|Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images|
Yankees 6, Mariners 3…
On Saturday, the cost was WORTH IT as Sonny Gray turned in his best Yankees performance thus far. His seven innings of three-hit ball helped the Yankees defeat the Seattle Mariners on a beautiful day in the Bronx. Even though his victories in Pinstripes have been rare, he brings a confidence (for the fans) to the mound that is probably only matched by Luis Severino. Gray hasn’t pitched badly in his other starts, he just doesn’t seem to get the necessary run support. That wasn’t the case yesterday.
The game started like Friday’s defeat…the inability to score with a runner in scoring position. Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single to center. A wild pitch by Mariners starter Yovani Gallardo moved Gardy to second. But there he would stay as the heart of the batting order (Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius) couldn’t bring him home.
Fortunately, the Yankees took advantage of an opportunity in the 2nd. Gallardo walked the first two batters (Starlin Castro and Greg Bird). A sacrifice bunt by Chase Headley (laid it down perfectly toward third to ensure the only play was at first) moved the runners to second and third. Jacoby Ellsbury, making a rare start, singled to left. Castro scored, but Bird was thrown out at the plate. I was surprised that third base coach Joe Espada gave Bird the green light but Bird would have been safe if he had kept his foot down sliding into home plate. The Yankees led, 1-0.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-Associated Press|
The Mariners got the run back in the top of the 3rd inning. Backup catcher Carlos Ruiz, starting for regular catcher Mike Zunino the day after a night game, homered to left to tie the game.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-Associated Press|
The Yankees finally got something going in the bottom of the 4th with two outs. Greg Bird singled to right and Chase Headley walked. Jacoby Ellsbury, in a campaign for more playing time, drilled a fly ball to the right field porch to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
|Credit: Andy Martin-USA TODAY Sports|
Meanwhile, Sonny Gray was on cruise-control. With a back-up catcher, who entered the game with a .202 batting average, seemingly having the only success against him, Gray kept the M’s at bay. The Mariners had an opportunity in the top of the 6th when Gray hit two successive batters with pitches but Sonny worked his way out of the jam.
When Ben Gamel look-alike Taylor Motter singled on a hard hit ball to third in the top of the 7th (great stop by Chase Headley to prevent a double), it was the first hit by a Mariner other than Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz had a single in the 5th in addition to his home run for two of the three hits that Sonny Gray would allow. Ruiz followed Motter but this time Gray struck him out swinging. Motter stole second on the strikeout but he was left stranded when Jean Segura flied out to end the inning. That would be it for Gray. 106 pitches, the three hits, one run, two walks, and nine strikeouts. It was a tremendous performance for Gray and showed that he will be a key factor down the stretch.
The Yankees would add much-needed insurance runs in the bottom of the 7th. Facing Mariners reliever Casey Lawrence, Austin Romine reached first base on a popup that dropped when Jean Segura gave up on it due to the sun and left fielder Ben Gamel couldn’t get there to make the catch. Brett Gardner followed with a single to center. After outs by Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases. Starlin Castro lined a single to left to score Romine and Gardy. There was no play at the plate this time as Gamel bobbled the ball after the stop. Greg Bird subsequently walked to reload the bases, but Chase Headley flied out to end the inning.
Chasen Shreve was brought in to start the 8th inning in place of Sonny Gray, and the Mariner bats seemed to come alive. Danny Valencia opened with a double to the left field wall. Nelson Cruz followed with a grounder to third which should have been a routine play but Chase Headley’s throw sailed over Greg Bird’s head for an error. The M’s had runners at the corners. A single to right off the glove of Starlin Castro by Kyle Seager scored Valencia and ended Shreve’s latest outing. Tommy Kahnle came in and struck out the first batter he faced (Mitch Haniger). Ben Gamel grounded into a fielder’s choice that erased Seager at second, but the Mariners had runners at the corners again with two outs. Guillermo Heredia lined a single to right to score Cruz. The Mariners had reduced the Yankees’ lead to 6-3. The next batter came to the plate in the form of Robinson Cano, who was pinch-hitting for Taylor Motter. Fortunately, instead of a game-tying home run, Robby grounded out to second to end the threat. Too close for comfort.
The Yanks had a chance to add a run in the bottom of the 8th when Brett Gardner singled and stole second with two outs. But the same story that keeps repeating itself…an Aaron Judge strikeout…left Gardy stranded.
|Credit: Ray Stubblebine|
Fortunately, the Yankees had Dellin Betances for the 9th inning. He set the M’s down in order, two by strikeout, for his 10th save. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (69-59) finally picked up a game on the Boston Red Sox. The Sox, having all they can handle with Buck Showalter’s Orioles, fell to Baltimore, 7-0. The Yanks now trail the Sox by 3 1/2 games. The O’s are 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays lost, 6-4 to the St Louis Cardinals, so they slipped back into fourth place in the AL East, 6 1/2 games behind the Pinstripers. The Yankees picked up a game in the Wild Card Standings and lead the second place Minnesota Twins by 3 1/2 games. The Twins dropped a 10-9 slugfest to Josh Donaldson and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Clearly, the stars of this game were Sonny Gray (8-8, 3.26 ERA) and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, batting eighth in the lineup, was 2-for-4 with the home run and 4 RBI’s. It was good to see Greg Bird in the mix (he was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored).
|Credit: Associated Press|
Of course, you can’t say enough good things about the job Dellin Betances did after the leaky performance of the bullpen in the 8th. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez were a combined 0-for-9 with four strikeouts and nine men left on base. Ouch…
Odds & Ends…
Congratulations to the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders! They clinched their third straight post-season appearance with a 7-1 win over the Syracuse Chiefs behind the arm of Chance Adams (11-4, 2.63 ERA). The RailRiders’ magic number for winning the International League North Division is two.
|Credit: Fred Adams-For Times Leader|
Have a great Sunday! The Yankees need a win today with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox looming on the immediate horizon. Go Yankees!
