A sweep on this lovely Wednesday afternoon is exactly what the Yankees needed for far too many reasons, the least of which being the need to stay firmly ahead of the rest of the AL East and stay alive during these final six weeks of the regular season.
It was a “NastyNate” kind of day in the Bronx as the Yankees faced their final game against the visiting Minnesota Twins. Let me tell you, Nathan Eovaldi was certainly on-point with his ace-like starting pitching today, hitting 102 mph on his 88th pitch of the day. Look, Eovaldi is the hardest-throwing pitcher in the MLB, with his average fastball hitting 99 mph. Today, Eovaldi threw a grand total of 120 pitches through 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 8 batters.
Eovaldi was even running a perfect game up until the 6th inning. After getting a strikeout to lead-off that inning, a bloop single crushed dreams of that perfect game. But the 38,000+ fans certainly gave Eovaldi his due with a standing ovation to honor his hard work through most of the game. Another single and a ground out put runners in scoring position, and a walk loaded the bases. The Twins were suddenly alive after having broken through the NastyNate wall. A single scored two runs before another walked loaded the bases again. A shallow single scored one more run before a groundout ended the inning and the Twins’ rally.
Despite this rather deflating inning, Eovaldi came back out to throw the 7th inning and finished strong before the Yankees turned to their bullpen. Chasen Shreve’s 8th inning was pretty decent, with 2 strikeouts, and then it was onto Dellin Betances for the 9th inning. Betances threw a very efficient 15-pitch innings, including 2 strikeouts. Betances also threw his 100th strikeout of the season, becoming the first Yankee reliever to have at least 100 strikeouts in consecutive seasons. Of course, this wasn’t really on Betances’ mind, as his response when told of this milestone was, “I have 100 strikeouts?!”.
The Twins’ pitching was rather good as well, and if it was a different kind of game, it might have been enough for them to win the game. But it wasn’t that kind of game. In the bottom of the 4th, with 2 outs and Beltran on 1st with a single, rookie Greg Bird hit his first MLB home run to the 2nd deck of the right field seats. Then down 3-2 in the 6th, the Yankees headed into the bottom of that inning and nearly repeated their 4th inning — 2 outs and Beltran on base (with a walk this time), and then Greg Bird once again homered to right field (this time, the 2-run shot landed in the Yankees bullpen). Bird granted the cheering crowd his first MLB curtain call after all the congratulations in the dugout.
Final score in the Bronx: 4-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep Twins 3-0.
HOPE Week Day 3: Today, the Yankees invited Southern Boulevard School, an elementary school in Chatham Township, New Jersey (about 35 miles west of New York), to be part of their HOPE Week project. Last November, SBS had its own HOPE Week where each grade held its own community service project in efforts to prove that no one is too young to give back. So today, the Yankees partnered with those amazing kids and their school staff to hold a school-supplies drive for Bronx students in need.
After the students hung out at Yankee Stadium with Carlos Beltran, Didi Gregorius, Luis Severino, and bench coach Rob Thomson, they set up the drive outside Gate 6 (the main gate at the corner of 161st & River, by the Hard Rock Cafe and main team store) and collected new and gently used school supplies from fans as they showed up for this afternoon’s game. Fans were entered for various drawings as a thank you for their donation, but most people were just happy to participate in HOPE Week in their own way. Plus, a couple of the kids and one of their chaperones (members of the parent-teacher organization at SBS) threw out the first pitch before the game.