Game 125: CLE vs. NYY — Legendary drama on sunny Saturday in the Bronx

Sunny, clear skies. A warm Saturday afternoon. Former Yankees in the Bronx. And a tight ball game. It was a good day to be at the ball park today.

James Paxton got the start today and had a decent outing overall. He threw 88 pitches in 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 4 Cleveland batters in this third game of the 4-game weekend series. Paxton bookended his outing by splitting his allowed runs.

In the 1st, a lead-off walk and double had runners in scoring position to do so on a long single to get the Indians on the board first. After the Yankees tie up things and then took the lead, the Indians found their next chance in the 5th. With 2 outs, a double and a walk on base, consecutive singles scored both runs to tie up the game.

Ottavino breezed his way through a 13-pitch 6th, and Kahnle allowed a couple of runners but got out of the 7th without allowing the visitors to add to the score. Zack Britton got into some trouble in the 8th. His lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a wild pitch. Later with runners on the corners, he and the defense snapped into action with a standard double play. And Chapman earned his 35th save with an efficient 10-pitch 9th inning to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees pieced together their eventual win. With 2 outs in the 2nd, Maybin worked a walk and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single and a fielding error. That error gave Tauchman a bit of false hope as he was thrown out trying to make it to 2nd just after Maybin scored the Yankees’ first run.

Romine led-off the 3rd with a single but was out when Estrada hit into a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Estrada stole 2nd and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single and a throwing error. That tied up the game from the Indians’ strong start. Then in the 4th, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres went back-to-back with solo home runs to put the Yankees in the lead.

In the 5th, with 2 outs, DJ LeMahieu hit a solo home run to close out the Cleveland’s starter’s afternoon. Torres got his second homer of the day, a 1-out solo home run in the 6th. That would be the insurance run they needed, just preceding the dramatic ejections of Boone, Gardner, and Sabathia.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Now, whenever there’s some drama that leads to ejections, I always go back and look at the graphics to see whether it was a legitimate concern or just overblown competitive machismo. But yes, it was legitimate today. The “called strikes” mostly weren’t strikes. So it had to be frustrating for both pitchers and batters when they can’t guarantee the consistency of the strike zone.

So, in this case, Maybin was openly questioning the final called strike of his at-bat in the 6th. Before things got too heated, Aaron Boone did his job and got between the umpire and Maybin. But Boone continued “chirping” as he’s prone to do, and that just seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for everything. So Boone got tossed.

But it didn’t end there. The bench was sparked in Boone’s defense. First, Brett Gardner was tossed when the umpire said he wasn’t allowed to use his bat to pound against the dugout, which doesn’t seem like something the umpires would police as it seems more like a grounds or stadium crew issue. He rushed the umpire asking him why exactly they ejected him, only to find out the umpires believe that dugout behavior with a bat is under their purview. CC Sabathia came to his teammate’s defense, and they tossed him too. Honestly, kind of ridiculous on a lot of fronts.

But before the game, the Yankees honored Yankee legend Mariano Rivera. Just a few weeks ago, we all watched the iconic closer be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. To commemorate that, the Yankees hosted Rivera and his family in a pre-game ceremony where they honored this milestone with a replica plaque to be placed in Monument Park.

Mo&MoJr08.17.19
Rivera and son exit field after first pitch. (Photo credit: Yankees Twitter)

His former manager Joe Torre was also on hand for the festivities. And Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner presented Rivera’s foundation with a check for $250,000 to help build a learning center in New Rochelle, New York. Rivera threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch (a high ball, by the way) to his son, Mariano Rivera Jr and later hung out with the Yankees broadcasters to reflect on his career and today’s special event.

Go Yankees!

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