|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!
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4…
The Yankees paid $86 million for Aroldis Chapman to blow last night’s game. The bad with the good. I’ve been concerned about Chapman for a few weeks now, actually dating back before he went on the DL. His struggles with command have largely flown under the radar given the horrific stretches encountered by both Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances. I thought maybe Chapman’s contract might look bad toward the end but not in the first year. For the same money, the Yankees could have signed Kenley Jansen in the off-season. Jansen earned his 22nd save last night for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is 4-0 with 0.93 ERA. Chapman has 8 saves and 3.92 ERA. Granted, Chapman could have used some defensive help in the 9th so to his defense, it was not entirely his fault. I think Chapman will be alright and a force in the second half.
The game was a struggle for Jordan Montgomery, laboring every inning he pitched. Even if he did give up 6 hits and 3 runs in 4 innings worked, it could have been much worse. So credit to him for not rolling over. The Red Sox had runners in scoring position in the first two innings but failed to get them home. They finally broke through in third inning after the Yankees had taken a 1-0 lead. With Xander Bogaerts at first (single), Hanley Ramirez hammered a Montgomery fastball over the Green Monster in center to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox picked up a third run in the 4th inning. Sam Travis opened with a walk off Montgomery. Christian Vasquez ripped a single to left, runners at first and second. Deven Marrero hit an infield grounder to Didi Gregorius who fired the ball to Ronald Torreyes at second in an attempt to get the force out but Torreyes took his eyes off the ball and it glanced off his glove for an error to load the bases. Montgomery was able to retire Mookie Betts on a pop up but Dustin Pedroia singled to left to score Travis, 3-1 Sox. A subsequent double play with the bases still loaded prevented any further damage.
In the top of the 5th, the Yankees led off with a double by Chase Headley. Brett Gardner lined a one-out single to right to score Headley. Gary Sanchez, the Sanchino, followed with his 14th home run of the year, a high fly ball that sailed out of Fenway Park in left, and the Yankees had taken a 4-3 lead.
|Credit: CJ Gunther-EPA|
The Yankees bullpen took over in the bottom of the 5th. Chad Green was spectacular, working two innings with no hits and 5 strikeouts. Adam Warren despite giving up two singles in the 7th, kept the Sox off the board. Dellin Betances hit Mitch Moreland with a pitch in the 8th but otherwise was great with three strikeouts.
The Yankees were unable to add any insurance runs against Sox starter Drew Pomeranz and the Red Sox bullpen (who held the Yanks hitless for the final 3 innings) so it was off to the bottom of the 9th and closer Aroldis Chapman.
I hate to re-live this inning but here we go. Mookie Betts reached first on an infield single to deep short. Dustin Pedroia followed with a grounder to short. The throw from Didi Gregorius to Ronald Torreyes at second was too high and Torreyes had to jump to catch the ball, taking his feet off the bag. Betts safe at second, Pedroia at first. A double steal moved the runners to second and third. Xander Bogaerts hit an infield grounder to Torreyes and he was unable to handle it for his second error of the game. Betts scored the tying run. The Yankees intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez to load the bases. Chapman then struggled to find the strike zone with Andrew Benintendi and walked him on a 3-1 count, bringing home Pedroia with the winning run. Defeat with no balls out of the infield…a disappointing loss.
|Credit: Stuart Cahill-Boston Herald|
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels, 2-1, in 10 innings to take sole possession of 2nd place in the AL as the Yankees (45-42) dropped to third. The Yankees are 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox and a game behind the Rays.
Oh, By The Way…
The news for the second half is certainly not starting off on the right foot. With Michael Pineda’s diagnosis of a flexor muscle strain and a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow, there’s a strong possibility for Tommy John surgery. He’ll seek a second opinion but this is not good news. Considering this is his “walk” year, I wonder if he’ll go the way of Nathan Evoldi who was released and later signed by the Tampa Bay Rays. With Bryan Mitchell scheduled to start Game 1 of Sunday’s double-header and Luis Cessa next week in Minneapolis, the rotation is looking very shaky. I am sure that the Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates are salivating over the potential price tag they can assign to Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole. My fear is that the desperation forces the Yankees to part with Chance Adams in addition to other high-ranking prospects to acquire an established starter. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will be throwing Chris Sale and two former AL Cy Young Award winners at us this weekend.
I had my doubts that Pineda would be back next year but this probably seals it for his departure.
