Spring Game 12: NYY vs. NYM — Errors mean unearned runs, but then Billy McKinney…

March has really become a beautiful month, like postcard-perfect Spring Training weather. Originally, there was a prediction of rain, but a slight shift sped the storms through the area much earlier. In other words, the Yankees’ long bus ride ended with a really beautiful day to play a game on the Atlantic coast. But it was a less than beautiful game (mostly).

Domingo German got the start in today’s game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, throwing into the 3rd inning, getting the Mets’ batters to strikeout 5 times of his 8 outs. And both his allowed runs were unearned, setting the stage for the majority of runs scored on both sides today. After 2 stellar innings, German struggled in the 3rd, allowing a lead-off walk before getting 2 of those 5 strikeouts. But then he loaded up the bases with another single and a walk. A messy fielding error in center field (thanks to the sun) allowed the batter to make it to 1st safely and scored the Mets’ first 2 runs.

Ben Heller came on in relief and got out of the inning. He almost had a strong outing, except allowing a 2-out solo shot in the 4th to add one more run to the Mets’ score. Reliever Dillon Tate came on and breezed through the 5th before having his own issues in the 6th. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, a single up the middle and a fielding error by Tate put runners in the corners. The next batter hit up the middle again, and the defense desperately tried to do a double play but only got the out at second to allow the run to score. Brady Lail and Cale Coshow closed out the final third of the game and kept the Mets from adding to their lead.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ bats had a bit of a slow start themselves. It wasn’t until the 4th that the Yankees found their first opportunity. Tyler Austin led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Romine’s 1-out single, advanced to 3rd on a passed ball, and then scored on Ronald Torreyes’ ground out to get the Yankees on the board. The Yankees were held to that lone run for a good portion of the game, and once again, it will fall to the “replacement” guys to charge forward and make the difference.

In the 8th, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded up the bases with singles to Avelino, Higashioka, and Holder. Then Trey Amburgey worked a walk to score a second Yankee run. Jeff Hendrix hit up the middle which was mishandled by the 2nd baseman, allowing everyone to advance safely, the bases stay loaded, and Higashioka to score another run. The Mets changed pitchers, which helped initially with a pop out. But then Billy McKinney. Yes, he did what you’d expect him to do, for the second day in a row. McKinney smacked a big grand slam homer to give the Yankees a big lead. (Told you yesterday you wouldn’t have to wait long for footage!)

But that wasn’t all. In the 9th, Avelino led-off with a single, moved to 3rd on Higashioka’s ground-rule double, and then scored on Jonathan Holder’s single. Then Trey Amburgey joined in on the fun with a big 3-run home run to solidify the Yankees’ big win today. And then the Mets got their 3 outs to get out of the inning.

It’s worth noting that the Yankee pitchers gave up 6 hits, allowed only 1 earned run, and struck out 10 Mets’ batters. But the Mets’ pitchers gave up 17 total hits (yes, you read that right), 6 earned runs (in just last 2 innings), and struck out 8 Yankees. And today, the stats certainly reflected the dominant team.

Final score: 11-4 Yankees

There are a few teams that are always fun to watch as a Yankees’ fan. Boston certainly takes the leading spot, but the Mets do run a close second. For a similar reason and a very different reason. First, no matter where the teams are in the standings, the games between the Red Sox-Yankees or Mets-Yankees are always intense, and both teams seem to really play harder. But the deep-seated rivalry between Boston and New York brings that historic element (which also spills over into other sports like football and basketball).

But the Mets-Yankees games feed into the strong New York civic pride. Those games are seen as a strong representation of the City’s best, and thus a representation that their City is the best. If you can only have one winner, it’s always going to be New York. Sure, it’s always a bad joke: “the winner of today’s game is going to be New York”. But it hits on a truth that New Yorkers feel (and many people echo in their own hometowns) — that their City is the best, the winners, the champions, the king. That civic pride brings a really different element to the crosstown rivalry games I don’t see duplicated in other same-city teams (like Angels-Dodgers or Oakland-San Francisco). But maybe that’s because it’s New York, and they’ve always been a pretty strong baseball center (including two of those now West Coast teams).

Next up: we’re back at Steinbrenner Field to host the Phillies. No starting pitchers have been announced yet, as I imagine the people making those decisions are currently snoozing on the bus ride back to Tampa. (It’s about a 3-hour drive to/from Port St. Lucie.) But it’s Spring, so it could literally be anybody. And isn’t that part of the fun?

