Tagged: Masahiro Tanaka

Thank You, We’ll Just Take The Wild Card…

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 1…

The title is sarcastic (if you didn’t notice). I am very disappointed with Masahiro Tanaka and the blow out loss to the AL East Cellar Dwellers. Trailing the Red Sox by four games with only nine games to play makes it a near impossibility to catch Boston unless they go into a tailspin like the Los Angeles Dodgers recently did. I seriously doubt that will happen for the Red Sox as they keep winning.

The Yankees had been playing so well, winning 15 of 20 games since August 31st. For a year that the Yankees have exceeded all expectations, Tanaka’s overall performance is the reason the Yankees are talking Wild Card and not AL East title. If he had pitched like his previous three years, we’d be talking about how many games the Red Sox are behind. It bothers me that we can hold a 5 1/2 game lead over the Minnesota Twins, we can sweep the most recent series with the Twins, and yet, the Twins have a chance for one game to send the Yankees packing for the winter. If the Yankees play like they did yesterday, there will be no expanded playoffs for the Pinstripes.  

Aaron Judge is the only player that came ready to play. His solo home run in the first inning, a monster 469 foot blast to left center off the facing of the second deck, gave the Yankees an early lead but it was the last run the Yankees would score. It was Judge’s 46th home run of the season, matching Joe DiMaggio’s career high. 

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

The Blue Jays quickly tied the game in the bottom of the 1st against Tanaka.  Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single to left center. Josh Donaldson hit into a fielder’s choice at third but Todd Frazier’s throw to Starlin Castro, which should have been an easy force out at second, got past Castro for an error as Hernandez raced around to third. Runners at the corners. Jose Bautista hit a soft grounder to third and was thrown out at first but Hernandez scored. Game tied, 1-1.

In the top of the 3rd, Todd Frazier doubled to right on a ball that went to the wall, sliding into second just under the throw from Jose Bautista. Clint Frazier popped out to the shortstop for the first out.  Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to right on a great running catch by Bautista, who then threw the ball in to second baseman Ryan Goins.  With the Toddfather standing on second, Goins used the old hidden ball trick with a fake throw.  Frazier momentarily lifted his foot off second to turn around and Goins nabbed him for the out to complete the double play. It was that type of game…

Credit:  Frank Gunn-The Canadian Press via AP

In the bottom of the 3rd, Teoscar Hernandez got to Tanaka again, this time a solo shot to left to give the Blue Jays the 2-1 lead. Bottom of the 4th, it was Russell Martin’s turn. His two-run shot, a liner just over the left field wall off Tanaka after Joey Bats had walked to start the inning, put the Blue Jays, 4-1.  

The Yankees’ third and final hit came in the top of the 6th when Aaron Judge led off with a double to deep left center that hit the warning track and bounced off the wall.  But the silent Yankee bats left him stranded behind the pitching of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada, the recipient of a $13 million contract extension a few days earlier.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Blue Jays put the game away against Tanaka.  Jose Bautista walked to start the inning.  Kevin Pillar singled to center as Joey Bats moved to second.  Tanaka struck out Russell Martin and Miguel Montero so it looked like he might be able to get out of the inning, but then he walked Kendrys Morales, pinch-hitting for Darwin Barney, on four consecutive balls out of the strike zone to load the bases.  Tanaka had two strikes on the ‘Hidden Ball’ Master, Ryan Goins, but the third pitch, a slider, left the park in right for a grand slam. 8-1 Blue Jays, and, finally, the end of the night for Tanaka.  

Credit:  Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The only remaining runner that the Yankees could muster was when Aaron Judge walked in the 8th. The Blue Jays easily coasted to victory and most likely handed the Boston Red Sox the AL East Championship.

I apologize to those of you who are Tanaka fans but he sucked. His win-loss record now stands at 12-12 and his season ERA has increased to 4.94.  He gave up eight runs (seven earned) and three home runs in 5 2/3 innings.  He disappeared at a time when the Yankees needed him the most.  Dude, please opt out at the end of the year if this is truly the pitcher you are now.

Credit:  Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images

The Yankees (85-68), as mentioned, fell four games behind the Red Sox.  Boston beat Sal Romano, who grew up as a Yankees fan, and the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4.  The Minnesota Twins have won two straight since they were swept by the Yankees so they have reduced their Wild Card deficit from 7 games to 5 1/2 in two days.  The Los Angeles Angels are in a downward spiral, losers of five in a row, so they trail the Twins by 3 1/2 games, along with the Texas Rangers.  

I don’t mind when the Yankees battle hard and lose, but Friday night was not one of those games.  Outside of Aaron Judge, it was a complete team letdown. If I didn’t know better, it looked like the Toronto Blue Jays were the playoff team, not the Yankees.  We expect and demand better play today.

