Tagged: Matt Holliday

The Night of 2 Bad Pitches…

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Rays 2, Yankees 1…

The Yankees picked a bad night to go dry offensively as they fell to the Tampa Bay Rays despite a solid complete game effort from Sonny Gray.  In the end, it was two misplaced pitches that were deposited into the outfield seats that helped the Rays overcome the Yankees.  If the Yankees fall short of their bid to win the AL East, they’ll look back at games like this and wonder what could have been.

Matt Holliday put the Yankees on the board first.  Aaron Judge took a one-out walk in the top of the 1st inning, his 110th of the season to extend his own MLB rookie record.  He moved to second on a slow rolling ground out by Gary Sanchez.  Matt Holliday laced a double to left when the ball went under the glove of left fielder Corey Dickerson, scoring Judge.  But Holliday was left stranded when Starlin Castro followed by striking out.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

The Rays wasted no time in answering the run.  Rays leadoff hitter Kevin Kiermaier jumped on the first pitch by Sonny Gray to send it over the center field wall.  As YES Network announcer Al Leiter said, “Welcome to the game, Sonny Gray”.  

Gray rebounded and found his groove, shutting the Rays down until the 8th inning.  Unfortunately, he left a pitch high and over the middle of the plate for Adeiny Hechavarria and the hitter did not waste the opportunity.  He got all of the Gray pitch to send it over the wall in left center.  The Rays had their first lead of the game, 2-1.

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Yankees just couldn’t get any going.  Rare was the inning they sent more than three men to the plate.  A 5th inning walk by Todd Frazier, a 6th inning single by Brett Gardner, and a 7th inning single by Chase Headley were the only baserunners that the Yankees could get.  Unfortunately, none could get past first base, thanks in large part to ten strikeouts by Rays starter Blake Snell and the bullpen.  

The Yankees bowed out quietly in the 9th against Rays closer Alex Colome who picked up his 44th save.  

The Boston Red Sox beat the punchless Oakland A’s, 11-1, so they increased their AL East lead over the Yankees (78-66) to four games. The Minnesota Twins scored two touchdowns and a safety in destroying the San Diego Padres, 16-0 (hey, it’s football season, gimme a break!).  So, the lead in the Wild Card Standings shrank to three games. The Rays were able to leap-frog the Baltimore Orioles for third place in the AL East with the win. They are 7 games behind the Yankees. The O’s lost a close 3-2 game to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Sonny Gray’s final line was great.  He pitched 8 innings and only allowed five hits, two runs, and one walk.  He struck out five.  But the killer was two home runs out of 94 pitches thrown.  Run support has not been Gray’s friend during his short Yankees career.  In his five losses as a Yankee, he’s been backed by four runs.

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Frazier, making his return from the disabled list, tried.  He had a couple of deep balls in his two at-bats, the second of which would have been met with “See ya!” from Michael Kay had the game been played at Yankee Stadium. Instead, it was just a running catch by Rays right fielder Stephen Souza, Jr.

Credit:  Anthony J Causi-NY Post

I wish I had more optimism about today’s game but it is hard to get excited about Jaime Garcia, especially when he is going against Chris Archer.  On paper, it looks like a mismatch in favor of the Rays.  The Yankees have had a fair amount of success against Archer so hopefully this afternoon will be another one of those times.  We need runs.  Hopefully the offense decides to bring their bats for the series finale.

Odds & Ends…

It was also a bad night for the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders as they dropped Game 1 of the International League’s Governor’s Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls (Rays), 6-0.  The losing pitcher for the RailRiders was starter Ronald Herrera.  Not much offense as the RailRiders were only able to pound out three hits (two by Mason Williams).  Game 2 is scheduled for this evening in Durham, NC.  Domingo German gets the start for the RailRiders.

Credit:  Ben McKeown-for Times Leader

The losing continued with the Double A Trenton Thunder as they dropped Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series to the Altoona Curve (Pirates) by a score of 2-1.  The losing pitcher for the Thunder was Dillon Tate, who like Sonny Gray pitched a great game.  But at the end of the game, the scoreboard showed more runs for the other team.  Game 2 will be this evening in Trenton, NJ with Justus Sheffield on the mound for the home team.

Have a great Wednesday!  Let’s make it a Winning Wednesday for the Pinstripers and their top farm teams!  Go Yankees…and RailRiders…and Thunder!