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 10: TB vs. NYY — The home team won… no, the other home team…

It was a beautiful day today in Tampa — clear, sunny blue skies, and a dip in the weather topped off the temperature in the mid-70s with a slight breeze. And a sold-out crowd to watch the hometown Rays visit the Spring hometown of the Yankees. Like most Rays-Yankees games at The Trop (the Rays’ MLB stadium across the Bay in St. Petersburg), the crowd was split pretty evenly between Rays and Yankees fans in what can only be a strong dual-hometown crowd.

And I still can’t figure out at what point it was blatantly obvious the Yankees had no chance of winning today’s game. Was it the second time Giancarlo Stanton lost the ball in the sun? Was it the lack of solid hits by the Yankees’ offense? Or was it just the slow pace of the first half of the game? No matter how you swing it, the Yankees didn’t have control of any part of today’s game.

Chad Green got the start in today’s game and got off to a pretty good start — a lead-off single was caught stealing (“you don’t run on Gary!”) before he breezed his way through the next 2 outs. But his 2nd inning gave up a single and double to put runners in scoring position. Fortunately, he got lucky and got back in command with a solid 3 outs to keep those runners from scoring.

Unfortunately, Aroldis Chapman’s Spring debut in the 3rd certainly did not go as planned, hitting the lead-off batter with a 97 mph plunk on the back and giving up a single. A ground out got the runner at 2nd, leaving runners in the corners. But Chapman wasn’t in command today, and the Yankees turned to Ben Heller for relief. A sacrifice fly scored the Rays’ first run of the day, but Heller got out of the inning with a strikeout. Heller continued in the 4th with 2 more strikeouts, but then got into his own trouble, putting runners in scoring position with a walk and ground-rule double. A throwing error on the next play allowed another run to score.

So the Yankees called in reliever Raynel Espinal to try to calm the Rays. It didn’t work. A single scored another run before another ground-rule double scored one more. A pop-up in foul territory ended that messy inning. Espinal was given the full 5th inning to try to redeem himself a bit. But he continued to struggle. With 1 out and a runner on 2nd, a double scored yet another Rays’ run.

It is worth noting that up until the 5th inning, the Yankees had minimal breakthroughs off the Rays’ pitchers, getting only 3 hits off the first 3 pitchers in 4 innings. A new Rays pitcher in the 5th gave the Yankees a much-needed opportunity to do more than hit into ground outs. With 1 out, McKinney was hit by a pitch before flying all the way to 3rd on Torreyes’ single. Tyler Wade’s long sacrifice fly scored McKinney to finally get the Yankees on the board.

But down 5-1 at that point, there was certainly not a whole lot of hope to cling to for the Yankees. Reliever Wade LeBlanc, who is a fairly reliable middle reliever, got into his own trouble in the 6th thanks in part to more messy defense. With 1 out, a batter hit the ball to 3rd where it was mishandled, and the out never made. That runner moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored on an RBI double. But LeBlanc had a much better, cleaner 7th inning.

I will give it to Giovanny Gallegos, who easily pitched his best inning thus far this Spring, a super quick, super strong 1-2-3 8th inning. But reliever Cale Coshow repeated a few of his predecessors’ struggles with some of his own in the 9th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a 1-out walk before scoring as part of a 2-out 3-run home run to cap off the Rays’ scoring today.

Yankees’ pitchers gave up 13 total hits and 3 walks, and due to far too many errors, they only gave up 5 earned runs (of the 9 total). On the other side, Yankees’ batters only managed 6 hits and 1 walk. And really, both teams were hitting, so to speak. The Yankees’ batters were just hitting into easy ground outs, while the Rays were finding all the defensive holes.

And those sunny skies that made it difficult for first-time left fielder Stanton to miss two long fly balls out there.

Final score: 9-1 Rays

One to watch: I’m going with Giovanny Gallegos. Seriously, in this game of a lot of messy defense and good offensive hits from the other guys, a single flawless inning that helped moved the pace of the game up felt like the most refreshing thing this afternoon. Gallegos has had mixed results this Spring, but today, he reminded us all why he was a good replacement in that bullpen last year and worth considering for the job again this season.

