Game 129: SEA vs. NYY — #TanakaTime, and an offense aided by a quintet of errors

We come to the end of Players Weekend, which means tomorrow, all things go back to the normal that is a bunch of elite athletes play a children’s game while everyday people eat thousands of calories and pay hundreds of dollars to watch them do their work and critique their performances. But I digress…

Masahiro “Masa” Tanaka got the start in this afternoon’s finale against the visiting Mariners. He threw 99 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and the Mariners’ lone run, striking out 10 Seattle batters. He clearly set himself for the win, his 10th of the season (making him break even at 10 wins and 10 losses for 2017).

In the 1st, with 1 out, a Seattle batter singled and ended up on 2nd on an early fielding error. He moved to 3rd on another single and then scored on a double to get the visitors on the board. But then with runners sitting tight in scoring position, Tanaka got a well-placed strikeout and then a fly out to end the jam and keep the Mariners to that lone run.

Tanaka then would cruise through the next six innings, giving up just 3 more hits that would amount to nothing for the Mariners. Reaching his peak in the 7th, he handed the ball over to Caleb “Smith” Smith, who sailed his way through the 8th and 9th innings in just 20 total pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees capitalized on the fact that the Mariners’ defense just didn’t show up today. After the Mariners’ got on the board in the top of the 1st, the Yankees pounced right away in the bottom of the 1st. With 1 out, “All-Starlin” Castro double and then scored on Gary “Kraken” Sanchez’s single. A missed catch error allowed Sanchez to end up at 2nd. Then they loaded up the bases with Judge’s walk and a fielding error on a hit by “Sir Didi” Gregorius. {No media link, sorry!}

Then Chase “Head” Headley followed that up by reaching on another fielding error, where all runners were safe and advanced as Sanchez scored the next run. With another out, Jacoby “Chief” Ellsbury hit a bases-clearing double and ended up at 3rd due to a missed catch error by an infielder. He then scored on Ronald “Toe” Torreyes’ single.

So, with the Yankees now firmly in the lead, they continued their advance. In the 3rd, with 2 outs, Torreyes singled, moved to 2nd on “A-A-Ron” Hicks’ single, and then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

Castro led-off the 6th with a single and moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s walk. That was the end of the Mariners’ starter’s afternoon. A wild pitch by the new reliever moved both runners up to scoring position before they were joined by “All Rise” Judge on the bases. Then with 1 out, Headley hit a long fly ball, a sacrifice fly that scored Castro, but the cut-off man noticed a lingering Sanchez in the base paths and tagged him out instead for the final out of the inning and to complete the double play.

In the 7th, the Yankees loaded up the bases again with a walk and 2 singles. Then with 1 out, pinch-hitter Greg “Bird” Bird singled home “The Toddfather” Frazier and Ellsbury to add 2 more runs to the Yankees massive lead.

It is worth noting that the Yankees collected 15 total hits off the Mariners’ pitchers. And of their 10 runs, only half of them were earned thanks to the 5 errors in that 1st inning by the Mariners’ defense.

Final score: 10-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

On a bit of a side note, Joe Girardi received his 40th career ejection today, his 35th as the Yankee manager, his 5th of the year, and his 2nd of the week. In the 3rd inning, with a runner on 1st, the Mariners hit a short grounder to 1st base where Headley fielded it and threw it to 2nd for the first part of what should be a double play. But it bounced oddly, as Gregorius tagged 2nd for the first out, and the runner at 1st ended up safely reaching base.

However, a sharp-eyed Girardi noticed that the runner from 1st left the standard base path (an automatic out) and cut inside and onto the infield grass, which could interfere with the standard flow of play. Like any other interference calls, you can’t interfere with other players trying to do their job during a play. So he called for the umpires to review the play as the runner was clearly out of line. But they reviewed the play and upheld the call. Girardi was less than pleased and had no problem showing that, including a hat toss, some heated words, and a few head wags. So, yeah, ejection was bound to happen.

But Girardi certainly wasn’t wrong. It’s just fortunate the Yankees outplayed the Mariners today. I hate it when plays that get miscalled like that affect the outcome of the game. It’s especially crucial in these last few weeks of the regular season as both teams are really in the middle of a playoff race. (The Mariners are now a game and a half out of the second Wild Card spot, while the Yankees are comfortably still the first Wild Card.)

The most comprehensive list I could find on the Yankees’ Players Weekend nicknames was this:

Tyler Austin — Austin
Dellin Betances — D-Dawg
Greg Bird — Bird
Starlin Castro — All-Starlin
Luis Cessa — Quique
Aroldis Chapman — The Missile
Jacoby Ellsbury — Chief
Todd Frazier — Toddfather
Clint Frazier — Red Thunder
Jaime Garcia — J-Gar
Brett Gardner — Gardner
Sonny Gray — Pickles
Chad Green — Greeny
Didi Gregorius — Sir Didi
Chase Headley — Head
Aaron Hicks — A-A Ron
Matt Holliday — Holliday
Aaron Judge — All Rise
Tommy Kahnle — The Kahn
Bryan Mitchell — Mitch
Jordan Montgomery — Monty
Michael Pineda — Big Mike
David Robertson — D-Rob
Austin Romine — Ro
CC Sabathia — Dub
Gary Sanchez — Kraken
Luis Severino — Sevy
Chasen Shreve — Shrever
Caleb Smith — Smith
Masahiro Tanaka — Masa
Ronald Torreyes — Toe
Tyler Wade — T-Wade
Adam Warren — Rocket

Which name did you like best? Or like least? Which one surprised you most? What would you get on the back of your jersey?

And can the Yankees continue their hot streak as they face division leaders Indians and Red Sox this coming week?

Go Yankees!

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