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I’ll Take A Win To Go, Please…

Credit:  Gail Burton-Associated Press

Yankees 9, Orioles 1…


Thursday was supposed to have been an off-day.  But thanks to Wednesday’s rainout, the Yankees were forced to grab a win yesterday before they high-tailed it to BWI for the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.  

The starting pitcher for Baltimore was Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird’s former Grandview High School (Centennial, Colorado) teammate.  Bird was a catcher in high school so the two formed the battery for  the Wolves.  I was looking forward to watching Bird bat against Gausman but he was out of the lineup for Thursday’s game.  He pinch-hit later in the game but Gausman was in the showers by that time.

Credit:  Aurora Sentinel

The game got started on the right foot.  Brett Gardner walked to lead off the first inning.  There’s never anything wrong with getting the speedy Gardner on base.  After fellow Coloradan Chase Headley struck out against Gausman, Gardy stole second.  Gausman recorded his second strikeout when Starlin Castro went down swinging.  But never fear, Sir Didi’s here.  Gregorius hit a double to right which brought Gardner around to score.  But the Yankees weren’t done.  Next up was Aaron Judge.  Judge, showing no respect for Bird’s good friend, boomed a towering shot to center.  T-Ball Practice! Note to Gausman:  It’s probably best not to leave a high fat one over the middle of the plate. 3-0 Yankees before Sonny Gray could even pick up a baseball.

Credit:  Rob Carr-Getty Images

With Gray cruising through the first few innings, the Yankees struck again in the top of the 3rd.  Didi Gregorius, continuing his hot hitting, reached first on an infield single to short.  Aaron Judge walked (his 104th of the season) so there were two men on base for Matt Holliday.  Holliday’s single lined to right scored Gregorius and moved Judge to third just ahead of the throw.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out grounder to second which forced Holliday but Judge was able to score when Ellsbury beat the throw to first to prevent the double play.  The Yankees had increased their lead to 5-0.


Gausman didn’t return for the start of the 4th inning which dashed my hopes for a potential Greg Bird pinch-hitting opportunity against his friend.  Mike Wright took over for the O’s.  With one out, Brett Gardner doubled to left.  Chase Headley added two more runs with his long home run to right.  

Star-light, Star-bright.  The top of the 6th, with O’s reliever Donnie Hart pitching, opened with a lead-off single by Brett Gardner.  Sadly, to my disappointment, his stay on the base paths was ended when Chase Headley grounded into a double play at second.  Starlin Castro came up and asked ‘is this what Manny Machado did the other night?’ by way of his blast to left-center. Yankees led, 8-0, and Sonny Gray was still pitching like I wish he had pitched against the Boston Red Sox.

Credit:  Rob Carr-Getty Images

Unfortunately, Sonny ran out of gas in the bottom of the 6th.  Jonathan Schoop got it started for the O’s with an infield single.  Adam Jones hit a grounder to short with the fielder’s choice eliminating Schoop at second.  Gray struck out Trey Mancini, but Chris Davis followed with a single to right center.  Jones moved to second.  Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to short but a throwing error by Didi Gregorius (off-balance throw over the head of Starlin Castro at second) allowed Davis to reach third while Jones scored.  Great overall job by Sonny Gray but it was time for his day to come to an end. Enter Chad Green; end of inning (by strikeout).  


The Yankees homered again in the top of the 7th when Todd Frazier joined the party with a solo blast to left. Orioles left-fielder Trey Mancini tried to leap but the home run ball was over his glove. Chad Green powered through the O’s lineup in the bottom of the 7th, erasing the only base runner on a double play.  Coming into the season, I didn’t really want the guy on the MLB roster and he’s arguably been the most valuable (and most consistent) reliever in the bullpen.  I am glad the Yankees never hired me to be a talent evaluator. 


Tommy Kahnle helped three Orioles find their way to the bench in the 8th. Recent Triple A call-up Ben Heller took over in the 9th and he continued the trend set by his bullpen predecessors.  1-2-3, game over.  Yankees win!


The Yankees (75-64) are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox were idle on Thursday but they had won the day before.  The Orioles slipped back to 4 1/2 games behind the Yanks.  The Yankees’ lead in the Wild Card Standings is 2 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins (the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2).


Nice job by Sonny Gray (9-9).  He pitched 5 2/3 innings (102 pitches) and allowed six hits, two walks, and one run (none earned).  He struck out five while lowering his season ERA to 3.22.  Hand clap for the bullpen.  Green, Kahnle and Heller combined for 3 1/3 innnings of one-hit scoreless relief with three K’s.  No drama…exactly the way I like it.


