Game 144: NYY vs. BOS — Tanaka troubles but offense prevails

It  was another cool evening game in Boston before a near-capacity crowd that witnessed once again why New York still earns the Bronx Bombers moniker. Seemed like the Yankees got the perfect pitches needed to rack up the score and even break the home run record for the league. Pitching did not start out strong, but the relievers combined with those Yankee bats and defense held stronger for the win in the shadow of the Green Monster.

Masahiro Tanaka took the mound to start the game and threw 80 pitches over four full innings, allowing 8 hits, 4 runs, including one home run. The first 2 innings, Tanaka kept Boston scoreless, but with the Yankees ahead in the bottom of the 3rd, he seemed to begin to struggle a bit and allowed a single line drive to left field, followed by a fly ball home run to left that gave the Red Sox 2 runs. Tanaka allowed 2 more runs in the 4th on a single and 2 doubles that threatened New York’s lead, but no outs.

With that, Tanaka was done for the night. In addition to closing out the 4th for Tanaka,  Chad Green took over the mound for 3 perfect innings, facing 6 batters for 6 straight outs. In the 7th, Green struck out three more batters in a row for a stellar outing for the evening. Ottavino took over in the 8th and promptly gave up a home run to left, but he got out of the inning with 3 straight outs. And for the 9th inning, Loaisiga was given the ball, so 3 outs later, the game was over.

The first run for the Yankees came in the 2nd inning. With Sanchez on base with a single to left field, Gleyber Torres knocked a solid 2-run homer out of the park over the Green Monster to give the Yankees the early lead. In the 3rd inning, Tauchman hit a ground-rule double to left and moved to 3rd on a single from LeMahieu. A single by Aaron Judge moved LeMahieu to 3rd and scored Tauchman, and a ground out by Sanchez scored LeMahieu.

At the top of the 4th, Torres singled to left and then scored on a home run to right field by Mike Tauchman. In the top of the 5th, lead-off batter Aaron Judge hit his 21st homer of the season to left field, up and over the Green Monster and breaking the league record for most home runs in a season. A record, by the way, set last year also by the Yankees.

Then Gregorius reached on a fielding error and later scored when Gleyber Torres grounded into a force out. The next 3 innings were relatively quiet, but at the top of the 9th, Gregorius walked, and a fielding error put Sanchez on base. A throwing error then moved the runners into scoring position. So Edwin Encarnacion singled to left to score Gregorius and move Sanchez to 3rd. Despite a pitching change as Boston tried to jam up the offense, Torres doubled home Sanchez, and the Yankees tallied up a double-digit run count, besting the Red Sox in their own territory again.

Final score: 10-5 Yankees

Roster moves: The Yankees activated Thairo Estrada and Gio Urshela. Plus, both Kyle Higashioka and Breyvic Valera have been recalled from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The September call-ups continue.

Go Yankees!

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!

Game 115: NYY vs. TOR — A Canadian crush

The Yankees began their long weekend in Toronto coming off their sweep in Baltimore. And their dominance of the AL East continues. Domingo German got the start for the Yankees, throwing 90 pitches through 5 innings. He gave up 8 hits, a walk, and 4 runs (3 earned) and struck of just 3 batters.

After sailing through most of the game, it was his 5th inning that was the biggest problem for the young starter. He gave up a lead-off solo home run. After a ground-rule double, he gave up another home run, a 2-run shot to the left field seats. Then a fielding error allowed the next batter to get all the way to 2nd and then score on an RBI single. And then he got an out that inning and worked his way out of a threat.

Chad Green came on for the 6th. After a strikeout, he gave up a single that scored on a double, a rare allowed run for the strong reliever. Luis Cessa then came in for a strong 3 innings to close out the game, only allowing a 1-out solo home run in the 8th to give the Blue Jays just one more run.

Meanwhile, the Yankees got a little used to pouncing on their opponents, carrying that momentum with them into Canada for tonight’s game.

DJ LeMahieu led-off the game with a double, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored as part of Gio Urshela’s big 2-run home run to start the Yankees’ big night. In the 3rd, Breyvic Valera was given 1st after being hit by a pitch and moved to 2nd on LeMahieu’s single. They both moved into scoring position on a grounder. A wild pitch then allowed Valera to score a run. And Urshela hit another 2-run home run to score LeMahieu.

And they just continued on. Gregrious singled, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on Cameron Maybin’s bloop single. Clearly not having a good night, the Blue Jays went to their bullpen. But Mike Tauchman promptly smacked a 2-run home run to score Maybin. With 1 out in the 6th and Ford on 1st from a fielder’s choice, Valera’s double moved them to scoring position so that they both scored on DJ LeMahieu’s long single.

