Game 126: CLE vs. NYY — Coming up a little short in series split

CC Sabathia faced his former team for the final time in the regular season in today’s game, the final game of this 4-game series and this home stand. And the other guys won the battle, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sabathia threw 67 pitches through 3 innings, gave up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and still struck out 5 Cleveland batters.

And almost all of that was the result of the 2nd inning. He gave up consecutive singles that moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter hit into a fielder’s choice, but everyone was safe and a runner scored. Then a big 3-run home run eased the Indians into a large early lead. Then after loading the bases with 3 straight walks, he got himself out of the jam with one of those strikeouts.

Nestor Cortes Jr had a slightly better out when he came in to pitch for the next third of the game. With 1 out in the 4th, he gave up a solo home run that needed to be reviewed by the umpires as there was a possibility of fan interference, but upon review, the call was upheld as it clearly was over the fence (and the fan was not). After a clean 5th, he gave up a lead-off double in the 6th that scored on a 1-out single. He then gave up another single that put runners in the corners.

So the Yankees turned to Luis Cessa, who got a great double play to get out of that jam. Then in the 8th, Cessa gave up a lead-off ground-rule double that bounced over the wall in centerfield. A grounder moved that runner to 3rd. But it would be a 2-run home run to cap off the Indians’ runs today.

The Yankees’ bats, meanwhile, were quite slow to start this afternoon. Unable to get past the Indians’ starter or their first reliever for the first 6 innings, they finally got on the board in the 7th. Ford led-off with a single, and then DJ LeMahieu smacked a 2-run home run into the right field seats to break the shutout.

Finally, in the 9th, Torres was hit by a pitch and ended up at 3rd on Tauchman’s 1-out single. LeMahieu’s single scored Torres, and Aaron Judge’s solid double bounced off the back wall and scored Tauchman to halve the visitor’s lead. But the Yankees ran out of outs in the end.

Final score: 8-4 Indians, they split the series 2-2

Next up: After an off-day/travel day tomorrow, the Yankee head off for a long road trip to the West Coast. First up are the California teams — the Athletics and Dodgers. The Mariners will host the Yankees to finish off their road trip before they head home the final weekend of the month to host the Athletics and Rangers.

Injury updates: Thairo Estrada becomes the 28th player to be placed on the injured list. His right hamstring tightened up on him during yesterday’s game, so after a diagnosis of a strain, he’s head to the 10-day IL. The Yankees recalled infielder Tyler Wade to help with the bench.

Luis Severino got some workouts earlier today, throwing some from the mound to simulated hitters. Dellin Betances also got some throwing time, though he has yet to throw to live hitters. Both pitchers will travel to Tampa to continue their workouts while the team is on the West Coast. Severino could begin his minor league rehab shortly after a simulated game, but Betances is further away from his return.

And Luke Voit will continue his workouts on Monday and should start his rehab games on Friday. He will miss the road trip, but he could rejoin the team when they’re back in the Bronx in 10 days. In other words, he’s the one we’ll be seeing in pinstripes before anyone else at this point.

Go Yankees!

Game 125: CLE vs. NYY — Legendary drama on sunny Saturday in the Bronx

Sunny, clear skies. A warm Saturday afternoon. Former Yankees in the Bronx. And a tight ball game. It was a good day to be at the ball park today.

James Paxton got the start today and had a decent outing overall. He threw 88 pitches in 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 4 Cleveland batters in this third game of the 4-game weekend series. Paxton bookended his outing by splitting his allowed runs.

In the 1st, a lead-off walk and double had runners in scoring position to do so on a long single to get the Indians on the board first. After the Yankees tie up things and then took the lead, the Indians found their next chance in the 5th. With 2 outs, a double and a walk on base, consecutive singles scored both runs to tie up the game.

Ottavino breezed his way through a 13-pitch 6th, and Kahnle allowed a couple of runners but got out of the 7th without allowing the visitors to add to the score. Zack Britton got into some trouble in the 8th. His lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a wild pitch. Later with runners on the corners, he and the defense snapped into action with a standard double play. And Chapman earned his 35th save with an efficient 10-pitch 9th inning to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees pieced together their eventual win. With 2 outs in the 2nd, Maybin worked a walk and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single and a fielding error. That error gave Tauchman a bit of false hope as he was thrown out trying to make it to 2nd just after Maybin scored the Yankees’ first run.

Romine led-off the 3rd with a single but was out when Estrada hit into a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Estrada stole 2nd and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single and a throwing error. That tied up the game from the Indians’ strong start. Then in the 4th, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres went back-to-back with solo home runs to put the Yankees in the lead.

In the 5th, with 2 outs, DJ LeMahieu hit a solo home run to close out the Cleveland’s starter’s afternoon. Torres got his second homer of the day, a 1-out solo home run in the 6th. That would be the insurance run they needed, just preceding the dramatic ejections of Boone, Gardner, and Sabathia.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Now, whenever there’s some drama that leads to ejections, I always go back and look at the graphics to see whether it was a legitimate concern or just overblown competitive machismo. But yes, it was legitimate today. The “called strikes” mostly weren’t strikes. So it had to be frustrating for both pitchers and batters when they can’t guarantee the consistency of the strike zone.

