Game 44: NYY vs. CHC — A rainy Tanaka loss

The heavens seemed to disagree with the Yankees-Cubs match-up tonight in Chicago, rain showers dripping on and off throughout most of the game. And it was hot. Rainy and hot is never a good combination. And I think it certainly affected the game, which just felt off from the start. It will be good close the books on this one. Not like one of those terrible blow-out games, just a kind of off, messy game you’d prefer to forget.

Tanaka pitching through the rain at Wrigley // Photo credit: CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP

And it seems as if Chicago figured out Tanaka’s kryptonite, though people seem to be debating whether it’s the weather or Wrigley Field or just a random Tuesday. Tanaka struggled through 6 innings and 88 pitches, which were still rather impressive because he wasn’t really given much of a defense behind him to help him out. He gave up 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), a walk, and 7 strikeouts to the Cubs. Those runs were an RBI single in the 3rd, a lead-off double scored on a single in the 4th, and two sacrifice flies scored 2 more runs in the 6th.

Tonight’s loss snapped Tanaka’s 42 game winning streak from Japan to the US. Disappointing, yes. But it’s life. The Yankees just weren’t playing well tonight. It was just the way it was.

Now, I will say that the coolest plays of the game were by Tanaka himself in the 4th, when the last two batters of the inning hit the ball back to Tanaka who flipped it back to McCann to get the out at home.  Yes, twice in a row. (Out #2, out #3) It was probably the most exciting few minutes of the game for Yankee fans.

In the 7th, Preston Claiborne also struggled. He allowed a lead-off triple, a groundout, an intentional walk, and an RBI single before the Yankees turned to Matt Thornton. Thornton got his 1 out in the 7th, and after hitting the next batter, they turned to Matt Daley who found that final out in the 7th and pitched a pretty decent 8th, keeping the Cubs to 6 runs.

The Yankees sole offensive contribution came in the 6th inning. Brett Gardner led-off with a double, advanced to 3rd on Jeter’s ground out, and scored easily on Mark Teixeira’s single. Look, the Yankees did hit tonight, a total of 6 hits off the Cubs pitchers. They just weren’t doing much to bring them home. In the 9th inning, in a last-ditch rally attempt, they even loaded the bases, but Jeter’s 3rd out ground out quickly put a stop to that. They were just coming up short in scoring efforts, losing 6-1 to the Cubs tonight.

In injury updates: CC Sabathia will be out until at least July with his knee injury, hoping the treatment of injections will help rebuild and restore the movement and capability in his knee. And Carlos Beltran is hoping to play through the bone spur and postpone any surgery possibilities until after the season. If he cannot play through it, he will be out at least 2 months in surgery recovery and rehab. Prayers for health and speedy recovery for everyone at this point!

Prior to the game, the Cubs present Derek Jeter with the #2 from the Cubs’ scoreboard at Wrigley. Wrigley Field is 100 years old this year, so the gift of part of one of the oldest functioning stadiums in the country is quite touching and memorable.

Go Yankees!

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