Game 81: BOS vs. NYY — 6 homers for the Bronx Bombers

We’re officially at the physical half-way point in the season. And after tonight’s game, the Yankees are tied with tonight’s opponents. Though, after this crazy weekend series, it’s kind of hard to believe either team is atop anything. However, tonight, it seemed to swing in favor of the Yankees. By a lot. And it followed the same pattern — stronger starting pitcher, major offense, huge win.

The Yankees sent in their ace pitcher to close out this series against the Red Sox. Luis Severino threw another great game, 99 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up just 2 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6 batters, and keeping the Red Sox completely scoreless.

Despite the score, the Yankees needed to exercise their power-relievers and thus gave Robertson, Betances, and Chapman the chance to get the final 8 outs of the game. Robertson and Betances kept things tight and scoreless, without allowing a base runner.  Aroldis Chapman came into the game in the 9th with 1 out and had a bit of trouble, giving up a double, a single, and a ground out that scored the Red Sox’s lone run of the game. Another grounder ended the game and Chapman’s struggles.

Meanwhile, the Yankees faced an old foe as the Red Sox’s starter (the same pitcher who gave up Jeter and Rodriguez’s 3000th hits, while he was with different teams) who the Yankees seem to know how to hit regardless of the opposing team. His fate was set in the 1st inning. With 1 out, Aaron Judge kicked off tonight’s big night with a solo home run up the middle. Then Stanton singled and Gregorius’ double put runners in scoring position, and they both scored as part of Gleyber Torres’ big 3-run home run.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, Gardner singled and then scored with Aaron Hicks’ 2-run home run. Kyle Higashioka led-off the 4th with his 1st major league hit, a huge solo home run into the 2nd deck of the left field seats. And yes, there was a John Sterling home run call. And yes, the Yankees gave him a temporary silent treatment in the dugout, on Sabathia’s suggestion, before hounding him with their congratulations.

Anyway, then after an out, Aaron Hicks hit his 2nd home run of the night, a nice solo shot into Monument Park. That would be the end of the Red Sox starter’s night, but the first reliever had some issues. Judge singled, and Stanton double to move both runners to scoring position. Didi Gregorius hit a long sacrifice fly to score Judge.

After that, the reliever settled into some momentum for the next 2 innings, and his replacement had a solid 7th inning. But the 8th inning reliever had trouble, starting with Aaron Hicks hitting his 3rd (!) home run of the night to lead off the inning. Judge then walked, moved to 2nd on Drury’s single, and then scored on Neil Walker’s single to cap things off for the Yankees tonight.

Final score: 11-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: the Yankees will host the Braves starting tomorrow night for 3 games for the final home stand before the All-Star Break. But before the break, they’ll hit the road to face the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Indians.

And a small bit of trivia regarding tonight’s game: Aaron Hicks’ 3-home run game puts him in some pretty good company. Before tonight, Lou Gehrig (in 1927) and Mark Teixeira (in 2010) are the only Yankees to have 3-home run games against the Red Sox. And further, only Hicks and Teixeira did so from both sides of the plate as switch hitters. So much for all that talk from online trolls about how the Yankees should trade Hicks earlier this year…

Go Yankees!

 

Game 80: BOS vs. NYY — Not really a blowout, but a big shutout

After the Yankees’ big game yesterday, the Red Sox decided to prove they could have a big game too, taking full advantage of a weird quirk in the Yankees’ rotation — Sonny Gray’s inability to have a decent start at Yankee Stadium.

Gray threw 68 pitches into the 3rd inning, giving up 7 hits, 2 walks, 6 runs, and no strikeouts. In the 1st inning, after getting a quick 2 outs, Gray started his spiral — a single, a walk, and a single to load up the bases. The next batter hit a big grand slam to give the Red Sox an early, large lead. A double led off the 2nd, and a 1-out walk put more runners on base for the Sox. They both scored on a single and sacrifice fly, respectively.

