Game 70: NYY vs. CHW — Gardy’s Father’s Day Party

In today’s finale in Chicago, the fans packed this special day for so many baseball fans. Players donned special light blue caps for the game as part of an MLB initiative to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. And the sentiment everywhere had people talking about the special men in their lives — fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, husbands, uncles, and many others who fill that “fatherly” role in our lives. And a day at the ball park certainly is a way to celebrate those father figures in our lives, especially when they too love America’s pastime.

James Paxton got the start this afternoon and had a rather commanding outing. He threw 108 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, a walk, and just 2 runs, and struck out 7 batters. He gave up a 2-out solo home run in the 1st to get the White Sox on the board first. But then Paxton kept things under control for most of his outing. In the 5th, a 1-out single moved to 2nd on a 2-out single and then scored on another single to double their score.

Ottavino breezed his way through a scoreless 7th inning. David Hale’s strong 8th inning was briefly interrupted by a 1-out solo home run to add just one more run for the home team. Britton then got the ball for a really quick scoreless 9th to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees came on strong and just didn’t let up, mostly thanks to Yankees’ resident “dad” Brett Gardner. In the 3rd, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded the bases with a single to LeMahieu and walks to Voit and Torres. After another out, Brett Gardner singled home both LeMahieu and Voit. Gio Urshela then singled and scored Torres. After Tauchman’s walk loaded the bases again, Austin Romine singled and scored both Gardner and Urshela to really solidify the Yankees’ lead.

Gardner was hit by a pitch to lead-off the 5th and ended up at 3rd on Urshela’s double. Austin Romine’s 1-out double scored both Gardner and Urshela. In the 6th, with 1 out, Torres worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Frazier’s single, and then scored on Gardner’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a 2-out solo home run in the 7th. In the 8th, Torres again walked, moved to 2nd on a grounder, and then scored on Gardner’s 2-out single to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Final score: 10-3 Yankees, they split the series 2-2

Next up: The Yankees head home for their final home stand before the All-Star Break and kick off their annual HOPE Week. They will face the Rays first, then host the Astros for a 4-game weekend series, and close out the home stand with 3 games against the Blue Jays. Two travel days later (read: jetlag), the Yankees will face the Red Sox in London in the first ever regular season games in the UK.

And a happy Father’s Day to all those celebrating, honoring, or remembering the father figures in their lives today. The Yankees also paid tribute to their fathers or talked about becoming fathers in a series of videos. (Happ & Paxton; Judge & Stanton; Severino & Kahnle; Gardner & Gregorius; Torres & VoitGreen & Frazier; Romine & Sabathia) Enjoy!

Go Yankees!

Game 68: NYY vs. CHW — The Friday night blues

The advantage to having a very long season, playing 162 regular games over half a year, is that one game (at least during the regular season) doesn’t define the entire season. Unlike some other American sports, the Yankees can close the chapter on a bad game and start fresh the next day with another game and another chance at playing a good game and maybe even winning that one.

CC Sabathia is still on the hunt for that 250th win of his career, and tonight’s game just wasn’t going be it. Sabathia got the start in the second of this four game series against the White Sox. He threw 77 pitches into the 5th inning, allowed 10 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs (5 earned), and struck out just 3 Chicago batters.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter doubled thanks in part of fan interference. A 1-out single put runners on the corners, and they both scored on a big 3-run home run to push the White Sox into the lead. The next batter walked, moved to 2nd on another walk, and then scored on a single. Actually, the last play was originally called out on a tag, but after the White Sox’s successfully (and honestly, rightfully) challenged the call, the run scored.

With 1 out in the 2nd, the next batter ended up at 2nd on a messy fielding error and then scored on a double. Then in the 5th, a 1-out single moved to 3rd on a 2-out single. And with runners again threatening to widen the home team’s lead, the Yankees called an end to Sabathia’s night.

Luis Cessa came in to close out the 5th, but first gave up a single to score the lead runner. In the 6th, Cessa continued the struggles that Sabathia began. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a single and then scored on a fielder’s choice and throwing error (a messy attempt at a double play). After giving up a double, Cessa gave up a big 3-run home run to ensure the White Sox win.

