Tagged: Ronald Torreyes

The Curious Case of the Girardi Gaffes…

Credit:  David Dermer-AP

American League Division Series, Game 1

Indians 9, Yankees 8…

Yankees manager Joe Girardi received accolades for his managing job in the Wild Card Game. He rightfully deserves the blame for the loss in this one.  Pulling CC Sabathia in the 6th inning at only 77 pitches and still going strong was a highly questionable move but the decision to not challenge the hit by pitch call later in the inning directly led to Cleveland stealing a game from the Yankees that the Yankees had appeared to have stolen from the Indians.

I’ve never been a great fan of Girardi but his minor league play in a critical major league game will most likely haunt us through the winter. The Yankees had a chance to send the series back to New York tied at one. Two games in New York with the series tied would have been a huge advantage for the Yankees. Instead, they now trail two games to none and every game they play going forward in the series is a ‘do or die’ elimination game for the Pinstripers.  It’s hard not to be upset about this game.

The game started so beautifully for the Yankees against likely AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Kluber has owned the Yankees this year but not Saturday. The team finally broke through against Kluber at the most opportune time. Aaron Judge took a one-out walk from Kluber in the 1st inning and was followed by Gary Sanchez who blasted a shot over the wall in center to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead.  

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer

They had a chance for more when Starlin Castro doubled to the wall in left and Greg Bird reached on a fielding error when second baseman Jose Ramirez couldn’t cleanly field the grounder to put runners at the corners with two outs but Aaron Hicks struck out to end the inning. Still, picking up two runs against Kluber was huge.

Credit:  Jason Miller-Getty Images

In the bottom of the 1st, the Indians got those runs back. Francisco Lindor led off with a  hard-hit grounder to third that Todd Frazier couldn’t handle (the ball rolled under his glove into left field) so he was safe at first. After Jason Kipnis flied out to center for the first out, Jose Ramirez walked on four straight pitches.  Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch (a very painful shot to his leg), which loaded the bases. Carlos Santana singled to left, scoring Lindor and Ramirez to tie the game at two. Brett Gardner’s throw to Gary Sanchez was off line which allowed Ramirez to slide in with the second run. CC Sabathia was able to get out of the inning on a very unfortunate event. Jay Bruce hit a hard liner that Didi Gregorius jumped to catch and then Didi dove for second in an attempt to get Edwin Encarnacion who was attempting to get back. Encarnacion rolled his ankle as his foot hit the bag. The Yankees challenged the play, saying Encarnacion’s foot came off the base as he fell, drawing chants of “Yankees suck!” from the Cleveland crowd. The call on the field was overturned and Encarnacion was ruled out for the inning-ending double play. Encarnacion had to be helped off the field. Hopefully it is not the end of the season for Encarnacion.  

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

The Indians took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd. Austin Jackson led off with a single looped into center field. Yan Gomes hit a grounder to third but Todd Frazier’s throwing error to second (a  ball in the dirt) which Starlin Castro couldn’t dig out for the force attempt put runners at first and second with no outs. Giovanny Urshela successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher to push the runners to second and third. Francisco Lindor was intentionally walked and the bases were loaded. Jason Kipnis singled to left past a diving Todd Frazier, scoring Jackson with the go-ahead run. Sabathia was able to get out of the inning without allowing any further runs when he got Jose Ramirez to pop out in foul territory and struck out Michael Brantley (who took over as Cleveland’s DH after Edwin Encarnacion had injured his ankle).

In the top of the 3rd, the Yankees chased Kluber with big two-out hits. Gary Sanchez started the rally with a one-out single off the end of his bat into right field. Didi Gregorius grounded out to first for the second out, moving Sanchez to second. Starlin Castro singled to left just past a diving Francisco Lindor, scoring Sanchez and the game was tied at three. Greg Bird followed with a solid single to right. Runners at first and second for Aaron Hicks who got a hold of a Kluber pitch to send it into the right field seats as right fielder Jay Bruce could only watch. Yankees were up, 6-3.  

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Exit Kluber, enter Tyler Olson. The brief one-time Yankee retired Jacoby Ellsbury on a ground out to first but at that point, things were looking good for the Bombers.

CC Sabathia was pitching great after the earlier runs by Cleveland. Meanwhile, the Yankees added two more runs in the top of the 5th. Against Cleveland reliever Mike Cleavinger, Didi Gregorius led off with a walk. Starlin Castro struck out, but Greg Bird blasted a shot inside of the foul pole in right for a two-run homer to increase the lead to 8-3. A five-run lead with Sabathia still pitching great and the Yankees bullpen ready and waiting. Victory was in sight.

