Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1…
I can’t say that I went into this game feeling very strongly about a win or loss. In the grand scheme of things, the playoff format has been decided so it didn’t really matter if the Yankees went 92-70 or finished 91-71 (which they did). They still finished second in the American League East and hold home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday. Despite holding the Blue Jays to two hits, the Yankees were unable to muster any significant offense and lost by a run.
The Yankees lineup featured many backup players as key starters got the day off in advance of the AL Wild Card game. The only notable starters were Todd Frazier and Starlin Castro. Chase Headley got the start at first base, but he’s probably the team’s DH heading into the post-season. Greg Bird got into the game later.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
It was nice outing for Jordan Montgomery. He held the Blue Jays scoreless until the top of the 4th inning. Richard Urena worked a one-out walk. Justin Smoak singled to right on a grounder that went just past the glove of Tyler Wade, with Urena moving to third. Jose Bautista, making perhaps his final start as a Blue Jay, lofted a high fly to center. Urena scored on the sacrifice as the throw from Aaron Hicks was off line.
Credit: Associated Press
I thought the Yankees had a chance to potentially pick up a run in the bottom of the 4th. Tyler Wade singled to left barely over the stretched glove of shortstop Richard Urena with one down. While Matt Holliday was batting, Wade appeared to steal second to move into scoring position. However, replay showed that the tag was applied before Wade reached the base as Urena’s foot blocked the base to prevent Wade from touching the bag. Matt Holliday flied out to end the inning so the Yankees were still down by a run.
Credit: Getty Images
Montgomery made it into the 6th inning, striking out Ryan Goins. But that was all for Monty’s successful rookie campaign as Manager Joe Girardi took the ball and turned it over to Adam Warren. 5 1/3 innings for Montgomery. Two hits, a walk and a run. He struck out three batters for the eventual no-decision.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
Adam Warren, making his first appearance since being activated off the disabled list, retired the two batters he faced to end the inning and show that he’s ready to be a potential weapon for Tuesday night.
Warren retired the only batter he faced in the top of the 7th (pop out by Justin Smoak) and was replaced by Domingo German.
With Blue Jays reliever Danny Barnes on the mound in the bottom of the 7th, Matt Holliday homered into the left field seats with one out, a solo shot. The game was tied at 1. It looked like the Yankees might get more when Greg Bird followed with a walk. Miguel Andujar doubled to left center (ball dropped in front of a sliding Teoscar Hernandez), with Bird moving to third and there was still only one out. But the Yankees couldn’t get either runner home as both Austin Romine and Clint Frazier grounded out to leave the runners stranded.
The Blue Jays scored the eventual winning run in the top of the 8th despite no hits. With Domingo German still pitching, Rob Refsnyder reached first base after striking out when Austin Romine couldn’t catch a wild pitch from German (a low pitch that hit the ground behind the plate and bounced away). Ezequiel Carrera walked, with Refsnyder advancing to second. Darwin Barney laid down a good sacrifice bunt with two strikes to push the runners to second and third. Ryan Goins took advantage of the runner at third with perhaps the shortest RBI I’ve seen this year, a slow dribbler that went no more than 10 feet. Refsnyder came home to score as the only play was to get the runner at first. The Blue Jays had recaptured the lead, 2-1. German struck out Teoscar Hernandez to get out of the inning but the Jays had the run they would need to win the game.
From there, the Yankees couldn’t do anything against Toronto relievers Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna with Greg Bird popping out to the shortstop Richard Urena for the final out to end the game. It would have been nice to close out the season with a win but as I stated when I started this blog post, it didn’t really matter one way or the other. It’s hard to take momentum from a game when most of the starters are sitting on the bench.
The second-place Yankees (91-71) finish the season two games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox (93-69) fell to the Houston Astros, 4-3, as those two teams prepare to resume their battle in Houston, Texas with Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. The Minnesota Twins, the Yankees opponent on Tuesday, beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-1, to finish the season at 85-77.
It’s been a long, run season and I hope that it continues beyond Tuesday. If not, I feel that Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner has been given the message that this team is ready to compete now and that he needs to ensure the team is given the best possible chance for success in 2018.
GM Brian Cashman and Amateur Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer presented Aaron Judge with an inscribed Waterford Crystal Gavel for his rookie record of 52 home runs.
