Games 65 & 66: NYM vs. NYY — Subway series split, big bats & messy defense

Yesterday’s game to kick off this brief stint back in New York during this odd road trip was once again at the mercy of the weather, with the rain turning the outfield once again into large puddles. So, they rescheduled last night’s game for the afternoon game of what became today’s double header against the Mets.

Game 1 (rescheduled from June 10)
Masahiro Tanaka is back from paternity leave to make this afternoon’s start of this 2-game mini-series against the Yankees’ crosstown rivals. Tanaka had a pretty great outing, throwing 101 pitches into the 7th inning, allowing 7 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), and striking out 7 Mets’ batters.

In the 3rd, the lead-off batter made it safely to 1st on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a single, and then scored on another single. Then a big 3-run home run gave the Mets a nice cushion. In the 6th, a lead-off double scored on a 2-out single to add just one more run. Kahnle closed out the 7th for Tanaka with a great 3-pitch strikeout before handing the gave over to Hale to finish the final 2 scoreless innings for the Yankees.

Despite that wobble in the 3rd, the Yankees dominated the Mets’ pitchers throughout the afternoon. In the 2nd, Gregorius hit a 1-out double and scored on Kendrys Morales’ single. This got the Yankees on the board first, but after the Mets took the lead in the top of the 3rd, the home team just surged forward.

Gardner led-off the 3rd with a single and moved to 2nd on what was eventually called a fielder’s choice. The fielder who handled the ball in an attempt to do the double play (that never happened), but he never touched 2nd to make the force out there. A very quick replay overturned the out call. Gardner moved to 3rd when Hicks into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (and yes, the fielder touched the bag this time). After another out, Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner.

In the 4th, Morales hit a 1-out single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen. After another out, LeMahieu made it all the way to 2nd on a bad throwing error and moved up at 3rd on a wild pitch. After Hicks worked a walk, Luke Voit smacked a big 3-run home run deep into the left field bleachers to ensure the Yankees’ lead.

But they weren’t finished. With 2 outs in the 5th, Morales doubled and scored on Urshela’s single. Urshela then scored on Brett Gardner’s great triple. Frazier led-off the 7th with a double, moved to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on Urshela’s double. And in the 8th, Voit worked a 1-out walk and then scored on Gardner’s solid 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big afternoon.

It’s also worth noting that of the 12 Yankee runs only 8 were considered earned due to the sloppy defense, a rather common scene today. Not that the Yankees’ defense was immune to the sloppy defense bug either, which was the cause of some of their more recent losses (or near losses). There were 5 errors made in the first game alone (and 1 in the later one).

Final score: 12-5 Yankees

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees were hoping for the mini-sweep today, but so many things just didn’t work out in their favor tonight. James Paxton got the start and was just shaky from the beginning. He threw 63 pitches into just the 3rd inning, gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out just 1 Mets’ batter.

In the 1st, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single, and both runners scored on a 3-run home run to kick things off before anyone got an out tonight. After a scoreless 2nd, with 1 out in the 3rd, Paxton gave up 2 walks that proceeded to score on consecutive singles. After another out, another single scored a run.

That was it for Paxton’s night, and the Yankees handed things over to their 26th man for the double header, Chance Adams. Adams finished the 3rd and through the majority of the game for the next 4 innings. He too found some problems in his outing. In the 4th, the lead-off batter made it safely due to a fielding error and then scored as part of a 2-run home run. And a 2-out solo home run in the 5th kept the visitors on a roll.

After Adams had a better few innings to finish his stint, Cessa threw a flawless 8th. Things were looking up. But Stephen Tarpley had some issues in the 9th but managed to keep the damage minimal. The lead-off batter was hit by a pitch, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on a 2-out double to cap off the Mets’ runs tonight.