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Then, the unfortunate 6th inning happened. After the Yankees had failed to score in the top of the inning, the Indians got a runner on first when Carlos Santana led off with a walk. Sabathia retired the dangerous Jay Bruce on a line out to short and appeared to be in control, but then Joe Girardi inexplicably pulled him and brought in Chad Green. Green got Austin Jackson to fly out to right for the second out. Yan Gomes doubled to left off the wall, with A-Jax advancing to third. It brought Lonnie Chisenhall to the plate, pinch-hitting for Giovanny Urshela. Green got two quick strikes on Chisenhall and then Chisenhall battled Green by fouling off the next four pitches. The fifth pitch came in and appeared, at quick glance, to hit Chisenhall in the hand. He was awarded first base. Replay showed that the ball had actually hit the bottom of the bat (no flesh). Despite objections from Gary Sanchez, Girardi made the quick decision not to challenge (later saying that he didn’t want to disrupt the pitcher’s rhythm). As Julia Roberts once said in Pretty Woman, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”  

Credit:  Thomas Ondrey-The Plain Dealer

Chad Green then tried to get a slider past Francisco Lindor who jumped all over the pitch to send it into the right field seats off the foul pole for a grand slam. The once large five run lead was now a slim one run margin.  

Credit:  Thomas Ondrey-The Plain Dealer

David Robertson took over for Green and got the Yankees out of the heart-breaking inning.

Robertson pitched a clean 7th inning but he fell behind Jay Bruce leading off the bottom of the 8th on a 3-1 count and Bruce hammered a D-Rob cutter over the wall in left center to tie the game at eight.

The Yankees had Todd Frazier in scoring position in the top of the 9th (90 feet away) but couldn’t find a way to bring him home. The game went into extra innings but the Tribe bullpen continued to shut down the Yankees. They appeared to have a chance in the top of the 11th when Todd Frazier hit a grounder to third to lead off the inning and a throwing error by the third baseman (ball over the head of the first baseman) allowed Frazier to reach second. Ronald Torreyes was brought in to pinch-run for Frazier. A pick off attempt of Torreyes at second on a throw from the catcher initially appeared unsuccessful but the Tribe challenged the play and replay showed the tag applied before Toe could get his hand back on the base. It was a tremendous defensive play by Francisco Lindor with his lightning quick tag but a very forgettable pinch-running experience for Toe.

Credit:  UPI

Joe Girardi brought Dellin Betances back out for the 13th inning after he had already thrown the prior two innings. It was too much to ask of the short-inning reliever. Austin Jackson led off the inning with a walk and stole second. Yan Gomes ended the game with a single to left, bringing Jackson around with the winning run.  

Credit:  Jason Miller-Getty Images

This loss had the smell of Girardi all over it. Terry Francona who has proven time and again that he is a better manager than Girardi and proved it once again.  Cleveland never loses because of its manager. He’s the wild card that leads to wins.  Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Girardi. I am not happy with Girardi and we’ll soon have a long winter to think about this missed opportunity.  

The series resumes on Sunday at Yankee Stadium with Masahiro Tanaka facing 18-game winner Carlos Carrasco. I am sure that Cleveland fans like their chances. I only wish that I could say the same.

Credit:  Joshua Gunter-Cleveland.com

Have a great Saturday! Let’s hope for a magical regroup and a Pinstriped charge to three consecutive wins in the ALDS. Thumbs down! Go Yankees!

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I Get My Hicks Above The Fenceline, Sunshine…

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Yankees 6, Rays 1…

Tuesday night, Aaron Hicks found himself back in the starting lineup after his latest stint on the disabled list. Not a moment too soon as A-A-Ron sparked the Yankees to victory with his superior catch in the first inning.

The game didn’t start so well for young Mr Jordan Montgomery. Kevin Kiermaier got the game started with a single up the middle to center field. Stephen Souza, Jr singled through the hole at short into shallow left field. Montgomery had Evan Longoria on a full count but lost him with Ball Four. The bases were loaded full of Rays with no outs. Monty finally struck out Logan Morrison to secure the first out. Wilson Ramos was up next and he blasted a shot over the center field wall for a grand slam…no, wait…Aaron Hicks with the spectacular over the fence catch for the second out!  Kiermaier tagged and scored on the play. I am not a math major but I’ll take a 1-0 deficit over 4-0 any day. Montgomery struck out Adeiny Hechavarria, who has seemed to feast on Yankees pitching this year, to end the inning. Whew! Monty and the Yankees dodged a major bullet.

