The way the game started, it looked like it was going to be the Twins’ day. But in the end, it was the grizzled old veterans (CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner) that keyed the victory for the Yankees.
In a game delayed by rain (one hour and five minutes), the Twins got an early jump on Sabathia. Brian Dozier led off with a single to center on the first pitch. Joe Mauer reached on a bunt to third (a roller on the line that Todd Frazier waited to see if it would roll out), Dozier advanced to second. Jorge Polanco followed with a bunt single back to the pitcher. CC must have been thrilled with all those bunts (memories of Boston). Polanco was called out on the field but the Twins challenged and replay showed that he had beaten Sabathia’s throw to first. The bases were loaded with no outs. Even though it resulted in a run, the play of the game occurred when Jorge Polanco hit a grounder to short and the Yankees completed a double play (second to first) with Dozier running home to score the game’s first run. Byron Buxton grounded out back to Sabathia to end the threat. The Twins could have scored multiple runs in that situation, which would have changed the complexion of the game, but CC was able to limit the damage.
The top of the 2nd saw a completely different Sabathia. He set down the Twins on a ground out and two strikeouts. Thanks to walks by Starlin Castro and Greg Bird, the Yankees had two runners on base in the bottom of the 2nd, with two outs, for Brett Gardner. Gardy delivered with a line drive to left to score Castro.
|Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press|
Bird moved to third, but Aaron Judge was unable to bring him home when he flied out to center to end the inning. Game tied.
Max Kepler led off the top of the 3rd inning with a home run to right center as the Twins recaptured the lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the 4th with a double down the left field line. After Todd Frazier struck out, Greg Bird took his second walk of the game. Runners at first and second. Brett Gardner came up big again with a single to right, past a diving Joe Mauer, to score Ellsbury. The Twins pulled starter Jose Berrios and replaced him with Alan Busenitz. With Aaron Judge batting, Busenitz uncorked a wild pitch which moved the runners to second and third. Aaron Judge took advantage with a sacrifice fly to the right field warning track that scored Bird. The Yankees had their first lead of the game, 3-2.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-Getty Images|
The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 5th. With former Met Dillon Gee on the mound and one out, Chase Headley was hit by a pitch near the family jewels. Yikes! Headley was okay, but as Michael Kay of the YES Network said, I hope he was wearing a cup even though he was not playing in the field (DH) for this game. Starlin Castro followed with a single to left through the hole and Headley moved to second. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first for the second out, but the runners advanced to second and third. Todd Frazier walked to load the bases. The Twins made another pitching change, replacing Gee with Buddy Boshers. Greg Bird hit a grounder to first that looked like it would be a routine play for Joe Mauer but the ball bounced off the side of his glove and all runners were safe, with Headley scoring. If there was ever a guy that deserved to score, it was Headley as he had truly taken one for the team. The Yankees had increased their lead to 4-2.
Sabathia found himself back in another jam in the 6th inning. Two singles, a stolen base, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs, but CC was able to get Eddie Rosario to fly out to left to leave the runners stranded. Rosario’s hit took Brett Gardner to the warning track and back into the wall but it was still the third out even if it did cause me to lose my breath momentarily. Sabathia’s day was done.
In the bottom of the 6th, Twins reliever Ryan Pressly took over for Buddy Boshers. The first batter, Aaron Judge, singled to left through the hole. Gary Sanchez followed with a single to left and the Yankees had runners at the corners. After outs by Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley, Starlin Castro singled to right, inches past a diving Brian Dozier, to score Judge. Sanchez moved to second. A wild pitch had advanced the runners to second and third. From there, Pressly intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases. Unfortunately, Todd Frazier grounded out to short to end the inning but the Yankees had added to their lead, 5-2.
Chad Green took over for Sabathia in the 7th. It wasn’t the usual Terminator-like appearance for Green, but he did hold the Twins scoreless despite allowing a single and a walk in the inning.
The Yanks missed another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 7th. Brett Gardner had reached on a one-out grounder to short (a ball that squirted out of the shortstop’s glove). With Aaron Judge batting, Gardy stole second. He then moved to third on a wild pitch by reliever John Curtiss. Judge hit a grounder to third and Gardy made an unsuccessful break for home. Eduardo Escobar’s throw to catcher Chris Gimenez nailed Gardy at the plate.
|Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press|
In the top of the 8th, David Robertson got the call. Joe Girardi had said prior to the game that Dellin Betances would be unavailable after pitching in the two previous games but obviously there was much discussion among the Yankees Universe yesterday about whether the Yankees should drop Betances to less pressurized situations until he can find himself again. D-Rob added fuel to the argument when he struck out the side.
