NLDS & ALDS: ATL vs. STL, WAS vs. LAD & TB vs. HOU, MIN vs. NYY — 3 Game 5s & a 3-game sweep

There is nothing normal about the postseason most years, and this year continues to prove this once again. Three of the series went to a Game 5, and only one series was a sweep. And none of those is what you might expect.

NLDS A: The Cardinals and Braves duked it out through 5 games, and it wasn’t until the 5th that the Cardinals came on strong and just made the decision to win this series.

NLDS
Game 1: Actually, the Braves had this game right up until the final inning, when the Cards came out swinging. The Braves just could not catch up in the end. 7-6 Cardinals

Game 2:
The Braves decided they weren’t going to let the series head to St. Louis without a hometown win, using this game to prove why they came out on top of the NL East by blanking the visiting Cardinals. 3-0 Braves

Game 3: This was one of those super tight games, with the Cards eking a single run by the Braves until the 9th. The visitors scored 3 big runs in that inning and ended up taking the lead in the series. 3-1 Braves

Game 4: Another nail biter in the series, as the game was tied and went into the 10th inning before the Cardinals got a walk-off home run to tie up the series. 5-4, in 10 Cardinals

Game 5: Back in Atlanta, the Braves lost their home field advantage in that 1st inning, giving up 10 runs to the visitors, who ended up dominating this game. 13-1 Cardinals

Cardinals win the series in 5 games

NLDS B: Almost everyone “knew” who was going to win this series. Almost everyone “knew” they were going to sweep this series. Almost everyone was very wrong.

Game 1: However, after this first game, “they” were rather confident they “knew” how this was going to work as the Dodgers quickly shut out the Nationals. 6-0 Dodgers

Game 2: But then the Nationals came back and just edged out the home team. 4-2 Nationals

Game 3: In DC, the Dodgers came back just crushing the home team with a big 6th inning. 10-4 Dodgers

Game 4: And somehow, the Nats weren’t about to go away quietly, relying on some solid pitching to tie up the series again and force a Game 5. 6-1 Nationals

Game 5: Another nail-biter in the NL. The game was tied right into the 10th, right up until the Dodgers’ reliever gave up a huge grand slam. The deficit too big to overcome by the home team, costing them the rest of the postseason. 7-3, in 10 Nationals

Nationals win the series in 5 games

ALDS A: As with the other league’s version of this series, games between the league leader and the wild card winner aren’t anything normal or predictable. Especially as the Rays were on quite the tear this last month in their quest for a postseason. But in this series alone, it was all about the “home field advantage”.

Game 1: The Astros started the series strong, only giving up runs to the Rays in the 8th. 6-2 Astros

Game 2: The Astros’ starter the game was just amazing, streaming through the Rays’ lineup and collecting 15 strikeouts. Not that the Rays were slacking. The Astros just played better. 3-1 Astros

Game 3: Once the game was at the Trop, the Rays came out swinging and just didn’t stop. They certainly weren’t about to let the Astros just run away with this series. 10-3 Rays

Game 4: While this wasn’t as poweful in the end, the Rays still collected 13 total hits, giving them more opportunities to score and eventually tie up the series. 4-1 Rays

Game 5: Again, this series was all about home field advantage. Once they were back in Houston, the Astros took command again and showed their fans why they deserve to go to the ALCS once again. 6-1 Astros

Astros win series in 5 games

ALDS B: The one series nobody was really talking about. Outside Yankee Universe, that is. But this one was something to really watch, as the Yankees were about to show off a bit.

Game 1: The Yankees had some really big innings, including home runs by LeMahieu and Gardner. Though Paxton started, it was Kahnle who ended up with the win for his 5th & 6th inning stint to essentially save the game early on until the Yankees powered their way through with those big runs in the 6th. 10-4 Yankees

Game 2: It was Tanaka Time in the Bronx for this game. Aand once again, the Yankee bats came through to support their starter, including a big 3rd inning offense. And while most of their runs were off RBI singles, but i was Didi Gregorius’ grand slam to ensure the Yankees’ eventual win. 8-2 Yankees

Game 3: Home field advantage didn’t seem to matter to the Yankees this series, as they took their momentum on the road. They used an opener in Green, who showed his reliability with a strong start and set the pattern for the rest of the game, backed by a good offense with homers by Torres and Maybin. 5-1 Yankees

Yankees sweep series in 3 games.

An interesting article I found was the idea that no one gives an MVP award for the Division Series. This is one writer’s idea of who should get this hypothetical award. I agreed (or at least understood) his picks in most of these games. But what do you think?