The Yankees had a lone inning of offense tonight. LeMahieu led-off with a single, Voit worked a walk, and Sanchez hit a short single to load up the bases. Gleyber Torres’ single scored just LeMahieu. Clint Frazier hit into a fielder’s choice that just scored Voit. Urshela repeated the play to score Sanchez.

But with the Mets’ offensive dominance tonight, the Yankees just couldn’t catch up. But they tried. Brett Gardner even got in on the action with a lead-off solo home run in the 9th. But there was no last-minute rally to make up the difference.

Final score: 10-4 Mets, The New York teams thus split this year’s Bronx edition of the Subway Series. (The teams will have another mini-series in Queens at the beginning of next month.)

Next up: The Yankees have a travel day/off-day tomorrow (Wednesday) before they play a 4-game weekend series against the White Sox. Then they’re back in the Bronx again to face the Rays, Astros, and Blue Jays and host HOPE Week. Then it’s off to England for the much-anticipated international rivalry series in London.

Roster moves: The Yankees have been quite busy moving players into position for these last few days. As mentioned above, they activated Masahiro Tanaka from paternity leave, optioned Nestor Cortes Jr to AAA Scranton, and selected Chance Adams for the 26th man for the double header.

Injury updates: The Yankees also sent Giancarlo Stanton start his rehab assignment with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons. Expect to hear news on Judge this weekend, as the Yankees expect both star outfielder to rejoin the team shortly. But the rough news is about Dellin Betances, who suffered a setback in his recovery with a lat strain. Betances is shut down a few weeks to nurse this new pain in his middle back.

Finally, there’s good news on the All-Star Game voting. Your Yankees are some of the fan favorites so far. Sanchez is by far leading all other AL catchers, and Voit has a good lead at AL first base. But the rest of the team are also still contenders — Urshela is pulling a strong 2nd at 3rd base; LeMahieu and Torres are in 3rd in their categories (second base and shortstop); Stanton is coming in 5th as DH; and outfielders Judge, Gardner, and Hicks are currently 7th, 13th, and 16th.

In other words, go vote today and keep the Yankees at the top of their respective categories. The top 3 in each group (top 9 in the outfield) will move on to the next round of voting. This first round of voting ends June 21 at 4 pm EST, so vote today, up to 5 times every 24 hours.

Go Yankees!

Game 56: BOS vs. NYY — Rivalry series highlights newer players

Rain pouring on the area all afternoon and evening ended up postponing yesterday’s opener in this weekend’s rivalry series. (To be made up as the second game of a double header when the Red Sox return to the Bronx in August.) So after the skies cleared late last night, the field dried out, and the amazing crew at Yankee Stadium readied the field for the big series to start tonight.

JA Happ got the start tonight against the visiting Red Sox, throwing 84 pitches in 5 strong innings. He gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run and struck out 5 batters to earn the eventual win. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo home run in the 2nd inning. He set the momentum for the rest of the bullpen to carry through the game. Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman each threw a great scoreless inning to close out the game in support.

The Yankee batters often are rather limited against the Red Sox ace pitcher. Tonight, while they didn’t have many opportunities through most of the game, it was enough to make the difference.

In the 3rd, Urshela led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Gardner’s 1-out single, and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s double to tie up the game. Then Aaron Hicks’ big 2-out single scored both Gardner and LeMahieu to give the Yankees a nice lead. And DJ LeMahieu hit a 1-out solo home run in the 5th to ensure the Yankees’ victory with an extra insurance run they didn’t need.

Final score: 4-1 Yankees

Consider this your daily reminder to vote for your favorite players to start the All-Star Game. You can vote up to 5 times per day on MLB and then vote once a day on Google Search. Show your support for your favorite players and vote often! The 2019 All-Star Game will be July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Go Yankees!

Also, our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims in today’s shooting in Virginia Beach. My heart breaks for their loss and hopes for healing and grace upon their community. May we continue to seek ways to unite and spread peace.