Odds & Ends…

Today’s pitching matchup will feature Sonny Gray (9-11) versus Joe Biagini (3-11). A change was announced for Sunday. Jaime Garcia (5-9) now gets the start. He’ll oppose New York native Marcus Stroman (12-8).  

Todd Frazier was able to talk to the father of the little girl struck by the foul ball during Wednesday’s game. The little girl is still in the hospital and as one relative indicated, it will be a long process. Frazier was told by the girl’s father that “she’s doing okay”. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the little girl as she continues to recover.  

After last night’s game, an unauthorized man apparently gained access to the Yankees clubhouse in an attempt to steal some towels and a batting helmet. He was chased away by Todd Frazier, Tyler Wade, and others. The man was subsequently detained by stadium security but it’s scary that someone could have penetrated the crowded clubhouse that easily.  

Have a great Saturday!  Hopefully this a much better baseball day for all of us.  Go Yankees!

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All Rise with Thumbs Down!…

Yankees 13, Orioles 5…

It is fun to have these kind of games. After Masahiro Tanaka set down the Baltimore Orioles with seven pitches in the top of the 1st inning, the Yankees offense jumped all over Orioles starter Wade Miley with six runs in the bottom of the inning enroute to the easy victory.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off for the Yankees with a single up the middle. Aaron Judge’s single to center, a fly that dropped in, advanced Ellsbury to third. Gary Sanchez doubled to the left field corner with a hard line drive that scored Ellsbury. Judge moved to third. Matt Holliday recorded the first out on a grounder to third, but Judge, running on contact, scored easily. The hits kept coming as Chase Headley singled to right over the second baseman’s glove, scoring Sanchez. Didi Gregorius lined a single to right, Headley moved to second. Todd Frazier made it a 6-0 game with his blast into Monument Park. End of the night for Miley after giving up six runs while getting only one out. Mike Wright came in for long relief.  Despite a two-out walk to Clint Frazier, Wright was able to get the O’s out of the inning without any further damage.

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

The Orioles got a run back when Jonathan Schoop led off the 4th inning with a homer to left, a high fly that momentarily looked foul but stayed in. They threatened for more when Adam Jones followed with a single and Trey Mancini reached base on a fielding error by Todd Frazier, but Masahiro Tanaka struck out sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, and was able to get Wellington Castillo to ground into a force play at second to end the inning.

The Yankees quickly answered the call.  In the bottom of the 4th, Clint Frazier reached on a single to center and Jacoby Ellsbury walked. Aaron Judge stepped to the plate and drew the ‘It is high, it is far, it is gone!’ call from John Sterling with his shot to right center.  9-1, Yankees.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

Trey Mancini homered in the top of the 6th with one out and no runners on, a fly into the second deck of right field. But like the 4th inning, the Yankees responded. Clint Frazier led off the bottom of the 6th with a double bouncing off the center field wall and Jacoby Ellsbury took another walk. Aaron Judge stepped up again.  While he was batting, I was thinking that his last homer was nice but it wasn’t crushed like we know that Judge can do.  Boom! He made up it for it with a monster blast to the second deck in left to make it a 12-2 game.  While we were still enjoying the thought of Judge’s 43rd homer, Gary Sanchez followed with a home run to center (another ball landing in Monument Park).  It was his 31st homer of the year, setting a new mark for Yankees catchers, breaking a tie with Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

In the top of the 7th, Orioles top prospect, catcher Chance Sisco, recorded his first major league hit with a double to the right field corner off Tanaka.  With runners at second and third, and only one out, Tanaka struck out Anthony Santander and Austin Hays to get out of the inning with no runs allowed. They were the final pitches thrown by Tanaka, who was replaced by Bryan Mitchell to start the 8th.  

I’ve always liked Bryan Mitchell, but this hasn’t been a great year for him.  Trey Mancini led off the 8th with a single to right on a line drive.  Mitchell was able to retire the next two batters on ground outs but Joey Rickard’s double to the left  field wall scored Mancini. Caleb Joseph followed with a double to the right field wall between the outfielders, scoring Rickard. Mitchell was finally able to get out of the inning when he got Tim Beckham to ground out.

Giovanny Gallegos took over for Mitchell in the top of the 9th inning.  Chance Sisco came to bat again after getting his first MLB hit two innings earlier and accomplished another first when he homered to the right field porch leading off.  I suspect that we’ll be seeing more…much more…from Sisco in the future.  The next batter, Anthony Santander, hit a high fly to right that looked like it had a chance for a back-to-back HR but it sailed just to the right of the foul pole.  Gallegos subsequently got Santander to strike out.  He retired the next two batters (great catch of a line drive by Ronald Torreyes at second to end the game), and the Yankees had the win.  