Aroldis Chapman came into the game in the 9th. Although he did allow a two-out double to Chris Gimenez, he got Max Kepler to hit a liner to left for the final out to earn his 20th save. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (84-67) kept pace with the Boston Red Sox, staying three games back. The Baltimore Orioles have done the Yankees no favors as they fell to the Sox again, this time by a score of 1-0 in extra innings. Manny Machado, please feel free to mix in a few timely hits. The Yankees have built a commanding six game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Twins. The third place WC-contending team, the Los Angeles Angels, also lost so they failed to make up any ground on their 1 1/2 game deficit to the Twins.
CC Sabathia (12-5) was clearly the crafty vet in this game. He escaped huge jams and overall held the Twins in check. ‘Get the game to the bullpen’ and he did.
Both Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro had three hits, and Aaron Judge had two. Another good win by the home team!
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have made a pitching change for today’s game. Earlier, Joe Girardi had announced that Masahiro Tanaka would be the scheduled starter. However, upon reconsideration (based primarily on the fact that the Yankees have not yet clinched a post-season berth), they have decided to pitch Luis Severino (13-6, 2.93 ERA). He’ll be opposed by the ageless Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.80 ERA). Tanaka will pitch Friday night in Toronto. The move gives Severino the potential for three starts if the Yankees are still challenging the Sox for the division championship. If not, he’ll make two more starts, including today, and will take the mound for the Wild Card game.
It is amazing to think that if/when Aaron Judge hits his 45th home run of the season, he’ll join very select company as the only Yankees with 45 or more home runs in a season…Roger Maris (61); Babe Ruth (60, 59, 54, 54, 49, 47, 46, 46, 46); Mickey Mantle (54, 52); Alex Rodriguez (54, 48); Lou Gehrig (49, 49, 47, 46); and Joe DiMaggio (46). Standing pat at 44 HR’s is impressive as it would also include Tino Martinez but clearly we want Judge to continue to send balls into orbit.
Have a great Wednesday! It’s a wonderful day for a win! Go Yankees!
Yankees 2, Twins 1…
The game had many stars…Jaime Garcia, Aaron Judge, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, but it was Aroldis Chapman who brought home the victory with his 5-out save that included working out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the top of the 8th inning as the Yankees held off the Minnesota Twins.
I’ve not been a very big fan of Jaime Garcia but he delivered on Monday night. In a game that looked like a mismatch on paper (Garcia against 15-game winner Ervin Santana), Garcia was just a tad bit better on this night. It was evident that he brought his “A” game when he struck out the side in the first inning to start the game against his former team of 6 days in July.
Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press
Aaron Judge gave Garcia an early lead when he belted his 44th homer of the year, a solo shot to right. It was Judge’s 97th RBI of the season.
The Twins tied the game in the top of the 5th inning. Eddie Rosario led off with a single to second on a ball that was deflected off the glove of a diving Didi Gregorius into shallow right field. Eduardo Escobar singled to right, but Aaron Judge’s slight bobble of the ball (ruled an error) allowed Rosario the time he needed to race around to third base. Robbie Grossman hit a grounder to third. Todd Frazier fielded and threw to second for the force out on Escobar but Rosario scored and the game was tied.
Garcia was able to get the first two outs in the top of the 6th, but when he gave up Joe Mauer’s single to right, his day was done. David Robertson, ready and waiting, came in and struck out Byron Buxton to end the Twins’ side of the inning.
Garcia probably wished that he could have gotten Mauer out because the Yankees scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Chase Headley singled to center on a ball that was deflected off the glove of second baseman Brian Dozier with one out. Starlin Castro singled to left, with Headley moving to second. With Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate, a wild pitch by Ervin Santana allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Ellsbury was then intentionally walked to load the bases. Todd Frazier’s sacrifice fly to center scored Headley and the Yankees had a 2-1 lead.
The Twins made a pitching change and brought in Trevor Hildenberger who retired Greg Bird on a ground out at first so the Yankees were unable to push any further runs across.
Dellin Betances replaced the highly effective David Robertson to start the 8th inning and the drama began. He hit the first batter, Robbie Grossman, with a pitch to the hip. Zach Granite pinch hit for Jason Castro and moved Grossman to second with a sacrifice bunt. Max Kepler pinch hit for Ehire Adrianza and drew a walk on four successive pitches. After pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited the mound, Betances threw a wild pitch that advanced the runners to second and third. Larry, your talk didn’t work! Betances proceeded to walk Brian Dozier, after almost striking him out on a foul tip that Gary Sanchez was unable to catch earlier in the at-bat, and the bases were full with only one out. Finally, Joe Girardi realized that it was not Dellin’s night and mercifully made the call for Aroldis Chapman.
Credit: Paul J Bereswill-NY Post
Chapman proceeded to strike out the dangerous Joe Mauer on three pitches and got Byron Buxton to jump on the first pitch for a fly out to right to end the threat. Chapman had averted disaster in shutting down the Twins on four pitches. Whew! No wait, a BIG WHEW!