So, in this case, Maybin was openly questioning the final called strike of his at-bat in the 6th. Before things got too heated, Aaron Boone did his job and got between the umpire and Maybin. But Boone continued “chirping” as he’s prone to do, and that just seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for everything. So Boone got tossed.

But it didn’t end there. The bench was sparked in Boone’s defense. First, Brett Gardner was tossed when the umpire said he wasn’t allowed to use his bat to pound against the dugout, which doesn’t seem like something the umpires would police as it seems more like a grounds or stadium crew issue. He rushed the umpire asking him why exactly they ejected him, only to find out the umpires believe that dugout behavior with a bat is under their purview. CC Sabathia came to his teammate’s defense, and they tossed him too. Honestly, kind of ridiculous on a lot of fronts.

But before the game, the Yankees honored Yankee legend Mariano Rivera. Just a few weeks ago, we all watched the iconic closer be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. To commemorate that, the Yankees hosted Rivera and his family in a pre-game ceremony where they honored this milestone with a replica plaque to be placed in Monument Park.

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Rivera and son exit field after first pitch. (Photo credit: Yankees Twitter)

His former manager Joe Torre was also on hand for the festivities. And Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner presented Rivera’s foundation with a check for $250,000 to help build a learning center in New Rochelle, New York. Rivera threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch (a high ball, by the way) to his son, Mariano Rivera Jr and later hung out with the Yankees broadcasters to reflect on his career and today’s special event.

Go Yankees!

Game 121: BAL vs. NYY — 15 straight wins against the O’s

The Yankees continued their dominance over the Orioles in tonight’s game, their third of this 4-game mid-week series. Domingo German got the start and had a pretty great outing tonight. He threw 93 pitches in 7 innings, gave up 5 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and struck out 7 Baltimore batters to earn the win. His allowed runs were a pair of solo home runs, a lead-off one in the 4th and a 1-out one in the 5th.

Adonis Rosa came on in relief of German for the final 2 innings of the game. He made his MLB debut and got to throw his first MLB strikeout tonight. He continued a pretty good outing, his only allowed hit was a 1-out solo home run in the 9th.

The Yankees’ bats were on a roll once again against the Orioles’ pitching staff, starting early with DJ LeMahieu’s solo home run to lead-off the 1st inning. In the 2nd, Torres led-off with a walk, and Gregorius’ double put them in scoring position to do so on Cameron Maybin’s single.

With 1 out in the 4th, Romine singled and Tauchman walked. After another out, Aaron Judge’s double scored both runners. The Orioles decided that was enough for their starter, but Gio Urshela’s singled home Judge and Gary Sanchez’s double scored Urshela. Maybin worked a 1-out walk, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, advanced to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. Though Tauchman ended up getting thrown out trying to get to 3rd.

Final score: 8-3 Yankees

Roster moves: The Yankees made some big moves fine-tuning their roster. They activated pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga from the 60-day injured list, the reliever ready to contribute after a long-stint on the IL recovering from right shoulder strain back in May. To make room, they designated Joe Mantiply for assignment and then optioned him back to AAA Scranton.

Speaking of Scranton, the Yankees also optioned Brady Lail and Breyvic Valera back there, and they released pitcher Daniel Camarena. They also selected the contract of Adonis Rosa to pitch into tonight’s game and then optioned him back to Scranton after the game.

And yes, the Yankees have won all 15 of their last 15 games against the Orioles. After dropping the first 2, they certainly picked things up and ran with it. They’ve got one more game tomorrow to see if their winning streak can continue and make it to 16.

Go Yankees!

Game 117: NYY vs. TOR — Saturday sluggish in the bullpen

Okay, so this weekend isn’t really turning out as the Yankees hoped when they hopped on that charter jet through customs. Though they certainly had the opportunity to flip the story along the way today.

Chad Green got the chance again to be the Yankees’ opener in this third game of the four-game weekend series in Toronto. Green threw 24 pitches and a gave up just a walk in the 1st inning. Then Stephen Tarpley came in and took over for longer relief. He kept the Jays off the scoreboard until the 4th inning. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a 1-out single. But with a threat on bases, the Yankees went to their bullpen.

Chance Adams, however, promptly gave up a 3-run home run to get the home team on the board and put them in the lead. But then he sailed through the 5th inning without adding to the score. Kahnle followed suit with a scoreless 6th inning, but Adam Ottavino had a troublesome 7th. With 1 out, a walk and single put runners on base to score on a solid triple. Then Britton closed out the game with a scoreless 8th, working his way out of a minor threat.

The Yankees actually got on the board first with Gary Sanchez’s 2-out solo home run in the top of the 4th. After the Jays took the lead in the bottom of that inning, the Yankees worked their way back in the 6th. Judge led-off with a single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run to tie up the game.

With 1 out in the 7th, Ford worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and after a pitching change, DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly scored Ford. This put the Yankees in the lead again, but the bottom of the inning flipped the script again with the aforementioned triple.