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Oakland A’s, 6-2, to maintain their three game lead over the Yankees (80-66).  The Yankees remained three games up in the Wild Card Standings.  The second-place WC team, the Minnesota Twins, beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2, in extra innings.  

Masahiro Tanaka (12-11) was the winner.  His final line was 7 innings, 8 hits (a bit high but he did a good job in leaving the runners stranded), 2 runs, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts.  He was also able to lower his season ERA to 4.73.  

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray was probably wondering why he can never get this type of run support…

Luis Severino (12-6, 2.96 ERA) takes the hill for the Yankees tonight.  He’ll be opposed by Gabriel Ynoa (1-1, 4.19).  Hopefully, the Yankees win and continue to put pressure on the Red Sox.  

Odds & Ends…

It was not a good night for the Yankees top two farm teams.  

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost Game 3 of the Governor’s Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls, 6-2.  Chance Adams took the loss. The Bulls lead the series, 2 games to 1, and can take the championship with a win tonight at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. Brady Lail will draw the start and attempt to even the series.

The Trenton Thunder bowed out of the Eastern League Championship Series when they were swept by the Altoona Curve. The Curve defeated the Thunder, 4-2, to win the best-of-five series in three games. Will Carter was the starter and loser.  

Have a great Friday! Let’s have another thumbs-down performance! Go Yankees!

Credit:  YES Network

Battle of Little Bighorn II, Texas-Style…

Credit:  Tony Gutierrez-Associated Press

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!

The Holliday Weekend…

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Yankees 5, Red Sox 1…

Matt Holliday gets great credit for the win with his three-run homer, but admittedly, this game was about Masahiro Tanaka as the Yankees took down the Sox in the third game of their four game series. Luis Severino may be the trendy new choice as staff ace but Tanaka is showing that he is still the master.  From the first pitch (a called strike), you could tell that Tanaka had his pitches working. I was listening to the NESN broadcasters during the game and they marveled all game at how Tanaka was keeping his pitches down.  

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

The Yankees got on the board first when Chase Headley hit a high fly to left for solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd off Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz. After the Headley home run, the Yankees loaded the bases but they were left stranded when Aaron Hicks grounded out to second on a bullet that was stopped by second baseman Tzu-Wei Lin. His throw to first easily beat Hicks.

Meanwhile, Tanaka was dealing. The Red Sox didn’t pick up their first hit until the top of the 4th when Andrew Benintendi led off with a single to right center.  

The Red Sox briefly tied the game in the top of the 6th. The pesky Eduardo Nunez led off with a beautiful swing that drove the ball to left field.  Brett Gardner played the ball of the wall but Nunez slid into second ahead of the throw for a double. Andrew Benintendi hit a grounder to second and was thrown out at first, but Nunez moved to third.  With Mookie Betts at the plate, a Tanaka pitch hit the dirt and ricocheted off Gary Sanchez’s glove. Nunez came flying home ahead of Tanaka who was covering. Game tied, 1-1. The Yankees prevented any further damage when Didi Gregorius made a great diving catch for the second out and Aaron Hicks tracked down a fly ball running to the wall for the final out.  

In the bottom of the 6th, Drew Pomeranz walked Didi Gregorius on a full count. Chase Headley lined a single to center and Didi slid headfirst into third ahead of the throw from Jackie Bradley, Jr. Runners safe at the corners.  Matt Holliday came up and crushed a Pomeranz pitch with a high fly into the left field stands.  Andrew Benintendi just stood and watched the ball sail into the crowd for the three-run bomb.  4-1, Yankees.  

Credit:  Robert Sabo

The Yankees added an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th against Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had replaced Aaron Hicks at the top of the inning, roped a shot into left center field. Andrew Benintendi retrieved the ball but overthrew his first cut-off man.  It allowed the couple seconds that Ellsbury needed to safely slide into third for a triple.  Gary Sanchez followed with a grounder between second and third. Eduardo Nunez was going to his right and Rafael Devers went in front of him, moving to his left.  The ball glanced off Devers’ glove and rolled into left field. Ellsbury scored on the play.

Masahiro Tanaka came back out for the top of the 8th, but he was pulled by Joe Girardi after the lead-off hitter, Tzu-Wei Lin, singled through the hole into right field.  David Robertson replaced Masa and recorded two quick outs.  Lin moved into scoring position when Didi Gregorius made a bare-handed grab  on a grounder by Mookie Betts but held the ball knowing he couldn’t beat Betts to first. Fortunately, Mitch Moreland grounded to Gregorius for a force out at second to end the threat.

