Credit: Richard Rodriguez-Getty Images
Yankees 3, Rangers 1…
Luis Severino was spectacular on Saturday as he combined with two relievers to one-hit the Texas Rangers. Sevy didn’t get the win, but he was masterful a day after Masahiro Tanaka’s implosion. Manager Joe Girardi went with the “A” team for the bullpen, using David Robertson (the winner) and Aroldis Chapman (the save).
Brett Gardner kicked off the game with a single to left. However, the Yankees came up empty when Chase Headley hit a sharp fly to center that Gardy thought was going to drop in. He took off for second and thinking the ball would fall, he accelerated for third. Unfortunately, Rangers center fielder Carlos Gomez made a great catch. There was no chance for Gardy to get back to first so the Rangers were able to complete the easy double play. Gary Sanchez popped out to short so it was time to start the Luis Severino Show.
The Yankees came up with a great defensive play of their own in the bottom of the first when Jacoby Ellsbury, echoing shades of his younger self, recorded the final out with a diving catch to rob Elvis Andrus of a hit. The play received an ovation from Severino on the mound.
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Rangers’ Carlos Gomez had to be helped off the field during an at-bat when he rolled his right ankle after hitting a grounder to second and suffered a high ankle sprain.
Through the early innings, Severino was cruising but unfortunately so was Rangers starter Andrew Cashner. The Yankees threatened again in the top of the 3rd when Brett Gardner hit a two-out single to left. Chase Headley singled to right to put the runners at the corners, but Gary Sanchez went down swinging to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, with the Rangers still searching for their first hit against Severino, Joey Gallo walked to start the inning for the Rangers. Will Middlebrooks hit into a fielder’s choice at third and the Yankees erased Gallo at second but they were unable to turn the double play. Rangers backup catcher Brett Nicholas, starting in place of Robinson Chirinos who had the day off, doubled to the right field corner to score Middlebrooks. It was the only hit the Rangers would get off Severino and the Yankees bullpen for the duration of the game.
Luis Severino pitched through the 7th inning but the Yankees still trailed 1-0.
In the top of the 8th with Andrew Cashner still on the mound for the Rangers, Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch. That would be all for Cashner, who did a magnificent job. The Rangers brought in Alex Claudio to replace Cashner. The Yankees sent up Matt Holliday to pinch hit for Greg Bird. Holliday singled to right and Frazier moved to third. Tyler Wade replaced Holliday at first. After Brett Gardner fouled out to the catcher, Chase Headley hit a sacrifice fly deep to center to score Frazier. The game was tied. Gary Sanchez singled to left past shortstop Elvis Andrus, moving Wade to second. However, the Yankees were unable to capitalize when Didi Gregorius grounded out to the defensive shift at short/second to end the inning.
David Robertson pitched a clean bottom of the 8th to send the game to the 9th.
With Alex Claudio still pitching for the Rangers, Starlin Castro led off the 9th with a single to right. Aaron Judge hit a grounder to third and the throw erased Castro at second. The Rangers were unable to turn the double play when the relay to first pulled Joey Gallo off the bag so Judge was safe. Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to right which advanced Judge to third. The Rangers replaced Claudio with Ricky Rodriguez. Todd Frazier was hit by pitch, again, so he took first and Ellsbury moved to second. The bases were loaded. Tyler Austin, who had entered the game in the bottom of the 8th to replace Bird, singled to left on a hard hit ball which brought Judge home with the go-ahead run.
Credit: Larry W Smith-EPA
Brett Gardner was unable to advance the runners when he popped out to short. It brought Chase Headley to the plate with the bases still packed. He patiently took a walk which brought Ellsbury home with the second run of the inning. The Yankees led 3-1. The Rangers made another pitching change to bring in Nick Gardewine. Gardewine ended the Yankees rally by getting Gary Sanchez to hit into a fielder’s choice which forced Headley at second.
Bottom the 9th and the heart of the Rangers order due up. It was time for the return of Aroldis Chapman to his endeared role as the Yankees closer. He did not disappoint. After Elvis Andrus grounded out to second (Starlin Castro’s brilliant throw to first just beat the runner as confirmed by the challenge replay), Chapman struck out both Nomar Mazara and pinch-hitter Mike Napoli to end the game. The Yankees win!
Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees (76-65) were unable to make up any ground on the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, behind Chris Sale, dismantled the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-0, and maintained their 4 1/2 game lead over the Yankees. The Cleveland Indians won their 17th game in a row. Their 4-2 victory over Baltimore pushed the O’s 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
It was an incredible effort by Luis Severino. He pitched seven innings, allowing only the single hit and run. He walked three and struck out ten. The outing lowered his season ERA to 2.96. David Robertson (7-2) picked up the win and Aroldis Chapman captured his 17th save.
For the Yankees offense, they had nine hits but all were singles. Brett Gardner (2-for-5) was the only hitter with multiple hits. Chase Headley had 2 RBI’s and Tyler Austin had the crucial game-winning RBI in the 9th.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have a change in the pitching match-up for today’s game. Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.14 ERA) will start in place of CC Sabathia, who was moved to Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field in Queens. A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09 ERA), who had originally been scheduled to pitch on Saturday until Andrew Cashner was moved up, will start for the Rangers. The Minnesota Twins lost so they are 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card Standings (holding the 2nd spot). The Los Angeles Angeles and Texas Rangers are 2 and 2 1/2 games behind the Twins, respectively.
The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders won Game 3 of their Governor’s Cup best-of-five first round series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies). The 6-1 win, behind the arm of Brady Lail, gives the RailRiders the 2-1 series advantage. Donovan Solano was 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Mason Williams was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Billy McKinney homered for the second time in the series with a two-run shot in the 6th inning.
Credit: Fred Adams-for Times Leader
Game 4 is scheduled for today at 1:05 pm at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. Nestor Cortes (2-4, 1.49 ERA) takes the mound in the potential series-clinching game. he’ll face Jacob Waguespack (9-7, 3.42 ERA in A-Adv and AA this year).
The Double A Trenton Thunder crushed the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets), 9-1, in Game 4 of their Eastern League Division Series to win the series and advance to the Eastern League Championship Series. They’ll face the Altoona Curve (Pirates) with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday night at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, NJ.
As expected, the Yankees signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop prospect Ronny Rojas. The Yankees have long been tied to the youngster but he didn’t turn 16 until August 23rd. Rojas was rated as the eleventh best unsigned international prospect earlier this summer by MLB.com. He is the highest rated Yankees signing behind OF Everson Pereira, who was rated fourth.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s take this series and head for NYC! Go Yankees!
|Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports|
Astros 7, Yankees 6…
It was very disappointing to lose a game because of Dellin Betances, who looked like the new Tyler Clippard, and Aroldis Chapman. I defended Betances during his arbitration loss last off-season but he pretty much looked like a $3 million (if that) pitcher on Saturday. Of course, the Yankees didn’t exactly intend to pay $86 million for their ace closer to give up the game-winning hit either. The two combined to allow four runs in the eighth as the Astros erased a 6-3 deficit. It was the 15th blown save by the bullpen in 79 games.
After the game, Betances said “The reason we lost is because I had bad command. I walked three guys. That’s not going to help. I have to be able to challenge guys. For whatever reason, my stuff just hasn’t been as sharp. I just have to continue to work and I know I’ll find it.” Hopefully sooner rather than later. It’s been tough this season when one pitcher followed by another continues to go through periods of complete and total ineffectiveness.
This game should have been about the positive debut of Clint Frazier. Frazier became the first Yankee in 100 years to debut with a double and a home run.
|Credit: Bob Levey-Getty Images|
Jordan Montgomery started the game, pitching very strongly. He got into trouble in the fifth when Marwin Gonzalez opened with a walk and Yuli Gurriel homered to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.
