Game 113: NYY vs. BAL — Bronx Bombers swing for the fences in Charm City

Tonight’s game began with an hour and 12 minute rain delay, waiting for the front to sweep through Charm City. When the game finally got under way, the Yankees came out swinging strong to command this middle game of the midweek series against the Orioles.

In the 3rd, the “Bronx Bombers” showed up. Mike Tauchman and DJ LeMahieu hit consecutive solo home runs. After an out, Didi Gregorius also hit a solo home run to get in on the fun. Maybin walked to lead off the 4th, and Ford doubled to move them in scoring position. Austin Romine’s double then scored both runners.

Romine led-off the 6th with his own solo home run. And then in the 8th, he doubled and scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. Finally, with 1 out in the 9th, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive solo home runs to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Meanwhile, that gave their pitchers some room to get comfortable. Jonathan Holder got the short start in a reliever-heavy pitching outing. He threw 33 pitches into the 3rd inning. With the Yankees up in the top of the 3rd, he had his lone troubled inning. A 1-out single scored on a long triple, and a ground out scored that runner. That was the end of Holder’s decent outing.

Stephen Tarpley came on for relief, pitching into the 5th inning. That inning would prove a little troublesome for him. After 2 outs, he gave up a double that scored on a 2-run home run. Unable to get that 3rd out of the inning after giving up a single, the Yankees turned to Cortes to close it out. Cortes continued on through the 7th, keeping the O’s scoreless and handing the ball to Ottavino for 2 scoreless innings to close out the game.

Final score: 9-4 Yankees

Injury alert: Gleyber Torres came out of tonight’s game during the 3rd inning. After his at-bat, which left him swinging on a strikeout, his side was still bothering him. This is his 2nd time since Sunday’s game that his side/core hasn’t felt 100%. They will send him for further tests, so fingers crossed, everyone. As if we need another player on the IL…

Go Yankees!

Game 112: NYY vs. BAL — A winning Monday mood

The Yankees continue their march towards the postseason, even if they have to battle a bit to get there. In their first game against the Orioles, the balance of the team held up in the end, to off-set some momentary troubles where they almost lost it.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start, to mixed results. He threw 92 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up 10 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs, and struck out just 4 Baltimore batters. In the 3rd, a 1-out triple scored on an RBI single. The next batter hit into a double that snapped the defense into some great action and got the runner out trying to score another run.

But it was the 6th that caused him the most trouble. A lead-off double scored on a big 2-run home run. Then a single and double moved runners into scoring position, and a sacrifice fly scored one of them. Leaving a runner on the bases, Tanaka handed the game over to Tommy Kahnle.

Kahnle got a strikeout but then gave up a 2-run home run to tie up the game at that point before getting out of the inning. Ottavino, Britton, and Chapman each got a scoreless inning to work through and keep the Orioles from adding to their score.

The Yankees gave Tanaka a nice cushion, but he almost handed it away with a bad 6th inning. Austin Romine kicked things off with a 2-out solo home run in the 2nd, upheld by an umpire review. Gardner led-off the 5th with a single and moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s 1-out single. Breyvic Valera’s long triple easily scored both runners, and DJ LeMahieu hit into a fielder’s choice and throwing error to score Valera.

In the 6th, Brett Gardner hit a 1-out solo home run, and Mike Tauchman imitated him with a 2-out solo home run just to the left of same seats in left field. After the Orioles tied up the game, Mike Ford jumped in on the action with a 1-out solo home run in the 8th to break up the tie. After Gardner got on base with a single, he scored as part of Mike Tauchman’s 2-out, 2-run home run to ensure the Yankees’ win.

Final score: 9-6 Yankees

Injury update: Gleyber Torres was back in the line up after being checked out and cleared from a “core issue”. Gio Urshela, however, was not in the line up and still resting his legs after taking a couple of foul balls off them in Sunday’s game. His right knee is bothering him more than his left shin, as knees tend to do, but he’s just more banged up and bruised than something more serious.

Go Yankees!

Game 107: ARI vs. NYY — Soggy series split at the trade deadline

It was bound to be an interesting afternoon. The baseball world watching for any big trade moves before the 4 pm (ET) deadline, and there was. The Yankees and Diamondbacks facing off in the rare mid-week matinee so that the visitors could catch a plane and take the long trip back home to Phoenix. And there was the rain that caused a 36 minute delay and lingered through most of the latter half of the game.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in this afternoon’s game, throwing 82 pitches into the 5th inning. He gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and just 2 runs and struck out 4 Arizona batters. Actually, under his watch, the D-backs were held fairly stagnant. He gave up consecutive singles to lead-off the 5th inning but handed the ball over to the bullpen before he could close out that inning.

