Most Yankee players really have a wonderful experience when they visit the Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Partly because the experience is similar to what they get at the Rays’ stadium during the year — half the crowd are almost always dedicated Yankee fans. Add in lovely California weather and a nice stadium itself and Yankee Stadium West is currently hosting this weekend series.
Luis Severino got the start tonight, and a had pretty good outing overall. He threw 96 pitches in his 7 inning, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs, and striking out 8 Angels’ batters. In the 2nd, he gave up a 1-out solo home run to the Angels’ newest international superstar. A lead-off single in the 7th moved to 2nd on a 1-out single. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and then scored on a triple.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were held off from the scoreboard until the 5th inning. Andujar led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Torreyes’ 1-out single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly. And then came the messy 6th inning. First, Didi Gregorius led-off with a single and the Angels took their starter out of the game. And then it went crazy. Stanton reached on a forced attempt and fielding error. A wild pitch on Sanchez’s strikeout moved both runners into scoring position. Then Neil Walker hit into a sacrifice double play, a long fly ball just inches from a home run unfortunately. But not before Gregorius actually scored the crucial run. (More on this below)
While Holder and Robertson held off the Angels from adding to their slim lead in the 8th and 9th innings, the Yankees needed one more opportunity to make a difference. They found that in their own half of the 9th inning. Sanchez led-off with a walk, Andujar hit a solid double, and then they intentionally walked Torres to load up the bases with 1 out. Brett Gardner came on to pinch-hit and hit a sacrifice fly to score Sanchez and tie up the game.
So we go into the 10th inning. And who else is it going to be? Didi Gregorius hit a 1-out solo home run to give the Yankees the lead. Yankee Stadium West was lit, and Gregorius honored their cheers with his own curtain call. Chapman took 15 pitches and earned the save tonight as the Yankees celebrated their 7th consecutive victory.
Final score: 4-3 Yankees, in 10 innings
Going back to that 6th inning mess: there was a bit of confusion in the middle of that “double play” call. In post-game interviews, the Yankees called it a “boundary issue”. Honestly, the idea of the double play itself makes no sense because it would imply that Stanton left 2nd base before the out was made. But on replays, it looks like he was there when the out in right field was made, so when he took off for 3rd, he should be safe. It should be a sacrifice RBI for Sanchez with Stanton advancing to 3rd.
Boone later said he ran out of time to call for a replay review. Perhaps a first time manager’s mistake? Or maybe it’s something his bench coach could have caught for him? (Josh Bard was ejected earlier in the game for arguing over the questionable strike zone.) Honestly, tonight’s “double play” one of many plays the umpires have called that seems questionable or confusing. As clear as the rules try to be, having flawed humans make perfect calls is going to run into issues. And with how even replays are going this season, a review might have done nothing different.
In the end, it didn’t matter anyway. If this was an October game, I think more people would have something to say. Not that you want a lot of these plays. They do add up. Multiple bad calls can really tank a team’s overall win-loss record, which could mean no October baseball at all. You want to get it right every time, whether it’s a playoff game or Spring Training. But that pesky human factor means that you won’t. And for all my fellow perfectionists out there, you know that’s the really irritating part of this whole thing.