Championship Series begins tomorrow night with NLCS and Saturday with the ALCS. It is a best-of-7 series, so the first team with 4 wins will move onto the World Series next week.

My predictions: So, this first round was a mixed bag. I completely blew the NLDS. First is my prediction, second is the outcome.

  • NLDS A: Braves over Cardinals in 5 games — Cardinals in 5
  • NLDS B: Dodgers over Nationals in 3 games — Nationals in 5
  • ALDS A: Astros over Rays in 4 games — Astros in 5
  • ALDS B: Yankees over Twins in 5 games — Yankees in 3

Now for the Championship Series: (Perhaps, I’ll be better this round.)

  • NLCS: Cardinals over Nationals in 6 games
  • ALCS: Yankees over Astros in 7 games

It’s clearly going to be one of those postseasons. And let’s be honest, it’s really just beginning. But isn’t that what makes October Baseball more intriguing — that you don’t know what’s going to happen?

Go Yankees!

Game 160: NYY vs. TEX — “Bronx Bombers” rightly set MLB HR record

The Yankees traveled to Arlington, Texas, for a weekend series with the Rangers for the final 3 games of regular season play. A high scoring game fueled by power bats in the lineup and by strong outings from 9 pitchers earned New York their 103rd season win.

James Paxton, took command of the ball for the Yankees for the 1st inning, facing 6 batters, giving up 3 hits, including a 2-run home run. At the close of the inning, Paxton exited the game as a precaution due to soreness and was replaced by Heller for the 2nd inning. Heller gave up a single to the lead-off batter, but followed with a strike out swinging and a grounder that led to a double play. In the 3rd, Tarpley came on to faced 3 batters for 3 quick outs — 2 strikeouts and a ground out.

Another pitching change in the 4th brought Loaisiga to the mound. He allowed a walk, but then got 3 outs to keep the scoreless pattern going strong. Gearrin got his chance in the 5th to keep that inning scoreless. In the 6th inning, Lyons took the ball, facing 3 batters for his 3 outs.

Taking the mound in the 7th, Michael King, a recent call up from Scranton/Wilkes-Barres, was the only Yankee pitcher to throw for more than one inning tonight. But in the 8th, King’s lead-off batter made it safely to 1st on a fielding error, moved to 2nd on a 1-out single before scoring on another single.

However, with the Yankees firmly ahead in tonight’s game, the Yankees needed a quick 3 outs again for the 9th. But Chance Adams had some trouble after striking out the lead-off batter. He then gave up a solo home run, a pair of doubles, and a 2-run home run to edge the Rangers closer to the Yankees’ lead. With just 1 out, Cortes took the ball for a pop-out to the 1st baseman and an infield ground out, allowing no further runs for the home team.

On the other side, the Yankee lineup came out swinging for the win, and it showed. In the 1st inning, Giancarlo Stanton hit a long ball to left center field for the Yankees 300th home run of the season. With 2 strikeouts in the 2nd, Cameron Maybin smashed another homer to left center that tied up the game at that point.

After a scoreless 3rd inning, Brett Gardner led off in the 4th and sent a home run ball to right center that gave New York a slim lead. With 2 outs and Ford on 1st, LeMahieu’s double moved Ford to 3rd base. Giancarlo Stanton’s single scored both Ford and LeMahiey and gave the Yankees a nice lead. At the bottom of the 6th, Gio Urshela led-off with a home run to left center. Maybin then worked a walk, and a 2-run homer that Ford sent to right scored Maybin.

In the 7th, a single line drive by Gardner, followed by another single grounder by Maybin, put two men on base. Ford worked a walk to load up the bases. DJ LeMahieu’s double to left field scored all 3 runners, but LeMahieu was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple to end the inning.

Austin Romine led-off the 9th inning with a solo home run to center. With 1 out, and Urshela and Maybin on base, Mike Ford’s double scored both runners to give the Yankees a rather large lead they would need due to the mess in the bottom of that inning.

Final score: 14-7 Yankees

A big congratulations to the Yankees who now lead MLB in home runs for the season with 305. The Twins were briefly ahead of New York, but after tonight’s 6 homers, the Yankees were back in the lead. With 2 more regular season games, there will be several chances to add to that record for New York. This also officially sets the MLB single season record by a team.

Go Yankees!