The Yankees had two runners on base in the bottom of the 1st inning, courtesy of walks by Rays starter Blake Snell, but they were unable to score.  

The top of the 2nd went more smoothly for Montgomery as he set down the Rays in order…three up, three down.  No drama…just the way I like it.

In the bottom of the inning, Starlin Castro led off with a home run into the  left field bleachers to tie the game.  Star-light, Star-bright!

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The inning continued as consecutive singles by Todd Frazier, Clint Frazier and Ronald Torreyes loaded the bases. Aaron Hicks picked up the go-ahead RBI when he took a walk to bring the Toddfather home. Next up, Aaron Judge walked on four pitches to bring Red Thunder home. The Yankees were up, 3-1. The Rays pulled Snell, who hadn’t lost a game since late July, and replaced him with Chaz Roe. Gary Sanchez lined out to first, with Judge staying put, but the Rays caught Hicks off second (he couldn’t get back in time) to complete the double play. With Matt Holliday batting, Judge stole second so the Yankees had runners at second and third. Roe uncorked a wild pitch that got by Wilson Ramos all the way to the backstop, and Torreyes ran home with the fourth run of the inning. Judge moved to third but he was left stranded when Holliday flied out to center.

Jordan Montgomery kept the Rays off the board through the 6th inning and turned the game over to the bullpen in the 7th. Tommy Kahnle was up first and he retired the Rays in order, including the last two by strikeout. David Robertson took over in the 8th. He walked the first batter, Stephen Souza, Jr, but the runner did not advance past first base as D-Rob retired the next three Rays.

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In the bottom of the 8th, with Rays reliever Austin Pruitt on the mound, Ronald Torreyes drew a one-out walk. While Brett Gardner was at bat, a wild pitch allowed Toe to move to second. Gardy grounded out to second, advancing Toe  to third. Aaron Judge walked to put runners at the corners. After a brief delay that saw Home Plate Umpire Dan Bellino toss a fan for tipping pitches, Gary Sanchez singled on a fly that dropped in front of center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (to my surprise) which brought Toe home to score. Matt Holliday reached on an infield single to short that Adeiny Hechavarria wasn’t able to field cleanly (made a running stop on the grounder in shallow left but the ball dropped out of his glove) allowing Sanchez to slide safely into second just ahead of the throw. Judge scored on the play and the Yankees had increased their lead to 6-1. Chase Headley grounded out, back to the pitcher, but the Yankees took the five run lead to the 9th.

Dellin Betances, who I thought should have pitched in Monday’s win over the Royals, entered the game in the non-save situation. A ground out and two fly outs on seven pitches, Game over. I was very glad to see a clean (and short) outing by Betances. The Yankees win!

Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees (88-69) picked up another game on the Boston Red Sox with the win. The Sox lost to the Toronto Blue Jays for the second consecutive day. The Blue Jays won the game, 9-4, behind J.A. Happ. The loser for the Sox was Chris Sale, a loss that might tilt the AL Cy Young Award toward Cleveland’s Corey Kluber. The Yankees trail the Sox by three games with five to play. The Yankees secured home-field advantage for the Wild Card game with the win although they have not given up on the AL East championship. The Minnesota Twins won yesterday, 8-6 over the Cleveland Indians, and lead the second Wild Card spot by five games over the Los Angeles Angels.  

It was a great rebound by Jordan Montgomery (9-7). Lately, it has seemed like most of his struggles happen early. The Rays could have changed the complexion of the game with a first inning grand slam but Monty persevered after the incredible catch by Aaron Hicks. In six innings of work, he scattered six hits to hold the Rays to the single first inning run. He walked only one batter (the first inning walk of Evan Longoria), and struck out five.  The dude looks to be a strong piece for the rotation in 2018.
Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Hats off, again, to the Bullpen with three hitless innings of relief.
Starlin Castro was 3-for-3, including the second inning home run. It’s great to see him hitting again and just in time! No home runs for Aaron Judge after two consecutive multi-homer days, but he was in the mix with a run batted in, his 109th, thanks to the bases loaded walk and a run scored.
Credit:  Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Odds & Ends…
I attended a few games at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN several years ago so, apparently, I am still on the Minnesota Twins mailing list. I received the notice that the Twins’ American League Division Series tickets go on sale on Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. CT. A bit of wishful thinking of their part. Hopefully, the Yankees can ensure those tickets are never used.
The Rays have made a pitching change for the series finale on Thursday. Alex Cobb had been the scheduled starter. With their season nearing its end, Rays manager Kevin Cash decided that Cobb had reached his season innings limit (179 innings in 2017 after only 22 in 2016). Jacob Faria (5-4, 3.33 ERA) will get the start versus Sonny Gray.
Have a great Wednesday! I’d like a win and maybe a couple of Aaron Judge home runs today, please. Go Yankees!