Chad Green came on and again had a bit of struggle through his outing. His first batter hit into a line drive out, but Tanaka’s lead runner still scored. A single put runners in the corners, and a walk loaded the bases. Then a sacrifice fly and a sloppy throwing error allowed 2 runs to score (1 charged to Tanaka, 1 to Green) before Green got out of the inning.

Then Kahnle, Ottavino, and Britton each threw a beautiful scoreless inning that really helped cement the momentum the Yankees needed to carry the day. Nestor Cortes Jr only threw 2 pitches to kick off the 9th, but that second one ended up in the left field seats for a solo home run.

So, it was on to Aroldis Chapman for the save. But he too struggled his way through the inning. He gave up a walk that moved to 2nd on a ground out. After a nice strikeout, a double scored the D-backs’ final runner. Another allowed walk caused further tension before an easy ground out at 2nd ended the visiting threat.

On the other side of things, the Diamondbacks’ starter was one of the chief targets for a trade. Understandably so, as he’s easily one of the best starters in the game for the last few years. Little did he know that he was pitching his last game as a Diamondback, throwing a no-decision and holding the Yankees to just 2 hits. But the Yankees did the most they could with those 2 hits. In the 2nd, with 1 out, Urshela doubled and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s 2-out 2-run home run to give them an early lead.

Once the rain really started picking up in the 5th inning, the grounds crew was aching to protect their field. The brave fans progressively vacated their seats for the concourse. After Kahnle’s top of the 6th inning, the rain was too much for play to continue. So the tarp came on and play halted. And somewhere in there, Arizona’s starter found out he’d been traded to the Astros and thus had to leave the stadium to join his new team (who are playing the Indians this week).

The rain still drizzled a bit, and later became heavier, but the game did come back to finish after 36 minutes of protecting and then drying the field a bit. And the Diamondbacks moved onto their bullpen. Perhaps that helped the Yankees in the end too.

With 2 outs in the 7th, and another new pitcher, Tauchman doubled, and after yet another pitching change, Austin Romine smacked a long 2-run home run into the left field seats to put the Yankees back on top.

Judge and Encarnacion hit consecutive singles to lead off the 8th. After another pitching change, Didi Gregorius hit into a simple ground out that scored Judge, and Gleyber Torres’ double scored Encarnacion. Cameron Maybin’s 2-out single then scored Torres. This big inning helped solidify the Yankees’ win in the end, even with a sloppy 9th inning.

Final score: 7-5 Yankees, split series 1-1

Next up: The Yankees’ home stand continues with a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox, including a doubleheader on Saturday thanks to a make-up game (from May 30) that night. Then, they hit the road to face other division rivals in Baltimore and Toronto. Looking beyond that, they’ll host the Orioles and Indians before their final West Coast trip.

Injury update/roster moves: Luke Voit is definitely on the 10-day injured list due to a sports hernia. This could mean he’s out up to 6 weeks if he’ll need surgery. Reliever David Hale was also sent to the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Sunday) with lumbar spine strain. In their places, the Yankees recalled reliever Jonathan Holder and infielder Breyvic Valera from AAA Scranton.

The Yankees were in a lot of conversations for some big trades this week, but nothing came out of it that made a splash. Perhaps, the fact that the Yankees currently are still sitting atop the standings very safely kept them from pursuing anything too outrageous. They still made one notable trade — sending reliever Joe Harvey to the Rockies in exchange for reliever Alfredo Garcia.

Does the Yankees’ roster have some gaps? Yes. Do they need to fix some problems and patterns? Yes. Is it affecting their standings? Not immediately, but it could. So, the opportunity for future moves are still on the table, but for now, the boys you know in pinstripes are the boys you’re going to see in pinstripes.

Go Yankees!

Game 105: NYY vs. BOS — German to the rescue

Finally. That was the sentiment shared by most of Yankee Universe as a result of tonight’s finale of what turned out to be a rather arduous 4-game weekend series at Fenway. The Red Sox never make things easy for the Yankees, but this series felt a little more challenging.