Tigers 10, Yankees 6…
Damn, I wish we would have/could have won this game. It left a very bad taste on Getaway Day as the Yankees fell to the Detroit Tigers in a fight-marred game. I can’t say that I’ve seen too many games where the manager and his replacement are both tossed at different points of the game.
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
It was a back and forth game until the Tigers finally pulled away in the latter stages of the game after several skirmishes.
The Tigers scored first in the bottom of the 1st when Justin Upton took Yankees starter Jaime Garcia deep with a solo blast to left. Upton got all of it with the barrel of his bat and you knew it was gone by simply the sound. I’ve tried to give Garcia every benefit of the doubt but I am starting to believe that the Minnesota Twins traded Garcia to the Yanks a week after they had acquired him because they wanted a way to make up ground on the Yankees.
Aaron Judge led off the 2nd inning with a single to center. He advanced to second on a wild pitch in the dirt by Tigers starter Michael Fulmer. Didi Gregorius grounded out to the second baseman, Ian Kinsler, with the relay to first. Judge moved over to third. He was brought home when Chase Headley punched a single to left. The game was tied at 1.
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 3rd but Garcia was able to get out of the inning when Miguel Cabrera lined out to right.
Gary Sanchez led off the 4th inning with his 27th home run of the season, a shot to center. Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones could only watch as the ball sailed over the fence. The homer was El Gary’s fourth of the series. The Yankees had taken a 2-1 lead, but the Tigers came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie it. Nicholas Castanellos led off with a double to center in the gap as center fielder Aaron HIcks was in right center due to a shift. Castanellos moved to third on a fly out to left by James McCann, easily beating the throw from Brett Gardner. John Hicks got a hit through the infield on the left side which brought Castanellos home. The game was tied.
The Yankees jumped ahead in the 5th inning. Ronald Torreyes led off and reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Ian Kinsler. The ball rolled past the pitcher and Kinsler attempted to make the play but bobbled it. Toe moved to second on a ground out by Austin Romine. The grounder rolled up on the shortstop, Jose Iglesias, so his only play was at first. Brett Gardner singled to deep short, with Toe moving to third (wisely holding up). A sacrifice fly to center by A-A-Ron Hicks scored Toe. The Yankees led, 3-2. The incident that probably sparked the later fights occurred with the next batter when Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez in the hip. I honestly couldn’t tell if Fulmer’s pitch was intentional or not. Fulmer’s reaction seemed to imply that it was not. The HBP moved Gardy into scoring position, but the Yankees couldn’t capitalize when Aaron Judge went down swinging to end the inning.
The Tigers tied the game again in the bottom of the 5th. Mikie Mahtook led off and reached first base on a fielding error by Didi Gregorius (a routine grounder that rolled under Didi’s glove; this one hurt as it would open the door for the Tigers). Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, pushing Mahtook to third. Jaime Garcia was mercifully pulled from the game (don’t let the door hit you on the way out) and replaced by Adam Warren. Sadly, Warren was about as effective as Garcia. He struck out the first batter he faced, Miguel Cabrera, but then Nicholas Castanellos hit a fly ball to center, deep enough for Mahtook to tag and score. Upton took third. The game was again tied. Walks to James McCann and John Hicks loaded the bases. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, JaCoby Jones singled to right, a liner just over Ronald Torreyes’ head, scoring both McCann and Hicks. Jose Iglesias followed with a ground-rule double to left center (a one-hopper over the wall) to score Hicks. It was 6-3 Tigers. Tommy Kahnle replaced Warren and struck out Ian Kinsler to get out of the inning.
Tempers were ignited in the 6th inning. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th, Tommy Kahnle threw behind MIguel Cabrera and was immediately ejected. It brought out a furious Joe Girardi and he was tossed. Girardi’s beef was that there was no warning from the umpiring crew after Gary Sanchez was hit by Fulmer. Aroldis Chapman warmed up and entered the game. As Miguel Cabrera walked back into the batter’s box, he was running at the mouth with words directed at catcher Austin Romine. Romine flipped off the catcher’s mask and Cabrera shoved him, clearing both benches.
After things started settling down, it was interesting to see Romine’s brother Andrew over getting the story from Austin. It seemed to me that the melee was incited by Cabrera. The umps tossed Austin and Cabrera. The move forced the Yankees to forfeit the DH when Gary Sanchez was moved to catcher.
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
In a valiant comeback attempt, the Yankees tied the game again in the top of the 7th. Ronald Torreyes led off with a walk. Jacoby Ellsbury, pinch-hitting for Aroldis Chapman, also walked. The Tigers pulled Micheal Fulmer and replaced him with Daniel Stumpf. With Brett Gardner at the plate, a wild pitch by Stumpf that got away from James McCann allowed Toe and Ellsbury to move to second and third. Gardy then singled to center with a fly that just dropped in, scoring Toe and moving Ells to third. A sacrifice fly to the left field wall by Aaron Hicks scored Ellsbury. The Tigers made another pitching change to bring in Alex Wilson. Gary Sanchez greeted Wilson with a single up the middle to center field and Gardy scored to tie the game at 6.
