Is it only when they play against the Yankees that the last place in their division Indians seem to play amazing? Somewhere, my uncle is doing his version of the happy dance. Look, their starter that pitched tonight is very good. I know there is some chatter about him being a Cy Young candidate, so that can’t be discounted. And he did get the Yankees to strikeout 11 times in 7 innings.
Whatever control Tanaka had in as recently as Toronto he didn’t really have at the same level tonight in the Bronx. He was cruising along just fine until the 3rd inning when a 1-out triple scored on a 2-out single to start the Indians’ evening. After that, he seemed to get a bit less sharp progressively through the game. The Yankees tied up the game in the 4th when Beltran hit a 2-out double and then scored on Greg Bird’s nice single. But that tie almost made the Indians want the game more.
In the 5th, the Indians led off with a single and 2 outs later had runners on the corners. A sad fielding error allowed a run to score and put the Indians back in the lead, something they never gave up after this point. They earned an insurance run in the 6th with a lead-off solo home run.
Trouble struck again in the 7th. The lead-off batter singled and signaled the end of Tanaka’s night. After 107 pitches and just over 6 innings, he was done — 7 hits, a walk, and 3 strikeouts, paired with what would be 4 runs (3 earned) set Tanaka up for his 6th loss of the season. It was Chasen Shreve’s turn on the mound to finish the 7th inning. That lead-off runner moved to 2nd on a groundout, then to 3rd on a wild pitch, and scored on a single.
Nick Rumbelow’s 8th was a thing of beauty, just 8 pitches and a strikeout to sail through the easiest defensive inning of the game for the Yankees. Perhaps, under that encouragement, the Yankees attempted a decent rally in the bottom of the 8th inning. Gardner led-off with a single, forcing a pitching change. Then Headley singled. Alex Rodriguez’s single scored the speedy Gardner. Two outs later, Bird reached on a fielding error that also scored Headley. Another pitching change allowed the bases to load with Ellsbury’s walk, but a fly out quickly ended that rally, leaving the Yankees trailing by one run.
But Justin Wilson seemed to parallel Tanaka’s struggles, but all combined into a single 9th inning — a lead-off single, a ground-rule double, a strikeout, an RBI single, an RBI groundout, an RBI double, and a strikeout. Yes, Wilson gave up 4 hits and 3 runs, and still struck out 2 Cleveland batter in his sole 26-pitch inning. Any attempt to duplicate their 8th inning in the bottom of the 9th died in the quick 3 consecutive outs.
Final score: 7-3 Indians.
HOPE Week Day 5: There is a very inspirational man in West Nyack, New York, who makes children’s dreams come true. A few years ago, Frank Squeo was diagnosed with Stage III testicular cancer, and as he was receiving chemotherapy and surgeries, he realized how many kids are affected by their own battles with cancer. He promised himself that if he survived he would do something to help make kids’ cancer battles a little easier.
Upon entering remission, Squeo created Baking Memories 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that sells chocolate chip cookies during the holidays to fund all-expenses paid vacations for kids battling serious illnesses and their families. The families travel to Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, a resort designed for children with disabilities and illnesses that partners with local theme parks to give the kids and their families a special trip of a lifetime.
Today, donning special aprons and chefs hats, Greg Bird, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova, Alex Rodriguez, Brendan Ryan, CC Sabathia, and Adam Warren surprised Squeo and other members of Baking Memories 4 Kids at a local bakery to help bake cookies. Squeo, a lifelong Yankees fan, was thrilled to meet the players and honored to be recognized for his charity work. The Yankees also donated $10,000.
Before the game, Squeo and some of the members of his organization were on hand to watch batting practice and meet more players. Plus, they partnered together to surprise Noah Diaz, age 4, with his own trip to Orlando. Noah suffers from a rare heart defect and Kabuki syndrome, a severe genetic disorder that can also affect developmental abilities. Then Noah and Squeo threw out the first pitch before the game.
A great way to end another great HOPE Week — sending off an adorable kid and his family to the “happiest place on earth” from my “happiest place on earth”.
Don’t forget… this weekend, the Yankees will be honoring Jorge Posada (Saturday) and Andy Pettitte (Sunday). Be prepared for ceremonies, plaques, numbers, special guests, and much more.