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.

Games 50 & 51: NYY vs. KC — Doubleheader, double win

Yesterday’s opener for this weekend series against the Royals was rained out thanks to the nasty Spring storms that have been plaguing the middle of the country yesterday. Somehow, they managed to stay dry today to help make up the game in what ended up being a fun doubleheader for the Yankees through this Saturday.

Game 1 (regularly scheduled game)
JA Happ got the start for the afternoon game and had strong outing, throwing 82 pitches through 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs, and striking out 10 Royals batters. Happ actually held off the Royals until his final inning. With 1 out, he gave up 2 singles that scored on a 3-run home run.

The Yankees’ offense had the lead up until then. In the 1st, Hicks walk and Voit singled, and 2 outs later, they both scored on Clint Frazier’s double. In the top of the 6th, with 1 out, Gardner tripled and then scored on Gio Urshela’s sacrifice fly.

After the home team tied up the game at the end of the 6th, the Yankees found the next chance to advance right in the next inning. Hicks hit a 1-out single and scored as part of the monster 2-run home run by Luke Voit (to the delight of his huge contingency of his family and friends in the stands). In the 8th, Frazier walked and Gardner singled, and they both scored on Thairo Estrada’s 1-out double to cap off the Yankees’ offense this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Ottavino sailed through a scoreless 7th, and Cessa closed out the game with 2 solid final innings to help deliver the eventual win for the Yankees.

Final score: 7-3 Yankees

Game 2 (the make-up game from yesterday)
After they reset the field, cleaned the stands, and reopened the gates, the second game kicked off, both teams heavily dependent on their long-term arms in the bullpens. The Yankees used that 1-inning opener style, tabbing Chad Green for the 1st inning. After 2 quick outs, he gave up consecutive singles. The first one then scored on a double, but in the same play, the second runner was thrown out to end the inning.

Then the game was handed off to Chance Adams for long-term relief, four decent innings for the reliever. The middle two being the hardest for Adams. With 2 outs in the 3rd, there was a similar situation after a batter worked a walk and then scored on an RBI double. But in that same play, the batter was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple just after the runner scored. In the 4th, with 1 out, Adams gave up a pair of doubles to scored 1 run, and a 2-out single scored 1 more.

Holder, Kahnle, and Britton each carried a scoreless inning. And Aroldis Chapman was looking for his 14th save in the 9th, and almost lost it with his own error. With 1 out, he gave up a walk and a pick-off error allowed the runner to make it all the way to 3rd and then scored on a sacrifice fly. He also earned his 250th career save.

The Yankees loaded up on the offense early and spent the game defending their lead. The Royals’ starter continued on in the 2nd, after a fairly easy 1st, but found the Yankees were ready to charge forward. They loaded up the bases with Morales’ singles, Frazier’s walk, and Urshela’s single. Austin Romine’s long single and a fielding error allowed both Morales and Frazier scored and put runners on the corners.

Then Cameron Maybin hit a nice double to score Urshela and Romine, and DJ LeMahieu’s single scored Maybin. It was at this point, with no outs, the Royals realized their starter wasn’t getting out of this inning and called in a reliever to mirror the Yankees’ pitching model tonight.

In the 3rd, Frazier worked a 1-out walk, moved to 3rd on Romine’s 2-out single, and then scored on Maybin’s single. But then the Yankees’ offense kind of faltered, and the Royals’ pitching finally snapped into action and held the visitors off.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Injury update: The Yankees officially assigned Didi Gregorius to the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons for his rehab assignment. Gregorius had Tommy John surgery in October. The usual return for non-pitchers is less than a year, and Gregorius is looking at a few weeks of rehab before making his return to the team. Should all go well, he could be returning prior to the All-Star Break.

Roster move: Before today’s doubleheader, the Yankees recalled reliever Chance Adams as the 26th man. Adams played a key role in the second of today’s games, even earning the win tonight.

Go Yankees!

Game 46: NYY vs. BAL — A Torres kind of rally

There have always been players that seem to play well against a certain team, like Ortiz, Trout, Bautista, and Longoria all being considered “Yankee Killers” at some point. But certain Yankees have the same affect on other teams. Currently, the two Yankee players that could be considered “Oriole Killers” are Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres. And fortunately, they were in fine form waging a big come-from-behind rally in the late innings of tonight’s game.

JA Happ got the start in tonight’s opener in Baltimore, and it was certainly one of his less than ideal starts. He threw 77 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 9 hits, a walk, and 6 runs, and struck out just 3 batters. In the 1st, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on a double. A single later scored that runner to give the Orioles an early lead.

