Happy 4th of July to you all! On this, the 240th birthday of the USA, let us not forget that this day is more than baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, picnics, fireworks, or even family. Let us remember those generations who gave so much so that we can celebrate freedom and liberty today. With grateful hearts, let us show our appreciation to those brave men and brave women who continue to work and sacrifice for our country.
After dropping 2 out of 3 games in the series with San Diego, the Yankees arrived in Chicagoland to face the White Sox hoping to secure another game in the win column. Before a crowd of 30,955, Sabathia took the mound at U.S. Cellular Field with hopes for a strong start. Unfortunately, he struggled through his 6 innings giving up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs. In the 3rd, a lead-off single scored with a 2-run home run to get the White Sox on the board. Then loading the bases with a fielding error (1 of 3 tonight by the Yankees’ infield), a walk, and a single, Sabathia got out of the inning with a much-needed strikeout and a pop-up. Then in the 5th, with 1 out and runners in on the corners, a sacrifice fly scored one run, and a 2-run home run cleared the bases.
Sabathia was replaced by Luis Cessa in the 7th, the recently recalled right-hander, who was unable to stop Chicago’s scoring momentum. Over the next two innings, Cessa gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and a walk. In the 7th, a lead-off double scored on a 1-out single to add another run for the White Sox’s lead. And the 3rd fielding error by the Yankees got a runner on base with 1 out, and a bunt single put another one on right behind him. Two singles later, those runners gave the White Sox a rather comfortable and safe lead over the Yankees today.
Now, the Yankees started strong but faltered often, unable to capitalize on some really key opportunities. But to be fair, the White Sox pitcher used to pitch for a division rival, so the Yankees were in a sense used to seeing him, and yet couldn’t figure out how to hit off him today. In the 2nd inning, Chase Headley hit a homer to right field that also scored Starlin Castro (who had a great day offensively, going 4-for-4), putting the Yankees on the board first. In the 4th, hits by McCann and Castro plus a walk by Headley (who also played some fine defense today) loaded the bases, but all 3 were left stranded by the end of the inning.
In the 6th, Castro’s ground-rule double and Headley’s walk put two men on base, but again were left stranded. In the 7th, Refsnyder had a solid double to left field but never had the opportunity to score. The 8th inning saw McCann reach first on a fielding error, and Castro hit a sharp line drive to center that put him on base as well. Unfortunately, both were also unable to score. Seems like the Yankees could get the men on base today, but could not bring them home.
Final score: 8-2, White Sox
Injury update: Carlos Beltran’s hamstring injury has apparently healed, as he was back in the line up today. Beltran is in his last year of a three-year contract, but despite the persistent trade rumors. he insists he wants to stay in pinstripes.
Roster Move (sort of): after Chad Green’s stellar day in the rotation yesterday, the Yankees moved Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen. Eovaldi has been struggling with his outings lately, so the Yankees want to exercise him from the bullpen. It worked a few years ago for Nova, for example, so perhaps a stint to focus on fine-tuning his pitching mechanics will help him return to the rotation stronger and ready to become “Nasty Nate” once again.
Kudos to MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred: Major League Baseball honored Independence Day today with league uniforms decked in red letters/numbers and star-spangled caps. The Commissioner also created the opportunity for a special ceremony and celebration at the new stadium at Fort Bragg in a special game yesterday “to demonstrate that baseball can be about more that sports… It gives us an opportunity to say thank you to our service men and women and do it in a way no other sport can.” Well done, Commissioner Manfred! Baseball IS about more than just the players or the standings or the records set. It is about character and community and connection. One more reason to love baseball.
A note about time zones and schedules: Last night, the Yankees flew east experiencing three time zones (Pacific, Mountain, and Central times) to Chicago last night, arriving at their hotel at early this morning about 1:30 am. Team managers across the league continue to be concerned about their players and are encouraging future adjustments to schedules so teams aren’t flying back and forth through the four times zones of the US throughout the season. If you travel at all, you know the effects of jet lag. So imagine trying to give your 110% on the ball field with very little sleep. Tired players can easily become injured players, so I’m hoping wisdom prevails and future scheduling changes are seen.