As for the hitting stars, pass the hat…everyone contributed.  This was a great team victory. Congrats to Austin Romine for successfully holding down the catching position while Gary Sanchez was on the golf course..or at the bar or wherever he may have been for three games off.  


The Yankees came close to the series sweep but taking two out of three at Camden Yards is still a notable accomplishment.   It’s a good springboard for the next series.

 

Next Up:  Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas…

The Yankees travel to Dallas/Fort Worth to take on the Yu Darvish-less Texas Rangers.  The Rangers remain in the hunt for a Wild Card spot so they’ll be ready to play.  Like the Baltimore Orioles, the Rangers have a team of sluggers with 218 home runs this season which leads MLB.  Any mistake pitches will be making long distance travel plans.

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (11-10, 4.54 ERA)

Rangers:  Martin Perez (11-10, 4.87 ERA)

SATURDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (12-6, 3.03 ERA)

Rangers:  A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09 ERA)

SUNDAY

Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA)

Rangers:  Andrew Cashner (9-9, 3.29 ERA)

The Rangers’ Ballpark has long been one of my favorites. Hopefully it holds good things for the Yankees this time around.  

Gene “Stick” Michael, Yankees Legend…


The Yankees Universe was deeply saddened yesterday when it was learned that Yankees Senior Adviser Gene “Stick” Michael had passed away due to a heart attack at age 79.  


There will be many obituaries and that’s really not the intent of my mention of his passing. Growing up with the Yankees as my favorite team, Stick was such an integral part through the years.  I don’t really remember his playing days, but I do remember his brief managerial stints with the team in the early 80’s.  Of course, he directed the course of the franchise in the early 90’s as the team’s general manager while George Steinbrenner was serving his suspension and was probably the man most responsible for the late 90’s dynasty.  What really stuck out to me about Stick over the years was his strong sense of loyalty to the Yankees organization and his ability to speak his mind and hold his ground with the Boss.  It was tough when Stick left the Yankees to become the manager for the Chicago Cubs in 1986 but I was happy when he found his way back home. 


The Yankees will wear black armbands on their left sleeve for the duration of the season in honor of Stick.  

Credit:  Barton Silverman-The New York Times

This is a HUGE loss for the Yankees.  Stick was one of kind and perhaps one of the greatest baseball evaluators ever. The man can stand among the huge Legends who wore Pinstripes.  He earned it. His impact to the organization has been as great if not greater than most.  He will be missed.  Rest in peace, Sir… 

Odds & Ends…

A few weeks ago, everybody was talking about how the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers were among the greatest teams of all-time.  Now, after losing seven in a row and 12 of 13 games, they’d have to go undefeated the rest of the way to match the 1998 Yankees.  Clayton Kershaw was pounded last night by the Colorado Rockies in his own ballpark.  If the Dodgers can’t figure this out, their stay in October is going to be very short-lived.

The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the first game of their first round five-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-5, in 12 innings.  Game 2 is set for tonight at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA with Chance Adams on the mound for the RailRiders.


Have a great Friday!  Let’s keep contributing the ‘W’ column!  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!

Seriously? It Was Only Doug Friggin’ Fister…

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Red Sox 4, Yankees 1…

For Friday’s starters, the Yankees previously sent three of their top prospects to the Oakland A’s for their ace while the Boston Red Sox picked up their’s off the scrap heap.  Nothing against Doug Fister but there’s no way he should look like Corey Kluber or Chris Sale on the mound.  However, for yesterday’s game, the listless Yankees made him appear to be one of the game’s aces as the Red Sox easily got past the Yankees.

Credit:  Corey Perrine-Getty Images

When the Yankees scored first, on Aaron Judge’s first RBI against the Red Sox since April, it looked like it might be the start of something good with Sonny Gray on the mound.  But after that point, the Yankees didn’t have to worry about their problem with runners in scoring position because they couldn’t get any.  

After Gray breezed through the Red Sox in the top of the first, the Yankees got to business in the bottom of the inning.  Brett Gardner led off with a double to deep center, bouncing on the warning track and off the wall.  Aaron Judge followed him with another double to the wall in left center to score Gardy with the game’s first run.  Sadly, at that moment, the Yankees forgot that it was only Doug Fister on the mound.  The next three hitters grounded out and the Yankees had seen their last RISP when Judge was left standing at second.

