Game 18: NYM vs. NYY — The ‘stache vs. Harvey

Before today’s game, one thing was clear, or rather unclear — the upper lip of a good portion of Yankees is filled with patchy facial hair. Yes, the Yankees are on a mustache bandwagon of sorts, started by none other than Brett Gardner. Gardner attributes his inspiration back to the games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg last week where he was looking to do something different for motivation towards success. So a mustache it was, and then the idea of a hairy upper lip caught on with the likes of Teixeira, Headley, McCann, Betances, Rogers, Jones, and Ellsbury to name a few.

Remember, the Yankees as a club have a strict hair policy — clean-cut hairstyles and no facial hair below the lips. Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, and Jason Giambi are a handful of Yankees who sported a ‘stache at some point in their careers. Unlike the mountainman-esque look of the 2013 Red Sox, the Yankees won’t be able to let facial hair grow to, let’s call it, “duck hunting” heights, for which I for one am very grateful. Most of these guys, however, aren’t really facially built to carry a ‘stache, and well, I’m waiting on a “wives revolt”.

Or perhaps, after today’s game, the ‘stache might be forced to go on principle alone.

Yes, the Yankees faced the Mets this afternoon in the Bronx, the stands filled with a good mix of fans in both Yankee pinstripes and Mets blue and orange. The fun part about the crosstown series is that you’re always playing in front of a hometown crowd. Be it at Citifield across the river or a Yankee Stadium, New Yorkers are a proud sports town and show up to support their teams. This continues on to other sports teams all over the area — both NHL teams are in the playoffs, an NBA team is in their playoffs, and football season is always popular. New York loves their sports, and nowhere is that more evident than during a weekend like this.

CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees today. Sabathia continued his struggles to find his momentum, and today it was painful at times. In the 1st inning, a 2-out solo home run started the Mets on their power-punch today. But it was the 4th that really nailed the coffin for today’s loss. A lead-off single, a force out, a fly out, a big RBI triple, an RBI single, and a 2-run home run all before getting that final out of the inning. In the 6th, a lead-off solo home run and a single that Sabathia would be responsible for (which eventually scored a run) ended Sabathia’s day. Overall, Sabathia’s total was 87 pitches in just 5.0+ innings, giving up 9 hits and 7 runs (3 home runs), and striking out just 2 batters. Sabathia earned his 4th straight loss today.

Esmil Rogers came on to relieve Sabathia in the 6th with a runner at 1st. A wild pitch moved him to 2nd, a pop out to 3rd, and another wild pitch scored that runner before Rogers got out of the inning. Rogers had a fairly smooth 7th inning, but faltered a bit in the 8th, giving up three 2-out singles, which scored the Mets’ 8th and final run of the afternoon. Reliever Chris Martin came on in the 9th to keep the Mets from adding to their total, which he did in 20 pitches, including 1 strikeout.

On the other side of the diamond, the Yankees really had a tough time facing the Mets pitcher, with some minor exceptions. In the 3rd, Drew doubled, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s ground into a double play (so Ellsbury doesn’t get the RBI, but the run still counts). At that point, the Yankees had tied the game, but the Mets came roaring back in the 4th to give their pitcher some leeway.

Not that he needed it at that point. After that 3rd inning, the Mets starter got 9 straight Yankee batters out — until Mark Teixeira hit a 7th inning lead-off solo home run to break the streak. The pitcher came back to get 8 more consecutive batters out, going into the 9th inning with just over 90 pitches. But a single and a walk pushed his pitch count to 107 and the Mets called on a reliever to close out the game. Yes, the starter still got the win (his 4th this season after taking 2014 off to recover from TJ surgery), but I do think he deserved a shot at a complete game. I mean, it wasn’t like the Yankees were going to be able to catch up with 2 outs in the 9th inning, not today anyway.

Final score in the Bronx: 8-2 Mets.

Injury watch: Jacoby Ellsbury came out of the game after the 7th inning with some tightness in his hip. He hopes to play tomorrow, but with the way the score was tilting, there was no reason to push it just in case.

I do feel the need to comment on the outstanding defense of the Yankees today; though if you’ve been following this season, you’ll know this is really nothing new. Media highlights: Gardner sliding, Gregorius leaping, Ellsbury sliding, and Drew’s catch in foul territory.

Also, random fact I found on Twitter: Teixeira has hit 8 home runs and just 3 singles. Should he continue at this pace this season, at 500 at-bats, he will have 68 home runs and just 25 singles. An odd, if not rather improbably statistic, but I’ve seen weirder things in baseball — some just this season alone. So why not?

Go Yankees!

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