Game 124: CLE vs. NYY — #TanakaTime & Gardy’s Grab FTW

*Note: FTW is an online acronym for “for the win”. I feel like someone out there needs to know that before we dive into today’s post.

After last night’s rough start for the Yankees, they were looking to turn the tables on the visiting Indians. So they called on Masahiro Tanaka to right the ship, and Tanaka came through. He threw 83 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 4 hits and 2 runs, and struck out 2 Cleveland batters. His allowed runs were 1-out solo home runs in the 2nd and 7th innings.

After he gave up that 7th inning homer, he also allowed a double. So with that threat on base, the Yankees opted for reliable Kahnle for a quick 2 strikeouts to get out of the inning. Then Britton and Chapman followed suit with scoreless innings a piece to close out the game. And in more than one instance, the Yankees relied on their fantastic defense to save the day — like Brett Gardner’s snazzy grab at the wall in the 8th inning.

Meanwhile, the offense gave Tanaka and the bullpen some cushion to work with. With 1 out in the 1st, Judge singled, moved to 2nd on Urshela’s single, and advanced to 3rd on on Gregorius’ fielder’s choice. A pair of singles by Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres scored Judge and Gregorius to put the Yankees on the board first. Then, in the 5th, with 2 outs, Judge doubled and scored on Gio Urshela’s single and a fielding error for the insurance run they needed in the end.

Final score: 3-2 Yankees

Roster moves/Scranton Shuttle: Before today’s game, the Yankees moved some of their pitchers around on that Scranton Shuttle. They optioned Chance Adams and outrighted Joe Mantiply and Brady Lail back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And they recalled new Yankee Ryan Dull from Scranton to help with the bullpen in that regular “fresh arm” category.

Injury update: Luke Voit has been out of the lineup for over 2 weeks with a sports hernia. The worry was that he might have to get surgery on it, but with recent days being rather pain-free, Voit has been cleared to resume on-field work outs with AAA Scranton next week. As long as things remain good, he could be back with the team during the West Coast trip at the earliest or when the Yankees are back home.

Go Yankees!

Game 122: BAL vs. NYY — A matinee sweep

For the rare mid-week afternoon matinee, the Yankees found the right stuff to pull off the desired outcome of this series — a clean sweep of the visiting Orioles. This also makes it 16 straight wins against the Orioles.

JA Happ got their start this afternoon in the final game of this 4-game series. He threw 95 pitches in 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, and struck out 6 Baltimore batters. In the 1st, a 1-out walk moved to 2nd on a 2-out single and then scored on another single. Happ then got out of a bases-loaded jam to start the momentum of the game — let them threaten but shut them down. Two outs into the 3rd, a single moved to 2nd on a walk and then scored on a single.

Luis Cessa came into the game for a clean 6th but found some trouble in the 7th. With 1 out, he gave up a double and a walk. Then a 2-out double scored both runners. That was it for Cessa, so Adam Ottavino was called upon to shut down the threat. A wild pitch moved the runner to 3rd where he easily scored on a double to cap off the visitors’ runs today. Then, Britton and Chapman worked their way through the scoreless 8th and 9th to close out the Yankee pitching tonight.

Meanwhile, the Yankee bats gave their pitchers a little wiggle room. And clearly, they needed it. Gardner led-off the 1st with a walk but was out in the fielder’s choice hit by Judge. After Urshela’s short single added another runner. So Didi Gregorius’ single scored Judge, and Gary Sanchez slammed a 3-run home run up the middle into Monument Park to score Urshela and Gregorius.

Then in the 6th, with 2 outs, the Yankees loaded up the bases with Sanchez’s single, Torres’ double, and Tauchman’s walk. Mike Ford then singled home both Sanchez and Torres to edge the Yankees just into that single run lead they’d sail all the way to the last out.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees, Yankees sweep Orioles 3-0 (or 4-0 if you count the doubleheader)

Next up: After their family picnic this after, the Yankees will have another 4-game weekend series, this time hosting the Indians and a big commemorative weekend. On Saturday, they will celebrate Mariano Rivera’s new Hall of Fame plaque with a duplicate unveiled in Monument Park. And Sunday will honor the 2009 Championship with a fan gift of a replica of that year’s World Series ring.

