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!

Game 103: NYY vs. BOS — Not quite the trouncing, still a rough night

Well, at least tonight wasn’t as bad as last night. The Red Sox scored the most runs the organization has ever scored in a single game against the Yankees last night. Tonight, the Yankees kept things a bit closer, or at least that’s how it ended up. Either way, the talks about what the Yankees need to do to fix this is heating up. Despite the fact that they are still comfortably atop the American League standings.

James Paxton got the start in the second game of this 4-game weekend series. He threw 99 pitches through just 4 innings, gave up 9 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 9 Boston batters. His biggest issue is that 2 of the Red Sox’s star hitters certainly had his number tonight, and they did the most damage.

In the 1st, one led-off with a solo home run into the Green Monster seats, and then a single scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run by the other player. The first guy led-off the 3rd with another solo home run. Then a 1-out double scored on the other guy’s triple. With 2 outs in the 4th and a single on base, the first guy hit a 2-run home run to give the Red Sox a monster lead.

David Hale came on for a clean 5th inning, but he found some trouble in the 6th. With 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored on another single (by the first guy, by the way). A double then scored that runner. With 2 outs in the 7th, the batter hit a questionable double that was challenged as possibly foul but upheld as fair. He then scored on another double.

Ottavino came in to get out of the 7th with a 5-pitch strikeout. Britton’s flawless 8th was a nice respite continuing to cleanse the visiting team from the mess that preceded it.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were stifled from the Red Sox’s starter, at least in the larger sense. In the first half of the game, they only managed 4 hits in 5 scoreless innings. It wasn’t until the 6th, deep in the hole on the scoreboard against the home team that the Yankees found a few opportunities to catch up.

With 2 outs, Encarnacion singled, moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Luke Voit’s single to get them on the board (and avoid being shutout, extending the non-shutout streak). Maybin led-off the 7th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and then scored on Austin Romine’s single to double their score. LeMahieu hit into a double play, but Tauchman was still able to score another run.

In a last-ditch effort, the Yankees found the lone weakness in the Red Sox’s pitching staff tonight. Tauchman led-off with a single and promptly scored on Romine’s long double. After LeMahieu worked a walk, the Red Sox went to their bullpen again. A fielding error allowed Judge to make it to 1st and load up the bases. After a fly out (the first out of the inning), Didi Gregorius hit a long sacrifice fly that scored Romine. A simple grounder as the defender stepped on 3rd ended the game, with the Yankees falling short again.

Final score: 10-5 Red Sox

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees activated Cameron Maybin from the injured list. He was set to start his rehab with AAA Scranton, but with Gardner now on the IL with his “barking knee”, the Yankees needed a reliable force in the outfield. Maybin was a logical selection. To make room, the Yankees optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley back to Scranton.

Go Yankees!

Game 100: NYY vs. MIN — The 10-inning roller coaster

Five hours of eventful baseball isn’t a bad way to spend a Tuesday baseball. The Twins are currently sitting atop the AL Central, just a few games behind the Yankees in the overall AL. So these two teams are positioned for some really good baseball during this mid-week series. After yesterday’s “Triple Play Game”, tonight’s game became quite the battle for the Yankees to come from way behind and then challenge the home team for extra inning glory.

Being the visiting team gave the Yankees the opportunity to strike first, so they did. Hicks led-off with a walk and moved to 3rd on Encarnacion’s 1-out double. They both scored on Didi Gregorius’ 2-out double. But the Yankees’ offense tapered off a bit.

Meanwhile, Domingo German had a night he’d prefer to forget, with a less than stellar start. He threw 82 pitches into just the 4th inning, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 8 runs, and struck out just 3 Twins’ batters. In the 2nd, a lead-off double later scored on a 1-out single to get the home team on the board. A lead-off solo home run in the 3rd tied up the game, but the Twins followed it up immediately with another solo home run to grab the lead.

And then came the 4th inning. The lead-off double moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a single. After an out, German loaded up the bases with a single and hit-by-pitch. An easy ground out moved all the runners up and scored a run. Then a 3-run home run leaped the Twins into a big lead, and the Yankees ended German’s night by going to their bullpen.

David Hale came in to close out the 4th without adding further runs, despite giving up consecutive singles to threaten. His 5th inning was a bit of a struggle too. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a grounder and then scored on a double. But then Hale and the Yankees’ defense kicked in and carried them through the next inning without further damage.

