit harsh, and Gray is an upper echelon rotation starter but in the small sampling size with the Yankees, the results have been underwhelming. Granted, he doesn’t get run support with his losses but I was hoping for better results. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will ride the arm of a pitcher (Doug Fister) they picked up off the scrap heap to go with Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz. Fister has four wins for the Red Sox since the end of July. I’d take Gray over Fister any day of the week (obviously), but it is disappointing that more wins have not materialized.
|Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images|
Baltimore got on the board first in the top of the 2nd inning. Chris Davis hit a one-out fly to left for a double. Clint Frazier misjudged his leap and was unable to make the catch. Seth Smith hit a grounder to third and was thrown out at first, but Davis moved to third on the play. Todd Frazier almost tagged Davis out but opted to go for the sure out at first. After Mark Trumbo walked, Austin Hays singled up in the middle, past a diving Didi Gregorius, into center field, scoring Davis.
The Yankees got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Didi Gregorius led off with a homer just over the wall in right center to tie the game at one. It was Didi’s 24th home run, which tied the Yankees mark for most home runs by a shortstop set by Derek Jeter in 1999.
|Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images|
The Orioles quickly took the lead again in the top of the 3rd. Manny Machado hit a one-out single to right, breaking an 0-for-19 slump. With two outs, Trey Mancini doubled down the left field line to the corner to score Machado. Baltimore had taken a 2-1 lead.
The 4th inning was the one that got away from Sonny Gray. He walked Seth Smith to start the inning. He retired the next two hitters and was a strike away from getting out of the inning with Caleb Joseph at the plate. Unfortunately, Joseph singled to left, between Todd Frazier and Didi Gregorius, to keep the inning alive. Tim Beckham, proving to be one of the best trading deadline pickups, homered into the bleachers in left to give the O’s all the runs they would need. 5-1, Baltimore.
|Credit: Anthony Grupposo-USA TODAY Sports|
Gray got Manny Machado to hit a liner to right for the final out (great diving play by Aaron Judge) but he would not return.
Bryan Mitchell took over for Gray in the top of the 5th inning. Jonathan Schoop led off with a single to left and Trey Mancini singled to center past a diving Didi Gregorius. The O’s had runners at the corners and no outs. After Chris Davis struck out, Seth Smith hit a grounder between first and second. With a throw from Starlin Castro to Didi Gregorius, they forced Mancini out at second but Schoop scored on the play. The O’s had increased their lead to 6-1.
In the bottom of the 6th, Mychal Givens took over for Jimenez who had thrown 100 pitches through five innings. Gary Sanchez drew a one-out walk and with two outs, Starlin Castro hit a soft grounder toward third and beat the throw from Givens which pulled Chris Davis off the base. Runners at first and second. Matt Holliday drilled a line drive to left for a double which scored both Sanchez and Castro. 6-3, O’s. Buck Showalter pulled Givens and brought in former Yankee Richard Bleier to face Greg Bird. Bird had homered off Bleier in Friday night’s win and he had a chance to make it a game once again. Sadly, Bleier won the battle this time when Bird grounded out to first to end the inning.
Baltimore reliever Brad Brach took over in relief of Darren O’Day to start the bottom of the 8th inning. Aaron Judge doubled to left with a fly ball off the base of the wall to lead things off. Gary Sanchez struck out on three pitches for the first out. Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to short, but Tim Beckham’s throwing error (pulled Chris Davis off the bag) allowed Didi to reach first safely. Judge moved to third on the play. Starlin Castro hit a fly to right field and it was deep enough to score Judge on the sacrifice. The Yankees had cut the Orioles lead to 6-4. Matt Holliday walked to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate. Showalter pulled Brach and brought in closer Zach Britton. The Yankees replaced Holliday at first with Tyler Wade and sent Chase Headley in to pinch hit for Greg Bird. Unfortunately, Headley grounded out to short to end the rally.
The Yankees made one last valiant effort in the bottom of the 9th. Todd Frazier struck out for the first out, but Jacoby Ellsbury looped a double down the left field line to give the Yankees a runner in scoring position. Brett Gardner grounded out to first for the second out but Ellsbury advanced to third. Aaron Judge was intentionally walked to pit Britton against Gary Sanchez. Sanchez, representing the potential tying run, failed to deliver when he went down swinging for the final out. Bummer, the Yankees had clearly proven they were the better team in this series and they had their chances. If Sonny Gray could have avoided the disastrous 4th inning…I know, if “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts…
The Yankees (82-67) did not lose any ground to the Red Sox despite the loss. Boston dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays. So, the Yankees remain three games behind the Red Sox. The Minnesota Twins clobbered the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-7, so they moved back to four games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card standings.