The Red Sox erased the Yankees’ lead in the top of the 3rd.  After striking out Sandy Leon, Gray walked Brock Holt.  Eduardo Nunez made him pay for it with a two-run shot to left. Brett Gardner could only watch as the ball sail into the stands.  From there, the Red Sox tacked on a couple of unnecessary insurance runs in the form of solo home runs.

Andrew Benintendi, doing to the Yankees what I can only wish Aaron Judge would do to the Red Sox, pounded a Gray pitch into the right field stands (nearly into the Judge’s Chambers) in the top of the 5th.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Hanley Ramirez, having a down year against any team not called the Yankees, drilled a shot to right center in the top of the 7th.  

I’d like to find a positive in the game but unfortunately I can’t.  Both Gray and Fister went seven innings with 98 pitches.  Gray only gave up one more hit than Fister (five to four) but the three home runs were the difference maker.  We needed Gray to have his finest moment in Pinstripes but instead it was the Red Sox partying on the field after the game.  

Credit:  Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Aroldis Chapman pitched the eighth inning.  He gave a hit (a single to Mookie Betts) but recorded all three outs by strikeout. Velocity didn’t seem to be a problem with Chapman hitting nearly 105 mph on a pitch that Dustin Pedroia fouled off.  Adam Warren also pitched an inning of one-hit, scoreless relief.  

I’m sorry, there was one positive in the game.  Bernie Williams did a great job of playing the National Anthem on his guitar during pre-game ceremonies.  I will always appreciate #51.  

This was a very winnable game.  Instead, the Yankees (71-63) are back to 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings.  The Baltimore Orioles won, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 in extra innings, so they are just 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  New York maintained its one game lead in the Wild Card standings thanks to the Minnesota Twins’ 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals, but there are seven AL teams within striking distance (3 1/2 games or less).  

The Yankees need to take care of business. If they go down fighting, it’s one thing.  When they go down meekly, it is unacceptable.  

Odds & Ends…

The Yankees made the first of their September call-ups with names you’d expect to see:  DH Matt Holliday, C Erik Kratz (acquired solely to back up Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine while they serve their staggered suspensions), RHP Bryan Mitchell, LHP Jordan Montgomery, and RHP Ben Heller.  To make room for Kratz on the 40-man roster, the Yankees moved RHP Luis Cessa (ribcage injury) to the 60-day DL.  I am glad to see that the Kratz move didn’t result in a “forced” DFA.  I didn’t see an easy candidate to dump.  There will be other names to follow but the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will begin play in the International League play-offs next week so it may be a few weeks before we see guys like Miguel Andujar or Jake Cave.  

I thought CC Sabathia getting upset about Eduardo Nunez’s bunt in the first inning of Thursday’s game was a little over-reactionary (why not exploit an opponent’s weakness?).  But Hall of Famer Jim Rice’s comments about CC’s weight were, in my opinion, out of line.  

Tyler Clippard must think he won the lottery.  A couple of months ago, he was pitching like the worst reliever in baseball for the Yankees.  Now, he finds himself with a vital role in the bullpen for a team poised to make a World Series run with starting pitchers led by Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel.  

Credit:  Christian Petersen-Getty Images

Have a great Saturday!  Here’s hoping that Masa washes those dirty Sox.  Go Yankees!

Chasing Victory With Success…

Credit:  Andrew Schwartz-New York Daily News

Yankees 2, Indians 1…

Chase Headley was the unlikely hero on Saturday to help power the Yankees over the Indians.  With Jordan Montgomery and the bullpen holding the Indians in check after a top of the wall home run by Carlos Santana in the 2nd inning, Headley broke the 1-1 tie with his solo shot off former Yankee Zach McAllister in the top of the 8th.  He may have only been 1-for-4 in the game, but the placement of the single hit could not have been better.

Credit:  Phil Long-AP

For the first time in what seems like a long time, the Yankees scored the first run of the game.  Brett Gardner led off with a walk.  After Chase Headley struck out (What?  The bum!  Throw him out of the game!  Oh well, may as well keep him around to see if he can do something later on…), Aaron Judge singled to left, moving Gardy to second.  Didi Gregorius cranked a fly ball that hit the wall just below the yellow line in center, scoring Gardy.  So close (thisclose) to a three-run bomb…the Yanks had to settle for the single run as neither Gary Sanchez nor Jacoby Ellsbury could bring Judge home from third.