Dellin Betances took over in the bottom of the 7th and he was ejected when he threw a ball that hit James McCann in the head. That was not pretty. I was glad to see that McCann was okay. I think the ball got away from Betances. I don’t think he was purposely head-hunting. Plus, it didn’t make sense to hit a batter in that spot. Game tied, no outs. Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, the interim manager when Girardi was ejected, was also thrown out for arguing. David Robertson replaced Betances and hit John Hicks on the hand with an unintentional pitch. JaCoby Jones walked to load the bases. Jose Iglesias doubled to left center over Brett Gardner’s head, clearing the bases. The Tigers had re-taken the lead, 9-6.
In a retaliatory move, Alex Wilson plunked Todd Frazier (hip) in the top of the 8th. The benches were cleared a second time. Brett Gardner was the one who had to be pulled out of the crowd, kicking and screaming. Both Wilson and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were ejected. Shane Greene entered the game and shut the Yankees down from there.
Credit: Gregory Shamus-Getty Images
In the bottom of the 8th with Caleb Smith on the mound, James McCann got a measure of revenge when he took Smith deep for a solo blast high over the wall in left center.
Brett Gardner led off the top of the 9th with a single to right off Greene, but Aaron Hicks grounded into a double play. Gary Sanchez ended the game by striking out on a foul tip. A tough loss, particularly the way it went down.
The Yankees (68-58), fortunately, did not lose any ground in the AL East and remain 4 games back. The Cleveland Indians apparently solved the Chris Sale mystery as they bludgeoned the Boston Red Sox, 13-6. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, to move into a third place tie with the idle Baltimore Orioles. Both teams are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
There were no heroes in this game. The umpiring crew was a joke. They let the game get out of control. There was even a scuffle in the Tigers’ dugout when Victor Martinez had to be restrained from going after Justin Verlander after the two exchanged words. Yankees third base coach Joe Espada finished up the game as manager after Rob Thomson was thrown out.
Gary Sanchez took criticism after the game for his sucker punches on Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castanellos. He could be facing a suspension at a time when the Yankees need him the most. With both Sanchez and Austin Romine potentially losing time due to suspensions and Kyle Higashioka on the DL at Triple A, the catching position is suddenly very thin. The most disappointing part of the day is that suspensions will only hurt the Yankees and not the Tigers since they have nothing to play for at this point in the season. Maybe a suspension of the umpire crew is in order…
Next Up: Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…
The Yankees return home to host the Mariners for Players Weekend. It should be fun with the relaxed uniform standards and player names or nicknames on the jerseys. Hopefully the Yankees can shake off Thursday’s brawl and return to the winning ways they experienced in taking the first two games from the Detroit Tigers.
It’s unclear if Robinson Cano will play this series. Don’t You Know was pulled from a game on Wednesday with hamstring tightness and was scheduled for tests yesterday. At the present time, he’s listed day-to-day.
Credit: Associated Press
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Mariners: Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.78 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.99 ERA)
Mariners: Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.38 ERA)
Mariners: Andrew Albers (2-0, 3.60 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (9-10, 4.86 ERA)
The Mariners are currently tied for third in the Wild Card Standings with the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Angels. They trail the Yankees by four games and the second WC team, the Minnesota Twins, by just a 1/2 game.
Have a great Friday! Back home and time to take care of business. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports|
Mariners 6, Yankees 5…
So much for a potential sweep in Seattle as the Mariners prevailed over the Yankees in extra innings on Saturday night. Ex-Yankees Ben Gamel and Robinson Cano made themselves heard in this game. The Yankees can still take three of four with a victory today so they can still end this road trip on a high note.
Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have his best stuff (in a statement that we have made far too often this season). The Yankees scored first in the second inning when Gary Sanchez doubled to right, a one-hopper off the wall. After Sanchez was nearly picked off at second, Didi Gregorius hit a single to right which moved Sanchez to third. Todd Frazier hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Sanchez scored on the play. After allowing a meaningless single in each of the two first innings, Tanaka lost the lead in the third. Mike Zunino opened with a blast to left center and the game was tied. Following a strikeout of Jean Segura, former Yankee Ben Gamel homered on the first pitch to right center. It was the 26th home run allowed by Tanaka this season, tying him for the dubious AL lead with Ricky Nolasco. Robinson Cano went down swinging for the second out. Nelson Cruz singled on an infield grounder to third (Tood Frazier’s long throw was up the line which took Garrett Cooper off first) and Kyle Seager was hit by a pitch on the back toe to put runners at first and second. Following a coaching visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild (it didn’t work), Danny Valencia ripped a single to left to score Cruz and Mitch Haniger singled through the hole to left to score Seager. It was 4-1 Mariners. Jarrod Dyson grounded out to end the inning.
|Credit: Ted S Warren/AP|
Garrett Cooper tripled to center in the fifth with a near home run which sent center fielder Jarrod Dyson into the wall. Dyson stayed but you could tell that he was still affected by the collision. He would depart the game after the inning was over. Ronald Torreyes lofted a fly ball to Dyson in center as Cooper tagged and scored. In the sixth, Clint Frazier started the inning with a 10-pitch at-bat against M’s starter Ariel Miranda but chased an upstairs fastball to strike out. The Mariners pulled Miranda and replaced him with Steve Cishek. Aaron Judge greeted Cishek with a high fly to right center for his 32nd home run of the season. The Yankees had closed the gap to 4-3.
|Credit: Ted S Warren/AP|
The Yankees tied the game in the 8th inning. With one out, Brett Gardner beat out a grounder to short for a single. Clint Frazier doubled to center off the top of the wall (if only it had been just a few more inches), Gardner moved to third. The Mariners intentionally walked Aaron Judge to face Matt Holliday. Holliday hit a deep sacrifice fly to right, easily scoring Gardner. The game was tied at 4. Gary Sanchez lined out to right so the Yankees were unable to push any more runs across the plate. In retrospect, this was a very big missed opportunity.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Mariners recaptured the lead when Robinson Cano led off with a home run to left off David Robertson. Bummer, but you couldn’t blame D-Rob as it was an excellent pitch. He was able to retire the next three batters to get out of the inning without any further damage.