After giving up another single, the Yankees were forced to go back to the bullpen. David Hale closed out the rest of the game, keeping the White Sox from furthering their rather large lead. Hale breezed his way through 7 outs with just 24 pitches.

On the other side of the field, the Yankees struggled their way to find an offense. While the White Sox got 16 total hits, the Yankees only eked out 6. Luke Voit got the first one of the game, a big 1-out solo home run in the 1st inning to actually get the Yankees on the board first.

But with the implosion of the Yankee pitching and defense tonight, the Yankees were pressed to find another chance to actually do something offensively as they watched the White Sox continue to grow their lead into double digits. It wasn’t until the 9th that some snazzy base running finally broke the stalemate for the Yankees.

Gleyber Torres led-off with a walk, moved to 2nd on a ground out, got to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on a rather funny little fielding error on Mike Tauchman’s at-bat. And that would be it for the Yankees on the final scoreboard, bookending the game with a blast and a blip.

Final score: 10-2 White Sox

CC K-Count: 3036

On the bright side, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton began their rehab assignments with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders tonight. Judge is having a slow start to his rehab, going 0-for-4 at the plate as tonight’s designated hitter. But Stanton helped the offense with a big 3-run home run in the 3rd. Actually, they ended up being the only runs the RailRiders scored all night, losing to the Rays’ AAA affiliate 16-3.

In random trivia that I stumbled across researching for this post, apparently, tonight’s losses spanned the entire Yankees organization. All of the Yankee affiliates lost their Friday games to their respective opponents from rookie ball on up to the big boys in Chicago.

So, all across Yankee Universe, we now close tonight’s chapter, turn the page, wake up fresh tomorrow, and start all over again. Oh, and vote for your favorite All-Stars.

Go Yankees!

Game 62: NYY vs. CLE — Didi’s back in the Rock & Rock Capital

If you’ve read this blog for some time, you might know that the Cleveland-New York series are always a special time for my family. A good chunk of my maternal relatives are from northeast Ohio and thus Indians’ fans. It can become quite contentious at times, our own private rivalry. This is the only time the Yankees will be in Cleveland this season, except those we might send for the All-Star Game (hint, vote now!).

The Yankees started the offense tonight early. Sanchez led-off the 2nd with a single. Didi Gregorius (he’s back, see below) hit a long single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. After a walk to Morales, Sanchez scored on Clint Frazier’s double to get the Yankees on the board first.

Aaron Hicks hit a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd to double the Yankees’ score. But the home team’s defense continued strong to help their starter keep control of the game and ended up making all the difference in the end.

Domingo German got the start for the Yankees in tonight’s opener of this weekend series against the Indians. He threw 92 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 6 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, and struck out 6 batters. In the 4th, with 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a walk and then scored on an RBI single. A 2-out solo home run in the 5th tied up the game. Then in the 6th, a lead-off single scored on a 2-run home run pushed the Indians in the lead.

David Hale came on for relief for the final 2 innings. After a solid 7th inning, Hale had a bit of trouble in the 8th, giving up a lead-off triple that later scored on a sacrifice fly for the unnecessary insurance run.

Final score: 5-2 Indians

Roster moves: Prior to the game, the Yankees optioned Thairo Estrada back to AAA Scranton and activated Didi Gregorius to make a pretty good debut in tonight’s game, going 2-for-4. It was nice of Gregorius to take a break from learning how to channel John Legend, his newest creative talent (like his art and emoji-laced winning game recap Tweets), to play some baseball once again.

Finally, Masahiro Tanaka and his wife Mai Sotoda are celebrating the birth of their daughter earlier today. Tanaka  will be going on paternity leave, of course, to be with his wife, daughter, and their 3-year-old son, and will miss his previously scheduled start on Sunday. Congratulations to their family on this newest addition.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 58: BOS vs. NYY — Sloppy defense gives Red Sox the win

There is no denying that the Yankees have been really good this season in every area of the game like pitching, defense, base running, and offense. So it would only make sense that on a day when one of those areas suffers, it could absolutely cost the Yankees the game. Much like it did in tonight’s finale against the visiting Red Sox.