The Indian tied the game in the bottom of the 2nd when Carlos Santana hit a fly ball off the top of the wall in left center.  There was momentary confusion over whether it was a double or a home run (even Santana stopped at second), but the third base umpire called it a home run.  Replay showed it hit the yellow line (maybe just a couple inches higher than Didi’s double in the first)…the Yankees did not challenge.  

From there, it became a pitching duel between Jordan Montgomery and Cleveland’s Danny Salazar although the Yankees blinked first when Manager Joe Girardi pulled Monty after five innings and 65 pitches.  The luxury of a powerful, rested bullpen.  

The Yankees had a chance to get some runs in the top of the 6th inning when Didi Gregorius hit a one-out double to left.  Gary Sanchez walked on four pitches, but Jacoby Ellsbury hit into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play ($153 million doesn’t go as far as it used to).  David Robertson took over for Monty in the bottom of the inning and was able to get out of it with no runs despite a couple of hits, including a lead off single by Francisco Lindor that went over Aaron Judge’s head.  I do have to give credit to the $153 million man for a great catch that prevented another hit.  

In Salazar’s final inning, the 7th, he mowed down the Yankees, striking out the side.  His final line was Corey Kluber-worthy…four hits, a lone run, a trio of walks, and a dozen strikeouts.  

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer

Fortunately, with Salazar having thrown 112 pitches, the Indians brought in Zach McAllister to start the 8th.  Brett Gardner was the first batter but he struck out.  Chase Headley strolled to the plate and gave the Yankees the 2-1 lead with his sixth homer of the year, a high fly ball to the third or fourth row of the stands in right center.  

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer

After David Robertson had pitched two scoreless innings, Dellin Betances shut down the Indians in the 8th, including two by strikeout.  From there, it was up to Aroldis Chapman.  As the YES Network announcers pointed out, the last time Chapman had appeared on the mound at Progressive Field was the 7th game of the World Series when he gave up the game-tying home run to Rajai Davis but was the eventual winner for the Chicago Cubs.  Michael Brantley led off with a single to right, but that was all the Indians could do against Chapman this time as the Yankees finally took a game in the series.  Credit Brett Gardner for a great leaping catch to record the first out and preventing a walk-off homer by Jose Ramirez.  Ronald Torreyes also flashed the leather with a brilliant diving catch to rob Edwin Encarnacion.

The Boston Red Sox were winners (4-1 over the Chicago White Sox), so the Yankees (58-51) did not make any ground on the Sox.  They remain 3 games back.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0, pushing them 2 1/2 games behind the Yanks.  The Baltimore Orioles are still 4 1/2 games back of the Yankees after their 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Despite only five innings, it was a solid effort by Jordan Montgomery who is fighting for his rotation spot.  He held the Indians to three hits, one run, and struck out seven.  He did not walk any batters as he was very effective at getting the Indians to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone.  

Credit:  Getty Images

All three relievers used by the Indians had Yankee connections.  Of course, we’ve already mentioned Zach McAllister who was the losing pitcher.  McAllister was traded to the Indians in 2010 for the long-forgotten Austin Kearns.  Tyler Olson pitched for the Yankees in 2016 after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the trade that originally brought Ronald Torreyes to the Yankees for third baseman Rob Segedin (both Olson and Torreyes were subsequently designated for assignment and claimed by other teams although Toe eventually worked his way back after a brief stay with the Angels organization).  The final Indians reliever was Nick Goody, who was designated for assignment last off-season and subsequently dealt to the Tribe to clear space for the free agent signing of Aroldis Chapman.  The Yankees acquired righty Yoiber Marquina, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, in the Goody trade.

After an ugly defensive performance on Thursday, this was an exemplary defensive effort by the Yankees.  The key to the game was the defense…with a little help from Headley’s bat.  

Credit:  Phil Long-AP

Odds & Ends…

It sounds like Matt Holliday is head for the DL.  As great as he was in the first half, he has been a liability in the second half.  The latest ailment is the result of tweaking his back with a swing on  Friday night, but it provides a good excuse to get Holliday off the active roster as he was struggling mightily up to that point. 

Credit:  Mike Stobe-Getty Images

As expected, the Yankees have, in fact, placed Holliday on the DL.  1B Garrett Cooper has been recalled from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  I thought maybe we’d see Aaron Hicks or Tyler Austin but neither one is quite ready yet (both on rehab assignments).