Dellin Betances took over for D-Rob in the 9th.  Unlike his last outing, there was no drama this time. After it appeared that Gary Sanchez had caught a pop up  by Hanley Ramirez behind the backstop for the first out, the call was overruled when it was determined the ball had hit the netting.  It didn’t matter…Betances struck out Ramirez and the next two batters to end the game.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (72-63) pulled back to within 4 1/2 games of the Red Sox with the win. They maintained their one-game edge over the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Standings.  The Twins absolutely destroyed the Kansas City Royals, 17-0.  The Yankees did increase their lead over the third place Baltimore Orioles to 3 1/2 games.  The O’s fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2.  

Masahiro Tanaka (11-10) got the win with his seven innings of work.  He held the Red Sox to five hits, two walks and one run.  He only struck out three, but the most important stat…he didn’t allow any home runs. Nice job by Dellin Betances to strike out the side in the 9th.  Matt Holliday was clearly the hitting star with the massive home run but both Chase Headley and Gary Sanchez were 3-for-4 in the game. Plus, Headley had the homer that gave the Yankees an early lead. 

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Ronald Torreyes, subbing for Starlin Castro, was hitless in three at-bats for his 25th birthday. Castro missed Saturday’s game after undergoing a root canal in the morning following the loss of an artificial front tooth sometime Friday night. Despite the lack of hits, Toe made his plays in the field, including his tag of Rafael Devers who had attempted to steal second in the 5th inning.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Aaron Hicks left the game after the sixth inning due to tightness in his left oblique (the opposite side of prior injury that landed him on the DL earlier in the season). He’ll undergo a MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Hicks apparently felt the tightness while making the running catch of the high fly to center by Hanley Ramirez  to end the top of the 6th. The injury will most likely reinsert Jacoby Ellsbury as a prominent part of the starting lineup. Clint Frazier was in Trenton doing some light work with the Thunder but he has yet to begin a rehab assignment so he’s not an immediate option.

Odds & Ends…

The suspension appeals have been heard for both Miguel Cabrera and Alex Wilson for their part in the recent Yankees-Tigers brawl. Both players saw a game shaved off their respective penalties. Cabrera will sit out six games instead of seven, while Wilson takes a 3-day rest (instead of four). Hopefully, it is a sign that Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will receive the benefit of a one-game reduction when the results of their appeals are announced. Cabrera may have gotten the longest penalty but there’s no doubt the cost is much greater for the Yankees given they have something to play for this month.

Have a great Sunday! The Yanks can take the series win today against AL Cy Young frontrunner Chris Sale. They’ll need to bring their “A” game.  Go Yankees!

Masa & The Game of Errors…

Credit:  Noah K Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 10, Mariners 1…

Okay, the ugliness was isolated to the first inning, for the most part, but the Yankees came out on the right side and coasted to the easy victory over the Seattle Mariners.  I would love to have one of these kind of games against the Boston Red Sox but we’re never so lucky.

The top of the first inning didn’t start out very well as it took Masahiro Tanaka a few batters before he could find his groove.  After Jean Segura lined out directly to Aaron Judge in right to start the game, Yonder Alonso singled to left and advanced to second when left fielder Aaron Hicks was unable to field the ball cleanly.  Error on Hicks.  Robinson Cano, making his first start in the series after sitting out two games with hamstring tightness, singled to left in front of Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury (“you get it”…“no, no, after you”).  Alonso moved to third.  Nelson Cruz was next and he smacked a double to the left field wall, scoring Alonso.  Cano advanced to third.  Fortunately, from there, Tanaka found his pitches.  He struck out Kyle Seager and then got out of the inning with only one run scored when Mitch Haniger flied out to right center.  It could have been much worse but Tanaka was able to  limit the damage.  

