Well, it took a trip down south to stop the Yankees recent skid in the standings. On the opening night against the Rays for this mid-week series, the Yankees came out strong offensively and from the mound.
Michael Pineda got the start and commanded the game once again. He threw 98 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up 5 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, striking out a whopping 11 Rays’ batters. The runs came in the bottom of the 3rd, with 2 outs (strikeouts, of course) and 2 runners on base with singles, a really nice triple scored both runners to get the Rays on the board before striking out the next batter to get out of the inning. That is pretty strong pitching.
In the 6th, with 1 out, Pineda was done for the night. Tommy Layne threw a 4-pitch strike out to get the next out, and then it was on to the reliable Luis Severino. Severino entered the game for a 12-pitch 4-out outing to carry the Yankees through the 7th inning and set him up for the eventual win. Tyler Clippard actually gave up a hit, a triple, in his 8th inning, and despite a wild pitch that allowed that run to score, he powered through, adding a couple more strikeouts of his own. And for the 9th inning, the Yankees called on Dellin Betances, who needed a clean outing to reset himself. He got it and his 12th save tonight — 3-up, 3-down.
On the flip side of things, the Yankees capitalized on a few of their 10 allowed hits in just a couple innings. In the 4th, with 2 outs, Mark Teixeira hit a solid solo home run deep to the left field seats to get the Yankees on the board. And in the 7th, with the Rays’ starter now out of the game, Torreyes led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Williams’ 1-out single, and then scored on Brett Gardner’s single. Gardner stole 2nd (because he’s Gardner) to put runners in scoring position. And score they did on Gary Sanchez (because who else?) hit a big 3-run home run to give the Yankees a secure lead.
Final score: 5-3 Yankees
Roster news: Aaron Hicks was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, in the lineup tonight, batting 2nd (and getting a nice hit) and playing right field. With all the recent injuries and moves, it’s nice to see a familiar face come back.
The Yankees announced this weekend that they will honor Mark Teixeira in a pre-game ceremony before the last game of the season, October 2, before the Yankees take on the Orioles. Teixeira, as you know, will retire at the end of this season, and his daily presence on the field, in the clubhouse, and in Yankee Universe will be missed. Though his more immediate plans aren’t public, I imagine spending time with family will be top priority. But I don’t think the Yankees (or for that matter, baseball in general) has seen the last of Mark Teixeira.
Awards season update: So, Gary Sanchez is currently up for the Esurance Best Rookie award this year, and Rob Refsnyder is a nominee for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. For Sanchez, you can vote and vote again here to add fuel to the conversation about the young rookie who very much deserves the honors that await him.
Refsnyder’s award goes to a player shows his generosity and community by giving back to his local community in some way. Refsnyder’s chosen charity, A Kid’s Place, is an organization provides stability and care for children removed from homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and is based in the Tampa Bay area. Refsnyder joins 5 other finalists, including former Yankees players Granderson (“Grand Kids“) and Robertson (“High Socks for Hope“). It’s quite the company of philanthropists, and while none of these guys do this for the accolades, it’s very cool how many people are recipients of the amazing generosity of such good guys.
For the end of the year awards, you can currently vote in 4 categories for your favorite players (Best Major Leaguer, Best Hitter, Best Pitcher, and Best Rookie) until November 11th. Other categories will be added during and following the postseason (Best Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Social Media Personality, Postseason Performer, Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Fan Catch, Interview, Broadcast Call, Player-Fan Interaction, and Trending Topic).
And it’s official! The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are the AAA champions. The RailRiders beat the El Paso Chihuahuas (the AAA team of the Padres) at the championship game in Memphis tonight, with a final score of 3-1, thanks to a big 1st inning 3-run home run by Chris Parmelee. For that, Parmelee was awarded the game’s MVP award. With so many current (and former) Yankees that contributed to the RailRiders’ outstanding season and just fabulous postseason of their own, Yankee Universe has much to be excited about both today and for the future.