In the 3rd, Happ gave up a lead-off solo home run and, after 2 outs, another solo home run. Then, with 2 outs in the 4th, a double scored on a single. After that runner stole 2nd, he scored on another single. That was the end of Happ’s troubled outing, handing the game over to Luis Cessa.

Cessa initially kept the Orioles from adding to their lead through the 5th. But his 6th had some defensive issues. With 1 out, a solid triple later scored on a sacrifice fly before he got out of the inning. Holder then had a much better scoreless 7th inning, which Britton followed up with his own solid 8th.

Meanwhile, the Yankees seemed a little sluggish to start their offense. Gleyber Torres started things with a big 1-out solo home run in the 2nd. But it wasn’t until the 6th that they found another opportunity. LeMahieu singled and Hicks walked, and both moved up into scoring position on a ground out. Gary Sanchez singled home LeMahieu, and Kendrys Morales’ ground out scored Hicks.

Once they got rolling, the Yankees found momentum in the final third of the game. In the 7th, Urshela singled, moved to 2nd on Maybin’s 1-out walk, and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. After a pitching change, Maybin scored on Aaron Hicks’ fly out and a really bad throwing error. With 2 outs and another pitching change in 8th, Gleyber Torres hit another solo home run, which was upheld despite an umpire review.

Then in the 9th, the Yankees found the final push for the rally. Gardner led-off with a single. Maybin then singled, but both runners ended up in scoring position due to a sluggish and sloppy defense. With 1 out, Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly scored Gardner to officially tie up the game. After Voit’s walk, Gary Sanchez smacked a big 3-run home run to finally put the Yankees in the lead.

Chapman closed out the bottom of the 9th with 3 great strikeouts, including the final pitch of a 101 mph, to earn his 12th save this year and deliver the Yankees the win.

Final score: 10-7 Yankees

Injury update: Miguel Andujar had surgery today on the torn ligament in his shoulder. He’s been troubled for quite a bit of it this season before it finally came to a point where surgery was the best option for him, despite ending this season. It is disappointing, but like many injured players this year, they are finding out that the Yankees are ready to step it up when one of their own needs a moment to heal and recover without losing a beat (or a game, usually).

Go Yankees!

Games 41 & 42: BAL vs. NYY — Much drier now, double the win

The weather has been quite uncooperative for the Yankees this week, raining out both games Monday and Tuesday. While they called yesterday’s game early enough, they really tried to make a go of it on Monday. But they couldn’t seem to dry out the field, despite the air blowers, rakes, and the odd pitchfork stuck in the mud in center field. Believe me, it was the right call to not play in the mess.

So, Monday’s game became the first game of today’s single-admission doubleheader. And Tuesday’s game is postponed until the Orioles come back to town in August. While making it a pretty packed day for the Yankees today, they still prevailed and held strong against their division foes.

Game 1 (The Make-up Game)
JA Happ got the start, throwing just 64 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, and striking out 3 Baltimore batters to earn the eventual win. There was actually a bit of back-and-forth between the teams this afternoon to see who’d make it out on top.

The Orioles struck first with a 2-out solo home run in the 1st inning. But the Yankees mirrored that with a 2-out solo home run by Gary Sanchez in the bottom of the 1st. Then in the 2nd, a 1-out single scored on a 2-out double. And Gleyber Torres tied the game up again with a lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the inning. But then 2 outs later, Cameron Maybin’s solo home run put the Yankees in the lead, his 1st home run as a Yankee. That is, until the 4th when the Orioles hit a lead-off solo home run to tie up the game again.

However, the Yankees came back in the bottom of that inning to ensure their victory. Torres led-off again with another solo home run. And with 1 out, Urshela hit a long ball into right field, but the fielder flubbed it and allowed Urshela to make it all the way to 3rd. Another out later, Mike Tauchman singled home Urshela.

Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman closed out the game with a scoreless streak, splitting the final 11 outs and keeping the Orioles from regaining the lead.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Game 2 (The Originally Scheduled Game)
After a brief break, the field was reset, and the next game was ready to go. Domingo German was on the mound to command his way through the evening, throwing 85 pitches in 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and just 1 run, and striking out 8 Baltimore batters.

The Orioles’ lone allowed run tonight was in the 5th. A lead-off single moved to 3rd on another single and then scored on a sacrifice fly. Britton and Chapman each took a scoreless inning to close out the game, with Aroldis Chapman earning his 10th and 11th save today in both games.

