It was t-shirt day at Yankee Stadium. The first 10,00 guests through the turnstiles got an old-school t-shirt in partnership with the sponsor. The Yankees, like every stadium, do these promos constantly through the year — like hats, pins, calendars, bobble heads, replica championship rings, and a plethora of other things I’ve collected over the years. But they also like to mix it up a bit. On Alex Rodriguez Bat Day, guess who was handing out bats to kids at one of the gates. And today, a couple of younger Yankees helped scan tickets and hand out t-shirts to fans as they came through the door.
And then the Yankees went into tonight’s game looking for the much-needed win, to sweep the Blue Jays back to Toronto. And they called on Bryan Mitchell to make a spot start, after being called up just yesterday to fill in an empty roster spot. Mitchell actually did a great job for a spot start, reminding me of how well he did during Spring Training before his broken toe incident. He threw 80 pitches through his 5 innings, gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2 Toronto batters, and keeping them completely scoreless.
After Mitchell gave up a double in the 6th on his 80th pitch, the Yankees thought he might have had enough so opted to go to the bullpen. Yankee Stadium greeted him with a rather warm ovation as he made his way back to the dugout.
Luis Severino came on in relief before powering his way through 3 innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out 3 batters. Currently, Severino has faced 51 batters in relief and only given up 2 hits and no earned runs, and he’s struck out 16 batters. Basically, I think we can say Severino’s found a nice home as a long-term reliever.
Tyler Clippard came on in the 9th and just breezed through the Blue Jays’ line-up in 11 pitches, adding 2 more strikeouts, and earning his 2nd save this season for the Yankees. They knew before the game tonight that Clippard would be the one called up should the situation arise for a save, as Betances was unavailable due to his exhausting (and somewhat disappointing) outing last night.
The Yankees managed to get 9 hits and 2 walks off the Blue Jays batters, and still managed to strike out 12 times. The only time those things added up to runs was in the 3rd inning. With 2 outs, Starlin Castro hit his 20th home run of the year, a solo shot out to the left field seats. Then Gregorius doubled and Teixeira worked a walk to get on base. Brian McCann’s single scored Gregorius, but one of those pesky strikeouts ended the inning for the Yankees.
Actually, the most impressive non-Yankee stat of the night was that the Blue Jays’ pitcher in the 8th inning threw just 6 pitches and still managed to give up a hit without allowing any runs. It was weird actually. If you were late coming back from the inning break, you might have thought the inning break was a bit too long and wonder what happened to the bottom of the 8th inning. It was a “blink and you miss it” kind of inning. They’re certainly not common in baseball, despite what MLB HQ is trying to do to “speed up the game”.
Final score: 2-0 Yankees, Yankees sweep the Blue Jays 3-0.
Yes, you read that right. The Yankees officially sweep the Blue Jays. The race for the Wild Card is alive and well, but then so is the AL East. So here’s some updated standings for you to chew on: the AL East is a battle for the top 4 teams — depending on what happens in San Diego tonight, Boston and Toronto will either be tied (if Boston loses) or a game apart (Boston ahead if they win), then Baltimore a game back, and then the Yankees just one game beyond that.
And in the Wild Card, (again waiting on the results from San Diego), the Boston-Toronto toss up at the top, then Baltimore by a game, then Detroit and Houston back each a game, and the Yankees are literally a half-game behind Houston. The Yankees are very much in this race, though the prediction calculate gave them just a 5% rating yesterday.
And here’s some fun math for you: the game numbers to elimination are really tight — 22 for the Wild Card, and 21 for the AL East. Basically, of the next 24 games to play, the results of the next 21/22 games will decide on whether they go to October baseball. Now, they won’t talk about those “magic numbers” for another couple of weeks, but there are already teams eliminated from both their division and the Wild Card race, and a good portion will join them in less than 10 games. This home stand is crucial.
Roster move: As predicted, the Yankees moved Chad Green to the 15-day DL due to his elbow tendon injury. It is, of course, retroactive to September 3, the day the injury occurred.
Also, beginning today, show your support for the Yankees’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award by using your social media adding #VoteGardy. The Roberto Clemente Award is named after the late humanitarian and great ball player Roberto Clemente who literally gave his life while giving back. The Award is given to the player who best embraces this concept on and off the field, and the Yankees selected Brett Gardner for this year’s candidacy. A well-deserved honor.