Next up: An off day! Yep, Monday is no baseball day for the Yankees, so enjoy your Monday. I know I will. But after that, on Tuesday, the Yankees take a 30 minute bus ride east to Lakeland to face the Tigers, tabbing Jordan Montgomery for the start there.

Okay, I promise not to talk about standings again. Because every time I do, they lose the next game. So I’m done until the end of the Spring. I don’t believe in jinxes or anything like that, so I’m thinking it’s more expectations. Let’s just see where we are in 3 1/2 weeks and hope for the best.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 7: NYY vs. PHI — #CCStrong, Baby Bombers alert!

Under more clear blue, sunny skies, fans scattered themselves across Spectrum Field in Clearwater, filling about three-quarters of the Phillies’ Spring home stadium, to watch the Yankees come for another visit. CC Sabathia got his Spring start this year, looking to duplicate (or even exceed) his 2017 success. And boy was today a good day for Sabathia. In his 2 innings, he dominated Phillies’ batters, getting 3 solid strikeouts and set himself up for the eventual win.

Domingo German came on in relief for Sabathia and breezed his way through the 3rd. He threw 3 solid innings with a single issue — a 1-out solo home run in the 4th to get the Phillies on the board. Wade LeBlanc had a bit of an issue in the 6th, giving up a double, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI ground out before breezing his way through the 7th unscathed.

Actually, the best inning for Phillies’ batters was the 8th. It was also the worst for reliever Giovanny Gallegos. He gave up a lead-off single and 2 walks to load up the bases, with no outs. A big double scored 2 runs for the Phillies, again with no outs. So the Yankees went to their bullpen and called on the final pitcher of the afternoon Ben Heller for the final 6 outs, which he breezed through.

Meanwhile, the thing that really marked this game (and sent many Phillies fans home early) were the unending home runs by Yankee batters today — well, 5 in total. Miguel Andujar set the pace with a big lead-off 1st pitch solo home run in the 2nd. With 2 outs, Tyler Austin, Romine, and Cave then loaded up the bases, but an early pitching change ended Yankee hopes to add to their lead. That’s okay. Andujar came back in the 3rd and hit a 2-out home run to double the Yankees’ score, and that was his 4th just this Spring.

Then the rest of the team got in on the action. Brandon Drury led-off the 5th with his own solo home run, and Tyler Austin followed suit with a lead-off home run in the 6th. They changed things up a bit in the 7th as Estevan Florial narrowly missed a home run, smacking a long triple before scoring the first non-homer run on Ronald Torreyes’ sacrifice fly. But then it was back to business as usual when Billy McKinney hit a solo home run to cap off the Yankees’ scoring today.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees host the Braves tomorrow afternoon back at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Masahiro Tanaka is schedule to make his Spring debut, looking to repeat his 2017 Spring excellence and redeem his less-than-stellar 2017 regular season. (And in personal news, it’s supposed to be about 12° cooler for local fans, or back to a more tolerable normal temperature for Spring Training around here.)

Also, if you’re watching the farm system, it’s worth noting that the powers-that-be recently ranked the Yankees farm system and prospects at #6 overall. They were #2 last year but found themselves demoted due to how many prospects found themselves playing in the Bronx last year and no longer considered “prospects” (Frazier, Green, and Montgomery), as well as many who’ve been shipped off to other teams (Fowler, Kaprielian, and Mateo). But there are plenty of really good guys left — Andujar, Florial, and Gleyber Torres jump to mind. In other words, the farm system is so loaded that the future looks really good, regardless of how many players come and go.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 1: DET vs. NYY — Starting the season with a W, #MSDStrong

Every Spring Training is like a mini-family reunion for those of us who go every year. Like coming home after a long time, there’s lots of hugging, stories, and updates. Unlike last year, not much has changed at Steinbrenner Field in appearances. But as I was walking up to the main gate, I mentioned that baseball, as unpredictable and evolving as it is, is ironically the stable part of my schedule. Apparently, I’m not alone in that as my Yankees “family” echoed my sentiments.

