It was Father’s Day all across America today, and everywhere you went you were bombarded with tributes to fathers. And nowhere is that more apparent than the ball park, where dads take their kids to see their first game and teach them how to love the sport just like their dads did for them and how their dads did for them and so forth. And after 2 rather big nearly blow-out games against the visiting Tigers, the Yankees were looking to finish strong and to sweep them on this Sunday afternoon. But the Tigers weren’t about to have that happen.
Fortunately for the Tigers, today’s starter wasn’t really on his game. Masahiro Tanaka just couldn’t seem to make any of his pitches work. He threw 90 pitches in 5 innings today, giving up 10 hits, 2 walks, and 7 runs (5 earned), and striking out 6 batters. In the 1st, after 2 quick outs, things just took a turn for the worse. A single and a 2-run home run gave the Tigers a quick lead. Then a fielding error let another runner on who scored on another 2-run home run (and thus the 2 unearned runs). And the Tigers were up 4-0 in the middle of the 1st inning. Ouch.
In the top of the 2nd, with 2 outs and bases loaded with 2 singles and a walk, a single scored 2 more runs. And to cap off Tanaka’s outing, a lead-off solo home run in the 5th added yet another run to the messy stew that was today’s run-scoring game.
Making his MLB debut today in front of his father (on Father’s Day, of all days), Danny Burawa came on for the 6th inning. I wish it had been a better outcome for him for his debut (and his audience). A ground out, a walk, a single, an RBI single, a 3-run home run, and a strikeout — basically, he got every big play you could in an entire game in a partial inning. After 22 pitches and 4 runs scored, it was time to move on.
Jose De Paula was called in and promptly gave up a solo home run. De Paula would stay on the mound for the rest of the game, walking a total of 4 batters, but not allowing another run to score.
Now, the Yankees offense wasn’t nearly as impressive as it has been in the last two games. Perhaps it has a bit to do with the pitcher, who I know has been good against the Yankees in previous games. And while it wasn’t great in general and he lucked out in the fact that 2 of his teammates were responsible for hitting in 10 of the 12 runs scored.
In the 2nd inning, Brian McCann hit a long 1-out solo home run beyond right field to get the Yankees on the board. Then Young got a 2-out single, stole 2nd, and scored on Brendan Ryan’s single. And with those 2 runs, the Yankees watched the Tigers gradually increase their lead until Stephen Drew hit a bit lead-off solo home run in the 7th into the 2nd deck seats in right field and then got another solo home run (just over the fence in right field) in the 9th. Yes, for those who doubted why the Yankees believed in Drew as the starting 2nd baseman this year, it’s games like this that prove the “powers that be” right. It wasn’t going to be enough, as that damage was done very early in the game while Tanaka was still on the mound.
Final score in the Bronx: 12-4 Tigers. Yankees win the weekend series 2-1.
And like I’ve said before, it’s not really a post unless there’s roster moves. After just 2 outings this season, and then some time on the DL with some elbow inflammation, Sergio Santos will get Tommy John surgery and be out for the rest of the season. (TJ surgery is always 18 months of recovery, including rest, healing, training, and rehab before a pitcher can be considered ready for action again.) The Yankees placed Mason Williams on the 15-day DL with his right shoulder inflammation (retroactive to Saturday, when he jammed it diving back to 1st on a pick-off attempt). Then they recalled Ramon Flores from AAA. They also sent Bryan Mitchell to AAA for the fresh arm of Danny Burawa. After today’s game, despite their efforts, Burawa and De Paula were sent back to AAA as the Yankees are in the process of purchasing the contracts of AAA pitchers Diego Moreno and Nick Rumbelow. Basically, (with the exception of Williams), the Yankees are struggling on the bullpen side of things, so are constantly needing fresh arms who can shut down advancing hits and runs scored by the opposing team consistently.
A big Happy Father’s Day to all the dads (and granddads and step-dads and uncles and “like a dads”) out there! You don’t know what an impact you have on your kids’ lives now, so make good choices and be proactive in your parenting. We need good moms and dads at every age, and I’m honored to know some pretty good ones. One of my favorite baseball park sights is a dad-child (even older dad and adult child). Baseball is a game of legends, legacies, and generations. I love seeing a dad and his son taking in every moment of a game, each in their pinstriped jersey (one kid-sized) as they have an identical look of wonder watching the players do the centuries-old dance to the same old sounds. I really don’t think there’s a better scene at the park than watching a dad teach his kids about baseball and introducing them to why baseball is the greatest sport. His time and energy spent doing so builds both fan loyalty and a life-long familial bond and memory for dad and child alike.