Adam Warren came on to complete the 3rd inning for Gray, and then breezed through the 4th and 5th innings and kept the Sox to the runs they’ve already scored. Giovanny Gallegos came in and struggled his way through the 6th and 7th innings. In the 6th, a 1-out single stole 2nd and later scored on a 2-out single. And a 1-out double in the 7th scored as part of a 2-out home run.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Red Sox kept those runs coming against the usually unflappable Jonathan Holder in the 8th. A lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on a single. Then Chasen Shreve came on for the 9th. He gave up a lead-off single that moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, watched as his teammate had 2 foul balls reviewed and upheld, and then scored on a single, before breezing through 3 outs, including 2 solid strikeouts.

The Yankee pitchers gave up 17 hits and 3 walks, while the Red Sox batters gave up just 2 hits, 2 walks, and a hit-by-pitch. Yes, the Yankee batters were having the opposite kind of night as last night.

Final score: 11-0 Red Sox

In many leagues, there is usually a sort of “mercy rule“, often referred to as the “10-run rule”. Most people know this from Little League or school sports team experience. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to any professional league, so teams can win by however much they do.

And as we all know, it doesn’t matter by how much you win in a win-lose kind of sport. Like for those of you following the World Cup (soccer/football) right now, you might note how while the team was ranked by both its win-draw-loss results and its amount of goals scored per game. So those who scored a higher number of goals could potentially outrank another team that has the same number of wins or losses. That doesn’t work that way in baseball. It’s just wins and losses.

While it’s nice to have a big blowout kind of game sometimes, it’s less celebratory (for me, at least) than when they end up with a tight game that is more of a nail-biter, or a game well-fought (even if your team loses in the end).

And if you’re wondering, the modern record for biggest blowout in MLB was set in 2007 when the Rangers, down 0-3 in the 4th, came back to beat the Orioles 30-3. Which is insane on so many levels. But a great reminder that it doesn’t matter by how much a team wins or loses, just that they win or lose, which is any interesting talking point. So, talk about it.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: with some lousy pitching and minimal offense, there’s not a ton of “highlights”. So fingers cross that tomorrow there will be a video clip you’ll actually want to see.}

Game 79: BOS vs. NYY — A little of #CCStrong, a lot of #BabyBombers

The Yankees kicked off their final home stand before the All-Star Game on a high note, battling the Red Sox tonight for their first game of this weekend series. Going into tonight’s game, the Boston rivals were a game ahead of the Yankees (thanks to a less-than-ideal road trip). But the Yankees were quick to even up things in the AL East.

CC Sabathia had another solid start in tonight’s game, throwing 97 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and 1 run, and striking out 5 Boston batters. But he kept the Red Sox scoreless through 4 innings. In the 5th, with 2 outs, he gave up consecutive doubles to score the Sox’ lone run tonight.

Chad Green kept Sabathia’s momentum going with a solid, scoreless 8th inning, and in the 9th, Chasen Shreve got a chance to redeem himself after some bad outings this month. There’s a lot to be said about momentum and confidence. Shreve needed just 14 pitches to breeze his way through the inning, including 2 sharp strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were ready to make a dent in the Red Sox’s game tonight. Big time. In the 2nd, Gleyber Torres led-off with his first MLB triple and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s single to get the Yankees on the board first. Then Stanton led-off the 4th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ double, and scored on Torres’ sacrifice fly. Andujar promptly hit a long 2-run home run into the left field seats, only to be followed by Greg Bird’s solo home run to ensure the Yankees’ easy victory.

Later, in the 7th, with a new pitcher on the mound, Hicks hit a nice 1-out single and then scored as part of Aaron Judge’s big 2-run home run. Then with 2 outs in the 8th, Bird hit his 2nd homer of the night, a solo shot deep into the right field seats.

Final score: 8-1 Yankees

Roster moves/Scranton Shuttle alert: the Yankees sent pitcher Luis Cessa back to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With some strong left-handed pitchers coming up in the Red Sox and Braves’ rotation and bullpen, the Yankees wanted a strong bat. So they recalled infielder Brandon Drury, who has had a great time in recovery and while with the Rail Riders.

Yesterday, during the off-day, CC Sabathia hosted a charity softball game at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia and his wife Amber run the PitcchIn Foundation that helps out the Sabathia’s local communities in New York and their hometown of Oakland, like backpack drives, ball field renovations, and scholarships. This year’s big fundraiser raised over $1 million and featured current and former Yankees (like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Alex Rodriguez) alongside other celebrities (like Jennifer Lopez, Leslie Jones, Terrell Owens, Michael Rapaport, and Christopher Jackson) in front of a few hundred fans. It was a fun night for all, with Team CC beating Team Giancarlo 2-1 at the end of the night, and a great cause to help so many.

