|Credit: Seth Wenig-AP|
Brewers 5, Yankees 3…
I guess three positive starts by Masahiro Tanaka was not enough to prove that the right-hander was back. He followed up those three starts with another disappointing performance on a beautiful day in the Bronx as the Yankees fell to the Brew Crew. Tanaka (7-8) lasted just 4 1/3 innings and 83 pitches, giving up 6 hits, 5 runs (including two home runs), and a walk. He struck out 5 in the loss. He didn’t have his best stuff on Sunday but he also didn’t receive much help. If only…
Saturday’s hero, Clint Frazier, tried. He had another homer but the big bats of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez were a combined 2-for-9 with no homers or RBI’s and 5 strikeouts.
The Brewers jumped on Tanaka right away with three runs in the first. Jonathan Villar opened the game with a single. Eric Thames singled to right to put runners at the corners. After Domingo Santana struck out, former Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw pummeled a Tanaka pitch over the bullpen in right to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead. I wonder how much Boston wishes they still had Shaw (19 HR and 65 RBI) instead of Pablo Sandoval and fill-ins at third base. The guy they traded for (former Brewers closer Tyler Thornburg) underwent season-ending surgery last month.
The Brewers added another run in the top of the 2nd inning when Stephen Vogt, formerly of the Oakland A’s, opened with a solo shot to center which dropped into the bullpen. 4-0, Brewers.
The Yankees offense finally got something going in the 4th. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to left and subsequently stole second. Headley singled to left, which scored Ellsbury with the Yankees’ first run. Clint Frazier followed with his third homer as a Yankee, to right center, which brought the Yankees within one run, 4-3.
|Credit: Seth Wenig-AP|
After Tanaka gave up two one-out singles in the top of the 5th, his day was done. Chasen Shreve was brought in and he lost the battle to the only batter he faced when Travis Shaw collected his 4th RBI of the day with a run-scoring single. Adam Warren should be called The Cleaner because he’s always the one that has to clean up the mess. He struck out both batters to get out of the inning without any further damage.
The Yankees had a runner in scoring position in every inning from the 5th inning through the 9th but all were left stranded. For a moment, it seemed as though the Yankees had taken a 6-5 lead on an apparent 3-run home run by Chase Headley in the 6th inning, but appeal and further review clearly showed the ball sailed just to the right of the right field foul pole so the homer was erased…yes, if only. Headley subsequently went down swinging. It was another lost opportunity in a day of lost opportunities. Brett Gardner was on second in the bottom of the 9th after he walked and stole a base, but Gary Sanchez took a called third strike to end the game. Gary, Dude…if only. The Brewers escaped with the 5-3 win.
I got my pre-game wish. More Red Thunder and no Tyler Clippard. But it was not enough. If only we had won…
With the loss, the Yankees (45-41) dropped into a second place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, who fell to the Rays, 5-3, on Sunday. It was a very disappointing finish to the first half for the Yankees who had started the season so strongly. I have no clue if the Yankees will be buyers or sellers at the end of the month, but I am in agreement with those who believe the Yankees are not yet a World Series contender. I know that GM Brian Cashman feels a return to good health and a few enhancements could be the difference-maker but I’d hate to see the team make moves this year that might steal from 2018 or 2019 when the Yankees really will be World Series contenders. But I admit, we do need a new first baseman.
Odds & Ends…
Matt Holliday played DH for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Sunday in their 5-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. His lone hit in four at-bats was a run-scoring single.
The Home Run Derby is tonight. I have already completed my bracket and have Aaron Judge emerging as the victor over Giancarlo Stanton but I do think that Gary Sanchez could get on a roll to steal this one. It’s unfortunate that he drew Stanton as his first round opponent. Former Yankee Clay Bellinger will serve as the Derby pitcher for his son, Cody. I am sure Yankee fans will be paying close attention to Aaron Judge’s first round opponent given the trade rumors swirling about the potential trade of Justin Bour to the Yankees.
Have a great Monday! Let’s Go Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge! Enjoy the HR Derby!
|Credit: Al Bello-Getty Images|
Yankees 5, Brewers 3…
Finally! A fun and dramatic game. Clint Frazier was the man of the hour with three hits. The first hit broke up a no-hitter by Milwaukee starter Brent Suter in the fifth inning. The second hit brought the Yankees within a run when the ball landed on top of the Stub Hub sign in left for a triple to score two runs. The third hit was a game-winning walk-off home run to left as the Yankees overcame the Brewers on Saturday afternoon.