After a travel day on Monday, the Yankees will head to the West Coast for their big road trip against the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners. Then they’ll be back in the Bronx to host the Athletics and Rangers before hitting the road once again.

Roster moves: And there’s more roster moves in Yankee Universe. They announced they were designating pitcher Brady Lail for assignment. The Yankees also recalled infielder Thairo Estrada to play in today’s game. And finally, they claimed pitcher Ryan Dull off waivers from the Giants. The evolution of the roster continues.

Games 119 & 120: BAL vs. NYY — Double the Monday power of Torres

The Yankees start their home stand and this series against the Orioles with a doubleheader, the first game a make-up of the rain out game from May 14 to close out that series. And the Yankees continue to dominate their division rivals, this team in particular thanks to the “Oriole Killer” Gleyber Torres.

Game 1 (make up of May 14)
James Paxton got the start for the afternoon game of today’s doubleheader. He threw 107 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 7 Baltimore batters. In the 1st, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a grounder and then to 3rd on a single before scoring on a sacrifice fly to get the O’s on the board first. A 2-out solo homer in the 3rd and a 1-out solo home run in the 6th capped off the allowed runs under “Big Maple” today.

Kahnle sailed his way through the 7th inning, but Luis Cessa had an unexpected rough patch in the 8th inning. He quickly loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk. A simple grounder moved all the runners up and scored another run for the visitors. And another walk loaded the bases again. That was it for Cessa’s outing.

Zack Britton came in to try to stop the threat. After a strong strikeout, he gave up a walk that scored one more run for the Orioles before he got the final out in the 8th. Chapman breezed his way to his 32nd save with a 9-pitch 9th inning.

The Yankee offense, however, came ready to play. In the bottom of the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk, moving to 2nd on a slow fielder’s choice that Urshela hit into and made it safely to 1st. Didi Gregorius then smacked a big 3-run home run to leap the Yankees ahead on the scoreboard. After an out, Gleyber Torres smacked a big solo home run.

In the 2nd, with 2 outs, Gardner doubled and then scored on Gio Urshela’s double. Urshela kept things rolling with a 1-out solo home run in the 5th. Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a 2-out solo home run in the 6th. And with 1 out in the 7th, Gardner worked a walk, advanced to 3rd on Urshela’s single, and then scored on Gregorius’ sacrifice fly.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees (the May 13-15 series closes with a Yankees sweep 3-0)

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees went to their “opener style” with their now usual opener Chad Green, who quickly breezed through his 4 outs with just 11 pitches. Then new Yankee Joe Mantiply got in some long-term relief, pitching into the 5th. His lone allowed runs were in the 3rd, when a lead-off triple scored on a ground out. And a 2-out single scored as part of a 2-run home run.

Brady Lail came in for the next shift on the mound, closing out the 5th and pitching through the 7th, and he had his own issues. But only at the end. He gave up a lead-off walk and a single that scored as part of a 3-run home run before getting out of the inning and the game.

Nestor Cortes Jr had a clean 8th inning, but he tripped up a bit trying to close out the 9th. But he loaded up the bases with 3 singles with just 1 out, so the Yankees turned to Adam Ottavino. But he gave up a single that scored 2 of those runners before getting the final 2 outs of the game.

And honestly, that would sound like terrible news, but the Yankees continued their offensive dominance from the earlier game right from the start. LeMahieu led-off the 1st with a single, and 1 out later, the bases were loaded with singles from Urshela and Torres. Brett Gardner’s solid triple cleared the bases and leap-frogged into the lead.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, Breyvic Valera singled and moved to 2nd on LeMahieu’s walk. Then a wild pitch and bad throwing error moved the runners up 2 bases, which scored Valera. And Mike Ford smacked a 1-out solo home run up the middle. In the 5th, Judge worked a walk and Urshela singled, and the Orioles finally went to their bullpen. But Gleyber Torres smacked yet another home run against the O’s, this time a 3-run home run to keep the Yankees safely on top.