Go Yankees!

Game 37: BOS vs. NYY — Late rally oddly falls short after bad start & rain delay

And they’re back to a tie in the AL East on this rain-soaked evening in the Bronx to close out their mid-week series against the Red Sox. CC Sabathia struggled his way through his outing, throwing 80 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 9 hits, no walks, and 4 runs, and striking out 5 batters.

In the 1st, Sabathia gave up a lead-off ground-rule double who moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on another ground out (that some people immediately questioned as to why the defense opted not to get the out at home instead). Then in the 3rd, a single and double put runners in scoring position. A single score the first runner and a fielder’s choice scored the other.

It started raining earlier, but it was manageable for most of the game until the end of the 4th. As it started really raining pretty hard, fans streaming to the concourses for cover, Sabathia took the mound for the 5th inning and gave up a lead-off solo home run before the Yankees’ grounds crew pulled out the tarp and called a rain delay. For 55 minutes, they waited for the storm to pass to resume baseball activities.

It was too long of a wait to stay warm, so the Yankees opted to call on Jonathan Holder for relief of Sabathia. And it certainly helped. Holder breezed through the 5th and 6th innings in just 17 pitches. Dellin Betances’ 7th inning followed that momentum.

The Yankees’ pitching staff was just waiting for the Yankees’ offense to kick it up and do something. The Red Sox starting pitcher held them to a single hit and 3 walks under his 5 scoreless innings and his first reliever followed suit. But then the next guy struggled in the 7th to get control of the Yankees’ late-inning heroics they’ve become rather known for this month.

With 1 out, they loaded up the bases with singles to Andujar and Torres and a walk to Walker. So the Red Sox called in another pitcher to handle this situation. He promptly walked Brett Gardner in 4 pitches to walk in the Yankees’ first run of the evening. Aaron Judge hit a short single to keep those bases loaded and score Torres. Didi Gregorius hit into a short grounder to get the out at 2nd and still score Walker, moving Gardner to 3rd. Then a wild pitch allowed the speedy Gardner (who didn’t even slide) to score the tying run.

Betances came on for a second inning, the 8th, and despite the pattern he set in the 7th, he gave up a perfect 2nd pitch that became a lead-off home run to break the tie and put the Red Sox back in the lead. The Yankees got a single and walk in the bottom of the 8th, but couldn’t get them to tie up the game. Chasen Shreve threw a solid 9th inning, but the Yankees faced a similar bottom of the 9th and no late-inning heroics came through.

Final score: 5-4 Red Sox, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: the Yankees host the Athletics for the series this weekend, their last series before hitting the road again.

Go Yankees!

Game 36: BOS vs. NYY — And the winning streak puts the Yankees on top of MLB

With tonight’s win, not only are the Yankees the sole leader of the AL East, but at 25-10, they have the best record in all of MLB. Of course, it helps that they are on a super hot streak, currently running 16-1 for their last 17 games. The actual club record was 21-1 back in 1953, one of the best years for the Yankee organization (with players like Berra, Ford, Rizzuto, and Mantle). Though current fans are making more recent comparisons — like to the 1998 team.

Masahrio Tanaka had an okay start in tonight’s game against the Red Sox, throwing 91 pitches into the 6th inning. He gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out just 3 Boston batters. In the 2nd, a 1-out single scored as part of a 2-run home run to get the Red Sox on the board. A 1-out solo home run in the 5th added one more. And in the 6th, he gave up a double that moved to 3rd on a ground out.

But that would be it from Tanaka as the Yankees turned to Chad Green, who promptly gave up a sacrifice fly to score Tanaka’s runner from 3rd. Then in the 7th, with 2 outs, he gave up a walk that scored as part of another 2-run home run for the Red Sox. Then Shreve came on for the 8th inning and gave up a double and a walk and only getting one out, so the Yankees called on Jonathan Holder. After a well-placed strikeout, Holder intentionally loaded up the bases and still got out of the inning without a scratch.