Game 156: TOR vs. NYY — #BigMaple strikes again

Much like New York itself, this afternoon in the Bronx was filled with a bit of everything. Records were broken, pitching was on point, batters hit out of the park, and there was even a bit of drama at the plate over some rather odd calls by the umpires. But it was overall a very successful outing for the entire Yankee team who faced the Blue Jays for this second game of this weekend series at Yankee Stadium.

James “Big Maple” Paxton took stellar command of the mound for the Yankees today, throwing 87 pitches through a full 6 innings for 7 strikeouts and his 15th win of the year. Today’s game was Paxton’s 10th consecutive start that he also won.

After Paxton secured 3 quick outs in the 1st, the 2nd inning began with the ejection of Yankees manager Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames. Unruffled, Paxton secured another 3 quick outs to close the 2nd. An infield fielding error in the 3rd caused a batter to reach 1st base, and a couple of singles allowed a run. With Paxton still on the mound in the next 3 innings, he allowed only 1 hit, but no runs.

Jonathan Loaisiga took over for Paxton at the top of the 7th, allowing 2 doubles and a run. Loaisiga’s final pitch of the 7th was recorded at 100.2 mph, his fastest pitch ever, thrown straight down the middle for a strike out swinging to end the inning. Loaisiga allowed a single in the 8th, but no runs scored. Chad Green replaced Loaisiga in the 9th to close the game, facing 3 batters for 3 strikeouts

Yankee batters were strong today and tallied up 11 hits for a total of 7 runs. In the 4th, Judge doubled a line drive to center and then scored on a double to left by Giancarlo Stanton to get the Yankees on the board. The game now tied, Mike Ford sent an RBI single to center field that brought home Stanton.

Stanton led off the 6th with a solo home run deep to center to give the Yankees a nice lead. Mike Ford doubled, followed by an RBI double from Clint Frazier that scored Ford. Wade hit a line drive to right that put him on 2nd and moved Frazier to 3rd. Kyle Higashioka came to the plate and sent a RBI 2-run single to right field that brought home both Frazier and Wade.

Finally, in the 7th, Maybin worked a walk and then moved the 2nd on a ground out. Maybin scored on a Mike Ford’s single, and Yankees earned their 101st game of the 2019 season.

Final score: 7-2 Yankees

Injury updates: There was good news today for Gleyber Torres today who fell hard during a play in yesterday’s game. The MRI on his sore right hamstring came back negative. Torres will be available to play through the end of the season depending on his progress.

A bit of game drama: Yankee manager, Aaron Boone, was ejected by 3B umpire (and crew chief) Joe West for concern over questionable calls by a young home plate umpire. Also getting ejected and getting sent back to the clubhouse was Yankee hitting coach Marcus Thames.

This day in Yankee history: On September 21, 2008, the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7-3, in the last game ever played at the old Yankee Stadium.

Go Yankees!

Game 150: NYY vs. TOR — Paxton + power batting for the win

After yesterday’s disappointing loss to Toronto, New York came back strong. On the mound, at the plate, or on the field, all the pieces seemed to come together today for the Yankees. Personal season batting records were broken as the pitchers kept a tight control of the game for their 98th win of the season.

James Paxton took command of the mound this afternoon for a stellar outing through the 5th inning. Paxton threw 101 pitches and gave up 3 hits and a run. That run didn’t come until after 4 commanding innings. In the 5th, Paxton allowed a single that advanced to 2nd on a throwing error in the infield. A walk and a sacrifice fly gave Toronto their 1st run of the game.

In the 6th, with the Yankees drastically, Gearrin replaced Paxton and gave up 2 singles, but no runs. Loaisiga replaced Gearrin for a strong 2 innings. And in the bottom of the 9th, with the Yankees securely in the lead, Ryan Dull was called to close the game. Dull allowed a double, a walk, and another double that scored those 2 runners for the Blue Jays. After a mound visit, Dull gave up a single but then stuck out the last 2 batters, leaving 2 men on base and sealing the game for the Yankees.

In addition to the strong pitching, with 19 total hits, 13 RBIs, 4 walks, and 13 runs, this game clearly belonged to the Yankees. After a quiet 1st, the 2nd inning began well with a walk by Voit who moved to 2nd on a single by Urshela. Brett Gardner’s double to left field scored Voit. In the 3rd inning, lead-off batter LeMahieu singled and ended up on 3rd on Judge’s single. Torres reached base on a fielder’s choice that got LeMahieu out at home. Luke Voit then came to the plate and hit a ground-rule double deep down the right field line to score Judge and double their score.