Game 54: SD vs. NYY — Tuesday night spells Tanaka troubles

In this second game of the midweek series against the visiting Padres, the Yankees fell just short, despite making quite the concerted effort to overcome the Padres’ early lead. Masahiro Tanaka got off to a bumpy start and really couldn’t recover after the 1st inning. Overall, he threw 100 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs (4 earned), and still struck out 7 batters.

In that 1st inning, his lead-off batter reached on a fielding error, moved to 2nd on a single, and then scored on an RBI single. The next batter hit a big 3-run home run up the middle to shove the Padres into that early lead, all before Tanaka recorded an out. After this mess, things settled down. Until the 6th. A 1-out single moved to 3rd on another single and then scored on yet another single for the Padres’ eventual insurance run.

Joe Harvey and Luis Cessa split the final 3 innings, keeping the visitors scoreless and each collecting 2 strikeouts to carry the game through. Without that messy start, the Yankees really had quite a good game overall, pushing the Padres’ bullpen to the brink later in the game.

Gary Sanchez found the first chance for the Yankees with a 1-out solo home run in the 4th. But it was the 7th that really made things interesting for the home town crowd. With a new pitcher, Morales led-off with a walk. After a strikeout and another new pitcher, Estrada then worked a walk.

Still another new pitcher couldn’t seem to get the Yankees out, loading the bases with Gardner’s short single. DJ LeMahieu’s single scored Morales and Estrada, and Voit’s single loaded up the bases again. Aaron Hicks hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd to score Gardner.

And the Yankees’ rally halted abruptly as the Padres finally found relievers that kept the Yankees’ bats much quieter. Thus, the Yankees fell just short of the win.

Final score: 5-4 Padres

Roster moves: Before today’s game, the Yankees announced they were sending Didi Gregorius to join AAA Scranton to continue his rehab assignment. He was successful with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons, but he’ll continue ramping up his progress before setting foot back with the major league roster, making his 2019 debut after Tommy John surgery last October.

After the game, the Yankees optioned Joe Harvey back to AAA Scranton. It looks like starter James Paxton will be back in the rotation tomorrow, as scheduled. Paxton has been nursing a troubling knee injury, recently getting cortisone injections.

And it’s that time of year again. The All-Star Game voting is underway. They’re doing things a bit different than they did in previous years. Fans still get a chance to help pick their favorites to start the game, starting today. Fans can vote up to 5 times a day via MLB team sites or once a day through Google Search until June 21 at 4 pm EST.

The finalists (top 3 per position, top 9 outfielders) will be revealed June 21 at 7pm EST. Then fan voting resumes for the finalists June 26 at 12pm EST through June 27 at 4pm EST. The winners of this vote will be revealed June 27 at 7pm, and the rest of the ASG roster on June 30.

The All-Star Game will be July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, with many fun local festivities leading up to the main event like the Fan Fest, Workout Day, and the Home Run Derby.

Go Yankees!

MLB All-Star Game 2018 — Home Run Derby, Day 2

Another All-Star Game has come to a close, but this one became one for the history books with a grand total of 10 home runs (5 for each team) in an All-Star Game. That beats previous records of 6 total homers in an ASG in 1951, 1954, and 1971. It’s also worth noting that the American League officially moved into the lead with 44 wins over the National League’s 43 wins.

Random trivia: there have also been 2 ties in All-Star Game history — in 1961, the game was tied 1-1 and called after 9 innings due to rain; in 2002, the game was tied 7-7 and ended after 11 innings after running out of pitchers (which was actually a violation of the rules). The fans in 2002 were so outraged, they were throwing things on the field and booed and demanded refunds. And if you have ever looked up how much ASG tickets are, you can see why that might have been an issue.

The next year, they instituted the “home field advantage” for the ASG winner, something that they got rid of for the 2017 ASG. NL losing teams for the last 14 years of World Series felt at a disadvantage, thanks to 11 of those 14 years the AL winning the home field advantage and 8 times the AL teams won. It could just be that the AL teams were better that year. But what do I know? Also, the ASG winners just win more money than the ASG losers.

