Game 97: NYM vs. NYY — Just enough not to be so “Gray” today

Sonny Gray needed a Saturday matinée game like today to help get him back on track. And while it’s certainly not a perfect outing, by any means, the Yankees certainly stepped up to give him enough leeway to find his footing. Gray threw 94 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up just 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs (just 2 earned), and still struck out 6 Mets batters in this middle game of the weekend series.

A lead-off solo home run in the 2nd started the runs for the Mets. But Gray held them off until the 6th inning, giving up 2 1-out walks before handing the ball over to David Robertson. Robertson, however, was not having as clean of a day. A 2-out single scored the first of Gray’s runners before a sloppy pick-off error scored the other one. Robertson got the final batter to strikeout.

Holder and Betances each sailed their way through an inning, keeping the Mets to those 3 runs scored. So, logically, the Yankees called on Aroldis Chapman to close out the 9th inning, but he was certainly having his own issues — a walk, a single, a walk to load the bases, a walk to walk in the first runner, and a hit-by-pitch to walk in the next. Chapman could just not find the strike zone, so they turned to Chasen Shreve to earn his first save with a double play (that still scored a run) and a ground out to end it all.

Of course, in order to get to that point, the Yankees had to shore up enough of an offense to make a difference in light of some less-than-ideal pitching. Stanton led-off with the 4th and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ long triple. Gregorius scored on Miguel Andujar’s double (thanks to a bit of fan-interference), and Andujar scored on Greg Bird’s double. Then just to make thing interesting in this inning, Bird scored on Austin Romine’s 2-out single.

Now with a solid lead, they added to it in the 6th when Andujar hit a lead-off double and scored on Bird’s single to end the Mets’ starter’s afternoon. The new pitcher held the Yankees off for the rest of that inning, but then Aaron Judge led-off the 7th with his 26th home run of the season, a solo shot into the visitor’s dugout.

Then in the 8th, Andujar (clearly having an amazing afternoon) led-off with a single, ended up at 3rd on Drury’s single and a throwing error, and then scored on Romine’s ground out to score the insurance run the Yankees would need.

Final score: 7-6 Yankees

And we have some more roster moves. After yesterday’s game, the Yankees decided that Domingo German needed some time back in AAA to work on his mechanics and find that momentum he lost somewhere after his initial call-up earlier this year. Luis Cessa will move into his rotation spot for the duration.

With an extra spot in the bullpen, the Yankees called up pitching prospect Domingo Acevedo from AA Trenton. He actually got the call-up late last night. While he was chilling in his hotel room watching Netflix, his Trenton coaches (and a teammate to help translate) knocked on his door, and he initially thought he was in trouble. But they gave him the news and his first thought was that he needed to call his mom. She, in turn, was worried something was wrong (remember, it was late at night), but then cried with her son over the phone as he packed his bags to head to New York.

And on the injury front, it looks like the Yankees might see Gleyber Torres sometime soon. The officially sent him to begin his rehab games with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons (formerly the Tampa Yankees). If all goes as planned, he could join the team on Wednesday while the Yankees are in town to face the Rays, just across Tampa Bay.

Go Yankees!

Game 96: NYM vs. NYY — Starting the second half with a stumble

And we’re back with baseball for the official second half of the season. The Yankees are hosting a short home stand, a weekend series against their crosstown rivals, the Mets. And it wasn’t exactly the kind of game they imagined to kick off this half.

Domingo German got the start and just stumbled out of the gate. He threw 71 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out just 3 Mets’ batters. In the 1st, he gave up a lead-off walk that scored on a 1-out double. After another out, consecutive doubles scored 2 more runs to get things started for the Mets. A lead-off solo home run in the 3rd added one more.

Adam Warren came on to close out the 4th, but then stumbled himself in the 5th. He gave up a lead-off walk who moved to 2nd on a 1-out walk and then scored on an RBI single. Another walk loaded up the bases, and a single scored yet another run while keeping the bases loaded. The next batter hit into a little grounder that the defense kicked in and got the out at home.