CC Sabathia was activated today to become tonight’s starter, continuing his march through his final MLB seasons. He threw 83 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 7 hits and 3 runs, and strongly struck out 8 Boston batters. With 2 outs in the 1st, he gave up a solo home run to allow the Red Sox on the board first.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, he allowed consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. Another single scored the lead runner thanks to a bit of a slow response by the Yankees’ defense. A lead-off solo home run in the 4th added another run to the Red Sox’s lead.

The Yankees didn’t get on the board until the bottom of the 4th, so they were already behind. With 1 out, Luke Voit hit a big solo home run to get the Yankees on the board. They loaded up the bases with singles by Sanchez, Hicks, and Torres. And Gio Urshela hit a sacrifice fly to score Sanchez and moved Hicks to 3rd. But then, a wonky play and some bad base running had Torres making a dash for 2nd and then getting Hicks stuck in a rundown to be eventually caught out to end the inning.

Luis Cessa came on in relief of Sabathia in the 7th and found his own troubles thanks to some further sloppy defense. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, a simple single became an easy triple and scored the the runner. Another single scored the next runner, and another single scored the final runner, furthering the Red Sox’s lead.

Cessa came back out in the 8th and gave up a double that scored on a single before he handed the ball off to David Hale. A ground out moved the runner to 2nd so he could score on a long triple to give the Red Sox a strong, rather insurmountable lead. Then Hale settled in and sailed through the rest of his outing to close out the game.

The Yankees made their best last-ditch effort to try to chip away at the Red Sox’s lead in the bottom of the 8th. They loaded up the bases again with a single to DJ LeMahieu and walks to Voit and Sanchez. A surprising balk moved the runners up and scored LeMahieu. Aaron Hicks’ ground out scored Voit and moved Sanchez to 3rd. Sanchez then scored on Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly. But that was it for the Yankees.

Final score: 8-5 Red Sox (no series winner yet as the Friday game will be made-up in August)

CC K-Count: 3028

Next up: The Yankees have an off-day/travel day tomorrow before they begin this weird road trip. First, they face the Blue Jays for a mid-week series before heading to Cleveland for the weekend. They break the road trip briefly to take a short trip home to host the Mets before heading out to Chicago for a 4-game weekend series to wrap up the road trip.

Tomorrow is the first day of the 2019 MLB Draft. Representatives from all over Major League Baseball gather to announce who their teams pick to join their organization. The Yankees will be represented by former outfielder, fan favorite, and current color commentator Nick Swisher. He is joined by Kelly Rodman, a Yankee scout and the first female scout in the Yankees’ organization. Rodman is also involved in many community outreach programs connecting the minor league organizations with their local communities.

The Yankees will have the 30th pick of the 1st round, the 38th pick in the compensation part of the 1st round (thanks to a trade with the Reds for Sonny Gray), and the 67th pick in the 2nd round, all selected on Monday. They will then select more potential players for the next rounds 3-40 over the next two days (Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Yankees will be the 28th team every round to select a new player.

Go Yankees!

Game 53: SD vs. NYY — Memorial Day matinee with strong bats

The Yankees continue their strong season, piecing together wins however they can. I know I had some doubts about the idea of the “opener”, the 1-inning starter model first made popular a few years ago by the Rays. But since then, my initial skepticism has proven unfounded, with Chad Green leading the way for the Yankees in how this works.

For today’s opening game against the visiting Padres, Green breezed his way through the 1st inning with 3 strong strikeouts before handing the game over to David Hale for 4 innings of long-term relief. Hale’s lone problem inning was his first, the 2nd inning. After a strikeout, he gave up a single and walk. A double scored the lead runner. After a fielder’s choice out at home, another double scored the Padres’ second runner.

Then, Hale fell back into the pattern set by Green and remained strong through his remaining innings. Then the game was handed to a string of relievers — Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman — who closed out the game with a scoreless inning a piece.