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

In the bottom of the 1st, Tanaka was rewarded for his effort.  Aaron Hicks led off against Mariners starter Andrew Albers and popped out to short.  Starlin Castro followed with a double over the head of right fielder Mitch Haniger.  The Baseball Gods decided to smile upon the home team at this point.  Gary Sanchez singled to left and Ben Gamel ran up on the ball and missed it with his glove.  By the time center fielder Guillermo Heredia had retrieved the ball and threw it to the infield, Castro had scored and Sanchez was standing on second.  The game was tied.  After Aaron Judge walked, Didi Gregorius hit a fly to shallow left.  With the trio of Ben Gamel, Guillermo Heredia and Jean Segura converging, no one called for the ball and it fell in.  The error was charged to Segura and the bases were loaded.  For the Mariners, the nightmare continued.  Chase Headley hit a grounder to third that Kyle Seager bobbled and dropped.  Sanchez scored and Headley was safe at first.  The bases were still loaded.  Todd Frazier struck out for the second out.  It brought Jacoby Ellsbury to the plate.  Ells lined a double to left.  Ben Gamel retrieved the ball and threw it into Jean Segura at short who dropped the ball and momentarily lost sight of it.  Judge and Gregorius scored.  Headley, seeing the opportunity when Segura dropped the ball, broke for home.  Segura’s throw bounced past the catcher as Headley scored and Ellsbury took third.  Ronald Torreyes hit a grounder to third and then beat out the throw from Seager.  Ellsbury scored and it was 6-1 Yankees.  Aaron Hicks, who had started the inning with a pop out, flied out to center to end the inning.  Alas, all good things must end.  The Mariners were charged a total of five errors in the inning.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Manager Joe Girardi’s day was over before the Mariners starter was out of the game.  With one out and Jean Segura at first in the top of the 3rd, Robinson Cano hit a grounder to first baseman Chase Headley who threw to Didi Gregorius at second for the force out.  However, the Yankees were unable to turn the inning-ending double play when Segura ran out of the base path and obstructed the view of Gregorius to first which caused an errant throw.  Girardi came flying out, demanding an explanation and got tossed for his inquisitive approach.  He received a standing ovation as he walked off the field.  Fortunately, Tanaka struck out Nelson Cruz to avoid any damage, but Girardi got to watch the rest of the game on TV like the rest of us who weren’t fortunate enough to be at Yankee Stadium.

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees added to their lead.  Ronald Torreyes, singled to center for his second hit of the game with two outs.  Aaron Hicks lined a single to right, moving Toe to second.  Starlin Castro singled with a blooper to center to score Toe and the Yankees were up 7-1.  

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

Todd Frazier committed the game’s seventh error, and the second by the Yankees, to open the top of the 6th when he was unable to field a grounder hit by Nelson Cruz.  Tanaka struck out the next two batters and got Ben Gamel to ground out to first to leave Cruz stranded at first.  No harm, no foul.  

In the bottom of the 6th with Andrew Albers still pitching for the Mariners, Starlin Castro led off with a soft line drive to center.  After Gary Sanchez walked, the Mariners made a pitching change to bring in reliever Dan Altavilla.  A wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third.  Aaron Judge walked to load the bases.  After Didi Gregorius struck out, Chase Headley hit a sacrifice fly to center.  Castro scored but Gary Sanchez was caught between second and third on the throw back into the infield and the Mariners were able to complete the double play.  However, the run counted and it was 8-1 Yankees.

After Masahiro Tanaka cruised through the Mariners in a three-up, three-down top of the 7th, the Yankees made more noise in the bottom of the inning.  Todd Frazier led off with a walk and moved to second when Jacoby Ellsbury singled on a roller to right.  Ronald Torreyes, with his third hit of the game, lined a single to left and the bases were loaded.  After Aaron Hicks popped out (infield fly rule invoked), Greg Bird pinch-hit for Starlin Castro.  Bird singled to right between the two infield defenders, scoring both Frazier and Ellsbury.  The Yankees now led 10-1.  

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Caleb Smith took over for Tanaka in the 8th and retired the six batters he faced over the final two innings.  Danny Valencia, the game’s final batter, took Smith deep with Aaron Judge’s back nearly to the wall, but the ball landed in Judge’s glove for the final out.  Game over.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (70-59) were able to pick up another game on Boston as the Red Sox fell to the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.  The Yankees now trail the Red Sox by only 2 1/2 games.  Oh, if only the Yankees could have scored more runs Friday night.  The O’s finally reached .500 with their sweep of the Red Sox and continue to trail the Yankees by 5 1/2 games.  The Tampa Bay Rays won in extra innings over the St Louis Cardinals, 3-2, so they remain 6 1/2 games back of the Yankees.  No change in the Wild Card Standings as the Minnesota Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2, behind three homers by Byron Buxton to remain 3 1/2 games behind New York.  

I was worried going into this game given Masahiro Tanaka’s weird split of pitching much better at night than during daytime games.  But after the bumpy start, he settled down and gave the Yankees an ace-like performance.  Tanaka (10-10) went seven strong innings, holding the Mariners to the one run on six hits.  He walked one batter but more importantly did not give up any homers.  He struck out ten.  Nice job by Caleb Smith in saving the bullpen for the Cleveland Indians.  

Starlin Castro was 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Ronald Torreyes was 3-for-4, with a single RBI and a run scored.  The Yankee offense finished with 15 hits but surprisingly no home runs.  No matter, it was a very solid win and good momentum for the week ahead.