Mr McGwire, I Believe You Have My Seat…

Credit:  Adam Hunger-Getty Images

Yankees 11, Royals 3…

Welcome to the Aaron Judge Show!  Number 99 entered the game trailing Mark McGwire’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record of 49 by one homer. He departed the game, two homers later, as the new record holder. All Rise for the Judge!

Oh yeah, they played a game too…

The Yankees got on the board first. After CC Sabathia retired the Royals in order in the top of the 1st inning, Brett Gardner led off the Yankees’ half with a single that dropped in right center field. After Aaron Judge flied out to center (a warning track fly that drew awes from the crowd), Gary Sanchez doubled to deep right into the corner with Gardner holding up at third. Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to first for the second out, but Gardy scored on the play. Sanchez moved to third. Unfortunately, he was left stranded when Matt Holliday struck out. Yankees were up, 1-0.

As Sabathia made his way through the Royals lineup in vintage 2009 fashion, the Yankees struck again in a big way in the bottom of the 3rd. Royals starter Jake Junis gave Brett Gardner a free pass on five pitches with one out. Aaron Judge came to the plate and demolished a Junis pitch into the right field stands to increase the Yankees’ lead to 3-0. The home run was Judge’s 49th of the year, tying the MLB Rookie Record held by Mark McGwire (set in 1987).  

While Sabathia was holding the Royals scoreless, the Yankees got on the board again in the bottom of the 6th. Didi Gregorius hit a one-out single to left on a short hop to left fielder Melky Cabrera. He came around to score on a double to the left field wall by Matt Holliday. Didi didn’t have to stand on second base very long as Greg Bird followed with a home run to the second deck in right. The Yankees had increased their lead to 6-0.  

As great as Sabathia was pitching (three hits over six scoreless innings), I thought bringing him out for the 7th inning might be pushing our luck. Eric Hosmer led off with a single to left just over the glove of Didi Gregorius. Salvador Perez made it a 6-2 game with a home run to left. I thought surely Joe Girardi would make a move at that point but he didn’t. With CC’s 80th pitch, the bat of Mike Moustakas said “big mistake”, homering to right to cut the deficit to three runs. 

Credit:  Seth Wenig-AP

Finally, Girardi made the move and ended Sabathia’s day. As great as CC can be at times, he is no longer more than a 5-6 inning guy. I know, it’s easy to second guess but I just don’t trust Sabathia past the 6th inning anymore. Plus, with the plethora of arms in the pen, it’s not really necessary.  Chad Green entered the game. He walked the first batter he faced, Jorge Bonifacio. Alcides Escobar hit a fielder’s choice to short, forcing Bonifacio out at second. Escobar was too quick for the Yankees to turn the double play. Green struck out Paulo Orlando for the second out and was finally able to end the inning when he got Whit Merrifield to ground out to second in an 8-pitch at-bat. It was a tough inning for Yankees pitching but fortunately the Yankees were able to hold the Royals after the back-to-back homers.

With Trevor Cahill on the mound, Ronald Torreyes led off the bottom of the 7th with a single that dropped into center field. Brett Gardner momentarily dampened spirits when he hit into a double play at second. Very close play at first as it looked like Gardy may have beat the throw, but the Yankees did not challenge. But no fear, Aaron Judge stepped up and broke the tie with McGwire for the MLB Rookie HR Record when he blasted Cahill’s offering into the left field seats for his 50th home run. Gary Sanchez wasted no time, jumping all over Cahill’s first pitch, to deposit another ball, a bullet, into the left field seats for consecutive home runs. The Yankees subsequently loaded the bases on a single and two walks, but Todd Frazier grounded into a force out at third to end the inning. Still, the Yankees had increased their lead to 8-3.

Credit:  Seth Wenig-AP

With no offense to Dellin Betances, I love having David Robertson in the 8th inning to set up Aroldis Chapman. He came in and struck out the side to push the game to the bottom of the 8th. I get fired up watching D-Rob pitch and the way he runs off the field when the inning is over. I enjoyed him replacing Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer a few years back and I enjoy him now in whatever role he can be afforded as long as he’s on the field pitching.  