In the 4th, Brett Gardner hit a long ball to center for a solo home run of the season. Following a couple outs, Estrada reached base on a hit by pitch. The 5th inning started with Torres being awarded a base on a hit by pitch and a walk by Voit. So, with 2 men on base, Brett Gardner (again) hammered his 2nd homer of the game to center field, a 3-run home run and his 25th home run this year.

In the 6th, with the Yankees well ahead, LeMahieu singled on a line drive to center and scored on a 2-run home run to left by Gleyber Torres, his 37th homer this year. Luke Voit followed him with his own solo home run to center to give the Yankees an 8 run lead.

In the 9th inning, Yankee offense pressed on for more runs to pad their lead. Higashioka doubled with a fly ball to left field, followed by a single to center by Thairo Estrada that scored Higashioka. Frazier hit a deep single that moved Estrada to 3rd. Tyler Wade grounded out, but moved Frazier to 3rd as Estrada scored. Mike Ford came to the plate and sent his 11th home run of the season deep to center, scoring Frazier.

Final score: 13-3 Yankees

Injury update: Aaron Boone is cautiously optimistic but won’t speculate on a timetable that would allow the return of Gary Sanchez or Edwin Encarnacion. Sanchez is currently dealing with a groin injury, and Encarnacion is nursing an oblique injury.

Also, there are a few other players ready to come off the IL and should join the team this week as part of the final push for postseason, including Betances, Holder, Montgomery, and Stanton. And there is good news for Luis Severino, who is scheduled to make his long-awaited season debut on Tuesday when the team returns to Yankee Stadium for their final home stand.

A big congrats to the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees AA Affiliate, who won their 4th Eastern League Championship facing the Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles AA team).

Go Yankees!

Game 145: NYY vs. BOS — Yankees shutout Boston in game and in division

With tonight’s win, and the series win, the Red Sox are officially eliminated from the AL East division title. However, they are still in contention for the wild card, being 8 games behind the current wild card leaders (Rays, Athletics, and Indians). This day is one for many celebrations, including this shut-out win for the New York Yankees in the shadow of a defeated Green Monster.

Big Maple got the start for the Yankees tonight. James Paxton was dominant in the shut-out of the Red Sox, giving up 4 hits and 3 walks into the 7th inning. He also struck out 7 Boston batters for his 13th win of the season. Britton closed out the 7th, keeping the shut-out alive. Gearrin and Lyons each took a 1-hit, 1-strikeout inning to close out the game.

After 4 quiet scoreless innings for both teams, the Yankee batters came alive in the 5th when Austin Romine hit a home run to right field to give New York a 1-0 lead. At the top of the 7th, Gio Urshela sent his 19th season homer to left center field. Austin Romine followed with a line drive double to left and moved to 3rd on a wild pitch. A single by DJ LeMahieu then scored Romine.

After a Boston pitching change, Aaron Judge came to the plate in the 7th and served up a double line drive to center that moved LeMahieu to 3rd. Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly to left field allowed LeMahieu to score and the Yankees were ahead 4-0.

At the top of the 9th, Romine earned a walk and moved to 2nd on a walk from Judge. Torres followed with a single ground ball to left to load up the bases. So Luke Voit’s RBI single to left scored Romine for the 5th run in New York’s shut out victory.

Final score: 5-0, Yankees, Yankees take the series 3-1

Injury updates: While CC Sabathia is still hoping to return in some capacity this season, the news for Mike Tauchman is not so good since his injury in tonight’s game put him on the IL for 6-8 weeks. Diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain, Tauchman will likely be done for the season.

This allows the possibility to see more of Cameron Maybin, Clint Frazier, and/or Tyler Wade on the field. But Tauchman will be much missed from the roster. But in better news, Giancarlo Stanton could be ready to rejoin the team at home in New York next week.

Finally, before tonight’s game, former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz threw out the ceremonial first pitch and spoke to the adoring Boston crowd. This is the first public appearance by the future Hall of Famer after being shot at a club in the Dominican Republic just 2 months ago, a case still under investigation. (Full video clip here.)

Ortiz underwent several surgeries to save his life and keep the recovery progressing, both initially in the DR and later back in Boston, so his participation before tonight’s game was quite literally a miracle. While he will always be seen as a life-long opponent to the Yankees, his positive attitude, tough work ethic, and generous heart is rather appreciated by all of us across the baseball world. We are certainly glad he’s doing great, and we are glad he’s no longer in a Red Sox uniform!

Go Yankees!