Next Up:  Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…

The Yankees begin a very difficult week that starts with the Indians and ends with the Boston Red Sox.  Every game is important at this stage of the season.  The Indians come into this series a little banged up.  They have a total of nine players on the DL, including LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Danny Salazar, OF Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Michael Brantley and 2B Jason Kipnis.  The Indians have a comfortable 6 1/2 game lead in the AL Central over the Minnesota Twins.  

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

MONDAY 

Indians:  Corey Kluber (12-4, 2.65 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (11-5, 3.10 ERA)

TUESDAY

Indians:  Trevor Bauer (13-8, 4.59 ERA)

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (1-1, 5.47 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Indians:  Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.38 ERA)

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.82 ERA)

This will be a tough series.  Admittedly, I wish Jordan Montgomery was here with the big league club and pitching on Tuesday night. Jaime Garcia does not inspire much confidence and certainly not when he’s facing a very tough Trevor Bauer.  I hope Caleb Smith is prepared to pitch that day.  

Have a great Monday!  I know that Corey Kluber will be tough but let’s make it three-in-a-row!  Go Yankees!

Quick, Grab the Imodium A-D!…

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 13, Tigers 4…

Watch out, the Yankees have the runs!  Seriously, it was great to finally have a breather.  The tone was set early when Gary Sanchez blasted the second longest home run this year (493 feet) as the Yankees throttled the Tigers.

Aaron Hicks got the party started in the first inning with a one-out single, a grounder up the middle.  Enter El Gary.  Boom!  He blasted a moon shot that flew over all rows in the left field stands and bounced off the back wall just under the LED board that shows pitch count.  The home run was two feet short of the home run Aaron Judge hit on June 11th against the Baltimore Orioles.  Aaron Judge, moved down in the order to clean-up, worked a walk off Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd.  Didi Gregorius, the road warrior (has hit in 16 of his last 19 road games), lined a double to right-center.  Judge advanced to third.  The Yankees picked up their final run of the inning when Tyler Austin lofted a sacrifice fly to center which scored Judge.  3-0, Yankees.

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With Masahiro Tanaka cruising, the Yankees picked up more runs in the third.  Aaron Judge led off with another walk.  Didi Gregorius hit an infield bouncer toward third that glanced off the leg of the pitcher, Matthew Boyd, as he attempted to field the ball.  Didi was awarded a hit.  Tyler Austin lined a solid fly that dropped in left, scoring Judge.  Didi moved to second.  After Chase Headley lined out to center, Todd Frazier ripped the ball down the line to the right field corner.  Both Judge and Gregorius scored.  The Toddfather safely slid into third ahead of the outfield relay.  The Tigers pulled Boyd and brought in reliever Warwick Saupold.  Ronald Torreyes, the little man always coming up big, lined a sacrifice fly to right, and Frazier slid into home under the throw from the outfield.  The Yankees led, 7-0.  

The Tigers finally got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd.  James McCann led off with a liner to center to reach first.  Two outs later, Ian Kinsler hit a long fly that bounced off the warning track in center for a double.  McCann scored on the play.  

The Yankees loaded the bases in the 4th with a single (Gary Sanchez) and two walks (Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin) but couldn’t score.  With Warwick Saupold still on the mound, they broke through with more runs in the 5th.  Todd Frazier lined a single to left. Ronald Torreyes chopped a hit through the left side for single.  Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Cabrera off first, threw to second to erase Toe. Gardy was too fast for the Tigers to get the ball back to first.  Runners at the corners.  Aaron Hicks hit an infield grounder toward first that Miguel Cabrera couldn’t field cleanly.  It was ruled a fielder’s choice with Hicks safely reaching base. Frazier scored on the play while Gardy took second. After Gary Sanchez struck out, Aaron Judge ripped the ball to left to score Gardy.  The Yankees had increased their lead to 9-1. It was the end of the day for Saupold.  I was sorry to see him go.  The Tigers brought in Drew VerHagen and he got the Tigers out of the inning by inducing Didi Gregorius to ground out to second.  

The 7th inning brought more runs for both sides.  I am sure that Sonny Gray was feeling slightly envious of the run support Masahiro Tanaka was getting.  Brett Gardner led off the 7th with a triple, a long fly to right that Alex Presley couldn’t catch up to.  Aaron Hicks followed with a shot into the right center field stands and the Yankees had added to their lead, 11-1.  