The Yankees had life again in the top of the 9th with Mariners closer Edwin Diaz on the mound. Didi Gregorius walked to start the inning. Diaz was able to retire the next two batters, Todd Frazier and Chase Headley who pinch-hit for Garrett Cooper. With Ronald Torreyes at the plate, Jacoby Ellsbury was brought in to pinch run for Gregorius and promptly stole second. Torreyes singled to left on a line drive, bringing Ellsbury around to score and the game was tied again. After Tommy Kahnle finished the M’s in the bottom of the 9th, it was off to extra innings.
|Credit: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports|
M’s reliever Tony Zych replaced Diaz in the 10th and easily retired the Yankees, including strikeouts of both Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge. In the bottom of the 10th, Adam Warren was on the mound. Warren gave up a lead-off double by Ben Gamel (rapidly becoming a Yankee killer). Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to open the possibility for a double play, but unfortunately, Nelson Cruz hit a line drive to left and Clint Frazier’s throw to the plate was off the mark as Gamel scored the winning run. The Mariners win, 6-5.
|Credit: Ted S Warren/AP|
The Yankees (50-46) didn’t lose any ground in the AL East despite the loss. The Boston Red Sox fell to the Los Angeles Angels, 7-3, while the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3. It would have been a great opportunity to pick up ground in the division but it was not meant to be. The Yankees and Rays remain 3 1/2 games behind Boston.
Somehow, the Yankees need to get Todd Frazier going. His 0-for-4 night dropped his season batting average to .201. Anything from him last night could have been a difference-maker. Among the starting position players, he was the only one without a hit for the second game in a row.
Odds & Ends…
Second baseman Starlin Castro has been placed on the 10-Day DL after re-aggravating his hamstring. Tyler Wade, who was seen in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre locker room before the RailRiders’ game yesterday, was recalled and didn’t get to Seattle until late last night. Presumably, he’ll share time at second with Ronald Torreyes. Wade had a tremendous game on Thursday when the RailRiders defeated the Charlotte Knights, 13-2. He tripled and homered, driving in 4 RBI’s.
Caleb Smith (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will start today’s getaway game against the Mariners in place of Luis Cessa. I am very glad to see this move. I’d rather see what Smith is capable of doing with his first Major League start versus another uneven performance by Luis Cessa. I am sure that Cessa will be the first call to the pen if Smith gets into trouble early but hopefully he is able to show the great success he has enjoyed in Triple A this year. Yovanni Gallardo (4-7, 5.59 ERA) will oppose Smith.
Jacoby Ellsbury, at least temporarily, has lost his starting gig. With over $68 million still owed Ellsbury after this year, there’s probably not much chance he’ll be exiting anytime soon. Manager Joe Girardi has said that he wants to go with the hot hand which means keeping Clint Frazier in the lineup. The threat of Frazier being demoted to Triple A when Aaron Hicks returns still looms as the Yankees are not going to cut Ellsbury. This goes against the premise of putting your best players on the field but obviously there are more factors at play.
The Yankees get a much needed day off on Monday following their cross-country flight home. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox, flying up from Orange County, will replace the Yankees at Safeco Field for a three-game series against the Mariners.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s make this a fun day with a much-needed win! Go Yankees!
Yankees 4, Mariners 1…
The Yankees took manager Joe Girardi’s biggest concern (“just winning games”) to heart as they defeated the Seattle Mariners on late night TV. Of course, it didn’t hurt to have perhaps the best Yankees starting pitcher (Luis Severino) on the mound. Felix Hernandez is tough but I had the confidence in Sevy to persevere.
|Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP|
The first innings of games, lately, always seem to be so tough. King Felix easily dispatched the first three Yanks to move to the bottom of the first. Ben Gamel ripped a one-out double to left (why did we get rid of him one day after being named the 2016 International League MVP again?…I know, the glut of outfielders but still, he has been very solid for the M’s). Robinson Cano hit an infield grounder that caught Gamel off second (out in a rundown…great athleticism by Sevy to start the play). The deadly Nelson Cruz came up and singled to left to move Cano to second. Corey Seager’s big brother Kyle was next but Sevy dialed up the heat to 99 mph and punched Seager out to end the threat. I am so tired starting games in the hole so it was great to see the Yankees escape without allowing any runs despite the two hits.
The Mariners got their hits against Sevy but pushing them across the plate was a different story. The M’s threatened in the fourth with the game still in a scoreless tie. Kyle Seager opened with a double just fair down the third base line (glad he didn’t do that in the first inning). Danny Valencia followed with a solid single to center to put runners at the corners with no outs. Sevy was able to retire Mitch Haniger on a pop-up and Jarrod Dyson on a shallow center fly out after falling behind 3-0, before walking Mike Zunino to load the bases. Fortunately, Jean Segura, in a long at-bat, hit a grounder to Didi Gregorius who flipped the ball to Starlin Castro to force Zunino out at second to end the inning.
