Sleep? Who needs stinkin’ Sleep! The Yankees arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio at 5:08 a.m. yesterday following their 18-inning marathon win over the Chicago Cubs and by the end of the day, they had their sixth consecutive victory with the 10-4 pounding of the Reds. The Yankees treated their former top prospect Rookie Davis, banished to Ohio in the Aroldis Chapman trade, like, well, a rookie. Run-scoring singles by Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius put three runs on the board in the first inning and the sleepless Yanks were in charge early.
It was another okay, but not great, pitching performance by Masahiro Tanaka. He definitely went the ‘bend but not break’ route in picking up his fifth win of the year. The Reds had the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth inning, trailing the Yankees by three. But a pop out and a double play ended the threat. It was probably the game-defining moment.
Credit: John Minchillo/AP
In the seventh inning with former Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen on the mound, three Yankees were hit by pitches. It wasn’t intentional but that’s a lot for one inning. The last one, a pitch that hit Chase Headley on the bone just below his knee (ouch!) with the bases loaded, scored a run. Ronald Torreyes, after being knocked down by a high, inside pitch from the wild Storen, singled to put the Yankees up 7-2. The second runner, Gary Sanchez, was easily thrown out at the plate, for the final out.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with Tanaka running on fumes after reaching the 100-pitch mark, he walked Zach Cozart and then gave up a no doubt-about-it home run to Reds slugger Joey Votto. With his 112th pitch, Tanaka somehow got Adam Duvall on a swinging strikeout to end the inning. As Tanaka walked off the mound, he was clearly upset about the Votto home run but his night was done with the Yankees leading 7-4.
The eighth inning featured another long home run to right by Brett Gardner, scoring two runs, and a solo shot by Matt Holliday, playing his second straight game at first base.
From there, it was up to the depleted Yankees bullpen. With most of the relievers unavailable, the Yankees went with Tyler Clippard for the eighth. Clippard was his usual self with a quiet inning that saw three up and three down. I have to admit that I got a sick feeling to my stomach when I saw lefty Tommy Layne warming up for the ninth inning. A six-run lead should make one feel fairly secure, but if any Yankee could blow a large lead, it’s Layne. It didn’t help when the first batter reached on an infield single. The next batter hit into a ground out but the Yanks were unable to turn a double play, capturing only the lead runner. That brought the speedy Billy Hamilton to the plate. Layne fell behind in the count very quickly with three successive balls. I started to have chills, knowing the heart of the Reds order was coming up. After a couple of well-placed strikes, Hamilton hit a grounder to Didi Gregorius. This time, the Yankees were successful in turning the double play and it was game over. Yankees win, 10-4.
The Yankees (21-9) maintained their half-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s withstood a late challenge to beat their former catcher Matt Wieters and the Washington Nationals 6-4. The O’s have won five in a row as they seemingly match the Yankees step-for-step on a nightly basis. The Boston Red Sox had the night off.
Prior to yesterday’s game, there had been speculation the Yankees might send down Sunday night heroes Chasen Shreve and/or Jonathan Holder to bring up fresh arms. But in the end, it was Rob Refsnyder who got the ticket to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In his place, the Yankees recalled pitcher Chad Green.
For the Reds, the loss cost them first place in the NL Central as they were overtaken by the St Louis Cardinals.
The Yankees face a more challenging pitcher today in Tim Adleman (1-1, 4.22 ERA). For the Yanks, CC Sabathia (2-1, 5.45 ERA), who hasn’t instilled confidence in anyone except opposing hitters in recent starts, takes the mound. I expect to see a much stronger Reds team today so hopefully the Yankees offense can rise up to the challenge. It will be good to see a rested Aaron Judge back in the lineup.
Tomorrow is a day off so the Yankees will be able to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Have a great Tuesday! Let’s grab a W and head back to New York!
For away games, I prefer to see a Yankees pitcher on the mound for the last out…
Finally, the first win of the year has arrived. It was a bit delayed in coming, but alas, the victory came with the Yankees’ first game away from Tropicana Field. Hopefully, the Tampa Bay Rays’ home won’t become a house of horrors for the Yankees this season but it was clear for the first three games of the year that the Rays were the better team.
Still, despite the Yankees’ 0-3 record as they departed Florida (the same mark as the Boston Red Sox at the time of their departure from Detroit), I never felt the sense of doom and despair that usually accompanies losses. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the momentum of a series goes with one team. Sure, you can say better hitting and pitching will do it every time, but the Yankees could easily take the series they play against the Rays…or not. I don’t think the Yankees will sweep their latest opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, even though they’ve won something like 40 out of the last 55 games against them. But there is no doubt that the Yankees rotation will right the ship. In Minnesota, where the Twins also lost their opening series by sweep (to the Orioles) and now stand at 0-4 after a home opening loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Minneapolis, there is a sense of dread and gloom already.
While Boston matched the Yankees loss-for-loss, and finally last night, win-for-win, I haven’t sense of feeling of desperation from the Sox fans yet either. So, it’s clear in both New York and Boston that the fans expect their respective teams to perform (unlike those in the Gopher state). The main thing I hear from Boston fans is the overwhelming belief that Daniel Bard should be the team’s closer, not former Yankee Alfredo Aceves. I tend to agree as I’ve always felt that Aceves is better suited for long relief and spot starts.
Back to the Yankees, if you asked me who would pick up the first win among the quartet of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, there’s no question that I would not have picked Nova. I wasn’t crazy about the 10 hits he allowed, but he kept the O’s from scoring as they were only able to push 2 across home plate. I would never be foolish enough to expect Nova to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he is perfectly cast in the back of the rotation and I don’t care what he has to do as long as it produces W’s. With both Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda looming on the horizon within the next couple of months, there are two starters who won’t be starting. If Nova can continue to produce, he increases the possibility that Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes are the odd men out.
Please tell me more about the medical insurance…
With so many closers on the DL (Drew Storen, Andrew Bailey, and Ryan Madson to name a few), it amazes me that not only has Mariano Rivera thrived at such a high level for so long, he’s done it without too much down time. It reinforces to me that he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer despite the Hall’s reluctance to bring closers into the fold. I am still amazed when I think that I was once disappointed that Mariano had been named closer after the departure of John Wetteland (I didn’t want Wetteland to leave via free agency). Instead, Mo has rewarded me by allowing me to witness one of the all-time Yankee greats. As a big fan of Lou Gehrig, I love the history and the tradition of the Yankees, and it’s reassuring to know that my grandchildren and their children will hear the name of Mariano Rivera.
A 5-day sabbatical and an apology is fine, but learn from the experience…
I am not quite sure what I think about the Ozzie Guillen fiasco in Miami with his pro-Fidel Castro comments. I do know that I do not feel he should lose his job so long as he shows remorse and learns from the situation. We all know that Ozzie is going to say whatever is on his mind and he’s not going to edit it first. He speaks to provoke reactions and I am not convinced that he always believes what he says. I know that’s no excuse for making insensitive comments in one of our country’s top Cuban communities. He needs to realize that his words can and will hurt. He now has a 5-game suspension to think about what he said. I don’t think it will put a muzzle on him as he is, after all, Ozzie and there’s no changing that. But I hope that he embraces Miami’s Cuban community and can show them he is on their side.
I know, sports history is littered with ruined careers thanks to misguided words. But I hope that we can find forgiveness for Ozzie so long as he doesn’t later give us a reason to regret it. I know that I will not always agree with Ozzie, but I respect him for being his own man. So, for those who say fire him, I say keep him.
I am glad that baseball is finally underway. Now, if just a few more wins could follow….