Meanwhile, the Yankees started the offensive drive tonight in the 1st inning, when Gardner led-off with a double and then scored on Aaron Judge’s single. After the Red Sox took the lead in the 2nd, the Yankees grabbed the lead in the 3rd. Gardner led-off with a double again, Judge worked a walk, and they both moved into scoring position on a ground out. Giancarlo Stanton’s double then scored both Gardner and Judge to give the lead back to the Yankees. After Sanchez’s single moved Stanton to 3rd, Stanton scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly.

Judge led-off the 5th with a single but ended up at 2nd on a throwing error. After Gregorius’ walk and Stanton’s hit-by-pitch, the Yankees were in a good place to do some big damage with the bases loaded and no outs. Gary Sanchez hit a nice sacrifice fly to center field that scored Judge, but then 2 outs later, that big moment had passed.

The Red Sox relievers then held off the Yankees for most of their time on the mound. And with their team ahead by a single run, they needed to depend on those relievers to maintain the status quo. And then the Yankees entered the bottom of the 8th and Neil Walker led-off with a strong double. After Torres worked a 1-out walk, the Red Sox brought in a new reliever to stem the home town offense.

But Brett Gardner promptly hit a big triple (though it would be a double for almost anyone else) and scored Walker and the speedy Torres, who also somehow avoided the tag at home. The sold-out stadium was post-season electric as the Yankees looked to continue their winning streak tonight. Aaron Judge then continued that momentum with a 2-run home run straight to Monument Park to solidify the Yankees win after Chapman worked a 9th inning save with 3 great strikeouts.

Final score: 9-6 Yankees

The Yankees will look to sweep the Red Sox tomorrow night to close out that series before hosting the Athletics. Fingers crossed for a better record than that great streak of 21-1 65 years ago.

Go Yankees!

Game 35: BOS vs. NYY — #SevySharp & Multi-Stanton, but late inning offense rescues again

The Yankees continue their home stand, opening this mid-week 3-game series against the Red Sox tonight. Going into this game, the Red Sox were just a game ahead of the Yankees in the AL East, and both teams know that they both need to win to advance their team’s strength in the standings. But only one team can come out on top. (It’s kind of how this thing works.)

So it was to Luis Severino that the Yankees looked to lead them in this opening game. Severino threw into the 7th inning with 109 pitches, giving up 6 runs, no walks, and 2 runs, while striking out a solid 11 Boston batters. Severino held off the Red Sox until the 5th inning, when a lead-off batter struck out but then made it safely to 1st on a wild pitch (I still hate these, by the way). Two legitimate strike outs later, a single moved that runner to 2nd before another single and long throw allowed that lead runner to score the Red Sox’s first run.

Severino gave up a lead-off single in the 7th, and that runner would be his responsibility as he headed back to the clubhouse for the night. David Robertson came on for 2 quick outs, but then he gave up a long triple that scored that runner. Green needed just 11 pitches to get out of the 8th, and Chapman threw an efficient 15-pitch 9th inning. And in total, Yankee pitchers collected 14 strikeouts (and no walks!).

Meanwhile, the Yankees rode on the wings of Giancarlo Stanton early on with his lead-off solo home runs in the 2nd to left field and in the 4th to right. So after the Red Sox tied up the game in the 7th, the Yankees answered back in the bottom of the 7th. With 1 out, Walker doubled and Torres walked before a balk moved both runners to scoring position. Gardner’s walk then loaded up the bases and had the Red Sox headed back to their bullpen again. Aaron Judge promptly singled to score Walker, but a quick, strong throw home got Torres trying to score an insurance run.

They didn’t need it in the end, thanks in part to the Yankees’ strong pitching.

Final score: 3-2 Yankees

There’s been a lot of chatter about which teams will face off in a short series during the 2019 season in London, bringing America’s pastime to Great Britain. MLB announced yesterday that the two teams that will be making the trip will be the Yankees and Red Sox, bringing the best rivalry in all of sports across the pond. The NFL and NBA have traveled to England in previous seasons, and British fans and American ex-pats enjoy these special games.