Chasen Shreve came in and got a great strikeout to get out of the jam in the 5th. Despite giving up a couple hits in the 6th, Shreve got out of that inning cleanly, setting a pattern for the next few relievers. Green and Holder each took an inning and kept the Mets from adding to their lead. But, in the 9th, AJ Cole gave up a lead-off single, who moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to cap off the Mets’ scoring tonight.

To be fair, the Yankee batters were facing a historically good Mets’ pitcher, who kept them to a single run in his 5 innings. In the 3rd, Gardner led-off with a single, moved to 3rd on Judge’s single, and then scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to get the Yankees on the board.

Once the Mets dipped into their bullpen, the Yankees found a better chance to make some advances. With a reliever on the mound in the 6th, Sanchez and Bird hit consecutive singles and then both scored on Neil Walker’s 1-out double. And with a new reliever in the 8th, Gardner made it to 1st on a fielding error, ended up at 3rd on Judge’s single, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Stanton hit into a simple ground out that scored Judge.

Despite some opportunities and base runners, the Yankees ran out of chances and ended up falling short.

Final score: 7-5 Mets

Scranton Shuttle Alert! On Monday, the Yankees optioned Clint Frazier to AAA. Yesterday, they activated Gary Sanchez from the 10-day Disabled List, fully recovered from his groin strain at the end of last month. With the return of their primary catcher, they had no need for 2 back-up catchers, thus sending Kyle Higashioka back to Scranton. Brandon Drury was recalled to fill that empty roster spot.

In a game yesterday with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Frazier went running for a ball and made a dive in the outfield in the 1st. It shook him up a bit and he was pulled from the game before his 2nd at-bat. After seeing a doctor, he’s back on the DL under concussion protocol. The worst part about concussions is that once you get one, you tend to be prone to them. Head injuries should never be taken lightly, so I’m glad they’re being careful with him. But it’s got to be tough when you just want to play and do what you’ve been dreaming of doing for your entire life.

Go Yankees!

Game 93: NYY vs. CLE — Late offense came close, not close enough

The Yankees didn’t seem to find their footing in tonight’s game against the Indians for the first part of the game, both with their pitching and hitting. Domingo German had trouble out of the gate, once again, and still had some trouble staying consistent. He threw 91 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 5 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, and still struck out 6 batters.

He gave up consecutive walks to lead off the 1st that moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. However, a ground out only allowed one run to scored before 2 strikeouts ended the threat. In the 2nd, with 1 out, a single scored on an RBI double, and after a walk, a long double scored 2 more runs. Then in the 5th, a lead-off single scored on a triple that ended German’s night.

He handed the ball over to Jonathan Holder, who promptly walked his first batter and then gave up a single to score German’s final base runner before getting out of his own jam. Then Holder sailed through the 6th inning. Shreve followed that up with 2 scoreless innings of his own, and though both were fraught with their own threats, he kept the game tight.

The Yankees were held off from their offense until the 5th inning. Bird led-off with a double, and Andujar worked a walk. Neil Walker’s double scored Bird, and a wild pitch scored Andujar and moved Walker to 3rd. One out and one single, Brett Gardner’s long sacrifice fly to score Walker.

Wade later led-off the 8th with a double and ended the Indians’ starter’s night. He moved to 3rd on a passed ball and then scored on Gardner’s ground out. With another new reliever, Judge was hit by a pitch.

And in a still questionable decision, the Indians pulled a “strike-em-out-throw-em-out” double play as Hicks struck out and Judge got tagged out stealing 2nd. Originally, Judge was ruled safe, but after an Indians’ challenge, the call was overturned. Why they’d risk a double play on a steal when Stanton was up next had everyone kind of “message board managing”.

It’s worth noting that Giancarlo Stanton hit a big solo home run to lead off the 9th inning to inch the Yankees closer to the Indians’ lead. However, 3 outs later, the Yankees ran out of outs.