The Yankees did find a moment in the top of the 5th to chip away at the Twins’ lead. With 1 out, Judge and Encarnacion each singled. After another out, Didi Gregorius smacked a 3-run home run to score the runners and continue Gregorius’ big offensive night. That was also Gregorius’ 100th career home run, and honestly, this swing alone can be credited with the the turning point in the game because it motivated the Yankees to keep the game close.

They came back in the 8th to charge forward with some of that motivation. Torres led-off with a walk, moved to 3rd on Urshela’s double, and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. After a strikeout, Aaron Judge’s double scored both Urshela and Tauchman. The Twins brought in a new reliever. After another strikeout, Voit worked a walk and was pinch-run by LeMahieu. After another pitching change, Didi Gregorius (once again) doubled home Judge and LeMahieu to take the lead in the game.

Kahnle had a scoreless 7th inning, handing the game over to Zack Britton for the 8th. But the Twins were chomping at the bit to not let the Yankees take this game from them. With 1 out, Britton gave up a single that then scored on a big 2-run home run that swung the game back into the Twins’ favor.

Well, that wasn’t going to last long in this game. With 2 outs in the 9th, just an out away from victory for the Twins, Tauchman worked a walk, and then Aaron Hicks smacked a big 2-run home run to give the lead back to the Yankees. It was now handed over to Aroldis Chapman for a 3-out save. But again, not in this game. Chapman gave up 3 consecutive walks to load up the bases, and a sacrifice fly tied up the game.

And into the 10th inning. With 1 out, Gregorius and Romine singled. Gleyber Torres’ single scored Gregorius to give the Yankees back the lead. After another out, Torres made a dash for 2nd as the Twins’ pitcher threw a wild pitch. So in this roller coaster of a game, Romine does his own dash for home to score the insurance run for the Yankees.

So once again, the Yankees needed just 3 outs. Adam Ottavino came in and quickly got a strikeout. He then gave up 2 walks. A fielder’s choice out at 2nd put runners on the corners, and another walk loaded up the bases. Now just an out away and in a jam, the Yankees called on the ever reliable Chad Green. Green came in for just 5 pitches. The batter lined the ball out to center field where Aaron Hicks went running and then sliding into the warning track dirt for a beautiful catch to end the game.

Final score: 14-12 Yankees, in 10 innings

Injury alert: Gary Sanchez came out of the game after the 8th inning. He closed out the big offensive inning by hitting into an easy ground out, but on his jog to first, he seemed to pull up a bit limping. After heading down to the clubhouse, he was initially diagnosed with a groin injury and sent for further testings and an MRI. He will probably be headed to the injured list.

Go Yankees!

Game 93: TB vs. NYY — #CCStrong and a #DidiSlam

In tonight’s second game of this 4-game series against the visiting Rays, the drama continued as it only can in these division rivalry games. The Rays are still trying to do all they can to chip away at the Yankees’ lead in the AL East. With the Yankees currently looming over the Rays at 6 games, the Rays were hoping to use this longer series to make up the deficit. And last night’s come from behind rally certainly helped. Tonight’s, however, did not.

CC Sabathia got the start in tonight’s game, throwing a strong 79 pitches in 6 innings. He gave up 5 hits and 3 runs and struck out 6 Rays batters. In both the 2nd and 4th, the Rays hit 2 solo 2-out home runs to get them on the board early and into the lead. In the 6th, with 2 outs, a single scored on an RBI double.

The Yankees were able to tie up the game briefly with Edwin Encarnacion’s lead-off solo home run in the 2nd. But once the Rays took their small lead, they were held off until the 6th when DJ LeMahieu hit a 1-out solo home run into the right field seats.

With the Rays still in a slim lead over the Yankees, the bullpen had to step in to do a better job. Cortes, normally a stalwart in the ‘pen, struggled tonight and loaded up the bases in the 7th with just 1 out. So, they called in David Hale. Hale’s first batter was last night’s hero, and he got him to hit into a great double play to get out of that jam.

Hale continued on through the scoreless 8th and into the 9th. After giving up 2 singles and just 1 out, they called in Britton to close out the game with 2 solid strikeouts.

The Yankees needed to find any weakness to charge through and flip the script. In the 8th, Torres led-off with a walk and, 2 outs later, scored on Aaron Judge’s 2-run home run to finally give the Yankees the lead. Then Voit singled, Sanchez doubled, and Encarncaion was intentionally walked to load up the bases. And Didi Gregorius, who has been still trying to find his footing after returning from the IL, seemed to find it with a monster grand slam into the right field bleacher seats.

