Game 64: NYY vs. CLE — Sweep denied in extra innings

I can imagine most of the Yankees are glad to see Cleveland in the rear view mirror (or rather, far above from their airplane window). This weekend series hasn’t been good for morale, and the Yankees need to put it firmly in the past to move onto the next two weeks of busy baseball. But it was nice to (eventually) pull out a win in the finale against the Indians.

Due to Tanaka’s paternity leave, the Yankees opted for the “opener” model, calling on Chad Green to start this afternoon, throwing 2 strong scoreless innings. Cortes continued the momentum with 3 more scoreless innings to allow the Yankee bats to jump way ahead.

Whether the Indians meant to or not, they too ended up with the “opener” model, as the Yankee offense didn’t allow their starter to even complete the 2nd inning. After a clean 1st and 2 outs in the 2nd, the Yankees just pounced and wouldn’t let up. Frazier hit a single and then scored as part of Brett Gardner’s big 2-run home run to get the Yankees on the board first.

Then Urshela walked, moved to 2nd on Maybin’s single, and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, and Hicks worked a walk to load up the bases. Luke Voit’s long double scored both Maybin and LeMahieu, forced the Indians’ starter out of the game, and gave the Yankees a rather large lead to defend early.

But they did right up until the 6th inning. Tommy Kahnle just struggled his way through the inning as the Indians chipped away at the Yankees’ lead. The lead-off batter turned Kahnle’s 1st pitch into a solo home run. A 1-out single moved to 2nd on a messy wild pitch and then scored on an RBI single. And a 2-run home run put the home team within a run of the Yankees’ lead.

Adam Ottavino came on for the 7th and would have put in another great outing, but he gave up a 1-out solo home run. That tied up the game, and things just got interesting. Britton, however, righted the ship with a scoreless 8th inning, so both teams were looking for that tie-breaking run.

With 1 out in the 9th, the Yankees loaded up the bases with a single to Voit, a double to Sanchez, and an intentional walk to Torres. Clint Frazier’s sacrifice fly scored Voit as the Yankees’ go-ahead run. And the Yankees called in their closer, Aroldis Chapman, who just needed 3 outs for the victory.

But it wasn’t that kind of weekend. The lead-off batter singled and ended up at 2nd on a pick-off error that bounced into the stands. After a walk, Chapman finally got a good 2 outs. The next batter hit into a little grounder that bounced away from Gregorius, and that fielding error allowed the tying run to cross the plate and force the game into extra innings.

In the 10th, Maybin hit a long 1-out double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. The Yankees were back in the lead. And in came Stephen Tarpley to close out the game and hunt for those elusive 3 outs. 16 pitches and 3 strikeouts later, Tarpley got his first ever save, and the Yankees weren’t swept this weekend.

Final score: 7-6 Yankees in 10 innings, Indians win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees take a short break in this road trip to host a quick 2-game series against the Mets before traveling to Chicago for a 4-game weekend series against the White Sox. They’ll be back in the Bronx for a long home stand and HOPE Week. They will face the Rays, the Astros, and Blue Jays during this final home stand before the All-Star Break. But the final weekend of this month will find the Yankees in London for the first ever MLB series to be played in the UK.

Roster moves/injury update: Yesterday’s starter Domingo German was sent to the 10-day injured list with recurring hip flexor strain. He will get an MRI to check for further problems, as he’s been battling this injury since his previous start in Kansas City, trying to pitch through the pain. In his stead, the Yankees recalled Stephen Tarpley, which ended up being a good choice for today’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 61: NYY vs. TOR — “The Machine” supports strong Happ outing

JA Happ faced his former team, and perhaps the familiar setting helped him with his dominant outing in the finale against the Blue Jays. Happ threw 102 pitches in his 7 innings, gave up 4 hits and 1 run, and struck out 4 Toronto batters to earn the eventual win. Actually, he held off the Blue Jays for most of the game, only giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 6th to let the home team on the board.

Chad Green continued that momentum through the 8th inning and came out for the 9th. But that’s where he got into trouble, loading up the bases with 3 consecutive singles. Aroldis Chapman was called out to get the Yankees out of the jam. Chapman got the first batter to hit into a double play that scored one run. Chapman only needed 7 total pitches to earn his 18th save of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees came out strong and stayed strong. In the 2nd with 2 outs, Estrada made it to 1st on a throwing error, making all successive runs that inning completely unearned. Estrada moved to 3rd on Maybin’s single and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s big double. Aaron Hicks then smacked a big 3-run home run to ease the Yankees into a strong lead.