Final score: 6-5 Indians

There’s been a lot of conversation, rightly so, about next week’s All-Star Game, and several new additions have been called up to replace selected players who are either inactive, injured, ineligible (starting Sunday), or choose to remove themselves from the roster. Like Aroldis Chapman. He’s been dealing with knee tendinitis since at least May, so he chose to attend but not play in the exhibition game on Tuesday. Chapman has been an All-Star previously (4 times with the Reds, 2012-2015), and will be considered as an All-Star for this year. But he’s got half of a regular season (and potential postseason) to go.

And as odd as this may seem, the benefit to this is that players selected for the game are often first-time All-Stars (like the one selected to fill Chapman’s spot). That means, they get to experience all the buzz, excitement, and special camaraderie for the first time next week. And that is kind of cool. Plus, it’s something that will forever be on their Wikipedia page, even if they just end up coaching Little League one day.

Go Yankees!

Game 87: NYY vs. TOR — Gardner leads to victory in the 10th. Who’s in the All-Star Game? #ASGiancarlo

Another lovely summer day in Toronto allowed for a great day at the ball park, the roof open, the skies clear, and the fans cheering on their teams. And for this rubber match (the game to decide who wins the series), the Yankees and Blue Jays certainly gave the fans somehting to cheer about.

Domingo German got the start in the finale against the Jays, throwing 100 pitches in 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run, and striking out 5 batters. In fact, his lone allowed run was a 6th inning lead-off solo shot. Warren gave a solid 2 innings in relief, and Green followed that up by breezing through the 9th inning in just 11 pitches.

Now, the Yankees actually got on the board first, in the 1st inning. With 1 out, Judge singled, moved to 3rd on Stanton’s double, and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s ground out. After that, the Yankees collected 5 more hits and 2 walks through the next 8 innings, but didn’t do anything to add to their runs.

So, with the game tied, into the 10th inning they went. The first batter up, Bird, was hit by a pitch, and because they needed some speed on the bases, the Yankees called on Tyler Wade as pinch-runner. Romine’s sacrifice bunt moved Wade to 2nd and into scoring position so that when Brett Gardner hit a nice single into left field, Wade raced home to break the tie.

Two outs later, the Yankees called on David Robertson to close out the game. 12 pitches and 3 outs later, the Yankees declared victory for the game and the series.

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

Next up: the Yankees are on their way to Baltimore to face the Orioles for a 4-game series, starting with a doubleheader tomorrow. The first game is a make-up game of the rain-out from May 31. After their series at Camden Yards, the Yankees travel to face the Indians for a 4-game weekend series before the All-Star Break.

And speaking of the All-Star Game, MLB officially announced their fan selections for the starters, as well as its player-voted (and Commissioner’s Office selected) player reserves and pitching staff for the game next Tuesday (July 17). And there are 4 (possibly 5) Yankees on that list — Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Aroldis Chapman, and Gleyber Torres. Giancarlo Stanton is nominated for the Final Vote.

Judge received his 2nd selection as an outfield starter this year, joined by pitchers Chapman and Severino (all for very obvious reasons). Plus, Torres was selected as part of the reserves player. Now, despite the fact that he may be sidelined due to his recent hip injury, selection to be part of the All-Star Game is a badge of sorts players can wear with honor for the rest of their lives. (You can enjoy a rather extensive list of the players selected and their achievements this year so far.)

And that brings us to the Final Vote. You can vote unlimited times until this Wednesday (July 10) at 4pm (EST) for your favorite AL and NL player of the 10 nominated (5 in each league) — like Stanton, for example. Other nominees include outfielders Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) and Andrelton Simmons (Angels), shortstops Eddie Rosario (Twins) and Jean Segura (Mariners) for the AL. In the NL are infielders Jesus Aguilar (Brewers), Brandon Belt (Giants), Matt Carpenter (Cardinals), Max Muncy (Dodgers), and Trea Turner (Nationals).