In the bottom of the 8th, Ronald Torreyes hit a one-out double to right, a ball that dropped in between a crowd of Royals. A throwing error by the right fielder, Jorge Bonifacio (ball got past Alcides Escobar at second), allowed Toe to advance to third. Last time, Brett Gardner hit into a double play to erase Toe. This time, Gardy doubled down the right field line to make it a 9-3 game. Aaron Judge walked (I wouldn’t have thrown him anything to hit either) and he left the game to an ovation when he was replaced at first base by pinch-runner Clint Frazier. Gary Sanchez singled to left on a line drive to load the bases and there was still only one out. Didi Gregorius singled to right, scoring Gardy, to keep the bases full of Yanks. Matt Holliday lofted a fly ball to right, deep enough to score Clint Frazier on the sacrifice. Greg Bird finally brought the inning to a close when he popped out to third, but the Yankees had increased their lead to 11-3.

Actually, this probably would have been a great spot to bring in Dellin Betances but Girardi opted to go with Tommy Kahnle. A good choice but I’d really like to see Betances continuing work out of his funk and an 8-run lead would have been good placement for him. Kahnle walked a batter but it was otherwise a quiet inning as the Royals went down without advancing the runner. The Yankees win!

The Royals can probably have t-shirts made up that say “I went to NYC for one day and all I got was a butt-kicking”. I am sure that all things considered, they wish they had ended this series back in May. The loss most likely ended any aspirations the Royals held for the second Wild Card slot.  

The Yankees (87-69) picked up a game on the Boston Red Sox although it is probably too little, too.  The Toronto Blue Jays, fresh off a series win over the Yankees last weekend, defeated Boston, 6-4 yesterday.  The Yankees trail the Sox by four games with six to play.  The Yankees lead the Wild Card standings by five games.  

It was a great start by CC Sabathia despite the Perez-Moustakas freight train he ran into by overstaying his welcome. With the win (his 236th career victory), Sabathia improved his season record to 13-5. 

Credit:  Robert Sabo

The bullpen trio of Green, Robertson and Kahnle held the Royals hitless (and scoreless) for nine outs while compiling six strikeouts. A job well done! 

I don’t know about you, but I am kinda thinking this Judge guy has a chance to be something special. Seriously, this has to be one of the greatest Rookie seasons that I’ve ever experienced. Obviously, my view is a little Pinstriped tainted but Judge has put his name among the All-Time Greats. With an organization as deep in tradition and history as the Yankees, that’s very, very hard to do.

Thumbs down, Guys! This was a wonderful win!

Next Up:  Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…

The march toward the conclusion of the regular season and the Wild Card game that awaits the Yankees will continue tonight with the division foe Rays coming to town. There was a time when the Rays were battling the Yankees for the Wild Card but at this point, the Rays are just playing out the string to get a jump start on their October vacation plans. They can certainly play the role of spoiler as the Yankees attempt to drive to home field advantage for next week’s Wild Card game.  

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

TODAY

Rays:  Blake Snell (4-6, 4.01 ERA)

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (8-7, 4.06 ERA)

WEDNESDAY

Rays:  Matt Andriese (5-4, 4.44 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (13-6, 3.03 ERA)

THURSDAY

Rays:  Alex Cobb (12-10, 3.66 ERA)

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (10-11, 3.31 ERA)

This should be Severino’s final tune-up before the Wild Card game.  Hopefully he’s more effective than he was last time out. 

Is Alex Cobb a preview of coming attractions? He’s a free agent this off-season and his name has been linked to the Yankees as a possibility.  

Odds & Ends…

Given the surprising success of the Yankees this year, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Yankees do not re-sign both Manager Joe Girardi and General Manager Brian Cashman. 

Cashman has done a tremendous job in rebuilding the Yankees and setting them up for success for years to come. But with no offense to Cashman, he isn’t the sole reason for the success.  Other people, including Damon Oppenheimer, Jean Afterman, Gary Denbo and others have played significant roles. Is it time for a new GM? Alex Anthopoulos has been my personal favorite for the job, but I wish I had realized how great Mike Hazen was. The former Red Sox GM has transformed the Arizona Diamondbacks into a team that could catapult themselves over the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers into the World Series. Who’s the next Mike Hazen-in-waiting? I have mixed feelings about Cashman. I have long respected the guy but I wonder if it is time for new blood. With the loss of the late Gene Michael’s voice in the organization, Cashman is one of the last links to the old regime led by George Steinbrenner. I don’t know the answer to this question and I certainly won’t be disappointed if Hal Steinbrenner signs Cashman to a new long-term deal. Inevitably, I trust young Steinbrenner to do the right thing…whatever that may be.  

