Okay, this afternoon, the Indians finally played like I expected them to play — division leaders. And honestly, if not for a few lucky pitches, it would have been quite a struggle for them on this steamy Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. Somewhere, I can hear the crying sobs of my Cleveland relatives as they come to the realization that October baseball may be slipping from them once again.
Yes, it was not as pleasant a day today in New York for many reasons. The sky was overcast with peeking sunlight that kind of sat heavy and muggy around the bowl of Yankee Stadium as it so often does on such days in the summer. Fans dream that someday someone will invent a giant ceiling fan of sorts to get the air kind of circulating rather than just sitting there on the nearly 40,000 guests in the Bronx.
Digressions aside, there was also a game played this afternoon. CC Sabathia got the start. I find it funny that people still associate Sabathia with the Indians as if he just got traded or something and not signed with the Yankees say 8 years ago. By the end of this season, he will have been a Yankee longer than he ever was an Indian as he was traded to the Brewers mid-season in 2008 before signing with New York just before the 2009 championship season. Just needed to clear that up. (This isn’t like a LeBron thing, despite the similarities.)
Anyway, Sabathia kind of had a rough outing. When asked in his post-game press conference, Girardi summed it up, “He was in bad counts today and figured out how to get out of a lot of situations… eventually it caught up to him.” In his 100 pitches just shy of 6 innings, Sabathia gave up 6 hits, 4 walks, and 3 runs, striking out 5 batters. Sabathia kept things under control for the first part of the game, and the Indians only broke through in the 4th with a lead-off solo home run.
But then in the 5th, a batter hit by a pitch was caught going to 2nd by the sharp eye of catcher Gary Sanchez. Then a walked batter ended up at 2nd on a ground out before scoring on an RBI single. A 1-out solo home run in the 6th started spelling the end for Sabathia tonight, and with 2 runners on base and 2 outs on the board, the bullpen call went to Anthony Swarzak to get the strikeout to end the inning.
Swarzak had his own trouble with a 1-out solo shot in the 7th and was replaced by Chasen Shreve who promptly shut things down through the 7th and 2 outs in the 8th to be replaced by Nick Goody. Goody came back out in the 9th where a 1-out walk scored on an RBI single to give the Indians a hefty lead and end Goody’s night. Dellin Betances closed things out with 2 of his nasty strikeouts, but not before the Indians threatened with a single and 2 stolen bases putting runners in scoring position.
The Yankees’ offense was virtually silent in comparison to last night. Facing the Indians’ starter’s just 100 pitches, the Yankees only got 5 hits and a walk in his 8 innings, and struck out 8 times. The only time they scored runs all night was far too early in the game. In the 2nd inning, Castro hit a 1-out single and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s double. Hicks moved runners to the corners, and a wild pitch scored Sanchez for the Yankees second and final run of the game.
In the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees faced their recently traded former teammate, who basically threw what is a standard inning for him and got his first save for the Indians. Someone called me during the 9th inning to comment that the pitcher was wearing the wrong uniform, and they didn’t like to watch him pitch for any other team. I reminded the caller that it’s part of baseball, he wasn’t always a Yankee, and it wouldn’t have been my choice either.
Final score: 5-2 Cleveland.
Scranton Shuttle: Before the game, the Yankees recalled Chasen Shreve, who pitched in today’s game. They optioned Johnny Barbato back to AAA Scranton to free up the roster spot.