Anyway, there was another All-Star Game tonight, and the AL edged out the NL in extra innings again. The AL has beaten the NL the last 3 times in extra innings — 2008 (15 innings), 2017 (10), and 2018 (10). Until then, the NL came out over the AL the previous 9 times games went into extras (1950-1994).

After a swift 1st inning, the AL got on top first with the Yankees own Aaron Judge in the 2nd inning. Facing off the Nationals’ ace Scherzer, Judge liked the 2nd pitch and hit it deep into the visitor’s dugout in left field. (That would be the first Yankees’ hit in an All-Star Game since Jeter’s 2 hits in his final ASG in 2014.) The NL called on the Mets’ deGrom for the 3rd inning, but he gave up a 2-out solo home run to the Angels’ Trout to double the AL’s early lead. But then, the Rays’ Snell gave up a lead-off solo homer to the Cubs’ Contreras to get the NL on the board in the 3rd.

The AL pitchers spent the next 3 innings fending off any potential NL offensive advances, until the 7th inning. Morton (Astros) came on for the bottom of the 7th and had a less than idea outing. He gave up a 1-out solo homer to Story (Rockies) to tie up the game. The NL continued to advance with a walk and hit-by-pitch that moved into scoring position with a wild pitch. But a pop-out ended the threat then.

And the AL batters answered back in the top of the 8th against the Brewers’ pitcher Hader. Choo (Rangers) led-off with a single, and Springer (Astros) then hit a 1-out single. After an error for a dropped foul (a very strange call for leaning slamming into the dugout wall while missing the catch), the next batter was a pinch-hitter Segura (Mariners) who slammed a 3-run home run into the left field seats to push the AL back into a nice lead.

A new reliever Hand (Padres) closed out the inning, and the Brewers’ Yelich got back a run for the NL with a 1-out solo homer off Morton (Astros) in the 8th. They came back again in the 9th off Diaz (Mariners) who gave up a 1-out walk to Realmuto (Marlins) and then a 2-run game-tying home run to pinch-hitting Gennett (Reds), the first home run of the game to go into the right field seats, by the way.

So, into the 10th inning, the game went. As tradition, the coaching staffs for each team were from last year’s World Series teams (Dodgers and Astros), so it makes sense that both managers heavily relied on their own players even in messy or tight situations, even when another player might have been a better option (see Morton’s 2 sloppy innings above).

As such, the NL sent in their pitcher Stripling for the 10th inning and he promptly gave up consecutive solo home runs to Astros’ batters Bregman and Springer to put the AL back on top. After 2 singles (Mariners’ Segura and Red Sox’s Moreland) put runners on the corners, Stripling finally got a strikeout, and the Indians’ Brantley hit a long sacrifice fly to score Segura.

The AL responded with Happ (Blue Jays) to earn the save. But he gave up a 1st pitch solo homer to Votto (Red) to give the predominantly NL crowd hope. It was not to be as he needed just 11 pitches to get out of the inning, earn the save and give the AL the final victory of the night.

Final score: 8-6 American League, in 10 innings

{Media recaps: AL homers, NL homers, all home runs}

Usually, the MVP is awarded to the difference maker in the game, which I initially thought would be Segura (Mariners), but they opted for the Astros’ Alex Bregman because of his 10th inning homer to break the extra innings tie. (Perhaps, the deciding factor/favor might be his home coaching staff for that decision. But what do I know?) However, he did choose the beautiful bright blue Camaro SS, which he gifted to his mother, and I can’t hold that against him.