Girardi is not as easy for me. I’ve never been a big Girardi guy but it’s not like I feel he is the wrong man for the job. There’s no doubt that I’d prefer someone like Terry Francona and my personal homer pick, Don Mattingly. But Francona won’t be leaving Cleveland anytime soon and Mattingly is currently unavailable (as he awaits the arrival of his new boss in Miami, Derek Jeter). Nothing against Al Pedrique or Tony Pena, but I don’t really think either guy would be an improvement over Girardi. For the lack of better available candidates, I am probably for re-signing Girardi to a new 3 to 5 year contract.  

Have a great Tuesday! Let’s have our way with the Rays. Go Yankees!

Masa & The Game of Errors…

Credit:  Noah K Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 10, Mariners 1…

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

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

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

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

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

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

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

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

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

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

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

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

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

MONDAY 

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

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

TUESDAY

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

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

WEDNESDAY

Indians:  Josh Tomlin (7-9, 5.38 ERA)

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

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

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

Sevy & The Sanchino…

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 10, Tigers 2…

I could really get used to these easy wins.  Riding the arm of Luis Severino and the bat of Gary Sanchez, the Yankees rode their way to victory over the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers opened the game with two good defensive plays to record outs.  As Gary Sanchez strolled to the plate, the FOX announcer said “This cat can hit”.  Yes, he can.  Sanchez sent the pitch from Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann high into the left field stands for the early lead.

Credit:  Duane Burleson-Associated Press

The Yankees added more runs in the 3rd inning.  Jacoby Ellsbury, making a rare start, led off with a single to center.  Ronald Torreyes followed with a single through the hole into left field.  Brett Gardner came up and everyone was expecting bunt.  But Gardy swung away and lofted a fly ball deep enough into center for Ellsbury to tag and move to third.  Tigers centerfielder Andrew Romine threw the ball to third, over the head of the cut-off man, too late to get Ellsbury but the throw allowed Toe to recognize the opportunity to take second. Aaron Hicks took a walk to load the bases. Gary Sanchez hit a fly ball that dropped in between the outfielders in left center field.  Both Ellsbury and Toe scored to make it 3-0. Hicks moved to second.  Aaron Judge added a run on a double to center that went over Andrew Romine’s head and bounced on the warning track, scoring Hicks.  After a coaching visit to the mound, Didi Gregorius singled to up the middle to center to score Sanchez.  Judge moved to third.  He didn’t wait there long as Chase Headley lofted a fly deep enough to center for Judge to tag up and score.  The Yankees had taken a 6-0 lead.

Credit:  Duane Burleson-Associated Press

Didi Gregorius added a solo homer to right center, a few rows behind the wall, in the 5th inning to make it 7-0.

Tigers reliever Chad Bell replaced Zimmermann to start the 6th inning and he proceeded to walk the first two batters (Todd Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury).  The big little man, Ronald Torreyes, singled to left through the hole between third and short to score Frazier.  

Luis Severino had been cruising up to this point but Ian Kinsler led off the bottom of the 6th with a homer to left to get the Tigers on the scoreboard.  The Yankees wasted no time in getting the run back when Chase Headley homered to left inside the foul pole with two outs in the top of the 7th inning, a solo shot.  It was 9-1 Yankees.

In the bottom of the 7th, Sevy struck out John Hicks to start the inning.  Then, he walked Andrew Romine, and Jose Iglesias singled to center.  Sevy got the second out when he struck out Ian Kinsler swinging but that would be all.  Manager Joe Girardi made the trip to the mound and brought in former Tiger prospect Chad Green.  Green struck out Alex Presley for the third out.

The Yankees final run came in the top of the 8th.  With one out, Ronald Torreyes reached on a grounder that glanced off first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s glove into right field.  It was scored a hit for Toe. Brett Gardner chopped a grounder to second and the Tigers got the force out on Toe but a throwing error on second baseman Ian Kinsler (off-balance throw that went into the Yankees dugout) allowed Gardy to make it to second.  A ground ball to left by Aaron Hicks scored Gardy.  10-1, Yankees.