Next Up: Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
The Twins come into this series very motivated. Since they only trail the Yankees by four games for the top Wild Card slot (home-field advantage), they can make up serious ground on the Yankees with a sweep. If the Twins beat Jaime Garcia, they’ll be able to sit back and laugh “our plan worked to perfection!”. Steal a couple of prospects from the Yankees and give them a starter who is unable to produce in the clutch.
Twins: Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees: Jaime Garcia (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
Twins: Jose Berrios (12-7, 3.84 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA)
Twins: Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.80 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (12-11, 4.73 ERA)
The Yankees are not exactly leading with their best foot, but I understand the need to keep CC Sabathia’s knee off the artificial turf for the next series in Toronto.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have recalled another RailRider. The latest to get the invitation to join the big league club is RHP Domingo German.
Have a great Monday! Time for the Pinstripers to make a statement about their October chances. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill-NY Post|
Yankees 9, Orioles 3…
Jordan Montgomery turned in one of his best performances of the season with six shutout innings to lead the Yankees over Buck Showalter’s Orioles. He was backed by three home runs in the third game of the four-game series with the O’s. Chasen Shreve was unable to get three outs in the ninth, but the Yankees emerged with their third consecutive victory over the Orioles.
The Orioles started a fly ball pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson, which is probably not the best of ideas at Yankee Stadium. To his credit, he held the Yankees at bay for 2 2/3 innings. But then, with two outs in the 3rd inning, he walked both Chase Headley and Aaron Judge. Didi Gregorius made him pay for it with a three-run homer to the right field porch.
|Credit: Julie Jacobson-Associated Press|
While Jordan Montgomery was cruising, the Yankees struck again in the 4th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury got it started when he ripped a double to the right field wall. After Todd Frazier walked, Greg Bird hit a home run into the second deck in right (“See ya!”) to make it a 6-0 game. It was the second consecutive game with a homer for Bird. Buck Showalter decided he’d seen enough of Hellickson and brought in Chris Tillman who got the O’s out of the inning.
The Yankees added a run in the 5th inning. Didi Gregorius reached base on a one-out single to second that was deflected by Tillman. Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch on his right knee (Ouch!) which moved Gregorius into scoring position at second. Jacoby Ellsbury’s single, through the fielders at third and shortstop into left field, brought Gregorius home and it was 7-0 Yankees.
Tommy Kahnle took over for Jordan Montgomery in the top of the 7th inning. It started well when Kahnle struck out the first two batters, but then JJ Hardy reached base on an infield single to third, a soft roller. A wild pitch that got past Austin Romine moved Hardy to second. Kahnle had Austin Hays down to two strikes (2-2 count) but lost him with two successive balls to put runners at first and second. Fortunately, Kahnle struck out Joey Rickard to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Yankees added to their lead. Donnie Hart took over Chris Tillman on the mound. Didi Gregorius hit an infield single to third, beating the throw to first, to lead off the inning for the Yanks. Then, with two outs, Todd Frazier homered on a high fly to center, just to the left of Monument Park. The Yankees had a commanding 9-0 lead.
Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images
From there, it was up to the second tier bullpen. Ben Heller replaced Kahnle for the eighth. I was a bit concerned when he walked the first two batters, but then he settled down and retired the next three batters. Chasen Shreve took over in the 9th and was dreadful. JJ Hardy took a one-out walk and Austin Hays followed with a homer to right in front of the Modell’s sign to spoil the shutout. Shreve struck out Joey Rickard but then proceeded to walk the next three batters to load the bases. Joe Girardi finally made the move to replace Shreve and brought in Giovanny Gallegos. With Anthony Santander batting, Gallegos balked which brought Tim Beckham home from third to score. I can’t say that I saw the balk but Joe Girardi didn’t argue the call. Aroldis Chapman was up in the bullpen but Gallegos was able to end the game when he struck out Santander. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (82-66) won their fourth consecutive game but remain three games behind the Red Sox. Boston beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1, as both the O’s and Rays fade to oblivion. The Minnesota Twins lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2, so the Yankees’ lead in the Wild Card Standings has increased to five games. They remain six games up on the third place WC team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Excellent job by Jordan Montgomery (8-7) in picking up his first win since July. Pitching six scoreless innings, he only allowed 4 scattered hits and 1 walk while striking out six.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports|
What can you say about Didi Gregorius? He’s been incredible and continued his dominance with a 3-for-4 day, scoring three runs and driving in 3 RBI’s. At the beginning of the season, I would have laughed at the thought of Didi batting in the cleanup position. I am not laughing anymore. He needs one more home run to match Derek Jeter for most HR’s in a season by a Yankees shortstop. Jacoby Ellsbury, continuing his resurgence as a force in the lineup, also had a 3-for-4 day, with one run scored and an RBI. Greg Bird, the Toddfather…it was yet another great team win.