It’s not what Yankee fans want to hear, but with their latest win over the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers (78-32) are on pace for 115 wins.  They’ve won 43 of their last 50 games, something no other team has done since 1912. Assuming they get Clayton Kershaw back before the post-season, their starting rotation of Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill has the potential of being a very dominant group.  This probably represents the first real threat to the Yankees record of 125 total wins in 1998 since the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in  the 2001 regular season but succumbed to the Yankees in the ALCS to finish with 120 total wins.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP

Have a great Sunday!  Hopefully the Yankees can finally figure out Indians starting pitching today with Luis Severino pitching for the series split.  Go Yankees!

Rusty Garcia & The Lonesome Bats…

Credit:  David Dermer-AP

Indians 7, Yankees 2…

The title of this post sounds like a Tex-Mex country band.  Unfortunately, it’s the description of the Friday night Yankees who dropped their fourth straight game.


It was not a great debut for Jaime Garcia.  After the game, Manager Joe Girardi said that Garcia was up in the zone.  “He didn’t throw as many strikes with his fastball as he usually does.  This is a guy that’s pitched for three different teams in three different starts and been all over the country.  He looked rusty to me.”  It wasn’t just you, Joe, he looked rusty to us too.


The Indians scored two runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to take the lead they would not relinquish.  Carlos Santana walked with two outs.  Former Yankee Austin Jackson doubled to the left field corner, and the relay throw from Clint Frazier to Didi Gregorius to Gary Sanchez was not in time as Santana slid head first with his hand reaching home plate ahead of the tag.  Ajax took third on the play and scored a subsequent passed ball on Gary Sanchez.


The next inning, the Indians added to their lead.  Brandon Guyer hit a lead-off single to left.  Michael Brantley singled to right.  As Guyer was running to third, the throw from Aaron Judge hit the runner and bounced up into the seats.  Guyer easily scored while Brantley took second.  A ground out moved Brantley to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Edwin Encarnacion.


The Yankees had probably their biggest opportunity in the 5th inning.  After Indians starter Trevor Bauer threw a pitch up and in to Todd Frazier (which provoked Frazier to say a few works after he spun to avoid getting hit), Frazier blasted a one-out solo home run to right center (his 18th of the year).  Ronald Torreyes singled to the right field corner.  He thought about going for two but wisely held up at first.  Brett Gardner singled to left field as Torreyes moved to third.  Clint Frazier hit a sharp grounder to Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela who made a highlight reel play when he threw across the runner to catcher Roberto Perez to nail Torreyes at the plate. With Gardner and Frazier on base, Aaron Judge patiently took a walk to load the bases.  Gary Sanchez, representing the potential go-ahead run, had a sloppy at-bat, chasing a few pitches out of the strike zone, and went down swinging to leave the bases full.

Credit:  David Dermer-AP

The Indian came right back and added another run in the bottom of the 5th.  Brandon Guyer walked and stole second.  Michael Brantley singled to left, scoring Guyer.  A wild pitch and a subsequent ground out moved Brantley to third.  Girardi pulled Garcia and brought in Chad Green.  A wild pitch by Green allowed Brantley to score and it was 6-1 Indians.

Credit:  David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle pitched the 8th inning in relief of Green.  Jose Ramirez punched a double into left field in front of Clint Frazier, and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a double off the top of the wall in left, scoring Ramirez.  Kahnle settled down to retire the next three batters, but it was too little, too late for a team struggling to score runs.

The Yankees unsuccessfully tried one last rally in the top of the 9th against Indians reliever Bryan Shaw.  Chase Headley led off with a single to center but Todd Frazier grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.  Ronald Torreyes hit a soft infield single to short, and moved to second on defensive indifference.  Brett Gardner singled to center which scored Torreyes.  7-2, Indians.  But that would be all as Clint Frazier hit a grounder to third, erasing Gardner at second with the force out.

The Yankees (57-51) fell 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss.  The Red Sox, winners of four in a row, beat the Chicago White Sox, 3-2, in 11 innings.  Bummer.  No seriously, that is who was on the mound when the Sox scored the winning run (Aaron Bummer).  Can’t blame Tyler Clippard…he gave the White Sox two scoreless innings.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost 2-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers so they remain 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Baltimore Orioles fell 5-2 to the Detroit Tigers so they are still 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees.