Final score: 5-4 Blue Jays

Roster moves: Yesterday, the Yankees acquired reliever Joe Mantiply from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Mantiply played 5 games with the Tigers in 2016 but spent most of the season in their minor league system. Later that year, the Yankees briefly signed him, and he played for their AAA team before releasing him back to free agency in 2017, where he was picked up by the Reds and bounced around their minor league system. Though initially, Mantiply wasn’t placed on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees also placed reliever Jonathan Holder on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to August 7) with inflammation in his right shoulder. They also activated Gary Sanchez from the injury list, sending back-up back-up catcher Kyle Higashioka back to AAA Scranton. And reliever Stephen Tarpley was recalled from AAA. Both recalled players played key roles in today’s game.

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 114: NYY vs. BAL — #BigMaple & the #BronxBombers

Baltimore has been good to the Yankees this series, allowing them to reclaim their “Bronx Bombers” moniker with some well-earned offense. Of course, it was more on display tonight than any the previous games, which is already saying a lot. But the Yankee offense gave their pitchers quite a bit to work with along the way.

James Paxton got the start tonight and had a really great outing. He threw 108 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 5 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out 7 batters to earn the eventual win. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo home run in the 9th.

Chance Adams closed out the 7th for “Big Maple” and sailed his way through the 8th. His lone troublesome inning was the 9th, and I use the word “troublesome” loosely in this game. A 1-out walk scored on a 2-out double to double the home team’s score.

Though there wasn’t much to celebrate at Camden Yards for the fans in orange and black at that point, as the visiting Yankees kind of dominated the O’s for most of the game. In the 4th, with 1 out, Urshela doubled, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s single. Then Kyle Higashioka’s monster 2-out, 3-run home run pushed the Yankees into a big lead.

In the 5th, Judge ended up at 1st on the better end of a throwing error and then scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run. Tauchman led-off the 6th with a walk, took 2nd on a grounder, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and easily scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. A wild pitch moved LeMahieu to 2nd, and he scored on Aaron Judge’s long single. Urshela did it again, with a 2-run home run to keep things moving into double digits.

After a pitching change, Gregorius singled and ended up at 3rd on Maybin’s single and a throwing error. Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (an unsuccessful double play), which allowed Gregorius to score yet another run. Finally, Cameron Maybin led-off the 9th with a solo home run. After Gardner doubled and another pitching change, Higashioka smacked his 2nd home run of the game, a 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Final score: 14-2 Yankees, Yankees sweep 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel north of the border to see another division rival. They will play a long 4-game weekend series against the Blue Jays before heading back home to face the Orioles and Indians. After an event-filled weekend, the Yankees make their final West Coast trip to visit the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners.

It’s worth noting that the Yankees hit some records in tonight’s big game and overall during this series, like hitting the most home runs in a series and the single-season record in an away stadium. I mean, you’re going to make some kind of difference when you outscore your opponent 32-12. And, like the link mentions, the divide between the Yankees and the rest of the AL East continues to expand as the Yankees continue to win (and sweep series). The Yankees are currently 10 games ahead of the Rays and 16 ahead of the Red Sox (and 29 1/2 over Toronto and 37 over Baltimore).

Go Yankees!

Game 113: NYY vs. BAL — Bronx Bombers swing for the fences in Charm City

Tonight’s game began with an hour and 12 minute rain delay, waiting for the front to sweep through Charm City. When the game finally got under way, the Yankees came out swinging strong to command this middle game of the midweek series against the Orioles.

In the 3rd, the “Bronx Bombers” showed up. Mike Tauchman and DJ LeMahieu hit consecutive solo home runs. After an out, Didi Gregorius also hit a solo home run to get in on the fun. Maybin walked to lead off the 4th, and Ford doubled to move them in scoring position. Austin Romine’s double then scored both runners.

Romine led-off the 6th with his own solo home run. And then in the 8th, he doubled and scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. Finally, with 1 out in the 9th, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive solo home runs to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Meanwhile, that gave their pitchers some room to get comfortable. Jonathan Holder got the short start in a reliever-heavy pitching outing. He threw 33 pitches into the 3rd inning. With the Yankees up in the top of the 3rd, he had his lone troubled inning. A 1-out single scored on a long triple, and a ground out scored that runner. That was the end of Holder’s decent outing.

Stephen Tarpley came on for relief, pitching into the 5th inning. That inning would prove a little troublesome for him. After 2 outs, he gave up a double that scored on a 2-run home run. Unable to get that 3rd out of the inning after giving up a single, the Yankees turned to Cortes to close it out. Cortes continued on through the 7th, keeping the O’s scoreless and handing the ball to Ottavino for 2 scoreless innings to close out the game.

Final score: 9-4 Yankees

Injury alert: Gleyber Torres came out of tonight’s game during the 3rd inning. After his at-bat, which left him swinging on a strikeout, his side was still bothering him. This is his 2nd time since Sunday’s game that his side/core hasn’t felt 100%. They will send him for further tests, so fingers crossed, everyone. As if we need another player on the IL…

Go Yankees!