Gio Urshela led-off the 4th with a solo home run. Maybin hit a 1-out double and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. With that offense and strong pitching (and minimal messes on the defensive side), the Yankees were able to keep their lead and sail into the win to close out this series.

Final score: 6-2 Yankees, Blue Jays win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees travel across Lake Erie to visit the Indians for a weekend series. They’ll head home for a quick 2-game mini-series against the Mets before heading back on the road to face the White Sox. Then their final long home stand before the All-Star break, including their annual HOPE Week celebration.

Speaking of the All-Star Game, consider this your reminder to vote for your favorite players every day — up to 5 times a day on MLB and once a day on Google Search. The All-Star Game is July 9.

It’s worth noting that Gary Sanchez has revealed a team nickname for a teammate. And if you’ve been following this season, you’ll know that there are quite a few players on this team that are making quite the splash (and perhaps deserve your vote for the ASG).

But tonight’s newest moniker “The Machine” has been bestowed on infielder DJ LeMahieu. Tonight, LeMahieu led-off the roster, went 3-for-4 with a walk, hit 2 RBIs, and scored a run. Currently batting .323 (leading the Yankees roster) for the season, he’s already hit 72 hits, 7 home runs, 40 RBIs (also 1st on Yankees roster), and scored 39 runs. In other words, LeMahieu is as reliable as a “Machine”. He’s an integral cog in the Machine that is the 2019 Yankees.

Go Yankees!

Game 60: NYY vs. TOR — Inconsistency strikes again

It’s sometimes hard to shake off the weird blanket of inconsistency. Like no matter what you do or try to do, it’s just going to turn everything a little sideways in the end. The Yankees have been kind of going through a bit of a funk for their last three games, including tonight’s middle game of this series in Toronto.

James Paxton was hoping for a better outing, much like the last time he started a game in Toronto (albeit for another team) when he threw a no-hitter and dominated the Blue Jays. Tonight would not be a repeat of this. Paxton threw 8 3 pitches into the 5th, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (3 earned), and struck out 4 Toronto batters.

In the 1st, he gave up a 1-out walk that scored on a 2-out 2-run home run to get the home team started early. A lead-off double in the 2nd scored on an RBI single Then in the 5th, a 1-out walk scored on a single and messy throwing error. After one more out, the Yankees turned to a series of relievers. Ottavino closed out the 5th for Paxton but got into a jam in the 6th that Kahnle added to and then got out of it.

Now, leading up to this, the Yankees tried their best to chip away the Blue Jays’ lead. With 2 outs in the 4th, Gary Sanchez hit a nice solo home run to start the advance. In the 5th, Frazier led-off with a walk but got tagged out when Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice. Gardner moved to 2nd on Urshela’s single and then raced home on Cameron Maybin’s single.

DJ LeMahieu’s single scored Urshela to tie up the game at that point. After Voit’s walk loaded up the bases, it was a single by Gary Sanchez that pushed the Yankees into the lead by scoring Maybin. Then with a new pitcher in the 6th, Frazier hit a single, Maybin hit a 2-out single, and they both scored as part of LeMahieu’s big 3-run home run to give the Yankees a hefty lead.

That didn’t last long as the inconsistency came back full force in the bottom of the 7th. Jonathan Holder had some trouble thanks to the defense when his first batter made it safely to 2nd on a terrible throwing error. After an out, he hit the next batter to put 2 runners on base. They both scored when the next batter doubled and made it to 3rd on a fielding error.

Zach Britton quickly closed out that inning but found his own issues in the 8th. The Yankees now had a 1-run lead to defend, but those “inconsistencies” mean nothing is safe. With 1 out in the 8th, he gave up a single and a walk that scored as part of a big 3-run home run to put the Blue Jays back on top. After another out, he handed the ball over to Luis Cessa, who promptly gave up back-to-back solo home runs to ensure the home team victory.

Final score: 11-7 Blue Jays

The 2019 MLB Draft is now complete. They had a busy first day of the Draft on Monday. For their first round draft pick, the Yankees selected 18 year old New Jersey native and shortstop Anthony Volpe. In the CBA part of the first round, the pick the Yankees got from the Sonny Gray trade to the Reds, they selected left-handed pitcher TJ Sikkema (University of Missouri). And in the second round, they selected second baseman Josh Smith (Louisiana State University).