The Yankees’ offense kicked in once again tonight. In the 3rd, with 2 outs, LeMahieu singled and scored on Luke Voit’s double. Gleyber Torres powered home run #3 today with a lead-off solo home run in the 4th. And in the 7th, Estrada hit a 1-out double and scored on Voit’s 2-out single.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees (Since the 3rd game won’t be played until August, this series isn’t over yet. But the Yankees are clearly on top already.)

Next up: After an off-day tomorrow, the Yankees will host the Rays for the weekend before hitting the road again. They will travel first to visit the Orioles and then to the heartland with the Royals before returning home again.

Roster moves: Since the last game, the Yankees have made quite a few roster moves. So buckle up. On Monday, they activated Aaron Hicks from the injured list, and he played his first game of the season in the second game of today. They also placed pitcher Jonathan Loaisga on the 10-day IL, retroactive to May 10, due to shoulder strain. They optioned Mike Tauchman to AAA Scranton and recalled pitchers Nestor Cortes Jr. and Chance Adams from AAA Scranton.

Yesterday, the Yankees traded for infielder Kendrys Morales from the Athletics for cash or a Player To Be Named Later. Morales has spent time with the Angels, Mariners, Twins, Royals, and Blue Jays in his 13 seasons. The Yankees also moved Loaisiga to the 60-day IL, removing him from the roster to make room for Morales.

And today, they activated Morales to play in today’s game, optioning pitcher Joe Harvey to AAA Scranton and recalled Mike Tauchman to be the 26th man for the doubleheader.

But the biggest news is regarding Miguel Andujar. On Monday, the Yankees placed him on the 10-day IL with a labrum (shoulder) tear. After further review and tests, the decision was made to have surgery to repair the tear. This does effectively end his season pretty much before it began.

Once again, the Yankees have some great “back-up” that is proving themselves not really “back-up” but rather pretty good in their own right. Like Urshela, Tauchman, Maybin, Frazier, LeMahieu, and Estrada. Really, none of those names should be on the roster, and yet all of them are holding their own and helping the Yankees charge forward with a winning season.

Go Yankees!

Game 37: SEA vs. NYY — Happ’s 1-hitter victory

The Yankees are on their way south, a brief break in their long home stand this month, and they do so on a lovely high thanks to the great game tonight. In the final game of this 4-game series against the Mariners, the Yankees relied on strong pitching to carry them into victory on this chilly Thursday evening.

Most of that fell on starter JA Happ, who threw 94 pitches in his 5 scoreless innings, gave up just 1 hit and 3 walks, and struck out 7 Seattle batters. Ottavino, Kahnle, and Britton each breezed their way through a scoreless inning of their own.

Meanwhile, the Yankees found a single opportunity early on to grab the lead. In the 2nd, Frazier and Torres each singled, and 2 outs later, Cameron Maybin’s double scored Frazier. It was this lone run, this slim lead that the Yankees spent most of the game defending against a pretty good Mariners’ starter.

When the Mariners brought in a reliever in the 8th, the Yankees found their next chance to add to their minute lead. LeMahieu led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s single, and ended up at 3rd on Gardner’s fielder’s choice out at 2nd. Gardner stole 2nd to put both runners in scoring position.

After a strikeout, they intentionally walked Torres to load the bases. Feeling fine after that nasty bruise yesterday, Gio Urshela smacked a long single into right field that scored both LeMahieu and Gardner.

With a nice lead now, the Yankees sent in Aroldis Chapman for 3 outs in the 9th. But after 2 quick outs, he gave up a solo shot into the right field seats to give the Mariners their lone run of the evening. And then he got that final out to earn the save tonight, his 8th of the season.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 3-1

Next up: The Yankees are on their way to see the Rays just for the weekend. A brief road trip before they continue their home stand, hosting the Orioles and Rays next week. And then they hit the road again in a week-long road trip.

Scranton Shuttle: Before today’s game, the Yankees optioned pitcher Jake Barrett back to AAA Scranton and officially signed pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. To make room for him on the roster, they transferred Dellin Betances, still recovering from his shoulder injury, to the 60-day injured list.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 32: MIN vs. NYY — An un-Happ-y Star Wars Day

It’s Star Wars Day, and Yankee Stadium celebrated in style. Today’s giveaway was a bobblehead of CC Sabathia dressed as a Jedi knight. Sabathia dressed in full costume as the popular Jedi master Yoda to help hand out his figurines to waiting fans, joined around the stadium by other franchise characters dressed as storm troopers, rebel warriors, and even the stars like Darth Vader and Rey.