Final score: 8-3 Yankees

Okay, so there was a bit of a scuffle in the 6th inning. Sabathia struck out the final batter he faced, and the Rays’ batter said something. Sabathia heard it and questioned it. The Rays batter hostilely deflected. Tempers rose, Gregorius intercepted Sabathia, the benches cleared, some shoving ensued, heated words were exchanged, and then it fizzled out. No one was ejected. Just a “misunderstanding“, apparently.

Of course, the best part was the offended Rays player jogged out to right field for the bottom of the inning. He heard from the fans for his participation and then watched Judge’s 2-run home run “sail over his head” and into the stands to those same fans. Home field advantage indeed.

Go Yankees!

Game 86: NYY vs. TB — A little Judge, a big Gardner

The Yankees continue the drama before the All-Star Break in this second game of the 4-game weekend series. Of course, to the nearly packed Tropicana Field, it was just more of the same that fans always encounter when the Yankees come back to the Tampa area to face the Rays. Amusingly dubbed “Yankee Stadium South”, it’s one of the few times a year that the stadium is usually at capacity, and the stands are packed with Yankee fans overwhelming those in Rays’ gear.

Masahiro Tanaka threw 101 pitches to start tonight’s game, throwing into the 7th inning. He gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 5 Rays’ batters. He held off the home team for the first part of the game, giving up lead-off solo home runs in the 4th and 5th innings to get the Rays on the board.

Then in the 7th, with 1 out, he gave up a double that moved to 3rd on a wild pitch walk. That was the end of Tanaka’s night, handing the ball over to Nestor Cortes Jr, but he loaded up the bases by hitting his first batter. After another out, the next batter singled home two runners, but the next runner got caught trying to take 3rd when the Yankee defense snapped into action.

The Yankee offense actually started the game, with a 1-out solo home run by Aaron Judge in the 1st inning. After the Rays tied it up, the Yankees came back in the 5th to retake the lead. Torres singled, and one out later, Gardner and Romine’s singles loaded the bases. Mike Tauchman’s single scored both Torres and Gardner.

Again, the Rays came back, so the Yankees needed to close the gap. So it would be Aaron Hicks to lead off the 8th inning with a solo home run. Then Cortes had a much better outing in the 8th, with a perfect inning. And David Hale came out for the 9th to keep things going, so into extra innings the game went once again.

It wasn’t until the 11th that the tie was broken. Aaron Judge got things started with a 1st pitch lead-off solo home run. Two outs later, Torres singled, and Urshela doubled to move runners into scoring position. Brett Gardner then smacked a big 3-run home run to ensure the Yankees’ eventual win.

Of course, even that was not without some drama. After Hale kept the Rays scoreless through the 10th, he was back out for the 11th. With 1 out, he gave up consecutive singles. That was enough of a threat for the Yankees, and they called in Aroldis Chapman. After he got another out, he walked the next batter to load up the bases. But the next player lined out directly to 1st to give Chapman his 24th save.

Final score: 8-4 Yankees, in 11 innings

As part of next week’s All-Star Game festivities, MLB announced that they will be honoring CC Sabathia. Sabathia began his career in Cleveland, the host to this year’s Midsummer Classic, so it only makes sense to recognize how far the retiring star pitcher has come. Though not selected for the roster, Sabathia was planning on attending the game anyway, but this honor certainly makes his sort of homecoming a different level of celebration.

In a statement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “We are delighted that CC and his family will join us in Cleveland, where his Major League career began. We look forward to celebrating his many accomplishments during our All-Star Game festivities.”

Go Yankees!

Game 85: NYY vs. TB — A little extra this Independence Day

The Yankees started their final series before the All-Star break tonight, the first game of a 4-game weekend series in St. Petersburg against the Rays. Starting a bit later due to the travel, local Yankee fans might have missed the area’s fireworks, but there was plenty of metaphoric ones at the Trop to make this holiday rather interesting.

Actually, it was a fairly normal game for most of the early evening. JA Happ got the start tonight, throwing 92 pitches into the 6th, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and just 1 run, and struck out 5 batters. In the 1st, a 1-out single scored on a 2-out double to get the Rays on the board first.

But Happ found his momentum and carried the rest of the game, handing it off to the bullpen to close it out. Ottavino closed out the 6th, and Kahnle and Britton each gave scoreless innings to keep things moving.

The Yankees didn’t let the Rays’ early minor lead last long. Ford led-off the 3rd with a single, moved to 2nd on a passed ball, and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single to tie up the game. Then with 2 outs, a wild pitch moved Tauchman to 2nd before he scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. Later in the game, in the 7th inning, Edwin Encarnacion hit a 1st pitch solo home run for an insurance run.

