Game 150: MIN vs. NYY — A solid start makes all the difference

There’s a lot of talk about this particular series as if the standings remain as they are, the Yankees will face the Twins in the Wild Card game in just a couple of weeks. So, beginning tonight, we could be looking at a preview of things to come. I mean, I get why the Twins are something this season, but there are still quite a few games left of the season that could certainly change everything.

Jaime Garcia had a really stellar outing in pinstripes. After struggling so much in the beginning of his Yankee career, it’s nice to see him settling into the pitcher they knew he could be, the one they traded for. He threw 85 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up just 4 hits and one unearned run, while striking out a solid 9 batters. That unearned run came in the 5th inning. A lead-off single ended up at 3rd on a single and a fielding error and then scored on a fielder’s choice out. The error, of course, made it unearned.

David Robertson came on to finish off the 6th inning and then pitch through the 7th to keep the score fairly clean. Dellin Betances came on for the 8th and really struggled his way through — hitting the first batter with a pitch, a sacrifice bunt, a walk, a wild pitch, and a walk to load up the bases.

Not willing to take any chances, the Yankees called on Aroldis Chapman for what became a 5-out save. And boy, did he deliver, starting with a well-placed strikeout to keep the bases loaded in the 8th and then a fly out to get out of the jam. And then breezing through the 9th inning to seal it all up for them.

Meanwhile, the Yankees didn’t really do that much damage against the Twins’ pitching staff. Aaron Judge hit a 1-out solo home run into the right field seats, his 44th of the season, to kick off the scoring for the Yankees. The Yankees were able to get on base often (8 hits and a walk), but they weren’t able to capitalize much on that.

In the 6th, with 1 out, Headley and Castro singled and then moved into scoring position with a wild pitch. The Twins intentionally walked Ellsbury to load up the bases, and then gave up a sacrifice fly to Todd Frazier to score Headley to double the Yankees’ low score. That would be the end of the Twins’ starter, and their bullpen had pretty good luck against the Yankee offense, keeping them at their low score.

Both teams spent most of the game waiting for their offense to pick up and do something. But neither team really did.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees

David Robertson is one of this year’s finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, an annual honor given to the player “whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.” It is part of the players’ choice awards, awarded in the postseason and voted on by secret ballot to honor fellow players who have made an outstanding impact in this past season. Mariano Rivera is the only Yankee to win the MMMotY award, back in 2013.

Robertson is recognized for his outstanding on-field performance, but he dedicates much of his off-field time to the foundation he runs with his wife Erin — High Socks for Hope. In the past, they have helped with relief efforts following natural disasters like tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy, and they are already involved in current efforts to clean up following the two recent disasters in Texas and Florida. They also have a few special branches of the foundation including one that helps with homeless veterans and a fund set-up in honor of Erin’s dad who lost his battle with cancer last year.

Fans selected the nominees from each division, and now players will vote for the player they believe is worthy of the honor this year. Robertson is up against other very philanthropic players from all over the league, and I wish them all the best in their endeavors to give back to their communities through so many different charities.

Postseason Prep: I don’t know what it is but the Red Sox are really working these extra inning games lately. As of this posting, they’re holding strong against the Orioles in the 11th inning. And I think you can guess that I’m pretty much “Go, Baltimore!” for that series. They’re still flirting that 3-game gap between the Red Sox and the Yankees for the AL East — meaning the Yankees have to keep winning and the Red Sox need to lose some of these games to stop the status quo and actually make some headway in the standings.

That reminds me… I got a text from my brother earlier today, asking for help. No, it wasn’t about his love life or something life shattering. He felt a little flustered because this guy he works with always wants to talk about baseball, and my brother is really not that into sports. Sure, he’ll go to a game, and he definitely has his favorite teams (almost anyone except Boston, smart man that he is). But he doesn’t really follow the season. At all. So I ended up sending him 21 texts about the current status of the season and league within about 10 minutes. He talks to the guy for like a minute every day, but now, he’s good for the next week or so. (You’re welcome!)

Or, you know, he could just read my blog…

Go Yankees!

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