Game 70: NYY vs. CHW — Gardy’s Father’s Day Party

In today’s finale in Chicago, the fans packed this special day for so many baseball fans. Players donned special light blue caps for the game as part of an MLB initiative to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. And the sentiment everywhere had people talking about the special men in their lives — fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, husbands, uncles, and many others who fill that “fatherly” role in our lives. And a day at the ball park certainly is a way to celebrate those father figures in our lives, especially when they too love America’s pastime.

James Paxton got the start this afternoon and had a rather commanding outing. He threw 108 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, a walk, and just 2 runs, and struck out 7 batters. He gave up a 2-out solo home run in the 1st to get the White Sox on the board first. But then Paxton kept things under control for most of his outing. In the 5th, a 1-out single moved to 2nd on a 2-out single and then scored on another single to double their score.

Ottavino breezed his way through a scoreless 7th inning. David Hale’s strong 8th inning was briefly interrupted by a 1-out solo home run to add just one more run for the home team. Britton then got the ball for a really quick scoreless 9th to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees came on strong and just didn’t let up, mostly thanks to Yankees’ resident “dad” Brett Gardner. In the 3rd, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded the bases with a single to LeMahieu and walks to Voit and Torres. After another out, Brett Gardner singled home both LeMahieu and Voit. Gio Urshela then singled and scored Torres. After Tauchman’s walk loaded the bases again, Austin Romine singled and scored both Gardner and Urshela to really solidify the Yankees’ lead.

Gardner was hit by a pitch to lead-off the 5th and ended up at 3rd on Urshela’s double. Austin Romine’s 1-out double scored both Gardner and Urshela. In the 6th, with 1 out, Torres worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Frazier’s single, and then scored on Gardner’s fielder’s choice grounder.

Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a 2-out solo home run in the 7th. In the 8th, Torres again walked, moved to 2nd on a grounder, and then scored on Gardner’s 2-out single to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Final score: 10-3 Yankees, they split the series 2-2

Next up: The Yankees head home for their final home stand before the All-Star Break and kick off their annual HOPE Week. They will face the Rays first, then host the Astros for a 4-game weekend series, and close out the home stand with 3 games against the Blue Jays. Two travel days later (read: jetlag), the Yankees will face the Red Sox in London in the first ever regular season games in the UK.

And a happy Father’s Day to all those celebrating, honoring, or remembering the father figures in their lives today. The Yankees also paid tribute to their fathers or talked about becoming fathers in a series of videos. (Happ & Paxton; Judge & Stanton; Severino & Kahnle; Gardner & Gregorius; Torres & VoitGreen & Frazier; Romine & Sabathia) Enjoy!

Go Yankees!

Games 65 & 66: NYM vs. NYY — Subway series split, big bats & messy defense

Yesterday’s game to kick off this brief stint back in New York during this odd road trip was once again at the mercy of the weather, with the rain turning the outfield once again into large puddles. So, they rescheduled last night’s game for the afternoon game of what became today’s double header against the Mets.

Game 1 (rescheduled from June 10)
Masahiro Tanaka is back from paternity leave to make this afternoon’s start of this 2-game mini-series against the Yankees’ crosstown rivals. Tanaka had a pretty great outing, throwing 101 pitches into the 7th inning, allowing 7 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), and striking out 7 Mets’ batters.

In the 3rd, the lead-off batter made it safely to 1st on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a single, and then scored on another single. Then a big 3-run home run gave the Mets a nice cushion. In the 6th, a lead-off double scored on a 2-out single to add just one more run. Kahnle closed out the 7th for Tanaka with a great 3-pitch strikeout before handing the gave over to Hale to finish the final 2 scoreless innings for the Yankees.

Despite that wobble in the 3rd, the Yankees dominated the Mets’ pitchers throughout the afternoon. In the 2nd, Gregorius hit a 1-out double and scored on Kendrys Morales’ single. This got the Yankees on the board first, but after the Mets took the lead in the top of the 3rd, the home team just surged forward.

Gardner led-off the 3rd with a single and moved to 2nd on what was eventually called a fielder’s choice. The fielder who handled the ball in an attempt to do the double play (that never happened), but he never touched 2nd to make the force out there. A very quick replay overturned the out call. Gardner moved to 3rd when Hicks into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (and yes, the fielder touched the bag this time). After another out, Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner.

In the 4th, Morales hit a 1-out single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen. After another out, LeMahieu made it all the way to 2nd on a bad throwing error and moved up at 3rd on a wild pitch. After Hicks worked a walk, Luke Voit smacked a big 3-run home run deep into the left field bleachers to ensure the Yankees’ lead.

But they weren’t finished. With 2 outs in the 5th, Morales doubled and scored on Urshela’s single. Urshela then scored on Brett Gardner’s great triple. Frazier led-off the 7th with a double, moved to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on Urshela’s double. And in the 8th, Voit worked a 1-out walk and then scored on Gardner’s solid 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big afternoon.

It’s also worth noting that of the 12 Yankee runs only 8 were considered earned due to the sloppy defense, a rather common scene today. Not that the Yankees’ defense was immune to the sloppy defense bug either, which was the cause of some of their more recent losses (or near losses). There were 5 errors made in the first game alone (and 1 in the later one).

Final score: 12-5 Yankees

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees were hoping for the mini-sweep today, but so many things just didn’t work out in their favor tonight. James Paxton got the start and was just shaky from the beginning. He threw 63 pitches into just the 3rd inning, gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out just 1 Mets’ batter.