Anyway, baseball is finally back. And the Yankees had to kick-start it with a nice win. Luis Cessa got the start for this afternoon’s home opener against the visiting Tigers. His lead-off single moved to 2nd on a long fly ball and then scored on another single to get Detroit on the board early. But Cessa, proving he could be the first call in a pitching injury situation, came back in the 2nd for a strong, quick 1-2-3 inning. Ben Heller followed up Cessa with his own fairly strong 2 innings. They were followed by Hale for 2 and then Lail, Coshow, and Gallegos each gave an inning for the final third of the game. Collectively, the Yankee pitchers only gave up 6 hits and 3 walks to the Tigers.

Comparatively, the Tigers pitchers also only gave up 6 hits to the Yankees’ stacked power-hitting line-up, but they also walked 7 of them in the process. After a fairly strong starter gave his 2 innings, each reliever took an inning and really kept the Yankees from doing much more than get on base and feel hopeful. However, one reliever decided to buck that trend in the bottom of the 6th after all the starters and stars exited the game.

Tyler Wade led off the inning with a solid double and then ended up at 3rd on a 1-out balk. After Higashiokka worked one of those walks, Espinosa was hit by an errant pitch to load up the bases. Jake Cave hit into a routine ground out that moved up all the runners and scored Wade to tie up the game. Then it would be today’s replacement DH Jorge Saez to single and score 2 more runs to give the Yankees the lead and eventual win.

Final: 3-1 Yankees

And the return of the One To Watch, the minor league player that caught my attention because he did something worth noticing… Today’s One to Watch: Jorge Saez. The 27-year-old catcher served as the replacement designated hitter today, and it paid off. He went 2-for-3 at-bats, with 2 RBIs that made the difference in the game. The Yankees picked him up off waivers from Toronto after the 2016 season. He spent 5 seasons in the Blue Jays’ minor league system and spent most of last year with AA Trenton. But he’s clearly doing something worth noticing — he’s hitting, and hitting well in moments that matter.

The Yankees head down to Bradenton to face the Pirates tomorrow afternoon, so we’re officially underway with the pre-season. Spring has really begun. Baseball is here again.

Before today’s sold-out game, prior to the national anthem, the Yankees hosted a moment of silence for the 17 students and teachers lost in the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Every MLB team and umpires wore the same “SD” ball caps the sports teams of that high school wear. While the agreement was to wear them just before the game, both teams today wore them throughout the game in their honor. The game-worn caps will be autographed and auctioned off for the Broward Education Foundation, the official fund for the victims and survivors. The baseball and softball teams from that high school were also special guests to the Marlins-Cardinals game in Jupiter, Florida (about an hour north of Parkland). Our hearts continue to be with that community as they recover, and we are proud of the brave who are leading the charge and movement for change.

Go Yankees!

Game 162: TOR vs. NYY — Hello, October baseball… Farewell, regular 2017 season…

As this game didn’t really count for much of anything, it certainly lightened the mood and intensity off this afternoon’s finale in the Bronx. Closing out the season against the Blue Jays, the Yankees rotated out their starting roster quickly to allow some of the other guys on the roster to get a chance to play in the game that doesn’t count. After a recent rather warm trend in the City, the weather finally caught up to the calendar today, as if turning the page to October meant it was suddenly hoodie and boot weather. Only fitting as the playoffs that lead to the Fall Classic begin in just 2 days.

Again, today’s game mattered for nearly nothing (much closer to a Spring Training type feel than an exhibition game) because regardless of the outcome all over the AL today, the Yankees will face the Twins on Tuesday in the Wild Card game, and the Blue Jays will be watching the postseason from their respective couches.

Jordan Montgomery got the start in today’s game, throwing 62 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up just 2 hits, a walk, and a run and struck out 3 Toronto batters. He held them off for most of the game until the 4th inning, giving up a 1-out walk and single to put runners in the corners before a sacrifice fly scored the lead runner to get the Blue Jays on the board.

Just reinstated off the DL today, Adam Warren took over for Montgomery in the 6th and breezed his way through the next 3 outs (and into the 7th inning) in just 13 pitches. Domingo German was up next, asked to get the next 5 outs. German had an issue in the 8th inning when the lead-off batter struck out on a wild pitch and made it safely to 1st (I still don’t get this weird loophole). He then moved to 2nd on a walk, then to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a ground out. Ben Heller breezed through the 9th in just 14 pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees weren’t exactly sending balls out of the park today. With the Blue Jays leading in the 4th, the Yankees didn’t answer back until the 7th inning with Matt Holliday’s 1-out solo home run deep into the left field seats to tie up the game at that point. Bird then worked a walk and ended up at 3rd on Andujar’s double, but 2 ground outs later and their best shot at jumping ahead left both runners stranded on the bases.