Next Up: American League Wild Card Game, Minnesota Twins versus New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…
Here it is…do or die. We’ve endured the rigor of 162 regular season games and the pay-off is a chance to advance to the American League Division Series. Win or lose, this has been a tremendous year for the Yankees. They’ve surprised the experts who didn’t expect the Yankees to contend this quickly. The Minnesota Twins have had an excellent year as well, going from a team that lost 100 games in 2016 to a play-off contender.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups. Suffice it to say that every pitcher on both teams will be ready for the call.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 8:00 pm ET
Twins: Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA)
This should be a great game! The winner advances to play the Indians for Game 1 of the ALDS in Cleveland on Thursday.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees announced on Sunday that “they will significantly expand the protective netting during the upcoming off-season at both Yankee Stadium and George M Steinbrenner Field”. The action comes after the young girl was hit in the mouth on a foul ball by Todd Frazier on September 25th.
The managerial firings should begin shortly. It’s been announced after much speculation that Terry Collins will not be returning to the dugout for the New York Mets in 2018. He’ll move into a front office position. Ironically, neither of the AL Wild Card managers have a contract beyond this year. I guess Tuesday will have a say in their respective futures although you’d have to believe that both would be back after unexpectedly successful seasons.
Have a great Monday! Enjoy the day off, and let’s get ready to root, root for the home team on Tuesday night. Go Yankees!
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!
Angels 10, Yankees 5…
The win on Wednesday was just a tease. Losing teams find ways to lose and unfortunately the Yankees gave another game away last night. Unless they can turn this around, the Yankees are showing that the early season was just a mirage. You can’t blame Aaron Judge. He’s trying. He hit his 25th home run of the season and has hit safely in 24 consecutive games (the longest Yankee streak of the year). But pitching, which has alternated between very good and very bad, is sitting in the latter category at the moment albeit with an occasional solid performance like Jordan Montgomery the other night.
Bronx Pinstripes had a great tweet last night. “What a disaster. At least we have Tanaka tomorrow. …Oh wait.” My line of thinking exactly…
The game started well enough. Despite Cameron Maybin’s lead-off home run to give the Angels an early 1-0 lead, the Yankees quickly answered in the bottom of the first when Angels starter Jesse Chavez walked Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday with two outs. Starlin Castro followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, it looked like this was going to be our night. Chris Carter doubled and Ronald Torreyes reached base on an infield hit, pushing Carter to third. Brett Gardner grounded into a force-out at second but Carter scored on the play. Aaron Hicks singled, putting runners at the corner, bringing up Aaron Judge. With a three-run shot to center, the Yankees were up, 5-1. I didn’t really expect those to be the final runs scored by the Yankees.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
The Angels started chipping away in the third when both Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles with two outs. 5-3, Yankees. Luis Severino settled down after that for a few innings of solid work, but gave up another run in the 6th when Escobar opened the inning with a double and scored on a single by Luis Valbuena. Valbuena, a third baseman, is a guy I thought the Yankees should have pursued in the off-season when he was a free agent.
Still, I had hope that the Yankees could lock down the Angels, score a couple of insurance runs and win the game. Then, the 7th inning happened. Cliff Pennington opened the inning with a single. From there, the game unraveled. Cameron Maybin hit a ground ball to Starlin Castro that should have been turned for a double play but Castro’s fielding error allowed Maybin to reach base, with Pennington moving to third. So, instead of two outs and no one on, the Angels had runners at the corners with no outs. End of game for Luis Severino. Chasen Shreve entered the game and was greeted by a sac fly from Kole Calhoun which tied the score at 5. Exit Shreve, enter Dellin Betances. Maybin stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Gary Sanchez. Albert Pujols said ‘I’ll take your gifts…thank you very much’ and lined a single to right, scoring Maybin for the lead. Betances walked Escobar, followed by a wild pitch moving the runners to second and third. With two outs, Andrelton Simmons doubled to give the Angels two more runs, 8-5.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
I was not ready to admit defeat and was pulling for an amazing comeback like the Yankees did earlier in the season against the Baltimore Orioles. Yeah, right. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th and the Angels were ready for more in the 8th. Domingo German took the mound, replacing Betances, and retired the first batter on a strikeout. Unfortunately, this was followed by Cliff Pennington’s double and a wild pitch that moved him to third. Cameron Maybin walked. A failed pick-off attempt at first by German, the third Yankees error of the game, allowed Pennington to score with Maybin moving to third. Kole Calhoun graciously accepted the latest gift, and hit a sac fly to push the score to 10-5.