Valera walked and LeMahieu singled to put runners in the corners. After another pitching change, Judge hit into a fielder’s choice out, where the Orioles snapped into action to get Valera out at home. After another out, Gleyber Torres (who else?) hit another 3-run home run to just dominate the visitors again.

Final score: 11-8 Yankees

Roster moves: Before the game, the Yankees recalled infielder Breyvic Valera from AAA Scranton to be their 26th man for the doubleheader.

Now, among other noteworthy featsGleyber Torres has hit 13 home runs in 17 games against Baltimore just this season. This leaps him among some big names in the record of having the most home runs against a single team in a single season, putting him 2nd only to Lou Gehrig. Gehrig hit 14 home runs against the Indians in 1936, which means that Torres can tie or even surpass the Iron Horse in the next two games of this series.

Also worth noting: Torres has a total of 26 homers this season, so exactly half of those have been off Orioles’ pitchers. He has certainly well-earned the title of “Oriole Killer”.

Finally, the Yankees’ 2020 schedule is out for your future planning. They start 2020 on their road in Baltimore on March 26, playing their home opener a week later on April 2, hosting the Blue Jays. They will close the season out at home against the Rays on September 27.

Go Yankees!

Game 118: NYY vs. TOR — #TanakaTime pitchers’ duel closes out series

The Yankees say “farewell” to Toronto on a bit of an upswing. Masahiro Tanaka threw a great game, commanding the home team through 8 scoreless innings with just 94 pitches and 3 allowed hits. And Aroldis Chapman earned his 31st save with a 1-hit and still rather dramatic 9th inning to close out the really dominant game.

But then, the Blue Jays also closed out this series strong, also only using 2 of their pitchers. They limited the Yankees to just 5 hits and a walk. Fortunately, 2 of those hits resulted in a bit more. In the 5th, Gio Urshela led-off with a double and then scored on Brett Gardner’s ground-rule double bouncing over the right field wall to score the lone run of the night.

Final score: 1-0 Yankees, the Yankees and Jays split series 2-2

Next up: The Yankees are on their way home for a packed home stand. First up, they will host the Orioles for 4 games starting with a doubleheader on Monday, part of a make-up from May. Then the Indians come to the Bronx for a 4-game weekend series. After a travel day, the Yankees begin their long West Coast week to visit the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners.

Roster moves: And before today’s game, the Yankees refreshed their roster again, partly because they could and partly because another name is on the IL again. Reliever Stephen Tarpley’s left elbow bugged him after yesterday’s game, and tests later revealed that he will be out with an impingement. They also transferred Giancarlo Stanton from the 10-day to 60-day IL as his knee sprain is still keeping him from returning any time soon. This removed him from the 40-man roster.

With that spot and after the Yankees also optioned infileder Breyvic Valera back to AAA Scranton, they exchanged them for relievers Brady Lail and Joe Mantiply. Both “fresh arms” were officially signed to the team and placed on the roster.

Actually, the biggest sigh of relief from today was that it felt like the Yankees were back in fighting order and commanding the game once again. Not a bad way to head back home and ready for the final big push before October.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 17: BAL vs. NYY — Definitely not a rout, a come-from-behind victory

Another cool night at Steinbrenner Field under the light watching the Yankees take on a divisional rival and battle it all the way to the end. It certainly didn’t lean in favor of the home team for much of the game, but it certainly wasn’t terrible. A hostile fan nearby even commented that he was upset over the Yankees’ “rout”. Which was a complete misnomer. The Yankees were behind, but only by 3 runs, still in “save” territory. It was never a rout. A rout is when one team beats the other by ridiculous scoring — like the 2007 Rangers defeating the Orioles 30-3.

Jonathan Loaisiga got the start for the Yankees tonight against the visiting Orioles and got roughed up a bit in his 2 innings. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and then stole 3rd. A bad throwing error on that steal allowed the runner to score easily. But then he got 3 strikeouts in a row into the 2nd inning. Three consecutive singles scored one run, and a 2-out walk loaded up the bases. All three runners scored on a big double, and that runner scored on an RBI single.