Credit: Kathy Willens-Associated Press
Chapman easily retired the Twins in the top of the 9th, with the radar gun reaching 104 mph. His swinging strikeout of Eduardo Escobar ended the game. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (83-67) were unable to make up any ground on the Red Sox. Boston, despite falling behind by five runs early, overcame the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings, winning 10-8. So, the Yankees remain three games behind the Sox. The Yankees increased their Wild Card lead over the Twins to five games.
I will continue to be critical of Jaime Garcia because I am not a fan of his, but for this game, he pitched well enough to win. 5 2/3 innings, four hits, one run (no earned runs), and nine strikeouts on 85 pitches. An incredible stat, for him, was no walks given his propensity for free passes. David Robertson (9-2), the winner, has the most wins of any reliever. I love his ‘Andrew Miller’ like attitude (willingness to pitch anywhere, any time). Aroldis Chapman was clearly the game’s MVP for his clean-up of the mess created by Dellin Betances. Even better is that he only threw 16 pitches for the five-out save, his 19th, so he’ll be ready to go again tonight. Chapman pitching at the top of his game is crucial for October success.
Nice win, guys!
Odds & Ends…
MLB.com has released its revised list of Top 100 Prospects and the great Gleyber Torres is #1! Of course, we already knew that and anxiously await his arrival in the Bronx in 2018.
Other notable Yankees and former Yankees include: 23) Clint Frazier; 41) Blake Rutherford (White Sox); 55) Chance Adams; 70) Dustin Fowler (Athletics); 82) Estevan Florial; 84) Justus Sheffield; and 96) Miguel Andujar. Proving that we drafted the wrong son of Dante Bichette Sr, Toronto’s Bo Bichette came in at #26. His brother, Dante Jr, has been a disappointment in the Yankees organization and probably will not return. The Yankees took Dante Jr with their first pick (a compensatory pick, #51) in 2011. It was the same year they drafted Greg Bird, Jake Cave and Jon Gray (who didn’t sign and was later drafted by the Colorado Rockies).
Have a great Tuesday! Let’s put away those pesky Twins for the series win! Go Yankees!
Credit: Bill Kostroun
Orioles 6, Yankees 4…
The Yankees apparently forgot that it was Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound yesterday. Jimenez entered the game with a 5-10 record and 6.75 ERA. It’s pretty much representative of who the pitcher has been the last few years. On Sunday, he may as well have been Chris Sale…5 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. He was certainly a better version of Sonny Gray on this day.
For as much as Sonny Gray has given the Yankees so far, they could have picked up an average starter for much less (somebody better than Jaime Garcia) to give them three wins since the July trading deadline and kept Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian in pinstripes. I know, that’s a bit harsh, and Gray is an upper echelon rotation starter but in the small sampling size with the Yankees, the results have been underwhelming. Granted, he doesn’t get run support with his losses but I was hoping for better results. The Red Sox, meanwhile, will ride the arm of a pitcher (Doug Fister) they picked up off the scrap heap to go with Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz. Fister has four wins for the Red Sox since the end of July. I’d take Gray over Fister any day of the week (obviously), but it is disappointing that more wins have not materialized.
|Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images|
Baltimore got on the board first in the top of the 2nd inning. Chris Davis hit a one-out fly to left for a double. Clint Frazier misjudged his leap and was unable to make the catch. Seth Smith hit a grounder to third and was thrown out at first, but Davis moved to third on the play. Todd Frazier almost tagged Davis out but opted to go for the sure out at first. After Mark Trumbo walked, Austin Hays singled up in the middle, past a diving Didi Gregorius, into center field, scoring Davis.
The Yankees got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Didi Gregorius led off with a homer just over the wall in right center to tie the game at one. It was Didi’s 24th home run, which tied the Yankees mark for most home runs by a shortstop set by Derek Jeter in 1999.
|Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images|
The Orioles quickly took the lead again in the top of the 3rd. Manny Machado hit a one-out single to right, breaking an 0-for-19 slump. With two outs, Trey Mancini doubled down the left field line to the corner to score Machado. Baltimore had taken a 2-1 lead.
The 4th inning was the one that got away from Sonny Gray. He walked Seth Smith to start the inning. He retired the next two hitters and was a strike away from getting out of the inning with Caleb Joseph at the plate. Unfortunately, Joseph singled to left, between Todd Frazier and Didi Gregorius, to keep the inning alive. Tim Beckham, proving to be one of the best trading deadline pickups, homered into the bleachers in left to give the O’s all the runs they would need. 5-1, Baltimore.
|Credit: Anthony Grupposo-USA TODAY Sports|
Gray got Manny Machado to hit a liner to right for the final out (great diving play by Aaron Judge) but he would not return.
Bryan Mitchell took over for Gray in the top of the 5th inning. Jonathan Schoop led off with a single to left and Trey Mancini singled to center past a diving Didi Gregorius. The O’s had runners at the corners and no outs. After Chris Davis struck out, Seth Smith hit a grounder between first and second. With a throw from Starlin Castro to Didi Gregorius, they forced Mancini out at second but Schoop scored on the play. The O’s had increased their lead to 6-1.