Tommy Kahnle replaced Chad Green for the 9th inning.  John Hicks, the first batter, hit a deep fly to right but it stayed in the park for the out.  Kahnle struck out Andrew Romine for the second out but the next batter, Jose Iglesias, smashed a change-up from Kahnle into the left field stands.  Iglesias may not hit a lot of home runs (this was his 5th) but when he gets a hold of one, it goes far.  Dixon Machado doubled down the left field line, making me wonder if Kahnle was going to make it to the end of the game (Aroldis Chapman was warming up) but Alex Presley grounded out to first to end the drama.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (68-57) were unable to make up any ground on Boston as the Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians for the second day in a row.  They remain 4 games behind.  The see-saw battle for third place continued as the Baltimore Orioles reclaimed the spot with an 8-7 victory over the Oakland A’s in 12 innings.  The Tampa Bay Rays dropped to fourth with a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.  The O’s and Rays are 7 and 7 1/2 games behind the Yankees, and the Jays are one game behind the Rays.  The Yankees picked up a game in the Wild Card standings and lead the Minnesota Twins by 3 1/2 games for the top spot.

Great game by Luis Severino (11-5).  He went 6 2/3 innings (100 pitches…71 for strikes).  He scattered 6 hits and gave up only one run.  One walk and eight strikeouts.  Chad Green had four strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings against his former organization.  I’d like to see Tommy Kahnle get back on track with a few clean innings but at least he got the job done despite the Iglesias home run.  

Credit:  Gregory Shamus-Getty Images

Gary Sanchez continues to scorch August with the homer and 3 RBI’s.  The Kraken will be well prepared to take the field this weekend for Player’s Weekend at Yankee Stadium.  Aaron Judge had one strikeout to extend his latest consecutive game strikeout streak to one game.  Seriously, it was a good game for Judge.  2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.  Also, hats off to Ronald Torreyes who was 4-for-4, also with an RBI and run scored.  You can’t say enough great things about the job Toe has done this year filling in for Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, not to mention his time at third before Todd Frazier’s arrival.

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Odds & Ends…

The Boston Red Sox made a few roster moves yesterday.  Starting centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr was placed on the 10-day DL with a sprained left thumb (he is expected to be out longer than the minimum time).  They also designated first baseman/outfielder Steve Selsky for assignment. President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski then swung a trade with the Oakland A’s to acquire swifty outfielder Rajai Davis. The A’s received a low level outfielder from the Red Sox (Rafael Rincones). Davis had the game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of last year’s World Series.  The Sox also recalled 2B Deven Marrero from Triple A.  

I really felt bad for one-time Yankee Rich Hill last night when he lost a no-hit bid in the 10th inning.  The Pittsburgh Pirates beat Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers on a walk-off home run by Josh Harrison.  The Dodgers have not had any issues with scoring runs this season but yesterday they were unable to score any and it cost Hill the chance for the no-hitter.  He carried a perfect game into the 9th until Logan Forsythe’s error allowed a baserunner.  One run could have given Hill the no-hitter in a regular 9-inning game.  That’s a tough way to lose a no-no.

Credit:  Justin K Aller-Getty Images

Have a great Thursday!  It’s Getaway Day.  Let’s get away with the series sweep! Go Yankees!

Quick, Grab the Imodium A-D!…

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees 13, Tigers 4…

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

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

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

Credit:  Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

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

Credit:  Carlos Osorio-Associated Press

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

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

Were We Supposed To Hold That Lead?…

Credit:  Corey Sipkin-NY Post

Red Sox 9, Yankees 6…

I am sick of games with lost opportunities.  When the Yankees scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th but subsequently had the bases loaded with only one out, I had such a sickening feeling when both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez failed to bring home any more runs.  Unfortunately, that feeling was correct as the Red Sox raged back against the Yankees bullpen to take the win.

That’s right, Joe Girardi, Aroldis Chapman is your closer.  Keep rolling him out there and watch your playoff aspirations fade.  Maybe something is not wrong physically with Chapman but there’s something wrong between the ears.  I know that he didn’t give up the lead, Tommy Kahnle did, but the runs the Red Sox scored off him put the dagger in the heart. I personally think Chapman needs time away to get himself right.  The team is better off with David Robertson and Dellin Betances closing out games.

What makes this loss worse is today’s game features probable Cy Young winner Chris Sale. It doesn’t get any easier, especially with CC Sabathia and his balky knee on the mound.  The Yankees are facing a series loss and falling 6 games behind Boston unless they can somehow find a way to pull out a win today. 

While the Yankees seemed to be leaving runners stranded every inning (total of 14 men left on base), the Red Sox scored first in the second inning in the rain off starter Jordan Montgomery.  Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out double to left and Rafael Devers homered to opposite field, over the Green Monster, to give the Sox the early 2-0 lead.

Christian Vazquez led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo shot, a high fly out of the park in left.