Things were going good, and the Yankees just needed 3 outs in the 9th to get the win. But Aroldis Chapman wasn’t having a very good night. He gave up a walk to lead off the inning. With 1 out, the next batter hit a double that scored the runner, despite a Yankees’ unsuccessful challenge. After another out, Chapman’s consecutive wild pitches allowed the tying run to score. He then loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk before finally getting out of the inning.

So, the game went into extra innings. That certainly went in the Yankees’ favor, with another chance to make a difference. Urshela and Judge worked a walk, and Gardner’s single loaded the bases. DJ LeMahieu singled home both Urshela and Judge to break the tie. After an out, it would be Gary Sanchez to smack a big 3-run home run to ensure the large Yankee lead.

Luis Cessa came out for the 10th, but to mixed results. With 1 out, he gave up a walk and a single. After another out, the next batter singled home the lead runner, and a walk loaded the bases. A change was needed, so the Yankees called in reliever David Hale for a 5 pitch at-bat that resulted in a solid force out at 2nd to end the game.

Final score: 8-4 Yankees, in 10 innings

All-Star Game Update: Until today, it seems that the maximum number of players from each team is 3 in this new All-Star Game format. Which meant that many players were left off the starting and replacement roster, despite the fact that they are really outstanding every day. This happens every year, of course, as someone who is truly significant may be watching the game from their couch rather than on the field.

This year, the Yankees felt this in particular. While LeMahieu, Sanchez, and Chapman are well-deserved All-Stars, there are quite a few other Yankees that deserve to be on that field in Cleveland on Tuesday. But today, there was one more addition to the All-Star roster. Every year, there are players who are unable to play due to an injury and are replaced by extra reserve players. So when those injury-substitute reserve players get injured, yet another reserve player is necessary.

Well, an infielder went on the IL, and a Yankee got the call. Gleyber Torres will be making his second trip to an All-Star Game. Torres has been particularly strong in recent weeks, further proving that he was rather deserving of the call.

Go Yankees!

Game 77: HOU vs. NYY — Record setting loss on Old Timers’ Day

The Yankees know how to snap their streak in a big way. After winning 8 straight games, and the Astros losing 7 straight, the tables flipped as the Astros got tired of losing and the Yankees had pitching issues.

JA Happ had another shaky start in this afternoon’s finale against the Astros. He threw 68 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 11 hits and 8 runs, and struck out just 2 batters. The lead-off batter of the game struck a big solo home run to start the Astros off early. In the 3rd, a 1-out double scored on a 2-out single to double their score.

Then in the 4th, Happ loaded the bases with consecutive singles to set up a big grand slam to keep the visitors’ small fan base in the stands rather happy. Happ came back out for the 5th and gave up a single and 2-run home run to keep the ball rolling for the Astros before the Yankees finally opted to end the mess.

Luis Cessa gave up a solo home run before settling in and getting 12 outs (or 4 innings) and keeping the Astros to their large lead. David Hale closed out the game with a scoreless 9th. But the Yankees needed their pitching to calm down to chip away at the visitors’ lead.

In the bottom of the 5th, with 2 outs, Hicks and Gardner each singled. DJ LeMahieu smacked a big 3-run home run to finally get the Yankees on the board. But their chances to score beyond that were few. After the starter left the game, the Yankees found one more in the 8th. With 1 out, LeMahieu tripled and then scored on Aaron Judge’s baby ground out.

Final score: 9-4 Astros, Yankees win series 3-1

Next up: The Yankees host the Blue Jays for 3 games starting tomorrow before taking two days to travel across the pond. In London, the Yankees and Red Sox will meet to play the first ever regular season baseball series on English soil. When they come back to the states next month, they hop the train to Queens for a 2-game miniseries against the Mets before heading down to Tampa Bay for a 4-game weekend series just before the All-Star Break.

With DJ LeMahieu’s 3-run home run in the 5th inning, the Yankees set a new record for 26 consecutive games with a home run. The MLB record is 27, something the Yankees could easily tie and then break with the Toronto series this coming week.

Older Timers’ Day: The Yankees hosted their 73rd Annual Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, featuring fan favorites and Yankee alumni like Aaron Boone, David Cone, Johnny Damon, Bucky Dent, Reggie Jackson, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, David Wells, and Bernie Williams.

But the man on everyone’s mind today was Old Timers’ Day rookie and this year’s Hall of Fame inductee Mariano Rivera. Rivera soaked up the greatness and fun that is this day, even going back to the mound to pitch a bit and later playing center field. But the great achievement was his first ever hit in pinstripes — an inside-the-park home run, thanks in part to some really sluggish outfielders.

Go Yankees!