In the bottom of the 6th, Mychal Givens took over for Jimenez who had thrown 100 pitches through five innings. Gary Sanchez drew a one-out walk and with two outs, Starlin Castro hit a soft grounder toward third and beat the throw from Givens which pulled Chris Davis off the base. Runners at first and second. Matt Holliday drilled a line drive to left for a double which scored both Sanchez and Castro. 6-3, O’s. Buck Showalter pulled Givens and brought in former Yankee Richard Bleier to face Greg Bird. Bird had homered off Bleier in Friday night’s win and he had a chance to make it a game once again. Sadly, Bleier won the battle this time when Bird grounded out to first to end the inning.
Baltimore reliever Brad Brach took over in relief of Darren O’Day to start the bottom of the 8th inning. Aaron Judge doubled to left with a fly ball off the base of the wall to lead things off. Gary Sanchez struck out on three pitches for the first out. Didi Gregorius hit a grounder to short, but Tim Beckham’s throwing error (pulled Chris Davis off the bag) allowed Didi to reach first safely. Judge moved to third on the play. Starlin Castro hit a fly to right field and it was deep enough to score Judge on the sacrifice. The Yankees had cut the Orioles lead to 6-4. Matt Holliday walked to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate. Showalter pulled Brach and brought in closer Zach Britton. The Yankees replaced Holliday at first with Tyler Wade and sent Chase Headley in to pinch hit for Greg Bird. Unfortunately, Headley grounded out to short to end the rally.
The Yankees made one last valiant effort in the bottom of the 9th. Todd Frazier struck out for the first out, but Jacoby Ellsbury looped a double down the left field line to give the Yankees a runner in scoring position. Brett Gardner grounded out to first for the second out but Ellsbury advanced to third. Aaron Judge was intentionally walked to pit Britton against Gary Sanchez. Sanchez, representing the potential tying run, failed to deliver when he went down swinging for the final out. Bummer, the Yankees had clearly proven they were the better team in this series and they had their chances. If Sonny Gray could have avoided the disastrous 4th inning…I know, if “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts…
The Yankees (82-67) did not lose any ground to the Red Sox despite the loss. Boston dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays. So, the Yankees remain three games behind the Red Sox. The Minnesota Twins clobbered the Toronto Blue Jays, 13-7, so they moved back to four games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card standings.
Next Up: Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
The Twins come into this series very motivated. Since they only trail the Yankees by four games for the top Wild Card slot (home-field advantage), they can make up serious ground on the Yankees with a sweep. If the Twins beat Jaime Garcia, they’ll be able to sit back and laugh “our plan worked to perfection!”. Steal a couple of prospects from the Yankees and give them a starter who is unable to produce in the clutch.
Twins: Ervin Santana (15-7, 3.35 ERA)
Yankees: Jaime Garcia (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
Twins: Jose Berrios (12-7, 3.84 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA)
Twins: Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.80 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (12-11, 4.73 ERA)
The Yankees are not exactly leading with their best foot, but I understand the need to keep CC Sabathia’s knee off the artificial turf for the next series in Toronto.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have recalled another RailRider. The latest to get the invitation to join the big league club is RHP Domingo German.
Have a great Monday! Time for the Pinstripers to make a statement about their October chances. Let’s Go Yankees!
|Credit: Paul J Bereswill-NY Post|
Yankees 9, Orioles 3…
Jordan Montgomery turned in one of his best performances of the season with six shutout innings to lead the Yankees over Buck Showalter’s Orioles. He was backed by three home runs in the third game of the four-game series with the O’s. Chasen Shreve was unable to get three outs in the ninth, but the Yankees emerged with their third consecutive victory over the Orioles.
The Orioles started a fly ball pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson, which is probably not the best of ideas at Yankee Stadium. To his credit, he held the Yankees at bay for 2 2/3 innings. But then, with two outs in the 3rd inning, he walked both Chase Headley and Aaron Judge. Didi Gregorius made him pay for it with a three-run homer to the right field porch.
|Credit: Julie Jacobson-Associated Press|
While Jordan Montgomery was cruising, the Yankees struck again in the 4th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury got it started when he ripped a double to the right field wall. After Todd Frazier walked, Greg Bird hit a home run into the second deck in right (“See ya!”) to make it a 6-0 game. It was the second consecutive game with a homer for Bird. Buck Showalter decided he’d seen enough of Hellickson and brought in Chris Tillman who got the O’s out of the inning.
The Yankees added a run in the 5th inning. Didi Gregorius reached base on a one-out single to second that was deflected by Tillman. Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch on his right knee (Ouch!) which moved Gregorius into scoring position at second. Jacoby Ellsbury’s single, through the fielders at third and shortstop into left field, brought Gregorius home and it was 7-0 Yankees.