On Tuesday, they focused mainly on picking up college pitchers, something they seemed to load up on overall, adding more on Wednesday. They picked 25 pitchers of the 41 players. Further, they selected 9 infielders, 2 catchers, and 5 outfielders. Also significant is that the Yankees selected 31 college players and just 10 high schools seniors. They really seem to be targeting a very specific kind of player, so it will be interesting to see who signs, who passes to continue their education, and who passes to pursue other dreams.

One notable selection was the son of former Yankee (and current Yankee broadcaster) Al Leiter, Jack Leiter in the 20th round. As a high school senior, Jack is officially committed to Vanderbilt and will probably keep that route for now. But it was a nice gesture for a legacy player, much like the Yankees did for Andy Pettitte’s son Josh in 2013, though he chose to finish his education and later retire from the sport to pursue other avenues with his young family.

Yankee picks (in order of selection): Anthony Volpe, TJ Sikkema, Josh Smith, Jacob Sanford, Jake Agnos, Ken Waldichuk, Hayden Wesneski, Nick Paciorek, Zach Greene, Spencer Henson, Mitch Spence, Oliver Dunn, Ryan Anderson, Nelson Alvarez, Kevin Milam, Edgar Barclay, Shaine McNeely, Pat DeMarco, Evan Voliva, Chad Bell, Jack Leiter, Zach Kohn, Gerrit van Zijll, Matt Minnick, Jake Pries, Luke Brown, Ryan Brown, Kyle MacDonald, Michael Giacone, Chase Illig, Zachary Maxwell, Chad Knight, Ethan Hoopingarner, Javier Reynoso, Joey Lancellotti, Nathaniel Espelin, Montana Semmel, Bryce Jarvis, Dontae Mitchell, Jake Garrell, and Alex Garbrick.

Best of luck on all your endeavors. Hope to see some of you in pinstripes in the very near future.

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 57: BOS vs. NYY — Teamwork shines in Saturday night rivalry game

The Yankees continue to dominate their division rivals and charge forward through some tough situations to come out on top in the end. Once again, when one teammate falters a bit, the rest of the team steps up and works things out to support the entire team. That is the true definition of teamwork in action. Also, if you’re only as good as your “weakest link”, the Yankees are pretty good this season.

Domingo German got a shaky start in tonight’s second (originally scheduled third) game of this rivalry series against the visiting Red Sox. He threw 87 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and still struck out 8 Boston batters in his short stint on the mound.

The Red Sox got on the board first in the 2nd. German gave up a single that moved to 2nd on another single and then scored on a 2-out single. After the Yankees grabbed a slim lead, the Red Sox came back in the 4th to chip it away, starting with a lead-off solo home run. A single moved to 2nd on a walk and then scored on a 1-out single. After another out, the Yankee opted to open their bullpen early.

But it proved to be a wise choice. Green, Kahnle, Ottavino, Holder, Britton, and Chapman divided up the remaining outs. They kept the Red Sox from adding to their score, getting out of just a few close calls with runners in scoring position.

Between this strong show by the bullpen and the Yankee bats, the game shifted twice into the home team’s favor when necessary. The Red Sox grabbed a small early lead, but the Yankees answered back in the bottom of the 2nd. Torres led-off with a single, moved to 3rd on Morales’ single, and scored on Gio Urshela’s 1-out single. Gardner’s soft single loaded the bases, and DJ LeMahieu’s long single scored both Morales and Urshela to give the Yankees the lead.

Then in the 5th, with the game tied and 1 out, Voit hit a nice single and moved to 2nd on a ground out. Then Gary Sanchez smacked his 18th homer of the season so far, a 2-out, 2-run home run into the Yankees’ bullpen to give the Yankees back the lead. The Yankees loaded up the bases again in that inning, but the Red Sox found enough to get a 3rd out and out of the jam.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Small game note: That 5th inning home run was Sanchez’s 18th home run of 2019. It’s also worth noting that Sanchez hit 18 home runs in all of 2018. A clear indication that Sanchez is easily on a streak to break his own season record of 33 from 2017. Math tells me that if he continues on his current momentum, he could potentially hit 51 home runs this year. Math also tells me that Sanchez’s 18 home runs are 19.5% of the homers hit by the Yankees so far this season (92), and Sanchez leads the team in that category.