With yesterday’s win, the Yankees assured themselves of their 25th consecutive winning season. It is the longest streak in Yankees history since the Yankees won for 39 consecutive seasons between 1926 and 1964.
The series finale is set for this afternoon at 1:05 pm. The Yankees have made a pitching change for the game. Sonny Gray (9-10, 3.17 ERA) gets the start while the originally scheduled starter, CC Sabathia, has been moved to Tuesday to pitch against the Minnesota Twins. Jaime Garcia gets the start on Monday versus his former team of six days in July. The moves allow CC to avoid the series in Toronto and the artificial turf of Rogers Centre. The Yanks also avoid sending Luis Severino out to face the Twins, their likely Wild Card opponent if the current standing remain unchanged. Gray will be opposed by Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA).
Odds & Ends…
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees recalled 3B Miguel Andujar and RHP Jonathan Holder from Triple A. Andujar made it into the game as a pinch-hitter but he grounded out in the 8th inning. The Yankees also placed LHP Caleb Smith on the 10-day DL with a viral infection.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s make it a sweeping success. Go Yankees!
|Credit: Getty Images|
Yankees 8, Orioles 2…
Didi Gregorius was the man on the field and with the bat on Friday night as the Yankees took down the Baltimore Orioles for the second consecutive day. His brilliant defensive play and 4 RBI’s helped Joe Girardi achieve his 900th career victory as Yankees manager. Of course, it didn’t hurt having the great Luis Severino on the mound.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
The Yankees scored first with a run in the bottom of the 1st inning. Brett Gardner led off with a double to center. Gary Sanchez lined a one-out single to left, moving Gardy to third. A sacrifice fly to right by Didi Gregorius scored the speedy Gardner and the Yankees had the early 1-0 lead.
The Orioles got to Luis Severino in the top of the 2nd for really the only weakness in Sevy’s start. Chris Davis took a two-out walk, and Wellington Castillo followed with a shot to the right field porch to put the O’s in front, 2-1.
Chase Headley, starting at third base when Todd Frazier was scratched due to back stiffness, reached base to start the bottom of the 2nd with a bunt toward third. After Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to center, Matt Holliday lined a single to left, moving Headley to second. Greg Bird hit a grounder to first that was mishandled by Chris Davis (ball went through his legs into right field), allowing Bird to reach base. Headley scored and Holliday advanced to third. The game was tied at 2. The Yankees were unable to bring Holliday home when O’s starter Gabriel Ynoa struck out both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, Aaron Judge walked with one out. Buck Showalter went to the pen, replacing Ynoa with reliever Miguel Castro. With Gary Sanchez at bat, Judge stole second with a headfirst slide. El Gary subsequently grounded out with a short bouncer at the plate, but Didi Gregorius didn’t miss the opportunity with a home run to right center to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 7th inning with a walk. Brett Gardner hit a grounder between first and second but the O’s were unable to force Bird or get a double play when second baseman Jonathan Schoop misplayed the ball (bounced off his glove). The runners were safe at first and second. Showalter pulled Castro and brought in Mychal Givens. Givens walked Judge to load the bases. Gary Sanchez hit a single to right, a fly ball that dropped in front of Mark Trumbo. Bird scored. Not that I am complaining but I thought it was a lazy defensive effort by Trumbo. Oh well, the Yankees had increased their lead to 5-2. Showalter went to the pen again, this time bringing in former Yankees reliever Richard Bleier. Didi Gregorius hit his second sacrifice fly of the game, a fly to center, scoring Gardner who slid into home just under the great outfield throw. After Starlin Castro lined out to short, Chase Headley singled to right, scoring Judge. The throw in from the outfield easily tagged Sanchez out at third for the final out, but the Yankees had increased their lead to 7-2.