The Yankees could only muster a single from Chris Carter in the 9th, and he was left stranded at second when Ronald Torreyes grounded out.
This was a very disappointing loss. I am not sure how you can lose two of three in your home park against the Mike Trout-less Angels. Giving away free runs on multiple errors and wild pitches are not the signs of a successful team. With the loss, the Yankees (39-31) fell back into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox. The Tampa Bay Rays, who also had the night off, moved to within 2 1/2 games of the leaders.
Yes, I am mad about this loss. And it scares the hell out of me that we’ll be throwing Tanaka out tonight against Yu Darvish. It doesn’t get any easier…
Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium…
The Texas Rangers make their first trip to NYC for a three-game series starting tonight. Pete Kozma, who started the year with the Yankees when Didi Gregorius was on the DL, is currently a back-up infielder for the Rangers. Ernesto Frieri, who previously opted out of his Yankees minor league contract, is in the Texas bullpen.
Rangers: Yu Darvish (6-5, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-7, 6.34 ERA)
Rangers: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2-0, 4.25 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-1, 7.36 ERA)
Rangers: Nick Martinez (2-3, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.56 ERA)
Y’all enjoy the games now, y’hear!
Hopefully, we’ll see the team that throttled the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles a couple of weeks ago. I miss that team…
Odds & Ends…
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees purchased the contract of left-handed reliever Tyler Webb from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I am very excited to see Tyler finally make it to the Show. I’ve been following his career for a few years and I’ve liked the pitcher. I was worried in the off-season when he was selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a mature lefty reliever (he’ll turn 27 in less than a month), I thought he had the potential to stick with the Pirates. Despite a solid Spring performance, he was returned to the Yankees in a numbers game (fortunately for us). In 21 games for SWB, Webb is 3-1 with 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has struck out 47 batters in 33 1/3 innings while allowing 33 hits and 12 runs. He has only given up 3 walks and home runs. They may not be elite numbers but I feel Webb has earned his shot. I am glad that he is here even if it’s only temporary. Rob Refsnyder was sent to SWB to make room for Webb.
Credit: Chris O’Meara-AP
Greg Bird has been given a cortisone shot in his ankle and the hope is that he’ll soon be able to resume his rehab. I find it highly unlikely that this will be the solution that gets Bird back on the field. It seems to me that the problem with the ankle is more serious than we’ve been led to believe. The cortisone shot just masks the pain, it doesn’t fix the problem. There is daily speculation who the Yankees should look at on the trade market. Lately, Yonder Alonso has been receiving the most attention. I like Alonso and do feel that he’d be an upgrade over Chris Carter or Tyler Austin. I have no problems with Matt Holliday at first other than I want to keep the guy healthy. DH is the better avenue to accomplish that goal. The Atlanta Braves did a wonderful job in trading for the under-utilized Matt Adams, previously of the St Louis Cardinals. Adams has done nothing but hit since he became a Brave and has sparked speculation that injured first baseman Freddie Freeman may be moved to third when he returns. I want GM Brian Cashman to make one of those under-the-radar but highly productive moves. I know, easier said than done.
I think Aaron Judge should accept the invitation to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby. I know that some players mess up their swings but like Manager Joe Girardi, I don’t think it would adversely impact Judge’s swing. I like the idea of his exposure to the other great sluggers of the game. It’s all part of his maturation as a Major League superstar. The Yankees have renewed popularity this year because of guys like Judge and Gary Sanchez. The All-Star Game is a great format to represent the pride and tradition of the Yankees.
This is not baseball related but as an owner of a black cat, I found this one quite humorous…and true!
Have a great Friday! Let’s not start a new losing streak today, please.
Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Yankees 14, Orioles 3…
Wow…the Yankees figured out the best way to beat the Baltimore Orioles is to just blast them in the bottom of the first inning. A day after they crushed the O’s 16-3, the Yankee bats were in high gear once again. I carried a fear that they’d struggle a day after the blow-out but these Yankees do not play to anyone’s predictions. The forecasted 82-win team keeps rolling along as they pummeled the O’s 14-3 on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep.
This was a tough 13-game stretch against AL East opponents. When the Yankees returned home to face the Boston Red Sox and the Orioles, they were 3-4 in road games against the O’s and the Toronto Blue Jays. Boston had a chance to overtake the Yankees in the AL East standings with a sweep, but instead the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Sox. Then, they absolutely crushed the Orioles by a cumulative score of 38-8 in sweeping the three-game series. So, the Yankees finish 8-5 for the 13 AL East games and are beginning to make believers that this team may be for real.
After losing the opening game of the Red Sox series, the Baby Bombers won the next five games against the Red Sox and the O’s by a combined score of 55-9. It was the first five game stretch of at least 8 runs or more for the Yankees since July 1956.
Replicating Saturday’s fast start, the Yankees jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Two of the first three batters (Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge) singled to put runners at the corners. Judge moved to second on a wild pitch, but it didn’t matter as Matt Holliday walked to load the bases. Starlin Castro hit the second pitch of the at-bat up the middle off O’s starter Kevin Gausman, scoring Gardner and Judge. Holliday moved to second. That brought up Gary Sanchez who parked one in left center to score three more runs.
Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press
The Yankees could have blown the game open in the second inning when they had the bases loaded with only one out, but Starlin Castro hit into a double-play to strand the runners.
Staked to the big lead, Chad Green, making his first Major League start of the season, couldn’t survive the third inning. The only blemish of the first two innings was a walk of Trey Mancini in the second inning, but JJ Hardy opened the third with a double off Green. The next hitter, former Yankee (or should I say RailRider) Ruben Tejada doubled off his former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre teammate to score Hardy. Green’s day was ended after 52 pitches. But the “doubles parade” continued against Chasen Shreve. Seth Smith lined a double to score Tejada, followed by Jonathan Schoop’s double to score Smith. Suddenly, the game was much tighter at 5-3. Or as Michael Kay put it, “a laugher has become a nail-biter”. Fortunately, Shreve rebounded to get Adam Jones on a ground-out, holding the runner at second. This was followed by swinging strikeouts of O’s sluggers Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, after Jonathan Holder held the O’s scoreless in the top of the frame, the Yankees added a couple of insurance runs when Aaron Hicks walked and moved to third on a double by Aaron Judge. Matt Holliday rapped a single to center to score both of the Aarons, increasing the Yankees’ lead to 7-3.
Moving to the sixth, Aaron Judge smashed another monster home run. They should probably re-name Statcast as “Judge-cast” because he owns the leaderboards. A day after the hardest hit ball this year, Judge captured the lead for home run distance with 495 feet. Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks had held the previous longest homer (481 feet) since April 29th. I’ve been convinced that we’ll see a 500 ft home run from Judge this season and he came within 5 feet of making my dream a reality. 8-3, Yankees.
Not finished in the sixth, Matt Holliday reached first base on a fielding error by second baseman Jonathan Scoop. Starlin Castro followed with a homer to left-center, making up for his second inning-ending double play. The once close score was now 10-3 Yankees.
You’d think that the Yankees bats were done for the day but not the Aarons. In the 7th, both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner walked with one out. Aaron Hicks subsequently lined a double to center, scoring both runners. 12-3, Yankees. That set the stage for the man of the hour, Aaron Judge. In the daily game of who is going to hit two home runs next, Judge answered the call with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to cap the Yankees scoring for the day and give the Yankees a 14-3 lead.
It’s nice to have games where it is difficult to pick the player of the game. Certainly, two home runs (including one that traveled nearly 500 ft) and a 4-for-4 day with 3 RBI’s gives Judge the leg up, but Starlin Castro’s 4 RBI’s warrant consideration. Gary Sanchez and his three-run homer. Or Matt Holliday, who has a knack for always being in the thick of the action. 1-for-3, Holliday walked twice, scored two runs, and had 2 RBI’s. I am not ready to say that this is a World Series contender quite yet, but this is the most exciting Yankees team that I’ve seen since the late 90’s. Please do not let the bubble burst.
