There is no normal any more. I can’t say that I’m all that sad about saying goodbye to Texas. It’s a combination of the heat and the absolute insanity that masqueraded as ball games at Globe Life Park (yes, that is the name of the Rangers’ stadium in Arlington). In what has to be the most bizarre series this season, the Yankees fly to the Windy City, leaving Texas after this 4-game split. Not that the weather in Chicago is going to be any better as much of the country is experiencing this ridiculous summer heat that just won’t go away.
The Yankees struck first in a rather big offensive show in the top of the 1st inning. Jacoby Ellsbury led-off with a triple and then scored on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly. Mark Teixeira hit his 25th home run of the season, a 2-out solo home run right up center field (there’s a spot of grass over the center field wall). Brian McCann singled and later scored on Chase Headley’s 2-out single. This gave the Yankees a 3-run lead. It didn’t last long.
CC Sabathia took the start tonight (after some initial musings as to a possible substitute proved false) and found his way into and out of trouble through much of his outing — 80 pitches over 5 innings (rather efficient for Sabathia), giving up 9 hits, 1 walk, and 5 runs, and striking out just 3 batters. So with the Yankees up 3-o in the 1st, Sabathia found his first spot of trouble in the bottom of the 1st inning. A lead-off single and a bunt single put runners on base, and then 2 out later, a 3-run home run tied up the score. This would become a terrible pattern for this game.
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Rangers pushed ahead to grab the lead with a lead-off solo home run. But then the Yankees re-took the lead in the top of the 3rd — Teixeira singled and then scored on Brian McCann’s big 2-run home run. And in the 4th, the Rangers hit an inside-the-park home run to tie it back up again. (I think I’ve seen one of those maybe three or four times in my lifetime, by the way.)
All that offense and then nothing for a few innings. Justin Wilson came on for Sabathia in the 6th, but the 7th wasn’t great for either reliever. After the Yankees struck out twice, Mark Teixeira hit his 26th home run of the season (yes, yet another multi-home run game for Teixeira), once again a solo shot to that grassy field over the center field wall.
The Rangers answered back in the bottom of that inning. Wilson gave up a lead-off walk before giving up the ball to Dellin Betances, who wasn’t as Betances (can I still blame the heat?). A single put runners on the corners with no outs, and when a fielder’s choice got the batter out, a run to score to tie up the game once again. After another out and another walk to load the bases, Betances showed off his Betances stuff and struck out the batter with the bases loaded. In the 8th, the Rangers then did the same thing to the Yankees (bases loaded strikeout).
Betances got the 2 outs in the 8th, beautiful strikeouts, before reliever Nick Goody came on to get the final strikeout of the inning. Goody came back out for the 9th with the game still tied and promptly gave up a walk. It was time for Andrew Miller. Then after one out, there was a bit of a weird play — the batter hit the ball that hit the runner and bounced to Drew at 2nd who threw it to a waiting Teixeira, but the umpire called the runner out as he was hit and thus the batter was safe at 1st. (No, I don’t really understand the call, and yes, I’ve read everything from the rulebook to people’s explanations. Some rules/play calls don’t fit my idea of logic, but I’ll take it for what it was — an out.)
Anyway, the next batter was walked, which put 2 runners on base and 2 outs on the board. Then a batter singled into right field deep enough to score the lead runner in a walk-off win for the Rangers.
Final score from Texas: 7-6 Rangers, series split 2-2.
(Think of the Batman theme song, “duh-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…”) ROSTER MOVES! (My creativity this late isn’t great, I apologize!) Michael Pineda was supposed to start tonight’s game but due to forearm muscle strain and placed on the 15-day DL. For awhile, there was chatter about who was going to start (as I mentioned above), but Sabathia’s start got moved up. Bryan Mitchell and Nick Goody were brought back to give the bullpen those arms, and Goody was thrown into the deep end tonight.
And we have trade news that left many people confused or with mixed emotions. The Yankees acquired Dustin Ackley from Seattle. Ackley was their regular 2nd baseman until the Mariners got Cano two years ago, so Ackley has been playing most of his time in the outfield. In exchange, the Yankees sent pitcher Jose Ramirez and outfielder Ramon Flores. (And yes, I am sad as you all probably know I like Flores this season from Spring Training through his debut this year.) Ackley quickly shaved off the beard that used to plague his face to show his new loyalty, and Flores tweeted his gratitude to the Yankees and hopefulness for a good future in Seattle.
Sabathia was also sent to the hospital following the game with symptoms of dehydration. (Now that I can blame on the heat!) He won’t be flying with the team to Chicago, but fortunately, he has some time to recover before his next start next week. And Ellsbury rolled his ankle on his last big play, a running catch right at the center field wall, but that just means rest and ice and tape and grin and bear it.