Scouts from other teams seem to think that Chance Adams is Major League ready but according to the Yankees, he still needs to work on his command and his third pitch. That’s more involved than a start or two so it’s anybody’s guess when we’ll see Adams in the Bronx. I think he’s potentially more effective than Luis Cessa but they didn’t ask me. Maybe it is Caleb Smith that gets the next call.
|Credit: Fred Adams-Times Leader`|
Oh yeah, and Greg Bird has inflammation in the Os Trigonum of his right ankle and surgery is a strong possibility (if so, 6-8 weeks recovery).
The roster moves made in advance of yesterday’s game with the Red Sox were the activation of DH Matt Holliday and the purchase of 1B Garrett Cooper’s contract from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Making room were the placement of Michael Pineda on the disabled list and the demotion of Rob Refsnyder to SWB. Cooper was thrown to the wolves immediately as he made his Major League debut last night in Boston. Yeah, Garrett, Yankee games can be intense. Welcome to the Pinstripes!
Cooper started last night’s game although he was 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts in his MLB debut.
Odds & Ends…
It is interesting that the Yankees played the fewest games (86) in the first half of any team according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. The team is scheduled to play 52 games in the next 55 days and of course they have 3 games in the next 2 days. With no days off, they play games on the road in Minneapolis and Seattle before they get a break (which of course will be consumed by a cross-country flight to return home from the Pacific Northwest). No rest for the weary…
Have a great Saturday! I’ll be out on my Harley so hopefully the Yankees bring home a victory against the great Chris Sale. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo-Chicago Tribune|
Yankees 6, White Sox 5…
Moral of the story…never take anything for granted. The Yankees took a comfortable five run lead into the bottom of the 9th inning but it was an edge of your seat, nail-biter at the end. A three-run homer and a run-scoring double made it interesting but the Yankees were able to hold on for the win over the Chicago White Sox.
There were a few stars in this game, but credit first has to go to starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery who has proven to be the stopper in the absence of CC Sabathia. Montgomery (6-4) held the White Sox to one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out eight. He issued just one free pass. Montgomery gave up his only run in the second inning when speculated trade target Todd Frazier opened with a solo shot to left center. From there, Monty kept the White Sox off the board while the Yankees built what appeared to be a comfortable lead.
A fielding error by Frazier in the fourth allowed Gary Sanchez to reach base. Aaron Judge, who had opened the inning with a walk, moved to third. Tyler Austin lofted a sacrifice fly to right which scored Judge, tying the game. Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off the DL, singled to move Sanchez into scoring position. Chase Headley singled, scoring Sanchez. Following a walk by Austin Romine to load the bases, Ronald Torreyes hit into a double-play but Ellsbury was able to score before the White Sox completed the final out, catching Headley between second and third, to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
With one out in the sixth, Tyler Austin gave the Yankees what they were missing from first base with a line drive homer to left or as Michael Kay called it, “a bullet”. Ellsbury reached base on a fielding error by White Sox starting pitcher David Holmberg and Headley followed with a double to move Ells to third. The White Sox made a pitching change and Austin Romine greeted reliever Juan Minaya with a sac fly to center, scoring Ellsbury. A passed ball moved Headley to third. Ronald Torreyes hit a grounder that should have been the final out, but an error by first baseman Matt Davidson, the third White Sox error of the game, allowed Torreyes to reach first while Headley scored, making it 6-1 Yankees.
The Yankees got into some trouble in the 8th when Jonathan Holder replaced Montgomery to start the inning. He struck out the first batter but a single by former Yankee Melky Cabrera and a walk to Jose Abreu put Cabrera in scoring position. Avisail Garcia hit into a force out that erased Abreu at second, moving Cabrera to third. Holder was pulled and replaced by Dellin Betances who subsequently walked Frazier to load the bases. In what would prove to be one of the plays of the game, Betances struck out Davidson to end the threat.
Unable to tack on any further insurance runs, the Yankees took the 6-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. Chasen Shreve was brought in to pitch in relief of Betances and secured the first out on a grounder by Yolmer Sanchez. But Kevan Smith and Adam Engel followed with singles to put runners at first and second. Tim Anderson punched a fly ball over the center field wall to pull the White Sox within two runs, 6-4. A frustrated Shreve was pulled for Aroldis Chapman but the White Sox kept the rally going with a single by Melky Cabrera. Fellow Cuban Jose Abreu doubled off Chapman, scoring Cabrera, and it was 6-5 Yankees. Fortunately, Chapman got Avisail Garcia on a ground out and Todd Frazier flied out to left to secure the save.