In a game of relievers, the Yankees used 5 members of the bullpen to complete the game. The longest stint was provided by Domingo German who was making his Major League debut. German finished the final 2 2/3 innings of the game. Although he did allow two hits and a walk, he held the O’s scoreless and struck out a batter (Jonathan Schoop, to end the top of the 7th inning). Adam Warren (2-1), who preceded German, picked up the win.
The Yankees (37-23) moved up 3 1/2 games in the AL East, pending the outcome of Boston’s game on Sunday night. The Tampa Bay Rays won (5-4 over the Oakland A’s) to move into third place, 6 games behind the Yankees. The Orioles slipped to fourth with the loss, 6 1/2 games back.
This was an impressive home stand by the Yankees. But all good things must end. The Yankees take the show on the road for seven games in Southern and Northern California before returning to Yankee Stadium on June 20th to face the Los Angeles Angels. With the West Coast games, I guess there are going to be a few bleary-eyed fans this week suffering from lack of sleep.
Odds & Ends…
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday, 6-4. The RailRiders led the majority of the game, but the IronPigs scored 5 runs late to capture the win. Chance Adams was the starter, and pitched very well until the fateful 7th inning (when the IronPigs pushed 4 runs across the plate). He finished with a pitching line of 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1 HR, while increasing his season ERA to 2.52. He didn’t figure in the decision. Tyler Webb, who I had hoped would eventually find his way to the Bronx, was an absolute train wreck. He gave up 7 hits and 3 runs (plus a run charged to Adams) before recording the final out of the 7th inning. Adams deserved better but this was a learning experience.
Greg Bird had a quiet day at the plate. He was 0-for-2, with 2 walks and a run scored.
Domingo German’s stay in the Major Leagues was short-lived. Following yesterday’s game, he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Right-handed reliever Ben Heller was recalled to take his place. Either Heller or Gallegos will be heading back to SWB when Aroldis Chapman is activated (hopefully this weekend in Oakland).
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups in Anaheim for the series with the Los Angeles Angels:
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.55 ERA)
Angels: Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.08 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (7-2, 3.66 ERA)
Angels: JC Ramirez ( 6-4, 4.33 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.39 ERA)
Angels: Matt Shoemaker (6-3, 4.22 ERA)
Have a great Monday! Let’s keep this winning streak alive! Go Yankees!
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
Yankees 16, Orioles 3…
Like Michael Pineda the day before, Luis Severino’s even better start was lost among the sea of Yankees hits and homers.
Last year, Severino was a failed 5th starter (0-8 when he started games with an 8.50 ERA). This year, he’s playing like the ace (which is more pronounced since the so-called “ace” is now performing like a failed 5th starter). Credit Severino for keeping his focus this game. It would have been so easy to let up on the accelerator in a game that was 9-0 before many people had even found their seats. He had a one-hitter going until Chris Davis tagged him for a homer in the 7th. Sevvy (5-2) finished seven innings strong with two hits, one run, two walks, and eight strikeouts. He lowered his team-leading ERA (for starting pitchers) to 2.75. Severino continues to come up big for the Yankees and he is as responsible as anyone for the team’s placement atop the AL East.
Now let’s set the pitching aside. This was a monster game by the Yankee bats. Aaron Judge owns the Statcast Leaderboard, and his first inning home run off Baltimore Orioles’ starter Chris Tillman topped his previous efforts in exit velocity at 121.1 mph. The hit also ranked as a Statcast-era record. The homer was Judge’s league-leading 19th of the season. I sure hope that Judge didn’t have any plans for the All-Star Game break because travel plans are already underway for his trip to Miami.
|Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press|
Tillman had retired the first two Yankees to start the game, but after Judge’s homer, Matt Holliday doubled. Starlin Castro followed with a double, Holliday to third. Gary Sanchez then singled both Holliday and Castro home. Didi Gregorius stepped up and hit the second home run of the night to put the Yankees up 5-0. They weren’t quite finished yet. The useless Chase Headley walked. A wild pitch by Tillman moved Headley into scoring position, and Chris Carter promptly singled to score Headley. 6-0, Yankees. In an interesting note, Brett Gardner represented the first and third outs of the first inning.