So, how did the Yankees do in this year’s All-Star Game? Aaron Judge, as you already know, went 1-for-2 thanks to that 2nd inning solo home run, and also worked a 4th inning walk. Gleyber Torres was on video duty (sorry, it’s sideways), filming Judge’s heroics for his Twitter followers. Aroldis Chapman cheered on his fellow pitcher Luis Severino, who despite giving up a lead-off double in the 2nd, had 3 quick outs to keep the NL scoreless. Severino also became the youngest pitcher to get a strikeout in an All-Star Game. Plus, he was the one who actually caught Judge’s home run in the dugout.

Next year, the All-Star Game will return to an AL park (after 3 consecutive years in NL parks). Cleveland’s Progressive Field will host the 90th All-Star Game on July 9, 2019. They last hosted the game in 1997. The Dodgers are then slated to host in 2020.

See you all Friday! The Yankees will be back in the Bronx to host their crosstown rivals, the Mets for the weekend.

Go Yankees!

Home Run Derby 2018 — Hometown Heroics at Workout Day

At the end of the first half of the season, the leading players in home runs were dominantly in the American League, but many opted out of the special event tonight either in favor of the rest that comes with the All-Star Break or to focus on the big exhibition game tomorrow night.

Instead, 43,698 fans crowded into Nationals Park in anticipation of seeing the star slugger they see at every home game hit his way into victory. Nationals’ outfielder Harper was the only veteran of the Home Run Derby, having lost in the final round in 2013 to Cespedes. The seven other batters in tonight’s event were news and all but one from National League teams.

The All-Star players had their Workout Day earlier in the day, running drills, seeing where they land on the roster, connecting with former teammates and friends, meeting the media and fans, and then congregating for the Home Run Derby. The Derby is set-up like in a bracket system, where the player with the highest number of home runs (Seed #1) faces off against the player with the fewest homers (Seed #8) and other similar pairings for the first round for four pairings, a sort of “homer-off”, in just 4 minutes.

The player with the most homers of the pair advance to the next round. So, the winners of that first round meet up with another winner for two more pairings for another round of “homer-off”. And the 2 winners of those pairings meet in the final round to see who hits the most homers in just 4 minutes. An extra 30 seconds is awarded if the batter hits 2+ homers at least 440 feet.

The first round kept close for the most part, with a strong start by the first pairing. The Phillies’ Hoskins kicked off the evening with 17 home runs that beat his opponent, Aguilar (Brewers), who hit just 12 despite being the furthest apart in regular season homers. Then it was close — Schwarber (Cubs) beat Bregman (Astros) 16-15, Muncy (Dodgers) over Baez (Cubs) 17-16, and Harper (Nationals) over Freeman (Braves) 13-12.

The next round continued the trend, with Schwarber powering 21 runs, edging out Hoskins (20). Muncy had a good start but faltered in the end to be surpassed by Harper (13-12). For the final round, Schwarber again kicked things off with a big show at 18 runs, and despite some momentum loss, Harper came back and tied it up at 18 in the final second. But he had those 30 extra seconds due to some pretty monster homers. He just needed 1, and he got it. And the hometown crowd went crazy, waving giant Harper faces and making the stadium nearly shake.

{Media note: Still waiting on a recap video of the Derby, will add shortly.}

And if you’re wondering, at the All-Star Futures Game, Team USA out-powered Team World 10-6 yesterday, though each team got 4 solid home runs in the process. Yankees prospect pitcher Justus Sheffield got time on the mound and really had a less-than-ideal outing. Pitching for Team USA, Sheffield came out in the 2nd and promptly gave up a solo home run to allow Team World on the board. After allowing a 1-out single in the 3rd, they went to another pitcher, but that runner scored on a 2-run home run that gave Sheffield a second earned run. But in the end, it was Team USA to power through and come out victorious.

Tomorrow, the All-Stars(often with their families) will walk down the eed carpet to meet their fans, chat with media, and take pictures just outside Nationals Park for the annual Red Carpet Parade before they take batting practice inside the park before the big game. Torres and Chapman will not be playing due to injuries. Severino is slotted as a reserves pitcher, which means he’ll pitch an inning somewhere in the middle of the game. And upon revealing the starting rosters, the AL coaching team has Judge batting 6th and playing left field. Because clearly they’ve never seen the right fielder and the Yankees’ #2 hitter play baseball.