A little too close for comfort but the final result was a much-needed win. The Yankees (41-33) kept pace with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings. The Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays were idle and slipped to 3 games back.
The game wasn’t without its bad news. Second baseman Starlin Castro left the game in the third inning after straining his right hamstring while trying to run out a grounder. He was replaced by Rob Refsnyder. Castro will have a MRI today while the Yankees decide whether or not to place him on the DL. The initial word is the Yankees will call up infield prospect Tyler Wade. Wade has 5 HR’s and 25 RBI’s for Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His slash line is .313/.390/.444. In 71 games, he led the RailRiders with 13 errors but has stolen 24 bags. Wade, expected to be the utility-man of the future, will now get his first taste of the Bigs. He’ll back up Ronald Torreyes at second until Castro is able to resume play.
|Credit: Jon Durr-Getty Images|
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees were busy Monday on the transactions wire. They placed Aaron Hicks, as expected, on the 10-Day DL with a right oblique strain. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had been expected to continue his rehab with Double A Trenton was instead activated to replace Hicks. Healthy, there’s no question I prefer Hicks over Ellsbury, but since that’s not an option, I am hopeful the Yankees can get something…anything…out of first base for production. If so, it will help offset the loss of Hicks. The Yankees also sent LHP Tyler Webb and OF Mason Williams to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I was sorry to see Webb go after just two Major League appearances, but hopefully, he’ll be back. RHP Ronald Herrera and IB/OF Rob Refsnyder were recalled to replace Webb and Williams. Refsnyder will provide corner outfield relief and help at first base if necessary. Herrera had been scheduled to start last night’s game for the RailRiders so he represents a rotation insurance arm.
Matt Holliday was unavailable for the second straight day with his condition as a result of the allergic reaction suffered in Oakland. He had some medical tests ran yesterday but hopefully everything comes back good. The Yankees can ill afford to lose his productive bat for any extended period of time.
I do not want to detract from the great rookie season Aaron Judge is having, but Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger is amazing. He had his sixth multi-homer game on Sunday and now has 24 homers on the year. With a delayed start (he wasn’t promoted to the Dodgers until April 25th), he has the most home runs of any NL rookie in the first half since the All-Star Game debuted in 1933. The Dodgers have been steamrolling their opponents since he arrived. At his current pace, the son of a former Yankees utility player may catch and surpass Judge for most home runs in MLB. Bellinger and the Dodgers certainly have the mojo working right now.
|Credit: Chris Carlson-AP|
Have a great Tuesday! Hopefully it’s a two-for Tuesday as the Yankees attempt to secure their second win against the White Sox. Let’s Go Yankees!
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 2, Rangers 1…
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…no, it’s Ronald Torreyes! The unlikely hero delivered in the 10th inning with a walk-off run-scoring single as the Yankees took the first game of a three game set from the Texas Rangers.
The game, delayed for an hour and forty minutes by rain, was a classic pitcher’s duel between Japanese greats Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka. The duel may have ended with goose eggs and no decisions for both pitchers, but they were incredible as the game did not see its first runs until the 9th inning. Worried about Tanaka prior to the game, he showed that he was anything but a concern as he pitched 8 innings of three-hit scoreless ball, Walking just two, he fanned nine. Darvish went 7 innings with no runs and two hits, and did one better than Tanaka with strikeouts (10). I am not sure what we’ll see the next time Tanaka takes the mound but with Darvish as his motivation on Friday night, he was magnificent.
Credit: Julie Jacobson-AP
I was worried that Rangers slugger Joey Gallo would torch Tanaka pitches but he struck out with two runners on in the third inning, and grounded out in a similar situation in the eighth as the last batter Tanaka faced. Gallo finished 0-for-4 and 3 strikeouts.