Zack Britton came in to settle things down for the Yankees, nearly sailing through his 2 innings. Chapman and Green followed suit, each with a strong inning of their own. Jonathan Holder’s 7th would have been perfect except for a 2-out solo home run that allowed the Orioles to get one more run in tonight. Tarpley’s stint in the final 2 innings kept the O’s from adding any more.

The Yankees were definitely hitting far more than the Orioles, collecting 14 total hits tonight and spreading them out over the game. In the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk and scored as part of Aaron Judge’s solid 2-run home run to get the Yankees on the board, and at that point, narrowly ahead of the Orioles.

In the 4th, down by those aforementioned 3 runs, with 1 out, Tulowitzki made it safely to 1st thanks to a bad throwing error. After another out, Brett Gardner smacked a 2-run home run to edge the Yankees closer to the leading Orioles. With 2 outs in the 5th, Andujar singled, was pinch-run by Wade, moved to 3rd on Sanchez’s single, and then scored on Greg Bird’s single.

As a sort of final ditch effort, the Yankees used a veteran pitcher’s off-day to their advantage in the 8th. Kyle Higashioka led-off with a big solo home run over the left field concourse. Then Saez’s single, Kyle Holder’s hit-by-pitch, and Florial’s 1-out single loaded the bases. The remaining fans were electrified, and all those organic chants and cheering were almost deafening at time.

Trey Amburgey works his way through a walk for Saez to score the tying run and keep the bases loaded. After a pitching change, Clint Frazier smacked a long sacrifice fly that scored the winning run — Kyle Holder.

Final score: 8-7 Yankees

One to Watch: I’m giving it again to Kyle Holder. Tonight, his defense at short stop was just outstanding. He was always where he needed to be to keep the Orioles from adding to their score in the latter part of the game. Plus, he got the honor of scoring the winning run. He’s just something to watch all Spring so far.

Next up: The Yankees will host the Phillies tomorrow night, with back-to-back home night games.

Roster moves: Every Spring, the Yankees always invite all 40 players on their regular roster. Plus, the ask members of the Yankees organization from around the minor leagues to come to camp and work out with the 40-man roster. In the process, those extra players get re-assigned to various minor league teams for the season, and some of the slots on the 40-man might shake up a bit.

So, last week, the cuts, options, and reassignments began. Lockers were emptied and players sent to minor league camp (that happens privately and simultaneously to the public Spring Training). Last Wednesday, the Yankees optioned pitcher Domingo Acevedo to AA Trenton and reassigned pitchers Brady Lail and Trevor Stephan to minor league camp.

Sunday, they optioned pitcher Albert Abreu to AA Trenton. And before today’s game, they optioned pitchers Chance Adams and Joe Harvey to AAA Scranton and reassigned pitchers Cale Coshow and Danny Farquhar and catcher Kellin Deglan to minor league camp. Then after tonight’s game, they optioned Thairo Estrado to AAA Scranton and reassigned Trey Amburgey and Mike Ford to minor league camp.

Many of these faces I expect we’ll see again, maybe even this Spring in the case of split squad games.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: Again, the later great plays are missing again in the available video highlights for you. My apologies.}

Spring Game 4: NYY vs. DET — More rain shortens rough game

The same front that washed out yesterday’s game continues to bring further bands of rain through the area and ended up shortening today’s game. And part of me thinks this might have been a relief for the Yankees, who were just getting roughed up today.

The Yankees traveled about 40 minutes east to visit the Tigers’ Spring home field in Lakeland, and things started like they have for the last 3 games — with the Yankees hitting first and hard. Hicks led-off the game with a double, and Voit worked a 1-out walk. Miguel Andujar hit a baby grounder, but a throwing error only allowed the Tigers to get the out at 2nd as Hicks spend his way home to score the first run. Torres then singled, and Greg Bird hit a big 3-run home run to give the Yankees a nice early lead.