Domingo German was the key in tonight’s game, taking the mound for the Yankees and commanding the game from the start. He threw 77 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up 4 hits, a walk, and just 3 runs, and struck out an impressive 9 Boston batters along the way. In fact, for most of his outing, German kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard, a stark divergence from the previous 3 games.

In the 4th, a 1-out single scored on a 2-out 2-run home run to get the home team on the board. Then he gave up his lone walk to lead-off the 6th that moved to 3rd on a double and then scored on a grounder. That was it for German, but that was a great cushion for the visitors too.

Tommy Kahnle closed out the 6th for German, and after giving up a 1-out single, he handed the ball over to Adam Ottavino. A single and throwing error allowed runners in the corners, and a sacrifice fly scored Kahnle’s runner. Britton came out for the 8th, and despite loading up the bases, he managed to escape the jam without adding to the scoreboard.

But Aroldis Chapman seemed to take that to the next level of drama in the 9th. He gave up a lead-off walk and a 1-out single, and a passed ball moved runners into scoring position. After a great strikeout, a long single scored both runners to inch the Red Sox closer to the Yankees, but one more strikeout ended the home team’s rally.

Meanwhile, the Yankees struck first and kept the cushion big enough for their pitching staff’s later stumbles. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Maybin worked a walk, and then Austin Romine smacked a monster 2-run home run into those Green Monster seats. The Yankees liked that pattern and repeated it in the 4th — with 1 out, Voit walked, and Didi Gregorius hit him home with a 2-run home run, this time into the right field seats.

In the 6th, Gregorius led-off with a walk but was tagged out when Torres hit into a fielder’s choice. Gio Urshela’s double scored Torres. After a pitching change, sending the Red Sox’s starter to the dugout, Cameron Maybin singled home Urshela.

The Yankees loaded up the bases in the 7th, with Hicks’ walk, Encarnacion’s double, and an intentional walk to Voit. Then things got weird with a really messy defensive play. Didi Gregorius hit a long fly ball out to center field. So he was out, but Hicks was on his way home for the traditional sacrifice fly. But then the center fielder threw the ball to 1st, where no fielder was present, so the ball rolled into the dugout as Encarnacion ran home and Voit made it all the way to 3rd on the throwing error.

Then to cap off the Yankees’ offense, with 1 out in the 8th, Maybin doubled, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a wild pitch. Call it teamwork, call it sheer determination. Whatever it was, it worked for the Yankees as they head back home again on a positive note.

Final score: 9-6 Yankees, Red Sox win series 3-1

Next up: After an off-day tomorrow (Monday), the Yankees will host a 2-game mini-series against the Diamondbacks. They get another off-day on Thursday as the Red Sox come to the Bronx for a rematch of this past weekend. They will face off in another 4 games with a doubleheader on Saturday, the evening game the make-up of the rain out on May 30th. Then they’re back on road to face other divisional rivals, the Orioles and Blue Jays.

Injury update/roster moves: DJ LeMahieu is skipping the IL right now, due to the low-level of his groin strain, which is really more of a pulled muscle than anything serious. He is available off the bench if he is needed, but really, I doubt he’ll be needed any time soon. But Gary Sanchez’s groin strain is much more serious, though he is improving as measured by strength tests. His return is probable for later in August, with September on the outset if there’s a setback.

After yesterday’s outing, CC Sabathia was on his way to the trainer’s room. After a diagnosis of inflammation in his right knee, the veteran pitcher is headed back to the injured list again while he receives treatment.  As a roster move, the Yankees recalled infielder Tyler Wade (hence the “no need” for LeMahieu, as stated above).

And the upcoming Trade Deadline is fast approaching — this Wednesday, July 31. But there have been no moves for the Yankees as of yet. So, we’re looking at a last minute deal if there is any, and most of the talks, especially after this last series, is in getting a new starter. But who knows? We got Luke Voit last year at the trade deadline, and look at how well that turned out.

Go Yankees!

Game 103: NYY vs. BOS — Not quite the trouncing, still a rough night

Well, at least tonight wasn’t as bad as last night. The Red Sox scored the most runs the organization has ever scored in a single game against the Yankees last night. Tonight, the Yankees kept things a bit closer, or at least that’s how it ended up. Either way, the talks about what the Yankees need to do to fix this is heating up. Despite the fact that they are still comfortably atop the American League standings.

James Paxton got the start in the second game of this 4-game weekend series. He threw 99 pitches through just 4 innings, gave up 9 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 9 Boston batters. His biggest issue is that 2 of the Red Sox’s star hitters certainly had his number tonight, and they did the most damage.