I was fearful that the long inning would adversely impact Severino but those fears were unfounded. Three up, three down, and it was time for the Yankees fireworks again. After Aaron Hicks grounded out, both Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday walked. Starlin Castro didn’t waste the opportunity, as he blasted a three-run homer to left center to increase the lead to 9-0, finishing loser Chris Tillman’s night. If you have Chris Tillman on your fantasy team, please accept my condolences.
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In the 4th inning, Aaron Hicks walked and Aaron Judge singled to put runners at the corners. That brought Bald Brother Matt Holliday to the plate. Trailing fellow Bald Brother Brett Gardner by one home run, Holliday tied the count at 13 homers with a shot to left-center. 12-0, Yankees.
Aaron Judge picked up two more RBI’s in the fifth with a double to left. 14-0, Yankees.
The Orioles scored their first run in the 7th with Chris Davis’ homer off Sevvy, and then added another in the 8th with a solo home run by Joey Rickard off reliever Giovanny Gallegos. Leading 14-2, Ronald Torreyes was hit by a pitch from O’s reliever Mike Wright to open the bottom of the 8th. Gary Sanchez then connected with the fifth home run of the night to cap the Yankees’ scoring at 16.
The O’s added a final meaningless run in the 9th before Trey Mancini grounded out to end the game. By a score of 16-3, the Yankees captured the series with the O’s as they’ve won two heading into the third and final game of the series today. I always have concerns when the Yankees score more than 15 runs. I do not have the stats to back up this statement, but it always feels like the Yankees struggle scoring runs the day after a huge blow-out. Hopefully that’s not the case today as the Yankees prepare to embark on a California road trip following the conclusion of the game.
The Yankees (36-23) maintained their three game lead over the Boston Red Sox. The Sox had an offensive show of their own, with an 11-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Of course, it didn’t help that they had Chris Sale on the mound. The O’s slipped to 5 1/2 games back. If the Tampa Bay Rays would have won (they didn’t), the O’s could have fallen into fourth place in the division. This was probably not one of Buck Showalter’s better experiences at Yankee Stadium.
Odds & Ends…
As expected, Chad Green will start today against the Orioles. Green will be the first time the Yankees have gone outside the original 5-man rotation that started the year. However, in a more surprising move, the Yankees designated former LOOGY Tommy Layne for assignment and called up promising rookie Domingo German. German, a starter for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, will provide long relief for Green should he encounter any bumps in the road.
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I knew Layne’s days were numbered as he always seemed to be giving up runs with any appearances. He has not been the same pitcher for the Yankees as he was last year following his release by the Boston Red Sox. I have no problem with Chasen Shreve as the key lefty, but I’d be surprised if the Yankees weren’t looking for another lefty.
Greg Bird was 2-for-5 yesterday in the RailRiders’ 11-4 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He had two doubles and a RBI. Nice to see that he’s getting that extra base stroke back again. There is still no timetable for when Bird will rejoin the Yankees.
The current plan for Aroldis Chapman is to pitch on Tuesday for High-A Tampa and on Friday for AA-Trenton. If all goes well, we’ll see Chapman next Saturday in Oakland. Rajai Davis, look out, Chapman’s got your number.
Have a great Sunday! I am hoping for a sweep to wisk the Yankees away to Southern California…
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The Yankees and the Red Sox rekindle Baseball’s best rivalry tonight. The Yankees begin play two games ahead of the Red Sox in the division standings. Boston, the pre-season favorite to the win the AL East, has slowly been moving up the standings. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and have won two in a row.
The Red Sox are currently without the services of the gutsy Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is on the DL with a left wrist sprain. He is not eligible to be activated until Friday. Boston is also without starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez as he went on the DL over the weekend with right knee subluxation (partial dislocation).
The Yankees will miss Chris Sale, who was the starter on Sunday in Boston’s 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, this series. Boston’s talented young left-fielder Andrew Benintendi is starting to heat up. He had two home runs on Sunday to back Sale. He is currently batting .269/.342/.413 and has 7 HR and 30 RBI. He is second on the team with 8 stolen bases.