In the 6th inning with one out, Brett Gardner drilled a ‘no doubt about it’ homer right center, his 16th to match Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. He was fortunate as King Felix was still going strong, recording all outs in the 6th by strikeout. But on the other side, Sevy was still holding the M’s off the board.
|Credit: Getty Images|
Former Yankee James Pazos replaced King Felix in the top of the 8th. After Jacoby Ellsbury weakly grounded out to Pazos with a broken bat, Chase Headley singled to center on a ball deflected off the tip of Robinson Cano’s glove. Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice but a fielding error by Jean Segura (he would have easily had the force out at second but was unable to successfully pull the ball out of his glove) allowed Gardy to reach base with Headley safe at second. Tony Zych replaced Pazos and promptly walked Gary Sanchez on a full count to load the bases. A single to right by Aaron Judge scored Headley and it was 2-0 Yankees. Unfortunately, Matt Holliday hit into an inning-ending double play so the Yankees were unable to further cash in with the bases full of Yanks.
Dellin Betances replaced Sevy in the 8th and ran into a little trouble. After hitting Kyle Seager with a pitch, Danny Valencia singled to right to move Seager to second. With one out and the tying run at the plate, Mitch Haniger hit into a force out at second (a play challenged by the M’s after Castro bobbled the ball on the exchange but upheld by the umps). Seager moved to third. Betances reared back and struck out Jarrod Dyson to leave Seager stranded.
The Yankees picked up a couple of huge insurance runs in the 9th courtesy of Robinson Cano. Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier hit one-out singles off M’s reliever Max Povse. After Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to left (sure seemed like the Yankees were always having to work around Ellsbury outs), Chase Headley reached first base on a throwing error by Cano. Both Gregorius and Frazier scored on the play. Thanks Robby! To Cano’s defense, first baseman Danny Valencia gave up too early and didn’t try to reach out to catch Cano’s wide throw from shallow right.
It was off to the 9th and Aroldis Chapman with the Yankees leading 4-0. Chapman’s control issues continued as he walked the first batter, Mike Zunino. Zunino was replaced by pinch-runner Guillermo Heredia. A wild pitch by Chapman moved to Heredia to second. Chapman struck out Jean Segura and Ben Gamel, with Heredia taking third, before Robinson Cano laced a double to the center field wall bringing Heredia home to score. Chapman was able to secure the final out when Nelson Cruz flied out to right. The Yankees win…a much needed victory.
|Credit: Getty Images|
Hats off to Luis Severino (6-4) for delivering an ace-like performance against one of the AL’s best starting pitchers. Although he gave up 8 hits and a walk in 7 innings, he held the M’s scoreless while striking out 6. King Felix held the Yanks to 3 hits and struck out 9, but one of those hits was the Gardy homer which gave the Yanks the lead they would not relinquish. I had confidence going into this game with Sevy on the mound and he did not disappoint.
Todd Frazier was 1-for-4 in his first Yankees start with a run scored. Neither David Robertson nor Tommy Kahnle made an appearance in this game although Chapman was giving me reasons to wish that it was D-Rob on the mound in the 9th. Joe Girardi must have thought the same thing as he had Robertson up in the pen after Chapman’s wild pitch.
Ben Gamel was hitless in his next four at-bats after the first inning double, striking out three times. Robby Cano, Dontcha Know!, was 3-for-5 with the lone Mariners RBI.
|Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP|
The Yankees (49-45) picked up on a game on the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings and trail by 3 1/2 games. The Red Sox lost 8-6 to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yanks are a game behind the idle Tampa Bay Rays (tied in the loss column).
The Yankees go for their 50th win tonight with CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.54 ERA) on the mound facing Andrew Moore (1-1, 5.25 ERA). Sabathia was moved up from Saturday as Masahiro Tanaka was pushed back a day. The Mariners announced a change for their scheduled starter on Sunday. Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.59 ERA) will replace Sam Gaviglio in the match-up against Luis Cessa.
Odds & Ends…
I’ve been reading columns that feel the Yankees overpaid to acquire Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. After watching yesterday’s acquisition of reliever and former Yankee David Phelps by the Seattle Mariners, I am starting to think the Yankees may have underpaid. For Phelps alone, the Miami Marlins acquired four players. Three of the players rank in the Mariners list of Top 30 Prospects according to MLB.com. OF Brayan Hernandez rates the highest at #6. RHP Brandon Miller is #16 and RHP Pablo Lopez is #22. The Marlins also acquired RHP Lukas Schiraldi, son of former Major Leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. Granted, the Yankees have a stronger farm system so #6 on the Mariners’ list does not equal #6 on the Yankees list but this is still a very good haul by the Marlins. I know that one scout referred to them as “just guys” but I am also a believer in ‘expect the unexpected’. Suddenly, losing OF Blake Rutherford, LHP Ian Clarkin, and OF Tito Polo (along with the inconsequential Tyler Clippard) seems like a very small price to pay for a strong third base upgrade and two bullpen power arms. I guess that we’ll be seeing David Phelps very soon unless the Yankees can avoid giving the Mariners any late inning leads to work with.
|Credit: Gary Landers/AP|
Todd Frazier is now saying that he’ll stay with #29 rather than ask Paul O’Neill if he can use #21. If I was O’Neill, I’d probably reach out to Frazier and say, “It’s okay, Kid…you’ve worn the number out of respect for me and for my original team (the Reds). Please take #21 and wear it with pride”. There’s no doubt Frazier will do the number justice.
GM Brian Cashman has said that Clint Frazier will be optioned to Triple A when Aaron Hicks returns in a few weeks. I know that he’ll be back in September, but it does kind of stink that a douche like Jacoby Ellsbury gets to keep his seat at the grownups’ table while Frazier has to go have a seat with the kids. I hope that Frazier continues to make this a very hard decision for the Yankees.
Have a great Friday! Let’s just keep winning games in Seattle. Go Yankees!