However, the Force was not with the Yankees this afternoon as they stumbled through this middle game of the series against the visiting Twins. JA Happ got roughed up a bit in today’s start, throwing 81 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 7 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, and striking out 3 Minnesota batters.

In the 3rd, the lead-off batter was hit by a pitch and then scored on a 1-out 2-run home run to get the Twins on the board first. A lead-off double in the 5th moved to 3rd on a single and scored on a double play. And with 2 outs in the 6th, a solo home run added yet another run for the visitors.

Joe Harvey closed out of the 6th for Happ and came out for the 7th. A lead-off single moved to 3rd on a fielder’s choice and throwing error. With runners on the corners, the Yankees called in Stephen Tarpley. The first batter hit into force out at 2nd, an unsuccessful double play, thus scoring that runner from 3rd. Tarpley came back out for the 8th. He gave up a lead-off walk. A balk moved that runner to scoring position to score on a long single.

After another single, the Yankees called in recent call-up Jake Barrett to close out the inning with 2 quick outs. A 1st pitch solo homer in the 9th was the only flaw in Barrett’s Yankee debut.

The Yankees faced a former division rival pitcher as the Twins’ starter today, and it certainly felt like he had the upper hand for most of his 6 scoreless innings. Once they went to the bullpen in the 7th, the Yankees pounced. Brett Gardner led-off with a strong double, moved to 3rd on Maybin’s single, and then scored on a wild pitch. Maybin ended up at 2nd on that play and later moved to 3rd on a ground out. He then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single to chip away at the Twins’ lead.

Gary Sanchez led-off the 8th with a big solo home run, continuing his hot streak. But that was it for the Yankees’ offense. They just couldn’t seem to find another moment to wheedle away at the Twins’ big lead today.

Final score: 7-3 Twins

Tomorrow’s game, the final game of this weekend series, has been moved from 1:05 pm to 4:05 pm due to forecasted rain that will sweep through the area early tomorrow.

Injured List update: Unfortunately, James Paxton’s knee will require a trip to the Injured List. After an official diagnosis of knee inflammation, Paxton is shut down to focus on treatment. They recalled pitcher Jake Barrett, formerly with the Diamondbacks, who closed out today’s game.

And Miguel Andujar was officially activated off the IL for today’s game, starting at 3rd base today. To make room, the Yankees optioned infielder Mike Ford back to AAA Scranton.

And Luke Voit’s on-base streak has come to an end. Going 0-for-4 today, Voit’s streak ends at 42 consecutive games, tying him with Yankee greats like Teixeira (in 2010), Williams (2001), O’Neill (1996), and Mattingly (1993-94). It fell short of franchise records of 57 by Jeter (1998-99) and 53 by Rodriguez (2004). Someone else commented with measurable optimism that his next streak begins tomorrow. I’ll take that.

Go Yankees!

Game 27: NYY vs. SF — A Grand Slam by the Bay

JA Happ had a great outing in this middle game of the weekend series in San Francisco. He threw 95 pitches in 7 scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and striking out just 2 batters. He set the pace for the Yankees to dominate most of this afternoon’s game. And he was supported by some great moments of the Yankee offense.

Maybin worked a walk to lead-off the 3rd inning, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt out, and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. In the 5th, Maybin and Estrada singled. Being a NL game, Happ got a few at-bats tonight, including hitting a bunt fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners. LeMahieu’s walk loaded up the bases.

Luke Voit was hit by a pitch, which walked in Estrada. Then with just 1 out and the bases loaded, Gary Sanchez stepped up and smacked his first career grand slam deep into the left field seats under today’s sunny skies. Fortunately, that ended up being the extra cushion the Yankees needed by the end of the game.

Luis Cessa came on in relief of Happ with a great 8th inning but started to falter in the 9th. He gave up consecutive singles to kick off the inning. A fielder’s choice put runners in the corners that would score on a solid 3-run home run. After another out, Cessa gave up a solo home run.

Unable to find that 3rd out, the Yankees called in Aroldis Chapman to close out the game for a quick 4-pitch save to shut down the Giants’ attempt at a last-minute rally.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees

It’s worth noting that in addition to being Gary Sanchez’s first career grand slam, it was also the longest grand slam ever hit in the Statcast era (an MLB tracking system since 2015), coming in at 467 feet. It was also his 7th home run of the season so far, even going on the IL for a bit.

Plus, the Yankees have now won 10 of their last 12 games, including 5 of the 6 games on this road trip. Again, I keep going back to how many amazing players are on the IL, and yet the Yankees really pull together and win more often than not.

Go Yankees!