They didn’t get another shot at tying the game or taking the lead. On the other hand, it was very strange way to lose a game for the Yankees. According to those who know such things, it was the first time they lost at home when they allowed 2 hits or fewer since August 1979.

Final score: 2-1 Blue Jays, Yankees win series 2-1

The Yankees end their 2017 season with 91 wins and 71 losses and will start their journey towards the #28 on Tuesday night in the Wild Card game against the Twins. The game will be held at Yankee Stadium as they ended the season 6 games ahead of the Twins.

Before today’s game, the Yankees presented Aaron Judge with a special award to commemorate his rookie home run record. They awarded him with a specially designed glass gavel. Judge, who did not play in today’s game, ended his rookie season with 52 home runs. He also joins Red Sox great Ted Williams (back in 1939) in the record books as only the second rookie to score at least 100 runs, hit at least 100 RBIs, and work at least 100 walks. But by now, we’re rather used to seeing Judge’s name tightly woven with baseball’s legends.

And in more positive news, the Yankees announced today that they will be expanding their netting at both Yankee Stadium and Steinbrenner Field in Tampa (where they play their home Spring Training games) for the upcoming 2018 season. Plans aren’t fully finalized, but the netting is said to be in place prior to any official home games to further protect fans from dangerous incidents like the one just a few weeks ago with the little girl.

Postseason prep: All the games are wrapping up for this season as I post this, and as everyone has a day off before October baseball really begins, I’ll do a much deeper post in preparation for the postseason. This will include my predictions on the onset, the only time during the year I will publicly make postseason predictions. I must be a glutton for punishment because I am always wrong. Because baseball really is rather unpredictable, especially in the postseason.

Go Yankees!

Game 140: NYY vs. TEX — Dropping an easy lead doesn’t help postseason hopes

Both the Rangers and Yankees are battling for the postseason, so this weekend’s series is extremely important for both teams for very different reasons. The Yankees are hoping to breathe down the Red Sox’s neck and possibly snag that lead spot from them in the AL East and force them to be the first Wild Card spot. The Rangers are just a few games out of the second Wild Card spot and hoping to up their game wins to finagle a chance for the postseason. It’s that time of year where anything can happen, and it usually does.

The Yankees struck first against the Rangers in tonight’s opener at Arlington, giving themselves a nice lead early in the game. Perhaps a bit too early. In the 2nd, they quickly loaded up the bases thanks to 2 singles and a throwing error and no outs. Jacoby Ellsbury singled home one, and Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch to walk in another run. Two outs later, Gary Sanchez singled and scored 2 more runs, but Frazier was out on his way to 3rd base to end the inning. And with 2 outs in the 3rd, Didi Gregorius followed up that big inning with a nice solo home run to cap off the Yankees’ run tonight. {Media note: for some reason, the only clip for Gregorius’ home run in the Espanol version.}

So with that nice, hefty lead, the Yankees looked to their starter, Masahiro Tanaka, who just needed to maintain a semblance of order from the mound. But instead, he left far too many pitches up and not enough in Sanchez’s catcher’s mitt. Pitching into the 5th inning, Tanaka threw 81 pitches, gave up 8 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 7 Texas batters. A solo home run led off the 2nd to put the Rangers on the board. And they chipped away at the lead in the 3rd. A 1-out single scored on a nice double, and then that runner scored on another double.

In the 5th, a lead-off single promptly scored on a double, and a single put runners in the corners, who then moved up a base on a wild pitch scoring the tying run. After another allowed double, and still no outs in the inning, Tanaka was done for the night, still responsible for the 2 runners on base. Tommy Kahnle came in and gave up a single that scored both those runners to give the Rangers the lead. Chasen Shreve came on for the final out of the inning before throwing a scoreless 6th.

Oh, but the damage was done yet. Caleb Smith had a rather rough going when he came on in the 7th. He quickly loaded up the bases with a single, wild pitch, walk, and another single before getting the hook himself. Ben Heller then tried to keep things under control but struggled himself. A sacrifice fly scored one run, and a single another. But it would be the 2-run triple to cap off the night for the Rangers and finalize their now solid lead over the Yankees. Bryan Mitchell came on to close out that inning before finding a scoreless 8th.