Twins 6, Yankees 1…
The new guys did not help as the Yankees got clobbered in losing the series to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. I liked the tweet by Mike Axisa of CBS Sports-MLB: “Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle for a starting pitcher”. Funny but also a bit truthful. I realize that Jordan Montgomery bounced back after the disastrous 2nd inning to give the Yankees an otherwise strong six innings but those 6 runs in the 2nd proved to be insurmountable. In the game of win or lose, Monty (6-5) sucked.
The toughest part about the 6-run 2nd was that all of the runs were scored with two outs. With runners at second and third, Zack Granite, a native New Yorker who was 2-for-22 in his MLB career to that point, singled up the middle to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. The dangerous Brian Dozier walked on a 3-2 count, pushing Granite to second. A Larry Rothschild visit to the mound later, Eduardo Escobar hit a single to center field which scored Granite and moved Dozier to second. Miguel Sano stepped up and decided to play a game of Home Run Derby with a blast to center off an 0-2 rolling curveball from Jordan Montgomery. It was 6-0 Twins before the new guys, who had just shown up due to a flight delay, could shake hands with all of their new Yankees teammates.
Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP
The Yankees had their biggest chance to get back into the game in the 7th inning. With Twins starter Jose Berrios still on the mound, Clint Frazier started the inning with a single to center. Garrett Cooper hit a liner to left for the first out. He was followed by Austin Romine who was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. Clint Frazier to second. Todd Frazier then entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Ronald Torreyes but went down swinging for the second out. Gardner singled to left center to score Clint Frazier and advanced to second on an error by the left fielder, Robbie Grossman (who mishandled the ball before firing it to third). Romine moved to third. The Twins pulled Berrios and brought in reliever Taylor Duffey to face Jacoby Ellsbury. A single by Ellsbury could have brought the Yankees within striking distance but he struck out with the bat resting on his shoulder with a fastball down the middle to end the inning. It was the second time the Yankees left the bases full with no runs as Ronald Torreyes had grounded out with bases full of Yanks in the top of the 2nd before the onslaught of runs by the Twins.
Tommy Kahnle made his Yankees debut in the 8th in relief of Chad Green. He gave a preview of coming attractions by retiring the three batters he faced including two by strikeout. His pitches were hitting up to 100 mph. I liked Kahnle’s quote after the game, “I always dreamed once they (the Yankees) drafted me I would pitch for them in the big leagues. That day has come”. As a fan of Kahnle’s who was very disappointed when he was lost in the Rule 5 Draft to the Colorado Rockies and has remained keenly aware of the pitcher, I share his sentiments. Despite the loss, it was very good to see Kahnle in a Yankees uniform.
Credit: Associated Press
Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch on the right hand in the 9th but he is expected to be fine for today’s game in Seattle.
Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
The Yankees (48-45) need to forget this series and start with a clean slate today against the Mariners. The time is now to make a move after weeks of sliding backwards. The Yankees lost ground to the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. The Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-1, so the Yankees are now 4 1/2 games behind the leaders. They remain 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays who lost to the Oakland A’s, 7-2.
Next Up: Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, WA…
The Yankees get a chance to catch up with Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel for four games in the Pacific Northwest.
Here are the scheduled pitching matchups:
Yankees: Luis Severino (5-4, 3.40 ERA)
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (5-3, 4.20 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (7-9, 5.33 ERA)
Mariners: Andrew Moore (1-1, 5.25 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.54 ERA)
Mariners: Ariel Miranda (7-4, 4.35 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Cessa (0-3, 4.61 ERA)
Mariners: Sam Gaviglio (3-5, 4.62 ERA)
I feel fairly confident about Thursday, even with King Felix on the mound, and Saturday, but as for Friday and Sunday…not so much.
Here’s hoping the new guys bring some much needed magic and mojo back to our favorite team.
Odds & Ends…
As expected, the Yankees made a flurry of roster moves yesterday to make room for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle. Chasen Shreve was optioned to Triple A and Ji-Man Choi was designated for assignment. Rob Refsnyder, on the 40-man roster, was also DFA’d as the Yankees needed to create the room on the 40-man roster even though Tyler Clippard vacated his spot with the trade to the White Sox. I can’t say that I am overly excited about Luis Cessa remaining on the active roster. Given a choice between Cessa and Caleb Smith, I’d prefer to see Smith get the next start in place of Michael Pineda. Frazier took Tyler Clippard’s old number (29), Robertson reclaimed his own old number (30) with Clint Frazier switching to double-Mickey Mantle (77), and Kahnle’s number with the White Sox was waiting for him thanks to the recent dismissal of Chris Carter (48).
Speaking of poor starts, the Yankees are surely looking for rotation help after Jordan Montgomery’s string of sub-par starts. But being “careful buyers” probably means that the Yankees will not be players for guys like Sonny Gray or Gerrit Cole. Now is the time for GM Brian Cashman to earn the dollars for his next contract.
This is a hypothetical question considering that Aaron Hicks is not healthy, but if you have five outfielders (Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, and Clint Frazier), is Jacoby Ellsbury the sixth or seventh best outfielder? Just wondering…
Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Manager Joe Girardi has said that Todd Frazier will be the team’s regular third baseman. Chase Headley will move to first and platoon with Garrett Cooper. If Frazier has a strong finish to the season, I’d have to believe it is more likely the team will attempt to re-sign him over Matt Holliday. Frazier intends to talk to YES Network broadcaster Paul O’Neill about possibly switching his number from #29 to #21 before the team returns to the Bronx. Frazier has always worn #21 because of O’Neill. I think it would be appropriate and would not boo the move assuming that he gets O’Neill’s blessing.