So vote often for your favorites! And use the social media hashtag: #ASGiancarlo.

Go Yankees!

Game 83: ATL vs. NYY — Loading up the runs early help Yankees win

Domingo German got the start for the Yankees’ middle game against the visiting Braves, threw 82 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 6 Atlanta batters. And actually, most of those offensive feats by the Braves didn’t happen until the 5th inning when German gave up a lead-off walk. Then 1 out later, a 2-run home run, a solo home run, and 2 singles.

Cole came in to load up the bases and get out of that jam with 2 solid strikeouts before breezing his way through the 6th inning. Adam Warren’s 7th inning was the exact opposite. With 1 out and a runner on 1st, he gave up a long 2-run home run. Giancarlo Stanton gave it his all and really tried hard to make that catch, but he dented the right field wall instead. No concussion, just a dent.

Warren got the first out of the 8th before Shreve finished off the rest of the inning with relative ease (and just 8 pitches). Chapman joined the fun with a quick 14-pitch 9th inning (8 of those were over 100 mph).

But the Yankees got on the board first. In the 1st, with 2 outs, Stanton singled and then scored with Aaron Hicks’ 2-run home run. Then with 2 outs in the 2nd, Kyle Higashioka got in on the fun with a solo home run into left field (his sweet spot, apparently).

In the 3rd, the Yankees loaded the bases with walks to Judge, Hicks, and Andujar. So with 2 outs, Brandon Drury worked another walk and forced in Judge. The Braves opted to end their starter’s night right there, but their reliever promptly gave up a walk to Higashioka to score Hicks.

Brett Gardner led-off the 4th with a double, moved to 3rd on Judge’s single, and 2 outs later, scored on a wild pitch. And later, in the 8th, with 2 outs and Judge on 2nd, Giancarlo Stanton’s big 2-run home run. Not a bad way to bounce back after denting the back wall in the 7th.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees

Last few days to vote for the All-Star Game starters… go vote!

Go Yankees!

Game 75: NYY vs. TB — Sunday swept in extras

Traditionally, a starting pitcher throws a lot of pitches (upwards of 100) and then a reliever or two come in to finish off the game. But somehow, today’s finale against the Rays ended up being a collection of relievers for both teams, a total of 14 pitchers stood on the mound today (7 per team).

For the Yankees, Domingo German kicked things off and had a rather upsetting 3 innings, giving up 9 hits and 6 runs. A lead-off triple in the 1st scored on a double, and then that runner scored on a 2-out double to give the Rays an early lead. And a lead-off solo home run in the 2nd added one more to the scoreboard. Then in the 3rd, another lead-off triple scored on a 1-out single. After another single gave the Rays another base runner, a 2-out double scored both runners.

The Yankees had quite a bit of work to do to catch up. Fortunately, they started early too. In the 2nd, Stanton led-off with a double and moved to 3rd on a ground out. After Hicks worked a walk, Miguel Andujar’s big 3-run home run into the left field seats got the Yankees on the board. Then in the 5th, Gardner worked a 1-out walk, and the Rays went to their next reliever. After another out, Didi Gregorius doubled to score Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton followed that with his own double to score Gregorius.

So, down by just a run, the Yankees kept looking for their opportunity. It wasn’t until the 8th inning, with Giancarlo Stanton’s lead-off solo home run to tie up the game. Actually, Stanton had a great day overall, going 5-for-5, with a walk, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs, including this 8th inning run — his 19th homer of the season.

The game went into extra innings, and both teams continued sending in their plethora of strong relievers to face off against each other into the 12th inning. Chasen Shreve came on for the Yankees in the bottom of the 12th. He threw 1 pitch, a 92 mph fastball right down the middle of the plate, and the batter sent it the other direction, straight up center field for the walk-off home run.