Can’t wait to see Judge and Severino in the game tomorrow night!

Go Yankees!

Game 95: NYY vs. CLE — Splitting the series with loss in half finale

The Yankees were hoping to close out this first half of the season on an upswing, so to speak. But they had to settle for a split series and a loss this afternoon in Cleveland going into the All-Star break.

The Yankee bats did what usually ensures them a win — get on the board first and give enough lead to allow the starter and bullpen to keep things together. Gardner led-off the 3rd with a single, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, advanced to 3rd on Gregorius’ 1-out single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ 2-out single. And Neil Walker hit a big 2-out solo home run in the 4th to double their score.

This was good news to today’s starter Masahiro Tanaka, who was fairly efficient with just 77 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and striking out 5 Cleveland batters. The game ended up tied in the bottom of the 4th, when that lone walk scored as part of a solid 2-run home run.

With a runner at 2nd and just 1 out in the 7th, the Yankees turned to the reliable Chad Green to keep things close and get out of the threat. He did. In that inning, at least. But in the 8th, things got messy. The Indians broke the tie when their lead-off batter hit a solo homer. The next batter singled, stole 2nd, and ended up at 3rd on the steal due to a bad throwing error. The next batter was hit by a pitch, a wicked shot to the back hand on an errant inside pitch. And after an out (finally), he intentionally loaded the bases.

A long sacrifice fly to right field tested the speed of the runner against Stanton’s arm and Higashioka’s reactions. It seems the runner slid just under the tag to give the Indians their insurance run. During the throw, the other runner moved to 3rd and would later score on a bad wild pitch. A quick 12-pitch 9th by the Indians’ closer ended the Yankees chances for a rally.

Final score 5-2 Indians, series split 2-2

Next up: after today, all of MLB enters the official “half-time”, the All-Star break. A select few will travel (or are traveling) to Washington, D.C. for all the festivities of the All-Star Game. As I write this the All-Star Futures Game is underway, with Yankees’ prospect pitcher Justus Sheffield set to pitch for Team USA. The Home Run Derby will be tomorrow (Monday) night as the cap to Work-Out Day. And then after the Red Carpet Parade, the big exhibition game will be Tuesday night, featuring Judge and Severino with Torres and Chapman (both resting due to injuries) cheering on from the AL dugout.

Following a couple of days off, baseball returns on Friday, with the Yankees hosting the Mets for a 3-game weekend series. They’ll take a quick trip down to Tampa Bay for a 3-game series before returning to the Bronx for 4-games against the Royals, a day-off, and 2-games against the Orioles to close out this month.

And if you’re a trivia nerd, here’s some numbers to sound smart in conversations about baseball. The Yankees finish this first half with 62 wins, 33 losses, 4.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East but tied for 2nd (with Houston) in all of MLB.

As a team, the Yankees are 1st in home runs (160), 2nd in walks (1st in the AL, with 363), 3rd in runs scored (491) and RBIs (474), 2nd in On-base percentage plus slugging (.796), 2nd in pitching ERA (3.46), and their pitchers rank 2nd in strikeouts given (945).

Individually, the team leaders include Luis Severino in ERA (2.31, also 5th in the AL) and wins (14, also 1st in MLB), Aroldis Chapman in saves (26, 4th in MLB), Miguel Andujar in batting average (.283), Giancarlo Stanton in hits (103), and Aaron Judge in home runs (25, also 3rd in MLB), runs scored (66), RBIs (60), and OPS (.937, also 6th in AL).