Though the Padres struck first, the Yankees answered back quickly in the bottom of the 2nd. Clint Frazier hit a 1-out solo home run. After Urshela worked a walk, he scored on Brett Gardner’s 2-out 2-run home run to edge the Yankees into the lead. A lead they defended well for most of the game.

It wasn’t until the 8th inning, with a new reliever that they found another chance for insurance runs. With 1 out, Gary Sanchez hit a nice solo home run. Torres then doubled and scored on Cameron Maybin’s single and a fielding error. Another pitching change ended any further run insurance, but that was more than enough in the end.

Final score: 5-2 Yankees

Roster moves/injury updates: Yesterday, the Yankees utilized the Scranton Shuttle again for a fresh bullpen arm. They optioned Chance Adams back to AAA Scranton and recalled Joe Harvey. They also placed reliever Jake Barrett on the 10-day IL due to right elbow inflammation.

Finally, today we honor all those fallen in service to their country on this Memorial Day. As part of this day, the Yankees and Padres paused at 3:00 pm local time (in the top of the 7th inning) to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. We honor the memories and legacies of all those who died in military service, including those in our own families.

Go Yankees!

Game 47: NYY vs. BAL — Yankee dominance continues in Charm City

The Yankee dominance, especially against the Orioles, continues. Domingo German, the unexpected rising star starter this season, got the start in the second game of this 4-game series against the Orioles. he threw 93 pitches in 5 innings, allowed 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs (2 earned), and struck out 5 batters.

In fact, he kept the home team scoreless through most of his outing, getting himself out of an earlier jam, and not finding true troubles until his final inning. The lead-off batter was hit by a pitch. The next batter hit a short grounder that German fielded himself to turn into a double play, but a bad throw allowed both runners to be safe and set up the next batter’s big 3-run home run to get the O’s on the board.

David Hale came on in relief for the final 4 innings of the game and also had a fairly strong outing. He only allowed one run. In the 6th, his lead-off batter doubled, moved to 3rd on one ground out, and scored on the next one. But Hale commanded his way through the rest of the game, earning the rare 4-out save (despite the disparity of runs scored).

But it was the Yankees’ offense to dominate the game and give quite the hefty cushion for German and Hale. In the 1st, LeMahieu and Voit kicked the game off with consecutive singles and then scored as part of Gary Sanchez’s big 3-run home run to start the big show today.

Hicks worked a 1-out walk in the 3rd and then scored on Gio Urshela’s 2-out double. Urshela then scored on Clint Frazier’s big 2-run home run. Then in the 5th, with 1 out, Hicks and Torres walked and scored on Frazier’s second big home run, a 3-run power shot up the middle.

This went unanswered by the Orioles in most of the game, but even when they got on the board, the Yankees’ lead was still too large for the O’s to really chip away too much. Plus, the Yankees still had a few more runs to add in the 6th. With 1 out, LeMahieu singled, moved to 3rd on Voit’s single, and then scored when Gary Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice. Hicks’ single moved Sanchez to 3rd, and Gleyber Torres singled him home to cap off the Yankees runs tonight.

Final score: 11-4 Yankees

Injury updates: Giancarlo Stanton (biceps strain) was to be in Tampa this week working on his rehab assignment. He play in Monday night’s game, even smacking a big home run for the Tampa Yankee fans at Steinbrenner Field. But he ended up feeling a tightness in his left knee and didn’t play in last night’s game. This will be a small delay in his rehab, not joining the team when they visit the Royals this weekend, and may force him to have extended games with another Yankees’ minor league team.

Other Yankees are on the mend. After Masahiro Tanaka took a foul ball off his shin on his last start (Saturday vs. Rays), there was some caution about his next move. But he threw a bullpen session against Aaron Judge today, and Tanaka seemed good to go for his next start, flipping with Sabathia for upcoming starts to give Tanaka one extra day. Sabathia will start Thursday at Baltimore, Tanaka on Friday in Kansas City.