The Yankees brought Aroldis Chapman in for the 9th inning of the scoreless game. He struck out the first batter, Shin-Soo Choo, but Elvis Andrus followed with a single. Struggling with his command, Chapman, who was sweating profusely, hit Nomar Mazara with a pitch in the shoulder. With Adrian Beltre at the plate, Andrus stole third. A great defensive play by third baseman Torreyes in stopping a wide throw from Gary Sanchez prevented more damage at that point. But when Beltre struck out, the ball got away from Sanchez and Andrus ran home for the game’s first run.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th, Torreyes went down on a groundout for the first out. But no worries, Brett Gardner came up and delivered with a game-tying home run to right. Aaron Hicks grounded out for the second out. Aaron Judge singled to put the potential winning run at first. Unfortunately, Matt Holliday struck out to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, the Rangers loaded the bases against Chad Green and Chasen Shreve with two outs but Shreve got Andrus to pop out to end the threat. This set the stage for the home half of the 10th. With one out, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled, with Sanchez taking third. Chris Carter struck out on four pitches (surprise, surprise). But no fear, Ronald Torreyes stepped up to the plate. The little man with the big stick. A line drive single to center scored Sanchez with the winning run. The Yankees win.
Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The victory allowed the Yankees (40-31) to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL East Standings. The Red Sox had defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 earlier in the evening. The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 15-5, to remain 2 1/2 games back.
After the game, the Yankees mercifully ended the Chris Carter experiment. He seemed lost at the plate, with another 0-for-4 performance and three strikeouts.
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-The New York Post
Carter had a chance to be a hero in the bottom of the 8th with Gary Sanchez on first and two outs. But he feebly struck out swinging. There was something about that weak final swing that gave me an “I’m done” feeling. It was reinforced in the 10th when Carter struck out with a huge opportunity to be the game’s hero. Apparently, GM Brian Cashman felt the same way as Carter was designated for assignment immediately after the game. Tyler Austin, who has homered in his last three of his last four games, was recalled to take Carter’s place. In the 27 games at Triple A after his reactivation from the DL in late May, Austin has hit .300/.366/.500 with 4 HR’s and 21 RBI’s for the RailRiders. Of his 30 hits in 100 at-bats, 17 have gone for extra-bases. The alarming statistic is 32 strikeouts but Austin has really been heating up with the bat over the past week. He has played error-free baseball at first. Welcome back, Tyler! Trust us, we are very glad to see you.
Big Papi, The Man Among Boys…
The Boston Red Sox retired the number of David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night in their game against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park. Big Papi was a thorn in the Yankees’ side for many years. Time and again, a game was ended with a Big Papi blast. I am very glad that #34 will no longer be an active number worn when the Red Sox come to town. My biggest fear was that he would “un-retire”.
Credit: Stuart Cahill
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr expressed it well when he said, “That just lets you know what a special impact he’s made in the community and the organization and all of baseball. What he’s done for the city, the team, people around him, it’s well deserved. I know we couldn’t be any happier for him.” I agree. As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I couldn’t wait for the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton (may he rest in peace) to retire, and I felt the same about Papi. More than anything, it is a sign of how much respect I held for those men.
A close friend of mine who is a lifelong, die-hard Red Sox fan, and Boston-area resident, did post this comment on Social Media: “This is just my humble opinion, but I think it is much too early for the Red Sox to be retiring Ortiz’s number. With the exception of Johnny Pesky, the honor of having a number retired by the Red Sox was reserved for those players who entered the Baseball HOF.” My response…whatever it takes to keep him from coming out of retirement.
Odds & Ends…
Chance Adams is a friggin’ rock star. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 11-1 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, the RailRiders’ ace was magnificent. Pawtucket didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning. Adams (5-2) finished six innings strong, allowing just the one hit and no runs. He issued two walks, while fanning eight. The outstanding performance lowered Adams’ season ERA to 2.12. At some point in the not-so-distant future, it will be determined that Adams has nothing left to prove at the Triple A level. In my mind, he’s just a couple of Luis Cessa bumps and bruises away from stepping on the main stage (or the potential first call if another starter…I hope not…is injured). Why not take a Chance?…
The Boston Red Sox are going hog wild in an attempt to find help. Yesterday, they signed pitcher Doug Fister, released by the Los Angeles Angels, and shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta, who was cut by the St Louis Cardinals. Injuries to their pitching staff forced the Fister move. The disaster known as Pablo Sandoval brought in Peralta. I still think the Red Sox will be heavy players for Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas at the trading deadline. The Boston Globe is reporting that the Sox should have about $9 million to play with before they risk crossing the luxury tax threshold.