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers finally broke through against Tanaka again.  John Hicks, pinch-hitting for Miguel Cabrera, doubled to left.  Nicholas Castanellos homered to right, just a few rows up in the stands and it was 11-3.  Following a coaching visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Andrew Romine hit a ball down the left field line similar to the ball that John Hicks had hit, but Gardy’s throw to second was ahead of the runner for the out.  A ground out by James McCann ended the inning and the game for Masahiro Tanaka.  

Chasen Shreve replaced Tanaka in the 8th.  He retired the Tigers despite a double by Jose Iglesias to push the game to the 9th.  With Tigers reliever Jeff Ferrell pitching, Tyler Wade, pinch-hitting for Ronald Torreyes, reached on an infield single to short thanks to his speed out of the box.  Following line outs by Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez   hit his second home run, a blast to right.  It was 13-3 Yankees.  The homer was El Gary’s 25th of the year.  He is only 5 homers of the team record shared by Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra (twice).  All this from a man who missed a month of the season.  I think he likes the third hole in the lineup.  

Shreve finished up the 9th to protect the bullpen. There was a bit of comedy with Nicholas Castanellos at bat (easy to say when the Yankees are holding a 10-run lead).  Castanellos hit a fly to center.  Jacoby Ellsbury tried to catch the ball on a slide but the ball got past him and rolled to the wall.  Brett Gardner retrieved it and threw to the cut-off man, Tyler Wade, who threw home too late to get Castanellos.  Inside-the-park home run and the second HR of the night for Castanellos.  Andrew Romine followed with a high fly ball that took Brett Gardner to the wall but Gardy made the catch to end the game.  The Yankees win!  

The Yankees (67-57), who picked up a 1/2 game during Monday’s day off thanks to a Red Sox loss, couldn’t make up any ground on Tuesday as Boston pounded the Cleveland Indians, 9-1.  It was an interesting game for the Red Sox as starter Doug Fister gave up a lead off home run to Francisco Lindor and then held the Indians hitless for the duration of the game.  Not bad for a bargain basement pickup.  The Yankees trail the Sox by 4 games.   The battle for third place in the AL East continues to swing back and forth between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5, to move back into third.  They are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The O’s fell to the Oakland A’s, 6-4.  They are 7 games back of the Yankees.  No change in the Wild Card standings as the Yankees continue to lead the Minnesota Twins by 2 1/2 games.

I had no problem with Manager Joe Girardi’s decision to pinch-hit for Aaron Judge in the 7th inning.  Judge had four at-bats.  He walked three times and had the RBI single.  He also scored two times.  It was a productive day for him and it was time for the MLB-record for strikeouts in consecutive games to end at 37.  Girardi denied pulling Judge to end the streak but regardless of whether or not he did, I thought it was the right thing to do.

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

The two-run home run masked an otherwise tremendous start by Masahiro Tanaka (9-10).  This is the pitcher the Yankees need down the stretch.  His final line was 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 SO which qualified as a quality start but it was better than that.  Nice job, Masa!

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

It was a very productive night for Gary Sanchez, including the two home runs, and Aaron Hicks, with his dinger.  They had 4 and 3 RBI’s, respectively.  Every Yankees starter reached base by either hit or walk.  We needed this.  Hopefully the Yankees will continue to hit and drive in runs during this road trip.  

Have a great Wednesday!  The Yankees can take the series today with a win.  Go Luis Severino and Go Yankees!

Sevy & The Saturday Hangover…

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Red Sox 10, Yankees 5…

I have been guilty of using the word “ace” when it comes to Luis Severino but performances like Saturday when Sevy imploded against the Boston Red Sox serves as a reminder that he is not there yet.  After the brilliant come-from-behind win on Friday night, it was the Red Sox who caught and then battered the Yankees.

Boston rookie left-fielder Andrew Benintendi, 23, became the youngest Red Sox player to have 6 RBI’s against the Yankees since 1920.  He was just the second Red Sox hitter to belt two homers of three or more runs since legendary HOFer Jimmie Foxx did it twice during the 1938 season.

The game started beautifully.  Severino retired the first three Red Sox hitters on six pitches to start the game, and the Yankees jumped on Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz in the bottom of the first.  Brett Gardner led off with a single to left.  After Pomeranz struck out Aarons Hicks and Judge, Gary Sanchez took advantage of the right field porch to give the Yankees the early 2-0 lead.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

Severino was still dominant in the second inning.  He only needed 11 pitches to retire the four through six hitters of the Red Sox lineup, including a swinging strikeout of Hanley Ramirez to start the inning.