Former Yankee Chris Carter has signed with the Oakland A’s, a team he played for from 2010 to 2012. He’ll report to the A’s Triple A club, the Nashville Sounds. I can still remember when the Sounds were a Double A team for the Yankees and Buck Showalter was a first baseman/outfielder for them.
We’ll probably be seeing another former Yankee soon (in the wrong uniform) as the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners have been identified as strong possibilities for David Phelps of the Miami Marlins. The Red Sox are also still looking at Miami’s Martin Prado, currently on the 10-Day DL, as well as Eduardo Nunez of the San Francisco Giants.
Have a great Thursday! Sevy can make it a truly awesome day. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Kathy Willens-AP|
Brewers 9, Yankees 4…
In a game that should have been about young Aaron Judge shattering a mark long held by the great Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, Tyler Clippard torched a chance at yet another win as the Yankees fell to the Milwaukee Brewers.
We have gone from hoping the starters can successfully get the game to the bullpen to “OMG Joe, don’t take ‘the starter’ (insert name) out!”.
But first, Aaron Judge. With his 30th home run of the season, Judge broke the Yankees season record for most home runs by a rookie which has been held by Joe DiMaggio since 1936. The homer, a shot to center off Brewers reliever Josh Hader, traveled 432 feet. Judge has reached base in 37 consecutive games that he started, the only blemish being a recent unsuccessful pinch hit appearance. He is also only one of three Yankees to ever have 30 home runs by the All-Star Break (joining Roger Maris who had 33 in his historic 1961 season and Alex Rodriguez who had 30 in 2007).
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
As for the game, it was a bend and mostly not break performance for Jordan Montgomery. He worked out of a potential run scoring opportunity for the Brewers when they had two on with no outs in the second inning and got out of the inning by striking out Keon Broxton with a runner at third.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Didi Gregorius lined a sharp fly ball to right but right fielder Domingo Santana made a slight turn in the wrong direction that caused him to miss Didi’s ball as it glanced off his glove for an error. Didi ended up at third on the play. Clint Frazier followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 1-0 Yankees.
The Brewers finally got to Montgomery in the 4th inning when Ryan Braun opened with a double and Jesus Aguilar homered to right as the Brewers took the 2-1 lead. The Yankees came right back in the bottom of the inning when Didi Gregorius reached first base on another fielding error and Ji-Man Choi, providing something that we have rarely seen from the team’s first basemen…production, homered in the rain to right. “Track, Wall, See Ya!” courtesy of Michael Kay. The Yankees had re-taken the lead with the second deck towering blast, 3-2.
The rain started coming down in buckets and the game moved into a delay. When play resumed in the top of the 5th, Montgomery got into trouble again when Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Villar hit consecutive one-out singles. I am sure the rain delay factored into his performance. Tyler Webb was brought in to replace Monty and he induced Domingo Santana to hit into an inning-ending double play. For the game, Monty went 4 1/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and the two-run homer. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out 4 in the eventual no-decision. In the bottom of the inning, Judge led off with his historic home run. 4-2, Yankees.
Webb was back out on the mound in the top of the 6th. He walked Ryan Braun on a 3-2 count and former Red Sock Travis Shaw followed with a double to push Braun to third. Then, in a move that brought a groan from me, Manager Joe Girardi pulled Webb and brought in the flammable Tyler Clippard. A wild pitch allowed Braun to score and Shaw to move to third. Jesus Aguilar lofted a fly to center that scored Shaw and the game was tied.
The Yankees were unable to do anything in the bottom of the 6th as Josh Hader and the Brewers struck out the side.
With another groan when I saw Clippard back out on the mound for the 7th, any optimism I had was quickly evaporating. With one out, Clippard walked Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana. A fly out by Ryan Braun moved the runners to second and third. Clippard issued an intentional pass to Travis Shaw and the bases were loaded for the only reliever who is worse than Dellin Betances right now. Jesus Aguilar, loving every minute of Yankee Stadium, took advantage of the opportunity and destroyed the Clippard offering for a grand slam with a blast to center (his second homer of the night). I know that Girardi was trying to avoid using Chad Green or Adam Warren, but Clippard should have never been the guy on the mound at that point in the game. When I fire up the grill, I don’t use lighter fluid, I just throw pics of Clippard on the charcoal and flames erupt.
Girardi pulled Clippard at that point, but his replacement, Chasen Shreve, had the Clippard-Betances Syndrome and gave up another run with the first two men he faced. A double by Hernan Perez and a single by Manny Pina (who?) which scored Perez. The Brewers had the 9-4 lead and coasted to the four-hit victory. Clippard (1-5) took the loss with his fifth blown game.
The Yankees (44-40) are on the fast track for third place in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-3, to pad their lead by 4.5 games. But even with the loss, the Rays are just a game behind the Yankees.
Brett Gardner had four walks in the game but wasn’t able to do anything with the free passes. He was caught stealing third in the 3rd inning. Clint Frazier, in addition to the sac fly RBI, had a triple in the 8th with one out, but was left stranded.