Game 140: TEX vs. NYY: Big Maple in command

After yesterday’s dreary shutout at Yankee Stadium, tonight’s team roared back with a near shutout of their own. A strong pitching outing from New York in the form of James Paxton and Jonathan Loaisiga, plus stellar defense and more record-breaking batting, showed the crowd why the Yankees are on a hopeful path to the Fall Classic this year.

James Paxton, “Big Maple”, took a firm command of the mound for the Yankees tonight. He faced the Rangers and easily breezed his way through the lineup for 7 scoreless phenomenal innings.

A pitching change in top of the 8th brought Jonathan Loaisiga to the mound allowing a walk, but the defense easily shut down the inning with a double play by the Wade-Gregorius-Voit combination to keep the Yankees firmly in the lead. Loaisiga was back in the 9th, and while allowing one home run, the New York defense shut down the inning with a final ground out maintaining the Yankee lead for a solid win for the pinstripes tonight.

The Yankee bats were alive and well throughout the game. In the 1st, Gary Sanchez sent a fly ball over the fence in center field for the first home run, scoring Didi Gregorius and the Yankees were on the board and in the lead 2-0.

In the 6th, LeMahieu and Aaron Judge singled on grounders and scored on Didi Gregorius’ homer to right center field. Gary Sanchez followed him with another homer also to right center. Encarnacion then singled and scored on a home run sent to right field by Brett Gardner to increase their lead over Texas.

The 7th inning saw Sanchez take his base after being hit by a pitch and promptly scored on a fly ball home run to left field from Edwin Encarnacion, placing the Yankees ahead by double-digit runs, and a shutout seemed probable. But then that homer in the 9th gave a run back to the Rangers that quashed the near shutout. It was quite the game. Another strong display of the the range of talent the Yankees have in abundance this year.

Final score: 10-1 Yankees

Injury update: CC Sabathia remains on the IL until at least Sept. 10. After his knee was drained and treated with a cortisone shot and lubricant, Sabathia is feeling better but has yet to test the knee. Apparently on a “wait and see” list, his day-to-day will be monitored in hopes to see Sabathia on the mound at least once more before his retires. Whether he gets to pitch again this season or not, Sabathia’s legacy is already well established.

While pitchers David Hale and Jake Barrett are definitely out for the season, others like Dellin Betances, Thairo Estrada, Aaron Hicks, Gio Urshela, Jordan Montgomery, Stephen Tarpley, Giancarlo Stanton, Jonathan Holder, and Luis Severino are expected to return in later this month. A few, like Montgomery, are already starting their rehab assignments to work their way back to the Bronx.

Go Yankees!

Game 135 — NYY vs. SEA: Northeast beats northwest… again

The Yankees continued to dominate today in their three-game series in Seattle, a city known for its innovation and technology. Yet no amount of either would be of any help today as the Yankees clearly controlled the game in typical Bronx Bomber style.

To open the game, James Paxton took command of the mound for New York and pitched a full five innings with 86 pitches, striking out 4, and allowing only 2 runs in the 4th inning.

At the top of the 6th, Green took over and threw 40 pitches, struck out 3 batters, and allowed one walk but no runs. Ottavino replaced Green in the 8th and faced three batters for a quick three outs. To close, Gearrin replaced Ottavino and shut down the Mariners quickly to end the game with another win for New York.

In the 1st, the Yankees got on the scoreboard first when Torres singled and scored on a Gary Sanchez’s home run, upheld despite a call for review. Then, with a tie game at the top of the 5th, Mike Ford sent a homer to right field, his 4th of this particular series. This is especially sweet for Ford, as the Mariners rejected him on the Rule 5 Draft just a few years ago. Returning to the Yankees and using the time to develop his skills, Ford now is fast becoming one of the team’s standout players as he has here in the Seattle series.

The 5th inning continued as LeMahieu’s single scored Wade, this followed by an Aaron Judge’s home run to left that scored LeMahieu to ensure the lead. And in the top of the 9th inning, DJ LeMahieu hit a homer to left field to secure another run and a definite win for the Yankees as they swept the Mariners.

Final score: 7-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep the series 3-0

Next up: After an off-day tomorrow, the Yankees travel back home to face Oakland for a three-game weekend series, and then they host the Rangers before hitting the road once again. On their road trip, they will face the Red Sox, Tigers, and Blue Jays before their final home stand this season.

Injury update: Gio Urshela was pulled from the game during the 5th, with possible groin strain. No tests are scheduled at this time and Urshela should return to the lineup this weekend. However, this allowed Didi Gregorius to be back on the field today and help out the Yankees once again.

Go Yankees!