This was another disappointing loss.  There was so much optimism on Monday but five days later, it’s hard not to have a ‘glass is half empty’ point of view.  I hate to single out any one player since this loss was a team effort, but Matt Holliday’s bat is a liability.  He had another ‘0-fer’ performance (hitless in four at-bats with a strikeout).  As good as he has been in the clubhouse, I think this is his one and only year in Pinstripes.  While I had previously felt that Clint Frazier should stay on the MLB roster when Aaron Hicks returns, his play of late (4 for his last 27 at-bats) has me wondering if a couple of weeks back at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre until the roster expands on September 1st might be the right move.  Gary Sanchez definitely needs to clean up his play.  

Credit:  David Maxwell-Getty Images

Odds & Ends…

The last time he was in New York to pitch, Yu Darvish was a Texas Ranger going against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees.  Last night, he returned to NYC but this time was a Los Angeles Dodger, making his NL debut, at Citi Field against Jacob DeGrom and the Mets.  Darvish fared much better against DeGrom than he did against Masahiro Tanaka.  He had a couple of Mets on base in the first inning, but settled down to go 7 strong innings, shutting out the Mets on 3 hits.  He walked only one batter while striking out 10.  He picked up the win in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory over the Mets.  I’d say that Darvish had a much better debut than Sonny Gray, but then again, Darvish has baseball’s best team (most wins) behind him.  

Credit:  Elsa Garrison-Getty Images

According to Elias Sports, Jaime Garcia performed a MLB rarity on Friday night.  He is the first pitcher since Gus Weyhing in 1895 to have three consecutive starts in the same season with three different teams within the span of 20 days.


On July 21st, Jaime Garcia was the winning pitcher for the Atlanta Braves when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 12-3.  Garcia pitched 7 innings and allowed 7 hits and 3 runs.  On July 28th, he was the winning pitcher for the Minnesota Twins in their 6-3 victory over the Oakland A’s.  He went 6 2/3 innings, giving up 8 hits and 3 runs.  The Yankees probably wish that he had held the Indians to only 3 runs, but then again, they would have still lost the game.  

Congrats to Tyler Austin!  His dramatic two-run home run yesterday in the bottom of the 9th inning powered the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to a 3-1 walk-off win over the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Jake Cave singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the International League and the season high for the RailRiders.


Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was a pre-game guest in the Yankees clubhouse prior to yesterday’s game.  He also watched batting practice.  I am sure that went over well with the Yankees fans who are die-hard Giants fan (not me, sorry).  

Credit:  David Dermer-AP

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers has cleared waivers.  No thank you.  Like the pitcher, don’t like the contract.


Have a great Saturday!  Time to get back into the win column.  Let’s Go Yankees!

The Curious Case of Run-Scoring Aversion…

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP

Tigers 2, Yankees 0…

Wouldn’t you know it…Getaway Day with a plane waiting on the tarmac for a flight to Ohio and a lengthy rain delay to extend the wait to depart the Stadium.  I guess on the bright side, the Cleveland Indians had to wait for night game to be called because of rain in Boston before they could head home so both teams should be equally sleep-derived today when Sonny Gray makes his much anticipated debut for the Yankees.  


With rain delays of over 4 1/2 hours, the end of the day was painful as the Yankees, behind a very lackluster offensive-performance (yes, it was very offensive), fell to the Tigers.  It was only their second shut out of the season.  


The game, originally scheduled to start at 2:30 pm Eastern, was delayed by rain.  

Fresh off the 14-strikeout performance, Masahiro Tanaka did not have quite the same pitches on Wednesday.  It was yet another game where the Yankees started off with a first inning deficit.  Ian Kinsler led off with a single to left, and advanced to second when Jim Adduci singled to center.  Before most fans could even get a sip of their first beer, Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, scoring Kinsler with the game’s first run.  From there, Tanaka settled down retiring the next three batters (two by strikeout).

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

Like Tuesday, the Yankees continued to struggle with runners in scoring position.  They had their first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd when Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch to reach first base. Chase Headley lined a double to right to move Sanchez to third.  Todd Frazier was the suspect this time, with a fly out to end the inning.

A second great scoring opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the 3rd.  Both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury hit one-out singles, with Gardner moving to third.  Aaron Judge had first crack at bringing one or both runners home but he struck out.  Ellsbury stole second during the at-bat to move into scoring position, representing the potential tying run.  Unfortunately, Gary Sanchez grounded out to end the threat.

The Tigers picked up their second run in the top of the 4th.  With two outs, Mikie Mahtook walked.  James McCann followed with a single to center which Jacoby Ellsbury mishandled (twice) for an error, allowing Mahtook to score from first.  McCann ended up on second but was left stranded when Andrew Romine (man, I wanted to type Austin) flied out to left.