Luis Severino was cruising. He pitched as strongly in the 8th inning as he had earlier in the game, and he finished his day with three up, three down.
Greg Bird added a run in the bottom of the 8th when he hit his 4th home run of the year, a solo shot to right into the second deck off Bleier. It was good to see Bird get good results even if the run was unnecessary at that point. Hopefully he’s on the path to showing us the hitter he was in Spring Training. If he gets hot, the Yankees offense will be very hard to stop.
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill-NY Post|
David Robertson took over for Severino in the top of the 9th. He started off by walking Manny Machado. A wild pitch allowed Machado to move to second. D-Rob was able to retire Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini, but another wild pitch moved Machado to third. But there he would stay as Mark Trumbo flied out to left to end the game. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (81-66) were unable to make up any ground on the Boston Red Sox and still trail by three games. It looked like the Yanks might move to within two games when the Tampa Bay Rays had a 5-2 lead in the top of the 9th with closer Alex Colome on the mound, but the Sox scored 3 runs to tie it and eventually won 13-6 in 15 innings. Although he was not the loser, it was a former Yankee on the mound (Chase Whitley) when Red Sox offense blew the flood gates open. The Yankees did increase their Wild Card lead over the Minnesota Twins to four games. The Twins lost a close 4-3 game to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yanks have a six-game advantage over the third place WC team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Luis Severino is clearly the guy I want on the mound if the Yankees must settle for the Wild Card. He pitched eight strong innings, allowing only three hits and the two runs on the 2nd inning homer. He walked one and struck out seven. As strong as he was pitching, he could have easily finished with a complete game. But at 95 pitches and a six-run lead, it was better to let D-Rob close it out. Sevy (13-6) lowered his season ERA to 2.93 with the performance. Nice job, Sevy!
Didi Gregorius was clearly the hitting star with the home run and 4 RBI’s, but Chase Headley was 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. He did record an out on one of those hits when he tried, unsuccessfully, to stretch a single to a double. Gary Sanchez chipped in two hits and a RBI. Even though he didn’t get a hit, Aaron Judge was still in the mix with two runs scored courtesy of the walks he took. Greg Bird, Brett Gardner and others…this was a great team win!
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
Odds & Ends…
Sadly, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the Governor’s Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls. The Rays’ top farm team took the championship with a Game Four victory to win the series, three games to one. The RailRiders tried to claw back into the game but fell short, losing 6-4. Brady Lail was the starter and loser.
Now that the RailRiders’ season is over, I wonder if we’ll see the addition of guys like Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar to the MLB roster. I really do not expect to see Chance Adams since the Yankees have no pressure to add him to the 40-man roster this year. Cave, on the other hand, must be protected or he’ll most likely be lost in the Rule 5 Draft. Erik Kratz, I know you’re batting 1.000 (2-for-2) but I think your taxi is here waiting for you. I hope you enjoyed the show.
|Credit: Jason Farmer, Staff Photographer/Times-Tribune|
It was great season for the Yankees farm teams even if the top two clubs were unable to deliver championships. They are gaining the knowledge and experience that will help them deliver World Series championships for the big league team. The bigger picture.
Have a great Saturday! Let’s take the series with a win today. Go Yankees!
Yankees 5, Rays 1…
A fielding error by Rays third baseman Trevor Plouffe in the 4th inning opened the door for an offensive outburst that was capped by a three-run homer by Todd Frazier. The single inning explosion carried the Yankees to victory over the “home” Tampa Bay Rays in Queens, NY.
|Credit: Steven Ryan-Getty Images|
For three innings, the Yankees couldn’t muster a hit off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. Meanwhile, the Rays scratched out a run against the Yanks in the bottom of the 2nd. Lucas Duda, at home at Citi Field and using his old locker, drew a walk to start the inning. Yankees starter CC Sabathia retired the next two batters and had Adeiny Hechavarria down to two strikes. Hechavarria battled and finally on the 9th pitch of the at-bat tripled to the center field wall, splitting the outfielders, to score Duda with the game’s first run.