Finally, in the 9th, Urshela led-off with a single, and Maybin hit a 1-out double. Mike Tauchman’s single scored both runners and allowed Tauchman to make it to 2nd on the throw. A thorough dominance once again, and it’s just helping the Yankees solidify their postseason plans.

Final score: 12-6 Yankees

Today, MLB announced a special regular season game between the Yankees and the White Sox will be played next season at Iowa’s famed “Field of Dreams“, on the site where the movie of the same name was filmed and became an iconic baseball movie. It should be a great experience for both pinstriped teams and fans of both baseball and the 1989 film come next August.

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 109 & 110: BOS vs. NYY — Double the win, double the injuries

A double header is always going to be a long day at the ball park. So mix in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and the day is going to feel eternal. The evening game was the make up of the rain out from May 30, so tonight’s game closed out that series.

Game 1 (regularly scheduled game)
Domingo German got the start for the afternoon game, commanding his way through 7 innings with 97 pitches. He gave up 5 hits and 2 runs and struck out 7 Boston batters. His allowed runs were lead-off solo home runs in the 2nd and the 5th. Jonathan Holder came in to close out the final 2 innings, sailing through the Red Sox lineup in just 26 pitches.

On the other side, the Yankees struck first in the 1st with DJ LeMahieu’s lead-off solo home run. After the Red Sox came back to tie it up, the Yankees struck hard in the 4th inning, and the Red Sox upped the ante with some dramatics. Because… rivalry game?

The Yankees loaded up the bases around a couple outs — Encarnacion singled, Urshela hit a 1-out single, and Higashioka got a short 2-out single. Then Breyvic Valera hit a single that scored Encarnacion. That triggered the Red Sox’s manager, who was quickly tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes. Brett Gardner’s single scored both Urshela and Higashioka, before DJ LeMahieu smacked a solid 3-run home run to clear the bases.

After Judge hit a ground-rule double, the Red Sox starter was also kicked out of the game as he was walking off the mound in a pitching change. (Quick side note: first, the calls were really not that bad overall. I only had beefs with a couple, usually higher balls on the bigger guys. Also, you’re leaving the game anyway, what was the point of now getting further punishment?)

With a new pitcher on the mound, Edwin Encarnacion then singled home Judge to keep the hits coming. And finally, in the 6th, Gardner led-off with a single, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Encarnacion’s single. The Yankees firmly in the win column thanks to some Sox drama and some solid home pitching.

Final score: 9-2 Yankees

Game 2 (make-up game, rain out of May 30)
The Yankees utilized the opener style for the evening half of today’s doubleheader. The Red Sox pushed Chad Green through the 1st, and he pushed back, keeping them off the board. Nestor Cortes Jr continued the momentum with a scoreless 2nd. But a lead-off double in the 3rd scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run to give the Red Sox the lead.

Chance Adams, the Yankees’ 26th man for the doubleheader, came on for a troubled 4th. He gave up a walk and double to put runners into scoring position early. After 2 outs, a single scored both runners. His 5th inning was much cleaner, before he handed things off to the rest of the bullpen (Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman) who would push through the final half of the game and keep the Red Sox limited to their early score.

Gleyber Torres hit a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd to get the Yankees on the board. Hicks and Urshela each singled and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s double to put the Yankees in the lead. After the visitors took the lead, Torres’ lead-off solo home run in the 5th tied up the game.

So it would be the 7th for the Yankees to tip the scale in their favor. Torres (again) led-off with a double, and walks to Hicks and Urshela worked walks to load up the bases. After an out, Mike Tauchman singled home Torres and Urshela.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees (For the make-up game, the Yankees win May 30-June 2 series 3-1.)

Injury alert/roster moves: The Yankees are watching Aaron Hicks right now. During the second game tonight, in the 6th inning, he injured his elbow throwing to 3rd during a play. He eventually came out of the game in the 8th and will get an MRI tomorrow to make sure it’s nothing serious.

But the biggest news was Edwin Encarnacion. During the first game, in the 8th inning, he was hit by a pitch right on the wrist, nearly the same place Judge was hit last season and with the same results, unfortunately. A CT scan confirmed that Encarnacion has a hairline fracture in his right wrist. So they moved him to the 10-day IL (though he’ll be out at least a month). And yes, the toy parrot even got a cast to match his human.

In between the games, they recalled infielder Mike Ford from AAA Scranton to replace Encarnacion. Before the game, Chance Adams was recalled to be the 26th man in today’s doubleheader and was sent back to AAA Scranton following the second game.

Finally, our hearts go out to those dealing with tragic fallout from domestic terrorism today at an El Paso Walmart, the Garlic Festival in Gilroy (California) last week, and in Dayton last night. While our prayers are with everyone involved in the recovery, we support all those fighting to end the need for me to ever write a paragraph like this or hold a moment of silence at a ball game in memoriam.

Go Yankees!

{Edited to include further information gained overnight.}

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!