Tommy Kahnle took over for Jordan Montgomery in the top of the 7th inning. It started well when Kahnle struck out the first two batters, but then JJ Hardy reached base on an infield single to third, a soft roller. A wild pitch that got past Austin Romine moved Hardy to second. Kahnle had Austin Hays down to two strikes (2-2 count) but lost him with two successive balls to put runners at first and second. Fortunately, Kahnle struck out Joey Rickard to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Yankees added to their lead. Donnie Hart took over Chris Tillman on the mound. Didi Gregorius hit an infield single to third, beating the throw to first, to lead off the inning for the Yanks. Then, with two outs, Todd Frazier homered on a high fly to center, just to the left of Monument Park. The Yankees had a commanding 9-0 lead.
Credit: Jim McIsaac-Getty Images
From there, it was up to the second tier bullpen. Ben Heller replaced Kahnle for the eighth. I was a bit concerned when he walked the first two batters, but then he settled down and retired the next three batters. Chasen Shreve took over in the 9th and was dreadful. JJ Hardy took a one-out walk and Austin Hays followed with a homer to right in front of the Modell’s sign to spoil the shutout. Shreve struck out Joey Rickard but then proceeded to walk the next three batters to load the bases. Joe Girardi finally made the move to replace Shreve and brought in Giovanny Gallegos. With Anthony Santander batting, Gallegos balked which brought Tim Beckham home from third to score. I can’t say that I saw the balk but Joe Girardi didn’t argue the call. Aroldis Chapman was up in the bullpen but Gallegos was able to end the game when he struck out Santander. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (82-66) won their fourth consecutive game but remain three games behind the Red Sox. Boston beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-1, as both the O’s and Rays fade to oblivion. The Minnesota Twins lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2, so the Yankees’ lead in the Wild Card Standings has increased to five games. They remain six games up on the third place WC team, the Los Angeles Angels.
Excellent job by Jordan Montgomery (8-7) in picking up his first win since July. Pitching six scoreless innings, he only allowed 4 scattered hits and 1 walk while striking out six.
|Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports|
What can you say about Didi Gregorius? He’s been incredible and continued his dominance with a 3-for-4 day, scoring three runs and driving in 3 RBI’s. At the beginning of the season, I would have laughed at the thought of Didi batting in the cleanup position. I am not laughing anymore. He needs one more home run to match Derek Jeter for most HR’s in a season by a Yankees shortstop. Jacoby Ellsbury, continuing his resurgence as a force in the lineup, also had a 3-for-4 day, with one run scored and an RBI. Greg Bird, the Toddfather…it was yet another great team win.
With yesterday’s win, the Yankees assured themselves of their 25th consecutive winning season. It is the longest streak in Yankees history since the Yankees won for 39 consecutive seasons between 1926 and 1964.
The series finale is set for this afternoon at 1:05 pm. The Yankees have made a pitching change for the game. Sonny Gray (9-10, 3.17 ERA) gets the start while the originally scheduled starter, CC Sabathia, has been moved to Tuesday to pitch against the Minnesota Twins. Jaime Garcia gets the start on Monday versus his former team of six days in July. The moves allow CC to avoid the series in Toronto and the artificial turf of Rogers Centre. The Yanks also avoid sending Luis Severino out to face the Twins, their likely Wild Card opponent if the current standing remain unchanged. Gray will be opposed by Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA).
Odds & Ends…
Prior to yesterday’s game, the Yankees recalled 3B Miguel Andujar and RHP Jonathan Holder from Triple A. Andujar made it into the game as a pinch-hitter but he grounded out in the 8th inning. The Yankees also placed LHP Caleb Smith on the 10-day DL with a viral infection.
Have a great Sunday! Let’s make it a sweeping success. Go Yankees!
Yankees 3, Rays 2…
The only way to play drama-free baseball with the Yankees bullpen is to insert Chad Green. Otherwise, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Joe Girardi made a few pitching moves that left a couple of Yankee pitchers with ruffled feathers but in the end, the Yankees came away with the game and series win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It doesn’t matter how we get the “W” as long as we successfully get the “W”.
The Yankees jumped on Rays starter Chris Archer first. Starlin Castro led off the top of the 2nd inning with a single to center. He was followed by Jacoby Ellsbury who singled to right, putting runners at first and third. Todd Frazier’s single to left center past a diving Adeiny Hechavarria scored Castro while Ellsbury took second. After Clint Frazier struck out, Austin Romine walked to load the bases. Brett Gardner singled through the hole to left, driving in both Ellsbury and the Toddfather. The Yankees led, 3-0. Chase Headley grounded into a double play at second so the Yanks were unable to push any further runs across. Sadly, it would be the last runs the Yankees would see on the day.
Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
The Yanks had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the 3rd but Archer struck out Clint Frazier to escape the jam.
While I was wishing that the Yankees had anyone on the mound not named Jaime Garcia, the Rays got a run back in the bottom of the 3rd when Kevin Kiermaier led off with a home run to right field. It was Kiermaier’s second home run in as many days. But that’s the hazard of having Garcia pitch, you know the opponent is going to score runs. The job is to score more than he allows.