The bottom of the 6th brought another failed scoring opportunity for the home team.  Aaron Judge opened with a single to left.  Gary Sanchez doubled to left as Judge moved to third.  Runners in scoring position with no outs.  Didi Gregorius popped out to the shortstop.  Matt Holliday hit a fly ball to center but it wasn’t deep enough for Judge to tag and score.  One more opportunity with Chase Headley, but he went down swinging.  More men left 90 feet away, suffering severe cases of “home” sickness.

Six innings and Masahiro Tanaka was done.  After the wobbly start, his final line was decent.  6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.  Also, he was successful in bringing his season ERA below five to 4.93.  Tommy Kahnle pitched a three-up, three-down 7th, however, the Yankees hit into three consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the inning.  Then, the second rain delay…

Credit:  Michael Noble Jr-AP

After the game resumed in the top of the 8th, Dellin Betances pitched an immaculate inning.  He struck out three Tigers on 9 pitches.  

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

In the bottom of the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury tried.  On a pitch that would have been Ball 4, Ellsbury hit a grounder to short but was able to beat it out.  A wild pitch from reliever Bruce Rondon that catcher James McCann was unable to handle allowed Ells to move to second.  Like the previous Yankees in scoring position for this game, he was left stranded when Rondon retired the next 3 batters.


Shane Greene, the newly appointed Tigers closer following the trading deadline deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, took the mound in the 9th and easily retired the Yankees for the 2-0 win.  A disappointing way to leave the Stadium for the road trip to Cleveland.

The Yankees (57-49) fell a game behind the Red Sox with the loss.  Boston’s game with the Cleveland Indians was rained out and will be made up on Monday, August 14th (after the Red Sox complete a three-game series at Yankee Stadium).  The Tampa Bay Rays moved 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees with their 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros.  The Baltimore Orioles keep winning.  They won their fifth in a row, a 6-0 shutout of Kansas City Royals, and have moved 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Rays and Orioles defeat two of the best teams in the AL while the Yankees lose a series to one of its worst.  


Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) took the tough luck loss.  I am very concerned about Matt Holliday.  He has been a shell of his former self since returning from his viral infection.  His bat is hurting this offense.  Same with Todd Frazier.  Both hitters were hitless in four at-bats.  As a team, the Yankees left 20 men on base.  It’s very hard to win this game when you can’t push runs across the plate.

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images

Next Up:  Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH…

The Yankees are set to play a four-game series in Cleveland against the defending American League Champions.  The Tribe are returning from a road trip that just ended in Boston against the hated Red Sox.  

The scheduled pitching match-ups are:

TODAY

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43 ERA)

Indians:  Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.90 ERA)

FRIDAY

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA)

Indians:  Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA)

SATURDAY

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.15 ERA)

Indians:  Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.63 ERA)

SUNDAY

Yankees:  Luis Severino (8-4, 2.98 ERA)

Indians:  Mike Clevinger (5-4, 3.68 ERA)


Today’s game starts off with a marquee pairing.  Luis Severino may be the staff ace, but Sonny Gray is the shiny new toy going against one of the AL’s best in Corey Kluber.  It should be a fantastic game.  I just wish the Yankee bats were swinging a little better.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP

It’s reunion time for Clint Frazier who makes his first trip to Cleveland as a Yankee.  Although he never played at the Major League level, it’s still the organization he began his professional career.  He was Cleveland’s top prospect along with outfielder Bradley Zimmer and the two are close friends.  Zimmer was called up earlier this season by the Indians and is hitting .282 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI’s in 67 games.  I hope Frazier plays as well against the Indians as former Yankee Ben Gamel did against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago.

Credit:  Mark Podolski-The Times-Herald

Odds & Ends…

The Yankees will miss old friend Andrew Miller on their trip to Cleveland.  The Indians placed the versatile lefty on the 10-Day DL yesterday with right knee patella tendinitis. Another former Yankee, Boone Logan, is also on the DL for the Tribe.  Logan is most likely good buddies with Tommy Kahnle since they spent a few years together in the Colorado Rockies bullpen.  Good that we won’t have to face Miller, but bad for the player.  All things considered, I’d prefer to see a happy and healthy Andrew Miller regardless of what uniform he currently wears.

Credit:  Getty Images

Have a great Thursday!  Let’s hope for better things in C-Town as Sonny Gray takes the field for the first time as a friend…not a foe.  Go Yankees!