In the 1st, one led-off with a solo home run into the Green Monster seats, and then a single scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run by the other player. The first guy led-off the 3rd with another solo home run. Then a 1-out double scored on the other guy’s triple. With 2 outs in the 4th and a single on base, the first guy hit a 2-run home run to give the Red Sox a monster lead.

David Hale came on for a clean 5th inning, but he found some trouble in the 6th. With 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored on another single (by the first guy, by the way). A double then scored that runner. With 2 outs in the 7th, the batter hit a questionable double that was challenged as possibly foul but upheld as fair. He then scored on another double.

Ottavino came in to get out of the 7th with a 5-pitch strikeout. Britton’s flawless 8th was a nice respite continuing to cleanse the visiting team from the mess that preceded it.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were stifled from the Red Sox’s starter, at least in the larger sense. In the first half of the game, they only managed 4 hits in 5 scoreless innings. It wasn’t until the 6th, deep in the hole on the scoreboard against the home team that the Yankees found a few opportunities to catch up.

With 2 outs, Encarnacion singled, moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Luke Voit’s single to get them on the board (and avoid being shutout, extending the non-shutout streak). Maybin led-off the 7th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and then scored on Austin Romine’s single to double their score. LeMahieu hit into a double play, but Tauchman was still able to score another run.

In a last-ditch effort, the Yankees found the lone weakness in the Red Sox’s pitching staff tonight. Tauchman led-off with a single and promptly scored on Romine’s long double. After LeMahieu worked a walk, the Red Sox went to their bullpen again. A fielding error allowed Judge to make it to 1st and load up the bases. After a fly out (the first out of the inning), Didi Gregorius hit a long sacrifice fly that scored Romine. A simple grounder as the defender stepped on 3rd ended the game, with the Yankees falling short again.

Final score: 10-5 Red Sox

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees activated Cameron Maybin from the injured list. He was set to start his rehab with AAA Scranton, but with Gardner now on the IL with his “barking knee”, the Yankees needed a reliable force in the outfield. Maybin was a logical selection. To make room, the Yankees optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley back to Scranton.

Go Yankees!

Game 102: NYY vs. BOS — Getting trounced in Fenway

The most positive thing I can say about tonight’s game is that the Yankees still haven’t been shut out of a game in over a year. I’m not quite sure what happened tonight, as it will probably seem as one of the few flukes in an otherwise really outstanding season. But as with most rivalry games, there is little that is predictable no matter where the teams are in the standings or what kind of season either of them are having.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in what will easily be the start to forget. He threw 87 pitches into just the 4th inning, gave up 12 hits, 3 walks, and 12 runs, and struck out 4 Red Sox batters. As you can imagine, this led to the eventual earned loss. Things got off to a bad start in the 1st inning when he gave up a single and walk that scored as part of a Green Monster 3-run home run before there was an out recorded.

With 1 out, Tanaka then loaded up the bases with consecutive singles. After another out, consecutive doubles each scored 2 more runs. The inning ended with the Red Sox up by 7 runs, something the Yankees just were never able to overcome.

The Yankees found minor moments to attack, but it felt like like “bringing a knife to a gun fight” and more like “bringing a plastic spoon to a tank fight”. With 1 out in the 2nd, Gregorius doubled, moved to 3rd on Voit’s single, and then scored on Gleyber Torres’ single. Tauchman’s single loaded the bases, and after another out, DJ LeMahieu worked a walk to walk in Voit to double the Yankees’ minuscule score. Kyle Higashioka led-off the 5th with a solo home run into the Green Monster to cap off the Yankees’ blip on tonight’s scoreboard.

So, with the Red Sox nicely ahead, they just kept loading on the scoreboard. Despite the early lead enough to win the game, Tanaka’s 4th inning kept the door open for the home team to trounce. A 1st pitch solo home run got the ball rolling. A single moved to 2nd on a 1-out walk, and then scored on an RBI double. A ground-rule double that bounced over the short right field wall into the seats and scored 2 more runs.

That was it for Tanaka, who was mercifully taken out of the game at that point. He was floundering, but it’s not like the bullpen was able to stem the Red Sox either. Stephen Tarpley immediately gave up a double that scored the final run charged to Tanaka before he eventually got himself out of the inning.