To the Yankees’ credit, they made Chris Archer work. While they only got the three 2nd inning runs off him, Archer was gone after surrendering a lead-off double to Gary Sanchez in the top of the 5th. Four innings of work with 92 pitches thrown. Sonny Gray’s complete game on Tuesday was only 2 more pitches than Archer threw with four more innings. It’s unfortunate that the Yankees couldn’t do more damage against Archer in light of their extended at-bats.
Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
Jaime Garcia got the hook in the bottom of the 5th when he gave up a two-out single to Lucas Duda. With Evan Longoria coming to bat, Joe Girardi didn’t want to take any chances. Chad Green came in and got the final out. I was actually amazed that Garcia made it into the 5th inning without allowing more than one run. He didn’t last long enough to qualify for a win but I can assure you that I did not shed a tear as he was walking off the mound.
Credit: Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
As for Chad Green, he’s a freakin’ rock star. I didn’t want the guy to make the opening day roster yet he’s been Mr Lights Out for the bullpen. He showed off his magic when he struck out the side in the bottom of the 6th. I can see why Joe Girardi gets the urge to leave Green in the game, but I was thankful that he only worked 1 1/3 innings despite his stellar work. I’d rather have Green available on Thursday or Friday as opposed to waiting until Saturday at the earliest. Need to keep this guy ready for frequent work.
Tommy Kahnle took over in the 7th. It provoked Rays manager Kevin Cash to start making moves. First up, Mallex Smith pinch-hit for Peter Bourjos and reached on a single to left field. Corey Dickerson, pinch-hitting for Jesus Sucre, hit into a double play, first to second. It was a good thing because Brad Miller followed, pinch-hitting for Danny Espinosa, and singled to left. If the Yankees had not been able to erase Smith at second, it is very possible that he could have scored on Miller’s hit. Kevin Kiermaier flied out to left to end the drama, but Kahnle did his job. It wasn’t as pretty as Green’s performance but the end result was the same…no runs for the Rays.
The Yankees had a great opportunity to tack on some insurance runs in the top of the 8th inning. Starlin Castro singled to left, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled down the right field line and Todd Frazier was intentionally walked to load the bases. Clint Frazier had first crack but he popped out to first baseman Logan Morrison in foul territory. Next up was Austin Romine but he struck out to end the inning. A huge missed opportunity to get at least a run or two more.
On to the 8th and it was Dellin’s turn. Lucas Duda, potentially facing his last at-bat in his former ball park for this series, flied out to center in front of the warning track. I was worried about him and it would not have surprised me to see the man on the field with the most career HR’s at Citi Field to have parked one. It was not to be but it didn’t stop Evan Longoria, Yankee-killer, from hitting a single up the middle in the next at-bat. Betances always makes me think of former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and his reliever Don Stanhouse, whom Weaver referred to as “Full Pack” in reference to the number of cigarettes he would smoke during Stanhouse’s appearances. Betances does that to me even if I don’t smoke. Dellin struck out Logan Morrison for the second out, but Joe Girardi wasn’t going to take any chances. He made the call to the pen to bring in Aroldis Chapman an inning early. Of course, Chapman walked his first batter (Stephen Souza, Jr) to move Longoria into scoring position at second base. Adeiny Hechavarria, the latest Yankee-killer, singled to shallow center field, scoring Longoria. Hechavarria and Chapman played together in the Cuban Leagues ten years ago so there’s history between the two. Souza moved to third to put runners at the corners. Chapman finally struck out Wilson Ramos, pinch-hitting for Mallex Smith, on a foul tip, but the Rays had closed the gap to 3-2. Those potential insurance runs in the 8th inning sure would have been nice.
The Yankees blew another huge opportunity for runs in the 9th. With Brad Boxberger pitching for the Rays, Brett Gardner led off with a single up the middle. With Chase Headley at bat, Gardy appeared to steal second base but he was sent back to first when it was ruled that Headley’s bat had hit the catcher’s arm for interference. Headley then singled to right, advancing Gardy to third. Gardy probably would have scored had the steal been successful. From there, the offense stalled. Gary Sanchez struck out swinging and Didi Gregorius flied out to left (not deep enough to score Gardy). Headley stole second but it didn’t really matter when Starlin Castro popped out to center to end the inning. Ugh!
Chapman had me on the edge in the bottom of the 9th. He walked the first batter, Curt Casali, a career .197 hitter. WTF??!! Fortunately, from there, Chapman struck out Brad Miller and Kevin Kiermaier. Lucas Duda was able to make it to the plate for one final Citi Field “home” appearance with a chance to send the ball out of the park for a walk-off win. But the Missile rose to the occasion and struck out Duda for the final out. The Yankees win!
