Thanks to the frigid lingering cold weather (about 38° at first pitch tonight), it was another roof closed game up in “Hogtown” (sorry, Toronto, but that one’s funny…). But that just made things comfortable for the Yankees to come in for Game 2 of this 4-game weekend series. Certainly Masahiro Tanaka had a great night to start for the Yankees, pitching just 79 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up just 3 hits and a run, and striking out 8 Blue Jays batters. His lone allowed run was a 1-out solo home run in the 2nd.
But once again, the Yankee batters found those crucial moments to come in and take command of the game. Didi Gregorius (who had a truly stellar offensive night) kicked off the 2nd with a beautiful triple but then was thrown out when Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice. With 2 outs, Billy McKinney (more later) hit a solid single on his 1st major league at-bat, moving Sanchez to 2nd to score on a double by Brandon Drury (who also had a great night).
In the 4th, Gregorius led-off with a double. With 1 out, Walker walked (pun ignored), but then was the force out when McKinney hit into a short grounder or failed double play. Drury then singled home Gregorius to double the Yankee score. Didi again led-off the 6th and walked. He then moved to 2nd on Walker’s 1-out single. After Drury’s walk loaded up the bases, it would fall to Tyler Wade to make the difference in the game with a big double to score Gregorius and Walker. It would knock the Blue Jays’ starter out of the game.
That helped the Blue Jays as their bullpen kept the Yankees from adding to their lead. But they were up against the Yankee bullpen for the final third of the game, and some big guys weren’t about to give up their win easily. Tommy Kahnle powered through his 4 outs, and David Robertson only needed 5 pitches for his 2 to close out the 8th. Aroldis Chapman had a few struggles in the 9th. With 2 outs, he gave up consecutive doubles to score a final run for the home team, but all 3 of his outs were those wicked strikeouts.
Final score: 4-2 Yankees
Injury news: before the game today, the Yankees announced that they were putting Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list due to a strained right intercostal muscle. (Had to look that one up! It’s the muscle collection right around rib cage.) Hicks said he needed just a few days, feeling something kind of tweaking during his at-bats yesterday. But the Yankees aren’t risking anything, even this early, and placed him on the DL as a precaution. Besides, they are stacked so deep in the depth chart that it’s ridiculous.
So, early this morning, Billy McKinney gets called into the Minor League complex’s Player Development offices. Instead of going home for Easter, McKinney is told to pack his passport and hop a plane to Toronto because he’s scheduled to start in left field (Gardner shift to center) and bat 7th. His first MLB at-bat was a solid single to right, and they saved that ball for him.
With Hicks now out, Ellsbury’s return (potentially April 6) could come into play with a modified Extended Spring after his oblique injury. Frazier is still easing back into baseball activities after his concussion. And again, it’s still early in the season.
Until then, let’s stay healthy, guys!