The first inning didn’t get started on the right foot. After Eric Thames looped a double to right field, Travis Shaw was awarded first base in a controversial “hit by pitch”. The umpire didn’t react until Shaw said something which caused the ump to send Shaw to first base, drawing the ire of Manager Joe Girardi. Girardi could be overheard saying “He called it, you didn’t call it”. The TV replays, to me, were inconclusive. If the ball hit Shaw, it was fabric only but even then, the jersey didn’t move as the ball passed through to the catcher’s mitt.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
Domingo Santana followed with a fly ball just over the right field wall which gave the Brewers an early 3-0 lead.
|Credit: Getty Images|
For the Brewers, it would be the end of their offensive show for the day. Luis Severino made the necessary adjustments (I hope you were watching, Michael Pineda!) and shut the Brewers down for the next six innings. By the time he departed, he had pitched 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and the 3 runs allowed via the first inning home run. He walked two, both in the 6th inning, while striking out 10. It was a no-decision for him but the Yankees do not win this game without Severino’s performance.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees had a scoring opportunity in the 2nd inning when Didi Gregorius lofted a fly ball to center. Four Brewers converged at the same time and the ball fell between them for an error on Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. But the Yankees were subsequently caught with awful base-running. Chase Headley hit a come-backer to the pitcher and the Brewers had Didi caught between second and third. Didi didn’t try to extend the rundown and the Brewers were able to tag Didi out and nail Headley off first base for the double play. If Didi had tried to evade the tag, it would have given Headley the time to get back to first.
The Yankee bats were silent until the fifth inning when Clint Frazier finally collected the Yankees’ first hit off Brent Suter, a two-out single to right. The Yankees weren’t able to do anything with it but it was a start.
After Luis Severino struck out Eric Thames with a runner in scoring position to end the top of the 7th, the Yankees finally got some runs on the board. Chase Headley hit a one-out ground rule double to center. Jacoby Ellsbury singled to move Headley to third. A failed pick-off attempt at first allowed Headley to score while Ellsbury moved to third. Clint Frazier hit a fly ball that momentarily looked to be a home run but it bounced off the lower part of the left field wall for a triple which scored Ellsbury. The Yankees had closed the gap to 3-2. Ji-Man Choi, pinch hitting for Austin Romine, and Ronald Torreyes were unable to bring Frazier home.
Onto the 8th inning and it was time for the Yankees bullpen which has been an Achilles Heel in recent days. Dellin Betances took the mound in relief of Severino. It was a ‘hold your breath’ moment until Betances proved to be the All-Star that he is, allowing everyone to exhale. He induced Ryan Braun to ground out and then struck out both Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana. Whew…Welcome back, Dellin!
|Credit: Corey Sipkin-New York Post|
The Yankees were unable to generate any offense in the bottom of the 8th. Moving to the top of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman replaced Betances. Chapman has struggled with his command in recent games, but not yesterday. Three strikeouts later, it was off the bottom of the 9th with the Yankees still trailing by one run. The Brewers brought in their strong closer, Corey Knebel, who has been a very pleasant surprise for the Brewers this year. Knebel has struck out 72 batters in 41 innings while saving 13 games for Milwaukee. He came into the game having only allowed 5 runs in 41 games. The only knock against him is a tendency to walk too many batters. The weakness appeared right away as Didi Gregorius walked to open the inning on four straight balls. Chase Headley went down swinging but Jacoby Ellsbury, like Didi, also walked on four straight balls as Knebel continued to struggle with his control. So, the Yankees had runners at first and second with one-out when Red Thunder strolled to the plate. After a ball in the dirt, Knebel grooved a 97 mph four-seam fastball down the middle. With his blazing bat speed, Frazier quickly blasted a shot into the left field stands for the game-winning three-run home run as the Yankees won the game, 5-3.
|Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports|
Aroldis Chapman (2-0) was the winner. The Yankees (45-40) were able to pick up a game on the Boston Red Sox so they are 3.5 games out in the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays remain a game behind the Yankees, courtesy of their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox.
|Credit: Julio Cortez-AP|
The Yankees conclude the first half today when Masahiro Tanaka (7-7, 5.25 ERA) takes the mound against Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson (7-4, 3.20 ERA). Hopefully, yesterday’s dramatic win and stellar bullpen work provide the momentum for a new surge by the home team.
Odds & Ends…
The rumor mill is certainly heating up. Within the last 24 hours, it has been reported the Yankees have heavy interest in first baseman Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins and reliever Brad Hand of the San Diego Padres. I am always a little suspect of the trade rumors you openly hear about as GM Brian Cashman generally plays his cards close to the vest. The more likely trades are the ones that you never hear about in advance. I would love to have Hand in the bullpen but the issue is cost. I’d hate to lose Chance Adams or Miguel Andujar (a couple of the names that have been mentioned). There would be a bit of irony with the Marlins (which includes Manager Don Mattingly) sending Bour to New York to be the Yankees first baseman. Bour hit his 20th homer of the year yesterday in Miami’s 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. There’s no doubt he’d be an upgrade over Ji-Man Choi.
|Credit: Ben Margot-AP|
The YES Network’s Michael Kay mentioned an interesting stat during the telecast. Yesterday was the 17-year anniversary of the Yankees’ double-header sweep over the New York Mets which featured games at both home parks. Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens were the winning pitchers in the subway double-header. It’s hard to believe that it has been 17 years as I can clearly remember that day well. It was a preview of the memorable Fall Classic that would pit the two teams against each other.
Matt Holliday was 2-for-4, both singles, with two runs scored in his rehab assignment for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The RailRiders won the game, 8-1, over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Jake Cave was 3-for-3 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s. Miguel Andujar also chipped in a home run.
Have a great Sunday! I am looking forward to more Red Thunder! But, please, no Tyler Clippard. Let’s Go Yankees!