The MLB has traveled outside of the US and Canada periodically over the last 22 years — in 1996 and 1999 to Monterrey, Mexico; in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 to Tokyo, Japan; in 2014 to Sydney, Australia; and 51 times since 2001 to San Juan, Puerto Rico, including last month when the Indians and Twins faced off (and dealt with a local power outage and the continued local hurricane recovery). Later this year, the Dodgers and Padres will play in Monterrey, Mexico, and next season, the Mariners and Athletics will travel to Tokyo. But the Yankees-Red Sox games in England will be the first regular season MLB games in Europe ever.

That leaves me to wonder if the Brits will embrace baseball with the same kind of enthusiasm as their football (or soccer for Americans) or perhaps cricket, a more similar sport. If anything, the Brits love their sport regardless of what kind of sport it is. I imagine they’ll love it like the Americans love soccer, with the same fervency of the moment (like the US gets during the World Cup) before moving on with other sport and fan bases once the Yankees (literally and figuratively) are flying back across the pond.

Go Yankees!

Game 13: NYY vs. BOS — A rainy night in Fenway

The first half of tonight’s game was played in the middle of a constant rain storm, progressively getting worse until they had to stop the game entirely to wait out until the passing front was finished with its downpour over the Boston area. The Yankees were looking to take this series onto their next one, but the Red Sox wanted last night’s game back and get them back on their winning momentum.

Sonny Gray got the start for tonight’s finale in Fenway, throwing 68 pitches in just over 3 rainy innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, striking out just 3 batters. In the 2nd, he pitched his way through the line-up, all 9 batters as the Red Sox began their advance. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a walk, to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on a single. Another walk loaded the bases, and all runners moved up on a sacrifice fly, scoring another run. A messy fielder’s choice attempt and throwing error scored another run, and left 2 runners in scoring position. Another single scored yet another run before Gray found those final 2 outs of the inning to mercifully end the Red Sox’s dominance.

The Red Sox continued their roll in the 3rd. A lead-off double scored on a ground-rule double. A wild pitch on a strikeout allowed the batter to reach safely and the other runner to move to 3rd. After another out, the next batter hit into a little grounder at 2nd to score one more run for the home team.

German came on in relief of Gray and threw a very efficient 39 pitches in his 3 innings, with Kahnle and Warren breezing through their own innings (the 7th and 8th, respectively). All three relievers found the momentum that Gray seemed to lack tonight.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox starter effectively shut down the Yankees, running a no-hitter until Judge hit a lead-off double in the 7th inning. They Yankees just weren’t hitting off him at all. They would, however, hit off his reliever. After a pretty good 8th inning, the Yankees kept him from finding an out in the 9th inning.

Judge worked a walk, and then he and Stanton benefited on 2 errors — a fielding error allowed Stanton to reach safely, a throwing error allowed Judge to land at 3rd. After Gregorius worked a walk, it would be Gary Sanchez for the big hit of the night — a 3-run bases-clearing double to finally get the Yankees on the board. A new reliever for Boston quickly got the 3 outs they needed to close out the game.

Final score: 6-3 Red Sox, Boston wins series 2-1

The rain delay during tonight’s game halted play for 45 minutes, between the 5th and 6th innings, as they waited out the weather. Not too terrible of a delay in light of things. But I cannot imagine the earlier part of the game was all that pleasant for either team. Of course, a better score might have helped the Yankees.

Next up: the Yankees travel to Detroit to face off against the Tigers.

Following up from yesterday’s melee, the league handed down its disciplines for those involved in the fracas. The pitcher who drilled Tyler Austin (Joe Kelly) received a 6-game suspension and a fine, and Tyler Austin received a 5-game suspension and a fine. They are both appealing their punishments. (They do often get reduced or overturned upon appeal, so it’s always worth the effort.)

Boston’s manager (Alex Cora) and Yankees’ 3rd base coach Phil Nevin got into it a bit themselves last night and were also fined as part of the decision today. And 4 players on the Disabled List were fined due to a violation in the rule book about not entering the playing field while on the DL. Those players are 3 Red Sox players and CC Sabathia. I don’t expect any of these players or Cora or Nevin to appeal their fines. (It’s usually upheld, so it’s not usually worth the effort.)

Roster updates: Aaron Hicks is back, finally off the disabled list where he’s been since he injured his right intercostal muscle on Opening Day in Toronto. In his place, the Yankees designated Shane Robinson for assignment. The outfield may be back sooner than expected, so take these small signs as moments of hope.

Go Yankees!