Game 145: LAD vs. NYY — A pitchers’ duel, 2 rain relays, errors & unearned runs

Boy, some days they don’t make things easy. On this Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, the Yankees and Dodgers faced their rubber match, each gunning for a win for their own reasons — the Dodgers to stay far ahead in the NL West, the Yankees to keep narrowing that Wild Card race. And both teams (with some help from nature) certainly kept things interesting.

For the majority of the game, both pitching staffs kept the game scoreless right up until the 9th inning. Complicate matters with 2 rain delays. The first was in the 3rd inning, a brief 12 minutes, someone commenting the ridiculousness of it as they barely unrolled the tarp before they had to roll it back up again. The next came in the bottom of the 5th, lasting a full 48 minutes. It was unsure whether the Dodgers’ starter, recently returned from back surgery, would be ready after such a delay, but he did and did so pretty well actually.

By the way, the Dodgers’ starter was running a perfect game there for quite some time. It was Starlin Castro to break it up by reaching base on an error in the 5th. The next batter, Chase Headley got on base with a single to ensure the broken perfect game, but a rain delay put a halt to their advance.

On the Yankees side of things, Michael Pineda got the start today, and despite the Dodgers pushing his pitch count up, Pineda kept things under control. He threw 82 pitches in his 4 innings, giving up just 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5 LA batters. Tommy Layne continued the scoreless streak through the 5th inning before Luis Severino did what he’s becoming rather good at — long-term relief. Severino went 2 innings, keeping the Dodgers scoreless as well. Tyler Clippard added 2 more strikeouts to the total in his 13-pitch scoreless 8th inning.

But then it was the 9th inning and something had to happen. Dellin Betances, unfortunately, was at the helm when it all got messy. The first batter reached on a fielding error, stole 2nd, and scored on an RBI double. That runner moved to 3rd on a line out. Okay, then the ultimate mess. The batter hit the ball back to Betances, who smartly chose to throw it home, but his wide throw had the runner scoring and the batter ending up at 2nd. Betances buckled down and got 2 outs to end the run-scoring by the Dodgers, hoping for a rally by the Yankees offense.

Unfortunately, the Yankees faced the Dodgers’ great closer who plowed through the Yankees roster to earn his 44th save of the season (which is more than half of the Dodgers’ wins this season).

Final score: 2-0 Dodgers, Dodgers take the series 2-1.

Roster update: So, after Aaron Judge came out of the game last night with oblique strain, before the game today, the Yankees placed him on the 15-day disabled list (as predicted). In his place, the Yankees recalled Mason Williams from AAA Scranton.

As I mentioned before, the Yankees farm system is doing really well in their own postseason, currently underway. The Single-A Tampa Yankees made it all the way to their league’s championship game before falling to the Pirates’ Single-A team (the Bradenton Marauders). The AA Trenton Thunder are currently in their league’s championship series against the Indians’ AA team (the Akron RubberDucks).

And the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders have commanded their league and are currently battling out the Braves’ AAA team in their championship division (the International League). Should they win this series, they will go on to face the winners of the Pacific Coast League championship (either the Padres’ El Paso Chihuahuas or the Dodgers’ Oklahoma City Dodgers) at a special game in Memphis on September 20.

And after all that conversation about minor league teams, I can’t help but smile at all the names of minor league teams. Most of them are in reference to whatever city hosts them (like the El Paso Chihuahuas being its geographic location to the Mexican region of Chihuahua) or whatever major league affiliates they feed into (like the “RailRiders” to the subway-infused New York City Yankees). Of course, there are some that make no sense (like the Rockies’ AA team, the Hartford Yard Goats), at least to me, but I’ll leave you to be the judge.

Besides, you can’t beat minor league baseball! It’s the best of both worlds — the feel of a community game with the players that could be the next baseball stars or Hall of Famers. So when the season starts up again, find your local club and see some games! You’re guaranteed to have an inexpensive, great night with some local flavor.

Go Yankees! (And their affiliates in their respective postseasons!)

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