Basically, things are in a good place. Plus, they hope to have both Sanchez and Torres back right after the break, though their AAA back-ups (Higashioka and Wade) are doing quite a good job in their stead. And with that looming trade deadline at the end of the month, the Yankees aren’t just battling for a winning season, they’re contending for their 28th championship. And with teams like the Astros and Red Sox (really their biggest threats this season so far) who are battling with them in nearly every category, the Yankees have some work to do.

The second half is going to be something to watch. So stay tuned. There’s so much more baseball left to play.

Go Yankees!

Game 91: NYY vs. BAL — Strong shutout finale in Baltimore

It was a great night for Sonny Gray to close out this series in Baltimore tonight. Gray threw 90 pitches in 6 scoreless innings, gave up just 3 hits and a walk, and struck out an impressive 8 batters along the way to earning a great (and much-needed) win. AJ Cole followed his lead with 2 more scoreless innings, and Chasen Shreve closed out the game with a scoreless 9th to seal the Yankees’ shutout of the home team.

The Yankee batters gave Gray a hefty lead to feel rather secure tonight. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Gardner worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Judge’s single, and then was caught out on a fielder’s choice off Gregorius’ hit. Giancarlo Stanton singled home Judge to get the Yankees on the board, and Hicks then loaded the bases with a walk. It would be Greg Bird to really make an impact with his first career grand slam, a big home run to the right field seats.

Tyler Wade led-off the 6th inning with his first solo home run. (The Red Sox fan who caught the game on a whim during a business trip happily returned the ball for Wade’s keepsake collection.) And Austin Romine hit a 2-out solo home run in the 7th to jump in on the fun of the night.

The Yankees got creative in the 8th. With 1 out, Gregorius doubled and then moved to 3rd on Stanton’s single. A new reliever allowed Aaron Hicks to make it safely to 1st on a sloppy missed catch error, as Gregorius hustled home for an unearned run. In the 9th, Frazier hit a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on Judge’s walk, ended up at 3rd on Gregorius’ grounder, and then scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s single.

Final score: 9-0 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1 (Yes, there were 4 games this week, but technically, the first game of the doubleheader was part of a previous series and thus is wrapped into that result to be concluded next month.)

Next up: The Yankees begin a 4-game weekend series in Cleveland tomorrow night, the final series before the All-Star Break. After the Break, the Yankees will host their cross-town rivals next weekend for a short home stand before hitting the road again.

Big bummer on the All-Star Game front — Giancarlo Stanton ended up 3rd in the Final Vote. Fans selected Mariners’ shortstop Jean Segura and Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar. That leaves just Judge, Severino, Chapman, and Torres to represent the Yankees in D.C. next Tuesday at the All-Star Game.

And the participants in the Home Run Derby were announced tonight, and it’s an interesting mix of players, all but 1 are from the NL, despite the fact that most of the home run leaders are in the AL — Jesus Aguilar (Brewers), Bryce Harper (Nationals), Max Muncy (Dodgers), Alex Bregman (Astros), Kyle Schwarber (Cubs), Javier Baez (Cubs), Freddie Freeman (Braves), and Rhys Hoskins (Phillies).

What is most interesting is that the top seed of the Derby (Aguilar) is actually 6th on the home run leaders (not including potential changes from games today) behind Martinez (Red Sox), Ramirez (Indians), Judge, Trout (Angels), and Lindor (Indians), notably all AL power-hitters, by the way. The selected Derby participants have 14-23 home runs this season. Now, it’s worth noting that if 14 home runs was the base line for being in the Derby, Judge, Stanton, Hicks, Gregorius, Torres, and Sanchez all qualified. (And 14 homer put 14 players tied at 55th place on the stats.)

 

I mean, congratulations to all the selected participants, all but Harper are first-time participants. Harper was last in the Derby in 2013 and came in 2nd. I’m just a little confused as to the process of selecting the Home Run Derby participants this year. Unless of course, 47 other players turned down the opportunity, which is quite possibly like Judge’s adamant refusal to do so starting in March.

Go Yankees!