Aaron Judge opened the 4th inning with a walk, extending his own MLB record for most walks by a rookie to 108. Gary Sanchez finally got the first hit for the Yankees, a line drive to center. The Yankees had runners at the corners. Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly to right which scored Judge standing up. The game was tied. Starlin Castro struck out for the second out. Then the magic happened. Well, maybe not from Trevor Plouffe’s perspective. Matt Holliday hit a grounder to third that Plouffe was unable to field (under his glove). As the ball rolled down the left field line, Sanchez scored to give the Yankees the lead and Holliday moved to second on the play. On a full count, Jacoby Ellsbury reached base on catcher’s interference when his bat hit the catcher’s mitt. It was the 30th career catcher’s interference for Ellsbury which surpassed Pete Rose for the most all-time. Todd Frazier came to the plate and homered to left off the facing in the second deck to make it 5-1. The Yankees got two more runners on base when Tyler Austin doubled to the left field wall and Brett Gardner walked. It spelled the end for Jake Odorizzi who went from a no-hitter to a four-run deficit despite only allowing one earned run. Rays reliever Chaz Roe came in and struck out Aaron Judge, who had led off the inning, to end the Yankees’ rally.
CC Sabathia was allowing baserunners, giving up two singles in both the third and fourth innings, but had been escaping unscathed. He got into trouble again in the bottom of the 5th. He walked Peter Bourjos to start the inning. After striking out Kevin Kiermaier on three pitches, Trevor Plouffe singled to center over Sabathia’s back with Bourjos moving to second. Manager Joe Girardi opted to take no further chances and pulled Sabathia (to avoid a confrontation with Evan Longoria). The move appeared justified when David Robertson came in and struck out both Longoria and Lucas Duda to end the threat. Sabathia probably wasn’t too happy with the early hook, but he had thrown 88 pitches and allowed six hits. It was only a matter of time before the Rays broke through but the D-Rob insurance card paid off.
|Credit: Andrew Savulich-The New York Daily News|
The Rays did have a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 6th with D-Rob still pitching. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-out ground-rule double which hit the warning track in left and bounced off the back wall. He took third on a passed ball by Gary Sanchez, but was left stranded when Danny Espinosa grounded out to short.
The Yankees got their final hit of the night in the 7th inning when Brett Gardner led off with a single to left. A failed stolen base attempt, a perfect throw from catcher Wilson Ramos to second baseman Danny Espinosa, sent Gardy to the bench.
D-Rob pitched the bottom of the 7th, making this outing the longest in his career (pitching a total of 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with 4 K’s).
|Credit: Richard Rodriguez-Getty Images|
The bottom of the 8th brought out Dellin Betances and it was time to start drinking heavily. Evan Longoria started off with a single that dropped in right field. Betances struck out Lucas Duda for the first out, but then walked Cesar Puello. Aargh! Logan Morrison was up next, pinch-hitting for Wilson Ramos, and I was seeing images of a three-run home run to make it a one-run game. Fortunately, those visions proved false as Betances struck out Morrison. He got Adeiny Hechavarria to fly out, with Aaron Judge running to the wall, for the final out. Whew! That was a hard inning to sit through…
Aroldis Chapman took over in the 9th. After a brief pause on my part hoping that Chapman has truly righted the ship, he proceeded to retire the side on ten pitches. It wasn’t a save opportunity but the result was the same. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (78-65) picked up a 1/2 game on the idle Boston Red Sox so they now trail by 3 games. The Baltimore Orioles fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, so the gap between the Yanks and the third-place O’s is now 7 1/2 games. The win also increased the Yankees lead in the Wild Card Standings to 4 games.
David Robertson (8-2) picked up the vulture win with Sabathia’s inability to make it through five full innings. The Yankees were outhit by the Rays, 8 to 4, but they obviously made the most of their hits with Todd Frazier’s home run leading the way.
|Credit: Tony Gutierrez-Associated Press|
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees activated OF Clint Frazier off of the disabled list on Monday. Red Thunder was somewhat underwhelming in his rehab stint with the Trenton Thunder. In 17 at-bats, he had only 2 hits and 10 strikeouts. Here’s hoping that his return to the Pinstripes is little more successful. He should slot back into the fourth outfielder role that has been lacking since Aaron Hicks went on the DL.
When Aaron Judge hit his 40th home run, he joined some lofty company. Prior to Judge’s home run, the only Yankees to hit 40 home runs at 25 years or younger were Babe Ruth (54, 1920), Lou Gehrig (47, 1927), Joe DiMaggio (46, 1937), and Mickey Mantle (52, 1956). That’s a nice group of names to rub shoulders with…
Have a great Tuesday! Seems like a great day for another win! Go Yankees!
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:
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA)
Rays: Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (9-9, 3.22 ERA)
Rays: Blake Snell (3-6, 4.36 ERA)
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!
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!