Happy Saturday! Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
Yankees 9, Red Sox 1…
Admittedly, I was glad that it was David Price on the mound Thursday and not Chris Sale. For an ace, I’ve never been worried when Price is pitching against the Yankees as they generally seem to come up big against him. Thursday was no exception.
|Credit: Mike Stobe-Getty Images|
As John Sterling says, “Gary is scary”. A night after Chris Carter almost hit two home runs, Gary accomplished the feat for his second multi-homer game in a week. They had meat in them as both occurred with runners on base (solo homers seem don’t carry the same bang for the buck in a statement of the obvious). Like Wednesday’s game, the Yankees scored first with Brett Gardner’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the 2nd. Then, like Chris Carter the day before, Gary Sanchez got a hold of David Price’s pitch with Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday on base and deposited it over the left-center wall to give the Yankees a nice cushion. Sanchez went deep again in the 5th, with a blast to center off Price, scoring Starlin Castro. Gary was 2-for-4 with 5 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.
Gary has hit Price well in his brief career. He is 4-for-7 with four home runs. As Gary starts to heat up, it is scary to think what the Yankees offense is capable of when it is hitting all cylinders. Even when they are not, it seems like someone is coming up big (unless your name is Chase Headley).
It was also an impressive night for Aaron Judge, even without any homers. He was 3-for-4, with two runs scored, pushing his season batting average to .330. His single in the sixth inning off Red Sox reliever Fernando Abad was the hardest hit ball of the year according to Statcast. With exit velocity of 119.8 mph, Judge pushed two of his own prior efforts to second and third on the Exit Velocity leaderboard.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Brett Gardner took the lead in the Bald Brothers Battle with his 13th home run of the season, a fly to center in the 8th when the game was no longer in doubt. I was really hoping that Matt Holliday would be able to match Gardner two batters later, but he was hit by a pitch, taking the bat out of his hands prematurely.
I have to mention the great running catch by Ronald Torreyes in the 9th. As a defensive substitution for Didi Gregorius after Austin Romine had pinch hit for Didi, Torreyes ran toward the left field foul area after Xander Bogaerts hit a sharp fly. Sliding past the foul line, Torreyes made the catch to record the first out. Plays like this show the 2017 Yankees are a team that likes to have fun. You could see the appreciation from his teammates as Torreyes walked back on field.
Just when you thought Chris Carter was finally starting to hit, he was 0-for-4 as his batting average slipped below .200 again (.195). He was the only starter not to reach base through a hit or a walk. Chase Headley committed his 10th error of the season, matching his season total last year.
Lost among the stellar night by Sanchez was a tremendous start by Michael Pineda (7-3). After the disaster in his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays, Pineda was on top of his game against the Sox. He held Red Sox batters to only four hits over seven innings, and only allowed one unearned run. He walked two and struck out eight in the dominating performance.
|Credit: Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
The quartet of Pineda, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery have really been fun to watch with the most recent run through the rotation. Masahiro Tanaka, not so much…
As for the bullpen, I thought Adam Warren and Giovanny Gallegos did good jobs. Warren pitched a clean 8th inning, recording one strikeout. Gallegos came on in the 9th, and easily got the first two batters out. Manager Joe Girardi then made a pitching change to bring Dellin Betances into the game. Betances clearly had rust, having not pitched for about five days. He walked Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez subsequently took 2nd on defensive indifference. Dellin struck out the next batter, Jackie Bradley, Jr, but the ball got away from Gary Sanchez for a wild pitch, and JBJ made it safely to first with Ramirez taking third. Like Ramirez, JBJ then took 2nd on defensive indifference. Josh Rutledge followed with a walk to load the bases. I have to say that I was getting a bit concerned, even with a 9-1 lead. Fortunately, Dellin ended the game with the next batter, Pablo Sandoval, on a called third strike. For what should have been a short one-out stint, Betances ended up throwing 17 pitches. Hopefully, the work proves beneficial for the upcoming Baltimore series.
|Credit: Charles Wenzelberg|
Coming into the Boston series, the Red Sox could have taken the AL East lead with a sweep. But thanks to two Yankees victories following the opening game loss, New York (34-23) increased its lead to 3 games. The Baltimore Orioles lost to the Washington Nationals, 6-1, dropping 3 1/2 games back.
I never thought that we’d hold Boston to only one run in two games, but it’s been a very fun couple of nights. I am hoping for a similar result in the upcoming series against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
Odds & Ends…
Greg Bird should be back soon. He is saying that he is as close to 100% as he has been since spring training. On Thursday, he moved up from High-A Tampa to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on rehab assignment. He was 1-for-3 with a single and two walks in SWB’s 3-2 loss to Lehigh Valley. I liked his comments when asked how will he know when he’s ready: “Some magical sign. Lightning will strike my bat”. He was kidding, of course, but if he starts hitting like he did in Spring Training, it’s going to be a very fun summer.