Roster moves: After the game, the Yankees optioned reliever Nestor Cortes Jr back to AAA Scranton. This move is in anticipation of activating CC Sabathia for tomorrow’s finale against the Red Sox. Sabathia is really just trying to piece together starts in his final year and contribute when he can. After he retires, he can really focus on getting the help he needs for the next 50 years of his life, like a potential knee replacement and actually taking a summer vacation with his family.

Looking ahead: Didi Gregorius is now playing his final week of his rehab assignment with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Yankees are looking to activate the shortstop during their trip to Cleveland next weekend should Gregorius’ week go as well as expected.

Go Yankees!

Game 56: BOS vs. NYY — Rivalry series highlights newer players

Rain pouring on the area all afternoon and evening ended up postponing yesterday’s opener in this weekend’s rivalry series. (To be made up as the second game of a double header when the Red Sox return to the Bronx in August.) So after the skies cleared late last night, the field dried out, and the amazing crew at Yankee Stadium readied the field for the big series to start tonight.

JA Happ got the start tonight against the visiting Red Sox, throwing 84 pitches in 5 strong innings. He gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run and struck out 5 batters to earn the eventual win. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo home run in the 2nd inning. He set the momentum for the rest of the bullpen to carry through the game. Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman each threw a great scoreless inning to close out the game in support.

The Yankee batters often are rather limited against the Red Sox ace pitcher. Tonight, while they didn’t have many opportunities through most of the game, it was enough to make the difference.

In the 3rd, Urshela led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Gardner’s 1-out single, and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s double to tie up the game. Then Aaron Hicks’ big 2-out single scored both Gardner and LeMahieu to give the Yankees a nice lead. And DJ LeMahieu hit a 1-out solo home run in the 5th to ensure the Yankees’ victory with an extra insurance run they didn’t need.

Final score: 4-1 Yankees

Consider this your daily reminder to vote for your favorite players to start the All-Star Game. You can vote up to 5 times per day on MLB and then vote once a day on Google Search. Show your support for your favorite players and vote often! The 2019 All-Star Game will be July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Go Yankees!

Also, our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims in today’s shooting in Virginia Beach. My heart breaks for their loss and hopes for healing and grace upon their community. May we continue to seek ways to unite and spread peace.

Game 55: SD vs. NYY — Wednesday matinee’s smooth sailings

This afternoon’s finale against the visiting Padres was rather reflective of a typical midweek afternoon game — decently paced (2 hours, 39 minutes), strong pitching, a little small ball, a few big ones, and a home team win on a rare cooler day in early summer.

James Paxton is back on the mound with his start today and threw 4 great scoreless innings in just 66 pitches. He only gave up 2 walks and struck out 7 San Diego batters in his brief outing. He handed the game off to a series of relievers who kept up the scoreless streak — Green, Ottavino, Holder, and Cortes to split the final 5 innings of the game.

The Yankees also gave their pitchers decent run support to help coast them into the win column this afternoon. In the 1st, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit hit back-to-back solo home runs to kick off the Yankees’ offense. And Gio Urshela joined in with a 1-out solo home run in the 2nd.

After a momentary offense break, the Yankees came back in the 5th for some small ball. LeMahieu led-off with a walk, and Voit hit into a slow defense, allowing both runners to make it to base safely on a fielder’s choice. With 1 out, Torres hit a short single to load up the bases, but Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly only scored LeMahieu in that inning.

With a new pitcher an 1 out in the 6th, Cameron Maybin singled and stole 2nd. After another out, Maybin made a dash for 3rd, but thanks to a bad throwing error, he ended up scoring a run. And Voit hit a lead-off triple in the 7th and scored as part of Gleyber Torres’ big 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ offense today.

Final score: 7-0 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees will host their long-time rivals, the Boston Red Sox, for a 4-game weekend series, starting tomorrow. After an off-day on Monday, the Yankees hit the road to face the Blue Jays and Indians. They’ll head back home briefly for a quick series against the Mets before finishing their road trip against the White Sox.

Roster moves: As predicted, the Yankees activated today’s starter James Paxton, coming off the IL after a lingering knee issue. Yesterday, they optioned reliever Joe Harvey to AAA Scranton to allow room for Paxton.

Your daily reminder to vote for your favorite players, like the Yankees, for example, for the upcoming All-Star Game. You can vote up to 5 times a day through the MLB site and once a day on Google Search. Vote early, vote often.

Go Yankees!