The Yankees (79-66) moved back to three games behind Boston with the win. The Red Sox fell to the Oakland A’s, 7-3. The Baltimore Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, so they recaptured third place from the Tampa Bay Rays. The O’s trail the Yanks by 7 1/2 games entering play today. The Minnesota Twins held off the San Diego Padres, 3-1, in extra innings to remain three games behind the Yankees in the Wild Card Standings.
Jaime Garcia was apparently very upset with Joe Girardi about the early hook but I could care less what Garcia thinks. His Yankees career will be over soon. There’s no way he is a member of the 2018 Yankees.
Credit: Charles Wenzelberg-New York Post
Chad Green (5-0) picked up Garcia’s win with his stellar relief effort. Aroldis Chapman captured his 18th save despite the high wire act.
I was very grateful that those late missed scoring opportunities didn’t come back to bite the Yankees. As we saw, they very possibly could have. The Yankees will need to play better at home in the upcoming series if they want to continue to win.
Next Up: Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
Having completed the short stay in Queens, the Yankees return to home sweet home to face the fading Baltimore Orioles for a long four-game set. The O’s generally play the Yankees very tough so they’ll be looking to play the role of spoiler for this series. If there is anything I’ve learned over the years it is to never underestimate Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Orioles: Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82)
Orioles: Jeremy Hellickson (2-4, 6.54 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (12-6, 2.96 ERA)
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.85 ERA)
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.03 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (9-10, 3.17 ERA)
October is coming. Live it, feel it. Now is the time for the Yankees to make a charge!
Odds & Ends…
Game 2 of the International League Governor’s Cup Finals goes to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The RailRiders beat the Durham Bulls, 4-0, behind stellar pitching from Domingo German (7 innings, one hit, no runs, three walks and eight K’s) and two relievers. The Bulls featured an inning of relief from former Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Nasty Nate pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the Bulls, giving up two hits and striking out one. The series is tied. Game 3 will be tonight at PNC Field in Moosic, PA. Chance Adams will be on the mound for the RailRiders, while the Rays top prospect, Brent Honeywell, will pitch for the Bulls.
The news wasn’t so good in Trenton, NJ where the Thunder dropped Game 2 of their Eastern League Championship series to the Altoona Curve by a score of 4-2. The losing pitcher was Justus Sheffield who had been part of a no-hitter during his previous outing. The series now shifts to Altoona, PA this evening with the Curve needing to win just one game for the best-of-five championship. Will Carter (3-1, 3.26 ERA) gets the start for the Thunder.
Have a great Thursday! Not asking for much today…just a win! Go Yankees!
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!
Yankees 9, Orioles 1…
Thursday was supposed to have been an off-day. But thanks to Wednesday’s rainout, the Yankees were forced to grab a win yesterday before they high-tailed it to BWI for the flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.
The starting pitcher for Baltimore was Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird’s former Grandview High School (Centennial, Colorado) teammate. Bird was a catcher in high school so the two formed the battery for the Wolves. I was looking forward to watching Bird bat against Gausman but he was out of the lineup for Thursday’s game. He pinch-hit later in the game but Gausman was in the showers by that time.
Credit: Aurora Sentinel
The game got started on the right foot. Brett Gardner walked to lead off the first inning. There’s never anything wrong with getting the speedy Gardner on base. After fellow Coloradan Chase Headley struck out against Gausman, Gardy stole second. Gausman recorded his second strikeout when Starlin Castro went down swinging. But never fear, Sir Didi’s here. Gregorius hit a double to right which brought Gardner around to score. But the Yankees weren’t done. Next up was Aaron Judge. Judge, showing no respect for Bird’s good friend, boomed a towering shot to center. T-Ball Practice! Note to Gausman: It’s probably best not to leave a high fat one over the middle of the plate. 3-0 Yankees before Sonny Gray could even pick up a baseball.
Credit: Rob Carr-Getty Images
With Gray cruising through the first few innings, the Yankees struck again in the top of the 3rd. Didi Gregorius, continuing his hot hitting, reached first on an infield single to short. Aaron Judge walked (his 104th of the season) so there were two men on base for Matt Holliday. Holliday’s single lined to right scored Gregorius and moved Judge to third just ahead of the throw. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out grounder to second which forced Holliday but Judge was able to score when Ellsbury beat the throw to first to prevent the double play. The Yankees had increased their lead to 5-0.
Gausman didn’t return for the start of the 4th inning which dashed my hopes for a potential Greg Bird pinch-hitting opportunity against his friend. Mike Wright took over for the O’s. With one out, Brett Gardner doubled to left. Chase Headley added two more runs with his long home run to right.
Star-light, Star-bright. The top of the 6th, with O’s reliever Donnie Hart pitching, opened with a lead-off single by Brett Gardner. Sadly, to my disappointment, his stay on the base paths was ended when Chase Headley grounded into a double play at second. Starlin Castro came up and asked ‘is this what Manny Machado did the other night?’ by way of his blast to left-center. Yankees led, 8-0, and Sonny Gray was still pitching like I wish he had pitched against the Boston Red Sox.