But today’s starter Chance Adams just couldn’t find his pitches and didn’t even make it out of the first inning. He gave up a walk and single that both scored on a double. A double and triple easily scored 2 more runs before Adams finally got an out, an easy ground out. Brady Lail struggled a bit to get out of the inning, when a single scored Adams’ final runner, but then a beautiful double play closed the exhausting inning.

After an easier 2nd, Domingo Acevedo found his own set of struggles in the 3rd inning. With 2 outs, he loaded up the bases with a single, walk, and hit-by-pitch before giving up a walk to easily score the lead runner. The next batter promptly smacked a big grand slam to ensure the Yankees were overwhelmed by the home team today.

Despite starting the game with blue, sunny skies, the storm front crept its way across the area and clouded up the previous beautiful vista. And then it started raining. A bit too hard. So they brought out the tarp in the 6th inning and delayed the game for 16 minutes.

The rain cleared, and play resumed amid a bit of a drizzle. But as Kyle Holder led off the 7th with a solid hit, the rain worsened. Teams headed to their dugouts, as fans scurried to the nearest coverage. It just wasn’t going to happen. The game was mercifully called.

Final score: 10-4 Tigers, in 7 innings (thanks to Holder’s lone at-bat)

Next up: the Yankees play host again, this time to the Pirates. And the weather report reads about 10% chance of rain, but a bit humid as that aforementioned front settles over the area. In other words, there’ll be a game, but it’s going to be that typical Florida weather.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: no broadcast means no media clips to include in today’s post. Not that there’s much outside the first half-inning to remember for the Yankees.}

Spring Game 2: NYY vs. TB — First Spring win with some big swings

Shifting a little closer to home certainly seemed to help the Yankees shake off yesterday’s loss. Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that they played a team that clearly isn’t used to working together, a clear contrast to yesterday’s opponents.

Jonathan Loaisiga had a great start against the Rays this afternoon at their Spring home field in Port Charlotte (about 90 minutes south of where the Rays spend the season and the Yankees spend Spring in Tampa). Loaisiga continues to show the Yankees why he was worth the call-ups last year and why he could be a contender for this year’s team. He threw a near flawless 2 innings, eventually setting himself up for the win.

Other names (perhaps familiar to frequent readers) that took the mound today included David Hale, Brady Lail, and Stephen Tarpley. Together with two other minor league relievers, the Yankees pitching staff helped navigate today’s team to their first Spring win.

Sure, there were some stumbles along the way, as we should expect in Spring Training. But they were able to fend off the Rays until the middle of the game. In the 5th, back-to-back solo home runs over the short left field fence got them on the board, and 2 outs later, another solo shot off the center field netting added one more. But a great moment (not on the highlight reel thanks to the away broadcast) was the final play of the inning — when catcher Lavernway threw to shortstop Cabrera in a blink-and-you-miss-it play to catch the runner stealing 2nd.

In the 6th, a 1-out single scored as part of a 2-run home run to give the fans a bit of something to cling to in what became the Rays’ 3rd loss of the Spring. It’s worth noting that much like at the Rays’ regular home in St. Petersburg, the majority of fans in the stands today were clearly Yankees fans. As if the echoing cheers during positive Yankee moments weren’t making that obvious.

And those cheers began early today, with the Yankees once again jumping out in front right in the 1st inning. Tyler Wade hit a ground-rule double and then scored on Luke Voit’s single. Estevan Florial kicked off the 2nd inning with a single, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then easily scored on another wild pitch. Two outs and a new pitcher later, Holder and LeMahieu singled to get on base, and Wade’s double scored Holder for a rather easy early Yankees’ lead.

Then in the 4th, with 1 out, LeMahieu walked, Wade singled, and they both scored with Luke Voit’s powerful 3-run home run over that left field fence to double the Yankees’ score. After the Rays got a few runs on the board, the Yankees got a few back in the 6th when Mazilli singled and then scored as part of Matt Lipka’s 2-run home run (yes, to left field).

It was enough to claim their first win this Spring.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees

Next up: for Opening Day, the Yankees will host the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field tomorrow afternoon. And because it’s both Opening Day and their home, you can expect to see some appearances by the “big guys”. There’s nothing like Opening Day. I can’t wait.

Go Yankees!