Okay, before we dive into the major news of the day that even overshadowed the game, we need to talk about the game. Being as it is the series against the Rays, I should resign to using water metaphors and puns. “Swept out to sea”, “sunk again”, and “dive bombed” might be appropriate phases, and to make matters worse, one of the home runs today was hit into the Rays touch tank the Trop has out over center field. (By the way, it’s super cool if you’re ever at the Trop; but get in line early, like when the gates first open, or you won’t get in before the game.) But I won’t resort to pirated phrases… okay, a few might sink in there from time to time.
Michael Pineda got the start this afternoon in the closing game of this weekend series against the Rays. Pineda actually threw a pretty decent game for the first half of his 6 innings, keeping the Rays scoreless and with just 1 hit. But then he struggled in the 4th getting runners in scoring position with no outs before they both scored on consecutive ground outs to give the Rays a lead.
A 2-out solo home run in the 5th added another run for the Rays (that’s the one that ended up floating in the touch tank). And in the 6th, with 2 outs and runners again in scoring position, Pineda intentionally walked a batter, hoping to go after the next batter. But a pitch left just a little up in the strike zone became a 2-RBI single to pad the Rays’ lead.
After 93 pitches, 6 hits, 4 walks, 5 runs, and 8 strikeouts, Pineda’s day was done. Luis Severino came on to throw a near perfect 2 innings and kept the Rays from adding to their score or doing much in the way of base runners.
In the meantime, the Yankees did their best to reduce the Rays’ lead. In the 4th inning, they loaded up the bases with a couple of singles and a walk and just 1 out, but the next batter quickly ended that hope by grounding into a double play.
It wasn’t until the 6th inning, they finally broke through. Ellsbury led-off with a walk and then scored when Carlos Beltran hit a big 2-run home run. The Yankees were on the board and watching the Rays enjoy their lead. So in the 8th, Starlin Castro led-off with a single and ended up at 2nd on a messy throwing error, before scoring on Brian McCann’s single. But a double play and line out later, the Yankees rally and run-scoring was at an end.
Honestly, most of the game featured pretty similar stats — 23 total strikeouts between the two teams, 15 hits, and 9 walks. But what does it always come down to? Those runs scored numbers.
Final score: 5-3 Rays, Rays sweep series 3-0.
And for the big news of the day… the Warriors Three and the Dynamic Duo are officially done. At 8:30 this morning, Andrew Miller got the call that informed him that he had been traded to Cleveland (more below). Sorry, Miller fans, but he’s headed to the “Mistake on the Lake”. Now, here’s the upside for Miller — Cleveland is doing really good this year, like they’re the best team in the AL as of this posting. Their chances of the postseason are really high (95%), which means Miller (who will wear #24 with the Indians) will most likely be playing October baseball. (More than I can say for most of his now former teammates — the Yankees’ postseason chances are down to 5%.)
Okay, so here’s the trade details: Miller was traded to the Indians as part of a big swap. In exchange for the closer, the Yankees acquired 4 prospects, including 2 of the Indians top prospects — outfielder Clint Frazier (#1) and left-hander Justus Sheffield (#5), as well as right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. In addition, to fill the gap on the roster due to Miller’s trade, the Yankees traded for an old face to some fans — pitcher Tyler Clippard is back from the Diamondbacks in exchange for pitching prospect Vicente Campos.
After updating the Yankees’ farm system rankings and the league’s farm system rankings, the Yankees’ farm system is actually one of the best in the entire league. This is really good news. It means the future is looking bright again, even if the current season isn’t looking so good. Comparisons are being made to the farm system that produced the core of what became the dynasty of the 1990s and early 2000s. Again, this is good news.