In the 5th, a lead-off single moved to 3rd on a double and scored on a single. The next batter doubled home the runner at 3rd. And after the first out of the inning (as part of the infield fly rule), a simple ground out scored the next runner. Tarpley gave up a lead-off walk and was replaced by Luis Cessa. Cessa gave up a double that scored that lead runner, but the defense snapped into action to catch the batter trying to take 3rd.

After a clean 7th inning from Cessa, the Yankee called in a position player to close out the game. These are always a mixed bag, sometimes rather amusing, sometimes surprising. But Austin Romine actually did a decent job, with most of his pitches comfortably in the 70mph range, but the Red Sox took advantage of some well-placed pitches. To start the inning, he gave up a single and 2-run home run, and after an out, he gave up a solo home run and a double. But he only needed 21 pitches to get out of the game for the Yankees. It wasn’t like he could do any worse, like lose the game.

Final score: 19-3 Red Sox

Injury news: Brett Gardner has officially been placed on the 10-day injured list with left knee inflammation, retroactive to July 22. He’s been out of the line up and available off the bench for the last few days, but the knee isn’t improving as he’d hoped. So to the IL it is. For tonight’s game, the Yankees recalled Stephen Tarpley, who pitched in tonight’s troubled game.

And in a statement this afternoon, Troy Tulowitzki announced his retirement as a major league ball player. Despite a career with so much potential, the shortstop has been constantly plagued with injuries that kept him from building a Hall of Fame-style career. He finally got his lifelong wish of playing in pinstripes this season, but after just 5 games, Tulowitzki was hampered again by injuries.

So he’s going out as a Yankee and joining the University of Texas’ athletic department as an assistant baseball coach. His coaching skills were on display during the Spring with the Yankees as he volunteered to spend time with the younger players and work on their skills. Best of luck to “Tulo” and his family on this new chapter of life!

Go Yankees!

Game 101: NYY vs. MIN — 6 homers, 2 triples, 17 runs, 3 double plays, 2 league leaders

The team from the “Mini Apple” certainly gave the team from the “Big Apple” a much-needed challenge in preparation for the final two months of the season. And while I can’t say much about the pitching for either team this series, the offense certainly had quite the time.

JA Happ got the start for the Yankees in the final game against the Twins tonight and had some struggles keeping the Twins’ offense under control. He threw 74 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out just 3 batters. With 2 outs in the 1st, he gave up a single that scored on a 2-run home run to get the Twins on the board first.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, a walk moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a sacrifice fly. A lead-off walk in the 4th promptly scored with a 2-run home run. Then Happ gave up consecutive singles that moved into scoring position on a ground out.

That was it for the starter tonight, handing the ball over to Nestor Cortes Jr. Cortes gave up a sacrifice fly to score just 1 runner before closing out the inning with a strong strikeout. Cortes had a decent outing, despite giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 5th to add just 1 more run for the home team. Cortes then stayed strong into the 7th inning. Kahnle came in for 4 outs before Chapman’s 26th save sealed the series for the Yankees.

Leading up to that, the Yankees also took advantage of some weaker starting pitching. Encarnacion led-off the 2nd with a double and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Torres then walked, and a long fly out moved the runners into scoring position, which they did on Mike Tauchman’s triple. Austin Romine’s sacrifice fly then scored Tauchman.

In the 3rd, Aaron Hicks led-off with a towering solo home run, and 2 strike outs later, Gleyber Torres smacked a solo home run to keep the batting practice rolling for the visiting team. In the 4th, with 1 out and runners LeMahieu and Judge on the corners, Hicks’ single scored LeMahieu, and Gregorius’ 2-out triple scored Judge and Hicks.

Now, with a healthy lead and because you just never know with this series, Edwin Encarnacion still added just one more insurance run with a lead-off solo home run in the 9th. This was both after he fouled one pitch off the back of his leg and then it became his 30th home run of the season.

Final score: 10-7 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees are on their way to Boston for a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox. After an off day, they will start their next home stand, first with a mini-series against the Diamondbacks and then a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox. Then, they’ll hit the road again to face Orioles and Blue Jays.

Injury update/roster moves: As expected, Gary Sanchez was sent to the injured list with a Grade 1 left groin strain. In his stead, they recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka for back up to Romine. For the now requisite “fresh arm” portion of the Scranton Shuttle, the Yankees recalled Nestor Cortes Jr to pitch in tonight’s game and optioned Jonathan Holder back to AAA Scranton.

Go Yankees!