Oh, there is so much happening right now as a result of tonight’s game. And here’s the kicker — there’s still 3 more games in Baltimore to play for the regular season. But that’s okay, because for the first time since 2012, the Yankees are headed back to the postseason. Tonight’s win over the Red Sox clinched a wild card spot. And at this point, they need just one more win to get home field advantage for the Wild Card one-off game this coming Tuesday night. No offense to Baltimore, but I’m pretty sure the Yankees can win at least one game at Camden Yards this weekend.
Their Wild Card Game opponent is still to be determined as the two Texas-based teams are battling it out all the way to the end of the season. One will be the AL West champion and play Toronto in the ALDS, and the other will play the Yankees. The winner of the Yankees vs. (the losing Texas team) will go on to play the Royals in the ALDS. And I think you know how it goes from there.
Anyway, like I said, there was so much that happened in tonight’s game that led up to the special commemorative t-shirts and hats and the champagne shower in the clubhouse happening as I type this post actually. CC Sabathia took the mound for tonight’s finale against the Red Sox and the final regular season game in Yankee Stadium. And despite so many struggles this season, Sabathia rose to the challenge and threw a pretty good game. In his 5 innings, he threw 96 pretty stellar pitches, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, but only 1 run, and struck out 3 Boston batters. His sticky inning was the 5th (his final, as per his 2015 pattern apparently) — two consecutive singles put runners on base so a simple single could score one. Then he loaded the bases with a 2-out intentional walk only to get the final batter to fly out and end the threat, the inning, and Sabathia’s night.
And that would be the only run the Red Sox scored all night. Adam Warren came on for some long-term relief and threw a really great game himself — 51 pitches in 3 innings, just 1 walk and 1 hit, no runs, and 3 strikeouts. Rather flawless for Warren. And Dellin Betances earned his 9th save of the season in the 9th inning, adding 2 more great strikeouts of the Red Sox batters. I’m told that final strikeout that sealed the game’s fate also tied the major league record for strikeouts by a bullpen with the 2012 Rockies at 589 total strikeouts, a stat I expect the Yankees will break this weekend fairly easily.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox pitchers seemed hampered by the rain that started well before the game and just never really let up. Their starter gave up 102 pitches in his 6 innings to the Yankees. In the 2nd inning, Carlos Beltran got things started with a big solo home run into the right field seats. Then with 2 outs and Murphy and Gregorius on base with walks, Brendan Ryan’s single scored Murphy, who just didn’t stop moving once Ryan hit that ball.
The Yankees’ offense sat on a 2-1 lead until the 7th inning when Greg Bird’s 1-out solo home run into the Yankees’ bullpen gave them the insurance run they were looking for. But it was Rob Refsnyder’s lead-off home run into the visiting bullpen in the 8th that allowed the Yankees some breathing room.
Final score in the Bronx: 4-1 Yankees, Boston takes the series 3-1.
The Yankees are the first American League franchise with 10,000 wins as of tonight. There are 6 teams in the National League that have over 10,000 — Giants (10,863), Cubs (10,605), Dodgers (10,578), Cardinals (10,571), Reds (10,320), and Pirates (10,239). But to be fair, the Yankees are the “youngest” all the clubs with 10,000 wins, as most of these teams were founded in the 1880s. Remember, the Highlanders didn’t make their debut until 1901 (and then changed their name to the Yankees in 1903).
The three games in Baltimore are still on as scheduled this weekend, but everyone is keeping an eye on the disturbance in the Atlantic as it plots its course up the East Coast. I grew up in Florida so hurricane general knowledge and watching is part of your pre-school education. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that hurricanes rarely do what we think they will. The reason everyone makes fun of the inaccuracies of meteorologists is that weather is unpredictable, and people who proclaim innate knowledge and then publicize it are far too often very wrong — public proclamations lead to public failures lead to public shaming. Lesson learned? It could affect this weekend’s games on the East Coast, even into the postseason, so just stay informed.
And I’m guessing this postseason has the potential to turn out a bit better than last time. For example: no one’s going to have to watch Jeter break his ankle on live television again, so that’s already better news. (Here is a quick rundown of who’s on the Yankees and some career and personal highlights.)
So congratulations, Yankees, on your rightful return to October baseball! Can’t wait to watch this postseason unfold!
(Quick side note: our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost someone this afternoon and to those recovering physically and emotionally from the shooting at the college in Oregon earlier today. I hope we can resolve this issue soon so that I never have to write those words ever again.)