The game changed in the third inning.  With the Yankees still leading 2-0, Severino walked Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley, Jr with one out.  A fielding error by Todd Frazier  (dropped the ball on the transfer from his glove) allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach base and the bases were loaded.  Mookie Betts singled to left in the hole through short, scoring Vazquez and JBJ, and the game was tied.  Andrew Benintendi hit a sharp fly that hit the top of the center field wall and bounced over for a three run homer. The Red Sox had taken a 5-2 lead.  They got a couple more singles (by Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland), but the Yankees were able to get out of the inning when Xander Bogaerts lined out to left and Brett Gardner’s throw to second doubled Ramirez off 2nd for the final out.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press

The Yankees looked like they were going to make it a game again in the 4th inning.  Severino struck out the side to bring the Yankees to bat.  Didi Gregorius led off with a single to center.  Todd Frazier walked, and Chase Headley singled to center to load the bases.  Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first, but Gregorius came home to score and it was 5-3.  The Yankees were unable to push any more runs across when both Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner popped out against Pomeranz.  The missed opportunity hurt because the Red Sox would make the Yankees pay the next inning.

Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth with a single to left.  Mookie Betts doubled to left, with Nunez moving to third.  Andrew Benintendi came up again and belted his second home run of the game, and 16th of the year, to give the Red Sox an 8-3 advantage. I am sure the ‘no doubt about it’ blast to the right center field stands caused the bars in Boston to erupt. After Hanley Ramirez flied out, Mitch Moreland doubled to left.  Xander Bogaerts reached base on a throwing error by Didi Gregorius and Moreland moved to third.  Manager Joe Girardi ended Severino’s day and brought in Giovanny Gallegos.  Boston rookie third baseman Rafael Devers greeted Gallegos with a double to center, scoring both Moreland and Bogaerts.  Gallegos retired the next two batters but the Red Sox had scored 5 times to increase their lead to 10-3.

The Yankees added a couple of solo home runs in the bottom of the 9th when both Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury went yard, but it was too little, too late.  Red Sox reliever Robby Scott settled down and retired the next three Yankees to end the game.

Credit:  Getty Images

The Yankees (61-54) fell back to 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox with the loss.  It doesn’t bode well for Sunday with Chris Sale pitching for Boston.  Sale hasn’t beaten the Yankees this year, but he’ll bring a 1.15 ERA into the game based on two starts against the Bombers.  For a team struggling to score, Sale is not exactly a recipe for success.  The Tampa Bay Rays were unable to make up any ground on the Yankees and remain 3 1/2 games behind New York.  They were shut out by the Cleveland Indians, 3-0.  The Baltimore Orioles moved back to 4 games behind the Yankees with their 12-5 win over the Oakland A’s.

Aaron Judge was cold as ice.  He was 0-for-4, with two strikeouts.  He extended his own team record with his 29th consecutive game with a strikeout.  While Judge is still the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, Benintendi is the one making noise in the Dog Days of Summer.  Later in the day, I turned on the TV to see Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger belt his 34th home of the season against the San Diego Padres.  The other top rookies have made the necessary adjustments.  Hopefully Judge can figure this out and follow suit.  He is capable of doing to Boston what Benintendi did to the Yankees.

Credit:  Robert Sabo

Luis Severino’s final line was very ugly.  4 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.  He gave up the two homers to Benintendi.  His season record dropped to 9-5 and his ERA was inflated to 3.32.  Nice job by Gallegos after he got past the two-run double by Devers.  He pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing only the double, and struck out 4.  Bryan Mitchell pitched the final two innings, giving up three hits but no runs.

Credit:  Rich Schultz-Getty Images

Odds & Ends…

Saturday opened with news that Masahiro Tanaka had been placed on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation.  Tanaka will avoid pitching for 5 days but is expected to return when eligible.  To take his place, the Yankees recalled reliever Giovanny Gallegos (who relieved Luis Severino in Saturday’s game).  I had thought Bryan Mitchell would get the start on Monday in place of Tanaka, but his two innings of work probably means that Luis Cessa will be recalled to make the start against the New York Mets.  No announcement has been made regarding who will make the start.  Caleb Smith is scheduled to start for the RailRiders today so he’s probably not an option.  The long-anticipated MLB debut for Chance Adams will have to wait since Adams pitched Friday night and is not an option for Monday.

The Yankees almost lost another starter when Jordan Montgomery took a ball to the head during Red Sox batting practice.  Montgomery was signing autographs for fans down the right field line when he was struck by a line drive off the bat of Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon.  Talking to reporters later, Montgomery said that he’ll be fine and will make today’s start but you could clearly see a laceration on his ear from the seams on the baseball.  Very scary but hopefully he’ll have no lasting effects.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-The Associated Press

Have a great Sunday!  Here’s hoping the Yankees can defy the odds against Sale and took the series with a win.  Let’s Go Yankees!