I remember back in the good old days when the Yankees bullpen meant a complete shutdown of the opposition’s offense. I miss those days…
Odds & Ends…
When an “unnamed Yankees insider” speaks, it always sounds exactly like the words are coming out of the mouth of Yankees Idiot…sorry I mean…President, Randy Levine. The “insider” told The New York Daily News, speaking about Greg Bird, that “You have to wonder what’s with this guy. You’d think with Judge and Sanchez, the guys he came up through the system with, doing so well up here, he’d want to be part of this. Apparently not.” I may be frustrated that Bird has been unable to get back on the field with his ankle injury but I do not blame the player. If he feels that he is not 100% and would be a liability on the field, I will not fault him for trying to find pain relief and good health before he returns. Bird responded “I want to play. I’ve always wanted to play since I can remember. I love baseball. For me, I’m doing everything I can to come back. I love it and I want to be playing with these guys. I would hope people see it”. I see it and wish that Levine would shut the h*ll up…
Bird will consult with Dr Martin O’Malley, a foot and ankle surgeon, on Monday. So, we should have clarity on whether or not he’s lost for the season soon. This is shaping up to be two consecutive lost years for the young slugger.
|Credit: Seth Wenig-AP|
Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro are now expected to rejoin the Yankees when they open the second half next week in Boston. Holliday is going to start a rehab assignment today. Castro bowed out of the All-Star Game and in a move that was a little bittersweet (for me) to take, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners was named as his replacement. Nothing against Cano as I still think he’s a good player, but it’s a reminder of the sting I felt when he left in free agency.
In a surprise move today, the Yankees have optioned Jordan Montgomery and Luis Cessa to Triple-A and have recalled relievers Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder. I can only assume that the moves were made to strengthen the Yankees bullpen in light of Clippard’s meltdown. Montgomery will be back after the All-Star break.
Have a great Saturday! A new day and a new opportunity to win a game. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill|
Yankees 9, A’s 5…
On the eve of thirteen consecutive games against American League East teams, the Yankees used the Judge to set sentence Sunday on the three game series with the Oakland A’s. The verdict — the Yankees are guilty of taking the series, two games to one.
With the Yankees trailing 2-1 in the third inning, they loaded the bases (I can’t believe that Matt Joyce dropped that fly ball by Matt Holliday but hey, I’ll take it) with two outs for Aaron Judge. In the preceding at-bat, Starlin Castro had a chance for the grand salami but he struck out. A’s pitcher Andrew Triggs, with the count at two balls and a strike, threw a two-seam fastball to Judge. As Julia Roberts said in the movie ‘Pretty Woman’, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.” Judge made the most of his swing as he sent the ball over the center field wall for his 16th home run of the year. The Yankees were up by three runs at 5-2 with the grand slam, Judge’s first, and a lead that they would not relinquish this day.
It wasn’t a clean outing for Michael Pineda (6-2) but he did enough to capture the win. He needs to clean up the mental errors…the three walks (two of the runners eventually scored), a balk and a throwing error. In the sixth inning, with the Yankees leading 6-2, Pineda walked Jed Lowrie and then, with Khris Davis at the plate, balked to allow Lowrie to advance to second. Davis subsequently reached first base on a throwing error by Pineda, while Lowrie raced around to home plate to close the gap to 6-3. As the YES Network’s Michael Kay put it, “A walk, a balk, and an E-1”. Pineda finished the sixth, thanks to a double play, but that would be it for his day. He finished with three hits, three runs (two earned although he was the responsible party for the unearned run), and five strikeouts.
|Credit: Kathy Willens/AP|
The Yankees picked up another run in the seventh inning when Gary Sanchez doubled to left with two outs and Ronald Torreyes on first. The hit scored Torreyes, to push the score to 7-3. The A’s challenged the call saying that left fielder Khris Davis held the ball long enough before bouncing out of his glove but the call on the field was upheld.
The A’s responded with two runs in the eighth inning when Khris Davis hit his fifteenth homer of the season, a two-run shot off Yankees reliever Chad Green (with yet another walked batter that scored) to tighten the score, 7-5. After a one batter appearance by the LOOGY (Tommy Layne, who retired lefty swinging Yonder Alonso on a fly out to right), Adam Warren was brought in for the role of cleaner (Mr Kaplan?) and he eliminated Ryon Healy with a fly out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Brett Gardner gave the Yankees some breathing room with a two-run double to increase the Yankees lead to 9-5. Warren stayed in the game in the ninth to clean up the bodies with three up, three down for his first save of the season. Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today, I want to be a part of it, New York, New York…
|Credit: Kathy Willens/AP|
It was a good day all around for the Yankees (29-18). The Boston Red Sox finally dropped a game to Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners, 5-0, while the Baltimore Orioles, today’s opponent, lost their seventh consecutive game, 8-4 to the Houston Astros. The losses increased the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to 3 games over the Red Sox and 4 1/2 games over the Orioles. The Tampa Bay Rays, the only other team to win in the AL East on Sunday, are 5 games back.
Down on the Farm…
Tyler Austin continued his latest rehab assignment in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. At DH, he was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the RailRiders’ 3-0 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens. Gleyber Torres, at short, was 1-for-4 with a single.
Yankees left-hander Justus Sheffield had a great game for the AA-Trenton Thunder. He pitched a three-hitter in 6 2/3 innings to beat the Portland Sea Dogs, 6-2. He only gave up one run (none earned), walked one and struck out six. With more performances like that, the 21-year-old could very well find himself in Pennsylvania. The hitting star for the Thunder was third baseman Miguel Andujar. He was 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored.
The Road Ahead…
The Yankees take to the road today with a trip to Baltimore, Maryland for three games with the Orioles, followed by a trip north of the border to Toronto, Canada for a four-game set with the Blue Jays. Upon completion of the road trip, the Yankees return home to face the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles in three-game series. As losers of seven straight, the Orioles will be looking to turn things around in their home park. It’s not going to be an easy series by any stretch of the imagination.
Here are the pitching matchup’s for the Baltimore series:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30 ERA)
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (3-2, 3.11 ERA)
Orioles: Chris Tillman (1-1, 4.43 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-4, 5.86 ERA)
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (2-4, 6.17 ERA)
Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day! Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has lost family, friends, and loved ones in the defense of our Country. Our eternal thanks to the men and women who gave all…