Credit: David Goldman-Associated Press
Jackie Bradley, Jr, after a horrific start is also coming around. Batting .269 with 7 HR and 24 RBI, he has a home run and 6 RBI’s in the last four games (5-for-13).
As Yankees manager Joe Girardi said over the weekend, it’s one big series after another right now. If the Yankees intend to be players in the AL East for the long haul this season, they need to make a statement. Since they’ve begun this rugged 13 consecutive game stretch against AL East opponents, the Yankees are 3-4. With the next 6 games at home against the Red Sox and Orioles, the Yankees can help themselves…or not.
The scheduled pitching match-ups for the Red Sox series are:
Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz (5-3, 4.24 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 6.34 ERA)
Red Sox: Rick Porcello (3-7, 4.24 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (6-2, 4.12 ERA)
Red Sox: David Price (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (6-3, 3.76 ERA)
Better to Rent or to Buy…
The arguments have been made for why the Yankees should stick to plan and forego any expensive rentals for the mid-summer. I get the logic. Does it make sense to part with Justus Sheffield, Clint Frazier, or Jorge Mateo to bring someone in for a few months when the youngsters can be part of the impending “dynasty”?
Yet, when you hear Yankees General Partner/Co-Chairperson Hank Steinbrenner make comments like, “Oh yeah. We’re greedy. We want to win this year.”, you know that it’s possible common sense may take a backseat.
Speculation is starting to run rampant with third base possibilities. I’ve seen a few articles centered on Todd Frazer as a potential trade target. His pic with Derek Jeter as a child is a nice story but it doesn’t mean I want the guy on my team. Frazier had 40 home runs last year, but he only batted .225/.302/.464. He has gotten off to a much worst start this year with only 8 homers, 25 RBI’s and a line of .195/.306/.396. The 31-year-old probably represents a buy low candidate but I am not enthused. He is making $12 million this year and will be a free agent after the season is over. I’ve already jettisoned Frazier from a couple of fantasy baseball teams. If the Yankees could acquire for some names that I’ve never heard of and will never hear again, I could probably buy into giving it a try. Otherwise, I don’t want to lose good prospects for a guy who is flirting with the Mendoza line (and on the wrong side to boot).
If the Yankees have to make a move, I’d probably be more in favor of Mike Moustakas. Also a free agent at the end of the year, Moustakas is making $8.7 million this year with better numbers. He has 14 home runs and 29 RBI’s and is batting .255/.295/.510. Both Moustakas and Frazier had fielding percentages of .947 entering play yesterday. Moustakas is younger…he’ll be 29 in September.
It all boils down to cost. How much? If the Yankees can make moves to improve the team without sacrificing key talent, they should do it. If not, stand pat. The great thing about a top farm system is redundancy at certain positions. Thairo Estrada is doing a great job at AA-Trenton but he plays second base/shortstop. It is a position of strength for the Yankees with Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Jorge Mateo and others. If trades could create opportunity for redundant players blocked in the system, I am not opposed to their inclusion in potential roster-enhancing moves.
This is a tough call. I recognize that the Yankees are building for something greater but I also know that when you have your opportunities for October baseball, you make the most of it. There does need to be a good short-term plan with long-term vision. If you get a ticket to the dance, you never know what can happen.
Odds & Ends…
Because of Sunday’s rainout, Chance Adams scheduled start for AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was pushed from Monday to today. Bryan Mitchell, Sunday’s scheduled starter, took the mound on Monday night in the RailRiders’ 6-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings. He didn’t figure in the decision as he only lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. Domingo German, pitching in relief for the first time since 2012, gave a start-like relief performance in picking up the win. German limited the Red Wings to 5 hits and 1 run over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out 7. Ben Heller picked up his first save.
The RailRiders victory featured the first home run, a three-run shot, by super prospect Gleyber Torres. Torres was 3-for-3 with a walk, and he drove in 4 RBI’s.
Tyler Austin completed his rehab assignment and was re-assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’s just a matter of time before Austin gets the call for the short trip to NYC. Rob Refsnyder offers better versatility with his ability to play second and third, in addition to first base and the outfield. But at some point, his bat needs to start producing. If not, the Yanks are better served by first baseman/OF Austin.
Have a great Tuesday! Hopefully we’ll see the “good” Tanaka later today. Go Yanks!