Here are the pitching match-ups for the three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles that begins tonight.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (6-4, 2.93 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 3.67 ERA)
Orioles: Chris Tillman (1-3, 5.59 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (4-2, 2.90 ERA)
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.86 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka, Yikes! (5-6, 6.55 ERA)
Have a great Friday! As always, Go Yankees!
Credit: Elsa/Getty Images
Well, I should qualify that by saying I hope it is for the Bird (as in Greg)…just not for the Birds of Baltimore.
The Yankees head back to the Bronx for a weekend series against the AL East front-running Orioles. The series begins tonight at 7:05 pm ET with CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.70 ERA) scheduled to take the mound versus the O’s Kevin Gausman (1-2, 7.50 ERA). In Gausman’s last start on Sunday against the Red Sox, he gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning to Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez as the O’s fell to Boston 6-2.
The Yankees are playing much better than they did when the O’s took 2 of 3 earlier this month. When the Yankees salvaged the final game of the series with a 7-3 victory on April 9th, it was the start of an eight-game winning streak. They left Baltimore with a 2-4 record, and now stand at 13-7 as they prepare for the rematch. The Yankees currently trail the Orioles by just one game.
The X Factor is the return of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who returns tonight after missing the first 20 games of the season. Didi performed his rehab assignment at High A Tampa, where he hit .290 with a homer and 13 ribbies. Credit is owed to interim starting shortstop Ronald Torreyes. My preference had been to promote prospect Tyler Wade as I didn’t feel Torreyes (or “Toe”) was up to the task. He proved me wrr, wrrr…not exactly right. The little guy came up big in clutch situations, and played admirably in the field. Toe now moves to the critical super-sub role with the ability to cover for Gregorius, Starlin Castro or Chase Headley. At this point, if you told me that he could play catcher too, I wouldn’t argue. There’s a reason that Brian Cashman is paid to the general manager and Joe Girardi is paid to be the manager, while I write for free on this blog site.
Now the question is what becomes of backup shortstop Pete Kozma. Is he simply optioned to AAA (retaining his spot on the 40-man roster) or designated for assignment? Personally, for me, the emergency backup shortstop is Wade so I’d shake Kozma’s hand for helping out and then hand him his walking papers.
Catcher Gary Sanchez is also very close to returning. He’ll begin his rehab assignment next Tuesday for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Like Torreyes, catcher Austin Romine has done a terrific job filling in for Sanchez. Obviously, he’ll never be the bat nor the arm of Sanchez, but he held his own at the position.
This has been a crazy year for guys going on the disabled list. The San Francisco Giants losing ace Madison Bumgarner for two months due to a dirt bike accident is probably the craziest. But it seems like no team has been immune from the DL plague. Soon, the Yankees will be back at full strength for a team that is already playing better than expected. There is reason for great optimism at 161st and River.
The pitching match-ups for the rest of the weekend are:
Balt: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 5.95 ERA)
NYY: Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.86 ERA)
Balt: Wade Miley (1-1, 2.08 ERA)
NYY: Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78 ERA)
I am very glad that we won’t be facing a Chris Sale-like pitcher in this series. So far this season, the best pitcher for the Orioles has been Dylan Bundy. The Yankees will miss Bundy (3-1, 1.65 ERA) this go-around. You have to like the Yankees’ chances in this series, particularly considering they are at home. Welcome back, Didi! It will be great to see #18 on the field again.
Yesterday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disputed the reports that the group led by Yankees Legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had won the exclusive rights to purchase the Miami Marlins. Per Manfred, there are still two groups involved in the running but that resolution should be reached within a matter of days. So, hold your horses, Jeter may not be trading in his pinstripes just yet. It would be cool if the Steinbrenner Family would sell Jeter part of the Yankees, but that’s not going to happen. For Jeter’s sake, I hope his group’s bid is successful. Ownership is his dream and the best case scenario without the Yankees in play is a National League club to avoid frequent competition.
What did last night’s game against the Boston Red Sox look like?…
What can you say about Masahiro Tanaka’s masterful performance against the Red Sox? It was an absolute masterpiece as Tanaka out-pitched Boston ace Chris Sale for the the 3-0 victory. Tanaka went the distance, allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out three. It was Tanaka’s best start of the year and one of his greatest in pinstripes. Sale, who came into the game with a career 1.17 ERA against the Yankees, allowed three runs (two earned) in the loss for the Red Sox.