The Yankee batters after that 3rd inning struggled to do much more with their offense. The Rangers’ pitchers effectively shut them down for the final third of the game, including a 3-strikeout 9th inning that made the home crowd very happy. Yankee pitchers gave up 15 hits, despite their 11 total strikeouts, while the Yankee batter managed just 8 hits (all off the Rangers’ starter and all far too early in the game).

Final score: 11-5 Rangers

Austin Romine sat out tonight’s game as a result of his suspension appeal after the melee in Detroit a few weeks ago. Romine was the one who the upset Tigers’ batter initially felt compelled to take out his aggressions on that started the whole benches-clearing incident. Originally issued a 2-game suspension, upon appeal, it was reduced to a single game, which he took tonight. Fortunately, the Yankees missed no solid catching time, as Sanchez just came off his own sentence from the same incident to catch tonight’s game.

And looking ahead, with yet another hurricane barreling down on the southeast, safety is always a priority. The Yankees were originally scheduled to play the Rays in St. Petersburg right after this series in Texas, but it looks like Hurricane Irma may cause some problems for the state of Florida and most of its upcoming sporting events are being rescheduled or relocated. Out of consideration, the Mets have opened their home field to the teams for the games as they will be hitting the road themselves after this weekend. Tampa area fans with tickets can find out information about refunds and exchanges, while New York area fans can get tickets to the series at Citi Field beginning tomorrow (Sept. 9) at 10 am.

Go Yankees!

Game 134: BOS vs. NYY — September off to a stunted start

And just like that fortunes reversed. September begins, and the Yankees are still in heated contention with the Red Sox (and a few other teams) for the postseason. Sonny Gray got the start tonight, and certainly had mixed results. On one hand, he struck out 9 Boston batters in just 7 innings, but on the other, he gave up 4 runs.

Gray threw 98 pitches in those 7 innings, giving up 5 hits and a walk. And those pesky 4 runs, all scored on home runs. In the 3rd, he allowed his lone walk before a home run scored both runners to put the Red Sox in the lead. A 2-out solo home run in the 5th and a lead-off solo shot in the 7th added those 2 more runs for the Red Sox.

Meanwhile, the Yankees kicked off the offense in the 1st when Brett Gardner hit a lead-off double and then scored on Aaron Judge’s double. Then they struggled with much offense, only getting 2 more hits and a walk off the Red Sox’s starter in his 7 innings.

Aroldis Chapman’s 8th inning was almost perfect, where he got all 3 outs as strikeouts. And Adam Warren kept the Red Sox from adding to their score with a 14-pitch 9th. But unfortunately, the Red Sox’s relievers for both innings followed the example and threw 2 scoreless innings as well, leaving the Yankees in the dust.

Final score: 4-1 Red Sox

Before the game today, former Yankee legend (and Grammy-nominated classically trained guitarist) Bernie Williams performed an amazing version of the national anthem as Little Leaguers from the area who narrowly missed representing the US in the recent Little League World Series joined Yankee players all over the field to be honored for their success this season.

Roster moves: just in time for the September call-ups, the Yankees activated Matt Holliday from the DL, after his recovery from a back injury. They also transferred pitcher Luis Cessa, who is still dealing with his ribcage injury, from the 10-day to the 60-day DL, effectively removing him off the 40-man roster. This made room for the Yankees to select the contract of newly acquired Erik Kratz, promoting him from AAA Scranton.

They also recalled pitchers Jordan Montgomery, Ben Heller, and Bryan Mitchell from AAA Scranton. There is still room for additions this month, but the Yankees also want the RailRiders to work on their own upcoming postseason and potential repeat of their championship in a few weeks. They finish their season on Monday as division leaders (by 7 1/2 games!).

Like the big leagues, the team with the most wins will face the winner of the Wild Card games (to be played on Wednesday and Thursday). The RailRiders are ready for that role unless they get swept by the Phillies’ AAA team. Their Division Series (best of 5) begins next weekend. Their Championship Series is shortly after that (beginning September 12) for the “Governor’s Cup”. And the ultimate championship game between the Pacific Coast League and the International League (where the RailRiders play) to be played on September 19 at PNC Park (the RailRiders’ home park). Best of luck to you guys once again in your postseason!

Go Yankees!