Meanwhile, the at-bats Aaron Judge (oblique strain) took against Tanaka were also a good clue for his recovery. Things are looking good for the injured power-hitter, just slower than I think everyone (including Judge) would hope for. He’s continuing to ramp up his baseball activities and progressing as much as his body will allow on his road to health.

Scranton Shuttle: The Yankees made a move for a fresh arm again before today’s game. They sent reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. back to AAA Scranton in exchange for signing David Hale to the big league roster. Being now out for the rest of 2019 after shoulder surgery, Miguel Andujar was the logical choice to move to the 60-day IL to make room for Hale on the roster.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 28: PHI vs. NYY — Friday night fireworks

A final game under the Friday night lights this Spring started with a slight chill in the air and ended with fireworks. Literally. The Yankees set off fireworks over the right field seats for the remaining fans in the cool night to ooh and aah over the short light show.

Of course, this was made extra special because the Yankees notched another win in the Spring tally tonight. After losing both road games, there’s something about that home field advantage that certainly seemed to help the pinstriped players in tonight’s game against the Phillies.

Jonathan Loaisiga made a fairly strong case for consideration for one of the open starting spots on the rotation, throwing into the 4th inning with 7 solid strikeouts. His lone issues were a 1-out solo shot in the 1st and a 2-out solo homer in the 3rd. Zack Britton threw 5 outs to follow him and kept the strong pitching from the Yankees’ side of things. Stephen Tarpley came on for just the final out of the 6th inning.

Adam Ottavino’s 7th inning continued that scoreless momentum, but David Hale had a bit of trouble in his 8th inning, giving up a lead-off single and walk. Two great strikeouts later, the next batter hit a deep single. But thanks to Trey Amburgey’s great arm in the left field and the relay back to the infield, the bases were only loaded, and the defense prevented at least one run from scoring. It was only a questionably called walk that scored the Phillies’ final run before Hale got yet another strikeout to get out of his jam. Then, his 9th was quick and flawless.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took some time to find their moments. Giancarlo Stanton got things started with a 2-out solo home run in the 3rd that just barely made it fair, just right of the left field foul pole. In the 5th, with 2 outs, Judge worked a walk and then scored on Stanton’s 2-run home run (back to that left field corner) to put the Yankees into the lead.

In the 6th, DJ LeMahieu hit a solid 1-out single, moved to 3rd on Urshela’s big double, and then scored the insurance run on a wild pitch. Then in the 7th, with 1 out, Zack Zehner walked and ended up at 3rd on Trey Amburgey’s big double. Luke Voit’s sacrifice fly scored Zehner and moved Amburgey to 3rd, partly because of an off-center throw from the outfield. A wild pitch then scored Amburgey to cap off the Yankees’ win.

Cue the fireworks!

Final score: 6-3 Yankees

One to Watch: We are getting to the point in the season where the minor league players play less, which makes this category difficult as there’s only so many plays and at-bats that can show off their stuff. But one name sticks out tonight — Trey Amburgey. In addition to scoring the Yankees’ final run of the night by rushing home on a wild pitch, he also showed off some great defense in left field by saving a run in the 8th.

Next up: The Yankees have their final home game of the Spring, hosting the Blue Jays for what should be a lovely Saturday afternoon of baseball.

Roster moves: Before today’s game, the Yankees made some roster moves of note. They reassigned pitchers Rex Brothers, Danny Coulombe, Phillip Diehl, and Drew Hutchison back to minor league camp. And they officially optioned Clint Frazier to AAA Scranton. This means that he is not making the 25-man roster. It’s a crowded outfield, even with Hicks still nursing his sore back. But you can imagine he’ll be the first call when something happens to one of those guys. He’ll be back in the Bronx shortly.

Injury news: On Wednesday, Special Advisor and Guest Instructor Lee Mazzilli was struck in the head with a baseball. He was helping with batting practice back in Tampa, while a large part of the team traveled to South Florida. He was immediately admitted to the hospital for tests and observations and was released today, said to be “in good spirits”. We’re all certainly glad he’s doing okay and hope he continues to recover and rest up.

Go Yankees!