For the majority of the game, the Yankees held a slim 1-0 lead, thanks to a sac fly by Matt Holliday in the fourth inning. Finally, they knocked Sale out of the game in the ninth inning after he allowed singles to the first three batters, including a run-scoring hit by Holliday to pick up his second RBI of the game. Reliever Heath Embree gave up a hit to the first batter he faced (Starlin Castro), scoring Chase Headley, with the run charged to Sale.
Chris Carter, carrying the rep of a one-dimensional home run hitter, played very solid defense at first base even if he couldn’t get his bat going against Sale.
This was one of the more enjoyable victories over the Red Sox in recent memory. Hats off to Tanaka, and congratulations to the team for the two-game sweep.
Have a wonderful Friday! It’s time to cook some Birds!
Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
What a difference a day makes!
Chris “All he does is hit home runs”¹ Carter made my Saturday a fun day after Friday night’s loss. Michael Pineda, like CC Sabathia the day before, did not have his best stuff and only lasted five innings. I had felt prior to the game that Pineda needed to be at his best with talented young right-hander Jameson Taillon on the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but fortunately, the Yankees were able to get to Taillon (thanks Starlin!). The game was tied at 5 in the eighth when Chris Carter came to the plate to pinch hit for Dellin Betances. The inning had looked like it would be over quickly when the first two Yankee batters flied out (if Bird’s fly could have gone just a few more feet…). But an error by Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier allowed catcher Austin Romine to reach base and shortstop Ronald Torreyes followed with a single. Carter is paid to do one thing and against Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero, he did it. His beautiful swing was met with “it is high, it is far, it is gone!”. The Yankees had taken a commanding 8-5 lead.
The Yankees would score a couple more times that inning, thanks in large part to another error by the Pirates, but the signature moment was the ninth inning even though the game was already out of reach for the Pirates. In what is becoming a typical day at the office, Aaron Judge got all of an Antonio Bastardo pitch to send the ball screaming 116 mph for a ‘no doubt about it’ home run. When all was said and done, the ball had traveled 457 feet. It is starting to feel like not a question of ‘if’ Judge can hit a ball 500 feet, but ‘when’. Five batters, including Matt Holliday, have hit longer home runs this year (a total of five feet separates the leaders) but it’s only a matter of time before Judge takes charge of the Statcast leaderboard.
Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
The Yankees won the game, 11-5 . They head into today’s game with a chance to take the series against an old friend, Pirates starting pitcher Ivan Nova. Jordan Montgomery, wearing Nova’s old jersey number, will take the mound for the Yankees.
Despite the win, the Yankees failed to gain any ground on the Baltimore Orioles (12-4) who took another game from the Boston Red Sox. So, the Yankees remain 1 1/2 games out of first with an 11-6 record. I get the feeling that the Red Sox (10-8) will be playing like a wounded dog when the Yankees get to Fenway Park on Tuesday.
I was glad to see manager Joe Girardi put Aaron Hicks in Saturday’s lineup. He acknowledged that he needs to find ways to put Hicks’ hot bat into the game. But really, left field is the only viable solution. The $153 million man is actually producing in center (he’s still dead to me despite the .323 batting average) and Aaron Judge is becoming a marquee event in right. Despite Chris Carter’s home run, I still think first base should stay exclusively with Greg Bird. I know that he’s only hitting .111 after another 0-for-4 performance, but he seems to be hitting the ball well even if they are going for outs. It is only a matter of time before the balls start falling in (or leaving the park). I think he’s close to catching fire.
I always keep an eye on former Yankees to see how they are doing. I guess it is a Jay Buhner/Fred McGriff disorder, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for former Yankees prospect Rob Segedin. Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal that originally brought Ronald Torreyes to New York, the third baseman recently got another call up to the Dodgers when they placed former Yankees pitcher Rich Hill on the DL. Two days later, Segedin was on the DL himself with a strained right big toe. The taste of the Major Leagues can be so elusive for many and it certainly is for the 28-year-old former Yankees third round draft pick.
Credit: David Crane/Southern California News Group
Have a great Sunday! Let’s hope this is another Fun Day!
¹A nod to Buddy Ryan’s infamous quote “All he does is catch touchdowns” in reference to Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.