The Yankees came right back in the top of the sixth (reminiscent of the day before). Clint Frazier opened the inning with his first Major League hit, a double to left. It was touching to watch his mom, Kim, wiping her eyes. Brett Gardner singled to move Frazier to third. It ended the day for Astros starter Francis Marte who had really held the Yankees in check to that point. Facing reliever Will Harris, Jacoby Ellsbury walked and the bases were loaded. Gary Sanchez singled to right, scoring Frazier (his first run scored…blah, blah, blah). While Sanchez missed the opportunity for a grand slam, Didi Gregorius did not. On an 0-1 count, he lifted the Harris pitch just over the right center field wall. Very rapidly, the 0-2 deficit had turned into a 5-2 lead. The Yankees subsequently had Ronald Torreyes at third following a single, steal and ground out that advanced him to just 90 feet away. But in one of the great surprises of the game (not really), Chris Carter struck out to end the inning. Carter was 0-for-3, with the one strikeout.
The Astros scored another run in the bottom of the 6th when Carlos Correa homered off Montgomery with one out. Evan Gattis followed with a double, and Montgomery headed for the showers. Chad Green, the lone bullpen star, retired the next two batters by strikeout. I have to compliment Green. He was done a very fine job in his current role as he has transitioned from being a starter to a long reliever.
Clint Frazier led off the top of the 7th with his home run, off reliever Tony Sipp, to increase the Yankees’ lead to 6-3. It was funny how he was met with silence in the Yankees dugout before they erupted with the congratulatory high five’s. From there, it was up to the Yankees bullpen to finish the job. Green effectively finished the bottom of the 7th with a double play grounder and strikeout, but then we moved to the forgettable 8th inning. Dellin Betances, channeling the bad versions of Masahiro Tanaka and Tyler Clippard, entered the game in relief of Green. It started well enough with a strike out of the talented George Springer, but then Betances walked All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve. With Carlos Correa at bat, Altuve stole second, then third, and scored when Correa ground out to second. Okay, the Yankees still had a 6-4 lead so there was still hope. Evan Gattis stepped up and made it 6-5 with a shot to left. By this point, I was screaming for Manager Joe Girardi to pull Betances but he wasn’t listening. Betances walked Carlos Beltran on four pitches (Aargh!). Josh Reddick entered the game as a pinch runner for Beltran and advanced to second when first baseman Chris Carter failed to handle a pick-off attempt. Reddick stole third. After walking Marwin Gonzalez, Girardi finally signaled for Aroldis Chapman. Yuli Gurriel came to the plate for a showdown between Cuban countrymen. Despite throwing 100 mph pitches, Gurriel won the battle when he doubled on a 3-2 count, scoring Reddick and Gonzalez with the go-ahead runs.
The Yankees went down weakly in the 9th against Ken Giles when pinch-hitter Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier both pooped…err, popped…out. Brett Gardner hit a single but rounded for second before changing his mind and was erased as the game’s final out when he tried to get back to first. The Yankees lose another one-run game, 7-6.
|Credit: David J Phillip-AP|
The Yankees (43-36) fell two games behind the Boston Red Sox with the loss. The Red Sox easily defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-1. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles, 10-3, so they are just two games behind the Yanks.
If the Yankees can’t fix Betances, this free-fall is going to continue. He is perhaps the most vital man in the pen. The Blue Jays, getting their asses handed to them in Boston, will be playing like a wounded dog when they come to the Bronx tomorrow.
Odds & Ends…
With the July 2nd international signing period now open, the Yankees can be players on the international market once again. Limited for two years following their huge splash from the 2014 -15 signing period spending spree, the Yankees can now spend up to the hard cap of $4.75 for the current signing period. As expected, the Yankees signed notable international prospects OF Everson Pereira (the fourth ranked prospect on MLB’s list of Top International Prospects), SS Ronny Rojas, and SS Roberto Chirinos. Rojas and Chirinos are ranked 11th and 16th, respectively, by MLB. River Ave Blues reported these anticipated signings in early May. It’s weird to see players born in this century joining the Yankees. Welcome to Pinstripes, Everson, Ronny and Roberto! Note: Rojas technically cannot sign until August 23rd when he turns 16.
To make room on the MLB roster for Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar was sent to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He didn’t make any appearances during this short call-up, but it was simply a procedural move as Andujar was still with the team in Chicago before it departed for Houston. He was activated for a game until the Yankees could make the move to call up Frazier. Andujar will now return to Scranton to play third every day. As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, he’ll be back.
Happy Sunday! Flush the Saturday debacle and let’s take the series with a win today before the flight to NYC! Let’s Go Yankees!