Working against the Red Sox bullpen, the Yankees finally broke the ice in the 6th.  Chase Headley lined a one-out single to right.  Todd Frazier hit his 20th home run of the year, a shot to left center and it was a one-run game.  The Yankees subsequently proceeded to load the bases with two outs, but Aaron Judge grounded out to snuff a potentially huge inning.  

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

Gary Sanchez led off the next inning with his 23rd homer, a fly to left center near the light tower and the game was tied.  The Yankees proceeded to load the bases on two walks and a single (not in that order) to load the bases for Ronald Torreyes.  Torreyes, unlike Judge, didn’t fail.  He hit a line-drive single to left off the scoreboard to score both Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley.  The Yankees had taken the lead, 5-3.  After Austin Romine struck out, Brett Gardner walked to load the bases.  Red Sox reliever Robby Scott then hit Aaron Hicks with a pitch to bring Todd Frazier home from third.  6-3 Yankees and the bases were still juiced.  Aaron Judge had the first crack, but he went down swinging.  Last chance fell to Gary Sanchez who had led off the inning with a homer, but this time he lined out to first.  The Yankees had the lead but I didn’t feel good.  I felt the score should have been 8 or 9 to 3 at that point.  

Credit:  Adam Glanzman-Getty Images

The Red Sox rallied against the Yankees bullpen.  Chad Green had pitched an effective 6th inning after relieving Jordan Montgomery, but the bottom of the 7th didn’t go so well.  Green got the first batter, Rafael Devers, to pop out to Didi Gregorius.  Christian Vazquez then hit a line drive to left that Gregorius just missed.  Jackie Bradley Jr was up next, but Green couldn’t throw strikes and the Sox had runners at first and second.  Exit Green, enter Tommy Kahnle.  Exit lead.  Eduardo Nunez reached base on an infield hit to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly to center by Mookie Betts scored Vazquez.  Andrew Benintendi singled to right, scoring JBJ.  Hanley Ramirez walked to re-load the bases.  Mitch Moreland singled to score two more runs and the Red Sox had a lead they would not relinquish, 7-6.

Credit:  Michael Dwyer-Associated Press

After the Yankees were unable to do anything offensively in the top of the 8th, Girardi brought Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the bottom of the inning.  Sorry Chapman, you suck.  20 year-old Rafael Devers, finding his new bitch in Chapman, singled to right.  Christian Vazquez was up next and he reached base when Chapman couldn’t find the strike zone.  With JBJ at the plate, the Sox executed a double-steal with Devers and Vazquez taking third and second, respectively.  JBJ hit a single up the middle and the Sox had two more runs on the board.  9-6, Sox.  A throwing error by Hicks on the single allowed JBJ to reach second, but Chapman finally settled down and retired the next 3 batters.  Too little, too late.  

Credit:  New York Daily News (back page)

Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the 9th to give the Sox the agonizing win.  This was a very disappointing loss (as if you couldn’t tell from the tone of my words).  

The Yankees (65-56) fell five games behind the Red Sox with the loss.  The Yankees retained the lead in the Wild Card Standings, 3 1/2 games up, but the second place team, the Los Angeles Angels were caught by the Minnesota Twins for a tie with the second WC spot.  The Angels suffered a devastating loss when Manny Machado hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Baltimore Orioles a 9-7 win over the Angels.  The O’s have sole possession of third place in the AL East, 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees, thanks to losses by both the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.  The O’s are just 2 games out of the 2nd WC. The Twins, probably wishing they had kept Jaime Garcia, beat the Arizona D-Backs, 10-3.  

Odds & Ends…

Congratulations to Derek Jeter and his wife Hannah on the birth of their daughter, Bella Raine Jeter.  Little BRJ was born on Thursday and she anxiously awaits her father’s takeover of the Miami Marlins.  I am sure that she’s already looking forward to life on South Beach.

The Boston Red Sox have opted to pitch Rick Porcello on Sunday against the Yankees’ Sonny Gray.  Porcello, last year’s AL Cy Young Winner, is 7-14 with 4.59 ERA.  Porcello is 0-3 against the Yankees this year in 19 innings with 3.79 ERA.  

Mets OF Curtis Granderson, fresh off his grand slam against the Yankees in the final game of this week’s Subway Series, has found himself on MLB’s best team.  From the outhouse to the penthouse.  The Grandy Man was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the familiar player to be named later or cash considerations.  Interestingly enough, the Dodgers are currently in the city where Grandy got his start as they are playing a weekend series in Detroit.  Credit the Dodgers for continuing to find ways to improve the team despite 86 wins on August 19th.

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Have a great Saturday!  Seems like a good day to beat the Red Sox!  Let’s Go Yankees!