Credit: Rob Carr-Getty Images
Unfortunately, Sonny ran out of gas in the bottom of the 6th. Jonathan Schoop got it started for the O’s with an infield single. Adam Jones hit a grounder to short with the fielder’s choice eliminating Schoop at second. Gray struck out Trey Mancini, but Chris Davis followed with a single to right center. Jones moved to second. Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to short but a throwing error by Didi Gregorius (off-balance throw over the head of Starlin Castro at second) allowed Davis to reach third while Jones scored. Great overall job by Sonny Gray but it was time for his day to come to an end. Enter Chad Green; end of inning (by strikeout).
The Yankees homered again in the top of the 7th when Todd Frazier joined the party with a solo blast to left. Orioles left-fielder Trey Mancini tried to leap but the home run ball was over his glove. Chad Green powered through the O’s lineup in the bottom of the 7th, erasing the only base runner on a double play. Coming into the season, I didn’t really want the guy on the MLB roster and he’s arguably been the most valuable (and most consistent) reliever in the bullpen. I am glad the Yankees never hired me to be a talent evaluator.
Tommy Kahnle helped three Orioles find their way to the bench in the 8th. Recent Triple A call-up Ben Heller took over in the 9th and he continued the trend set by his bullpen predecessors. 1-2-3, game over. Yankees win!
The Yankees (75-64) are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were idle on Thursday but they had won the day before. The Orioles slipped back to 4 1/2 games behind the Yanks. The Yankees’ lead in the Wild Card Standings is 2 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins (the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-2).
Nice job by Sonny Gray (9-9). He pitched 5 2/3 innings (102 pitches) and allowed six hits, two walks, and one run (none earned). He struck out five while lowering his season ERA to 3.22. Hand clap for the bullpen. Green, Kahnle and Heller combined for 3 1/3 innnings of one-hit scoreless relief with three K’s. No drama…exactly the way I like it.
As for the hitting stars, pass the hat…everyone contributed. This was a great team victory. Congrats to Austin Romine for successfully holding down the catching position while Gary Sanchez was on the golf course..or at the bar or wherever he may have been for three games off.
The Yankees came close to the series sweep but taking two out of three at Camden Yards is still a notable accomplishment. It’s a good springboard for the next series.
Next Up: Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas…
The Yankees travel to Dallas/Fort Worth to take on the Yu Darvish-less Texas Rangers. The Rangers remain in the hunt for a Wild Card spot so they’ll be ready to play. Like the Baltimore Orioles, the Rangers have a team of sluggers with 218 home runs this season which leads MLB. Any mistake pitches will be making long distance travel plans.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (11-10, 4.54 ERA)
Rangers: Martin Perez (11-10, 4.87 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (12-6, 3.03 ERA)
Rangers: A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.09 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA)
Rangers: Andrew Cashner (9-9, 3.29 ERA)
The Rangers’ Ballpark has long been one of my favorites. Hopefully it holds good things for the Yankees this time around.
Gene “Stick” Michael, Yankees Legend…
The Yankees Universe was deeply saddened yesterday when it was learned that Yankees Senior Adviser Gene “Stick” Michael had passed away due to a heart attack at age 79.
There will be many obituaries and that’s really not the intent of my mention of his passing. Growing up with the Yankees as my favorite team, Stick was such an integral part through the years. I don’t really remember his playing days, but I do remember his brief managerial stints with the team in the early 80’s. Of course, he directed the course of the franchise in the early 90’s as the team’s general manager while George Steinbrenner was serving his suspension and was probably the man most responsible for the late 90’s dynasty. What really stuck out to me about Stick over the years was his strong sense of loyalty to the Yankees organization and his ability to speak his mind and hold his ground with the Boss. It was tough when Stick left the Yankees to become the manager for the Chicago Cubs in 1986 but I was happy when he found his way back home.
The Yankees will wear black armbands on their left sleeve for the duration of the season in honor of Stick.
Credit: Barton Silverman-The New York Times
This is a HUGE loss for the Yankees. Stick was one of kind and perhaps one of the greatest baseball evaluators ever. The man can stand among the huge Legends who wore Pinstripes. He earned it. His impact to the organization has been as great if not greater than most. He will be missed. Rest in peace, Sir…
Odds & Ends…
A few weeks ago, everybody was talking about how the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers were among the greatest teams of all-time. Now, after losing seven in a row and 12 of 13 games, they’d have to go undefeated the rest of the way to match the 1998 Yankees. Clayton Kershaw was pounded last night by the Colorado Rockies in his own ballpark. If the Dodgers can’t figure this out, their stay in October is going to be very short-lived.
The Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the first game of their first round five-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 6-5, in 12 innings. Game 2 is set for tonight at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA with Chance Adams on the mound for the RailRiders.
Have a great Friday! Let’s keep contributing the ‘W’ column! Go Yankees!