Final score: 7-6 Rays, in 12 innings, Rays sweep series 3-0

Next up: The Yankees are on their way to Philadelphia for a 3-game series there starting tomorrow night, before heading back home for a 6-game home stand against the Red Sox (on Friday) and Braves (next Monday). Hopefully, they will have a much better series than this weekend.

Injury news: Gary Sanchez is probably headed to the Disabled List after today’s game. In the 10th inning, Sanchez hit into a double play but on his way to running out to 1st, he started staggering his way down the line, clutching his upper thigh area and clearly in pain. Romine came on for the bottom of the inning, but it looks like Sanchez might have strained a muscle. They will send him to get an MRI tomorrow to determine a timeline, so there’s nothing to update right now.

It’s worth noting there is another catcher on the 40-man roster — Kyle Higashioka. Most likely, they will move Romine to be the regular catcher and call up Higashioka for back-up. But there’s nothing predictable about baseball.

Go Yankees!

Game 70: SEA vs. NYY — Is it “out-pitching” or “out-hitting” the visitors?

Domingo German may have finally found his footing that made the Yankees originally give him the nod to cover for Montgomery consistently this season. German faced the visiting Mariners in their opener tonight, throwing 96 pitches in his 7 strong innings, giving up just 2 hits and 2 runs (only 1 earned), and striking out 9 Seattle batters.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter doubled, moved to 3rd on a missed catch error (enter: the unearned possibility), and then scored on a force line out at 2nd. And a 1-out solo home run in the 7th doubled the Mariners’ score.

AJ Cole followed German’s solid start with 2 strong innings of his own, keeping the Mariners from adding to their runs and adding 3 more strike outs to the Yankees’ total of 12 tonight. This was in stark comparison to the Mariners’ stats of giving up 11 hits (compared to just 2 to their batters). When one team out-hits the other can, it can also be said they were out-pitched. The Yankees did both.

Down by a run early, the Yankees came back with a 2-out solo home run by Giancarlo Stanton to tie up the game. Then in the 5th, there was a bit of a repeated effort. Bird led-off with a walk and then scored as part of Miguel Andujar’s 2-run home run. Frazier singled and then scored as part of Aaron Hicks’ 2-run home run, that also got wedged into the visitor’s bullpen bench (after it bounced off the back wall). All before an out was recorded that inning, and ensured the Yankees a strong lead in tonight’s game.

In the 7th, Andujar led-off with a single, and then after an out, the Mariners went to their bullpen. Hicks’ single moved Andujar to 3rd before Aaron Judge’s single scored him. And if that wasn’t enough, Gleyber Torres hit his 14th home run, a 1-out solo shot in the 8th inning.

Final score: 7-2 Yankees

The All-Star Game released images of their uniforms the players will wear next month for warm-up day. AL players will wear predominantly blue jerseys featuring the Washington Monument, while NL players’ red jerseys will feature the dome of the Capitol. There’s also some interesting socks and matching caps. Plus, there are special caps for the players to wear at the All-Star Game while they wear their regular team uniforms.

And there’s another update for voting, and it hopefully will spur Yankees fans to kick it up a notch and vote! Gary Sanchez has been bumped from his leading spot by another player and demoted to 2nd place thanks to an extra 60,000 votes by Rays’ fans. Aaron Judge is still in the running for an outfield spot, but still at 3rd place. To be fair, 4th place is a very distant 4th place (about 500,000 votes).

However, the rest of the Yankees are a bit further down on their respective lists because of the popular fan-favorites at each position. Finishing out the outfield, Gardner is currently 7th and Hicks 13th (about 1.2 and 1.3 million votes behind the Boston leader). Behind other popular players in their positions, Stanton, Andujar, and Torres are all 2nd in their categories (by 650,000, 400,000, and 1 million votes, respectively). Oddly, the tightest category is shortstop — Gregorius coming in 4th at just 250,000 votes behind the leader, just 40,000 behind 2nd place.

Alright, Yankee Universe, time to do your stuff, and vote! Let’s ensure Judge, give Sanchez a boost and make those other categories tighter.

Go Yankees!