In the 1st, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single, and both runners scored on a 3-run home run to kick things off before anyone got an out tonight. After a scoreless 2nd, with 1 out in the 3rd, Paxton gave up 2 walks that proceeded to score on consecutive singles. After another out, another single scored a run.

That was it for Paxton’s night, and the Yankees handed things over to their 26th man for the double header, Chance Adams. Adams finished the 3rd and through the majority of the game for the next 4 innings. He too found some problems in his outing. In the 4th, the lead-off batter made it safely due to a fielding error and then scored as part of a 2-run home run. And a 2-out solo home run in the 5th kept the visitors on a roll.

After Adams had a better few innings to finish his stint, Cessa threw a flawless 8th. Things were looking up. But Stephen Tarpley had some issues in the 9th but managed to keep the damage minimal. The lead-off batter was hit by a pitch, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on a 2-out double to cap off the Mets’ runs tonight.

The Yankees had a lone inning of offense tonight. LeMahieu led-off with a single, Voit worked a walk, and Sanchez hit a short single to load up the bases. Gleyber Torres’ single scored just LeMahieu. Clint Frazier hit into a fielder’s choice that just scored Voit. Urshela repeated the play to score Sanchez.

But with the Mets’ offensive dominance tonight, the Yankees just couldn’t catch up. But they tried. Brett Gardner even got in on the action with a lead-off solo home run in the 9th. But there was no last-minute rally to make up the difference.

Final score: 10-4 Mets, The New York teams thus split this year’s Bronx edition of the Subway Series. (The teams will have another mini-series in Queens at the beginning of next month.)

Next up: The Yankees have a travel day/off-day tomorrow (Wednesday) before they play a 4-game weekend series against the White Sox. Then they’re back in the Bronx again to face the Rays, Astros, and Blue Jays and host HOPE Week. Then it’s off to England for the much-anticipated international rivalry series in London.

Roster moves: The Yankees have been quite busy moving players into position for these last few days. As mentioned above, they activated Masahiro Tanaka from paternity leave, optioned Nestor Cortes Jr to AAA Scranton, and selected Chance Adams for the 26th man for the double header.

Injury updates: The Yankees also sent Giancarlo Stanton start his rehab assignment with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons. Expect to hear news on Judge this weekend, as the Yankees expect both star outfielder to rejoin the team shortly. But the rough news is about Dellin Betances, who suffered a setback in his recovery with a lat strain. Betances is shut down a few weeks to nurse this new pain in his middle back.

Finally, there’s good news on the All-Star Game voting. Your Yankees are some of the fan favorites so far. Sanchez is by far leading all other AL catchers, and Voit has a good lead at AL first base. But the rest of the team are also still contenders — Urshela is pulling a strong 2nd at 3rd base; LeMahieu and Torres are in 3rd in their categories (second base and shortstop); Stanton is coming in 5th as DH; and outfielders Judge, Gardner, and Hicks are currently 7th, 13th, and 16th.

In other words, go vote today and keep the Yankees at the top of their respective categories. The top 3 in each group (top 9 in the outfield) will move on to the next round of voting. This first round of voting ends June 21 at 4 pm EST, so vote today, up to 5 times every 24 hours.

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 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!

Game 54: SD vs. NYY — Tuesday night spells Tanaka troubles

In this second game of the midweek series against the visiting Padres, the Yankees fell just short, despite making quite the concerted effort to overcome the Padres’ early lead. Masahiro Tanaka got off to a bumpy start and really couldn’t recover after the 1st inning. Overall, he threw 100 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs (4 earned), and still struck out 7 batters.

In that 1st inning, his lead-off batter reached on a fielding error, moved to 2nd on a single, and then scored on an RBI single. The next batter hit a big 3-run home run up the middle to shove the Padres into that early lead, all before Tanaka recorded an out. After this mess, things settled down. Until the 6th. A 1-out single moved to 3rd on another single and then scored on yet another single for the Padres’ eventual insurance run.

Joe Harvey and Luis Cessa split the final 3 innings, keeping the visitors scoreless and each collecting 2 strikeouts to carry the game through. Without that messy start, the Yankees really had quite a good game overall, pushing the Padres’ bullpen to the brink later in the game.

Gary Sanchez found the first chance for the Yankees with a 1-out solo home run in the 4th. But it was the 7th that really made things interesting for the home town crowd. With a new pitcher, Morales led-off with a walk. After a strikeout and another new pitcher, Estrada then worked a walk.

Still another new pitcher couldn’t seem to get the Yankees out, loading the bases with Gardner’s short single. DJ LeMahieu’s single scored Morales and Estrada, and Voit’s single loaded up the bases again. Aaron Hicks hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd to score Gardner.

And the Yankees’ rally halted abruptly as the Padres finally found relievers that kept the Yankees’ bats much quieter. Thus, the Yankees fell just short of the win.

Final score: 5-4 Padres

Roster moves: Before today’s game, the Yankees announced they were sending Didi Gregorius to join AAA Scranton to continue his rehab assignment. He was successful with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons, but he’ll continue ramping up his progress before setting foot back with the major league roster, making his 2019 debut after Tommy John surgery last October.

After the game, the Yankees optioned Joe Harvey back to AAA Scranton. It looks like starter James Paxton will be back in the rotation tomorrow, as scheduled. Paxton has been nursing a troubling knee injury, recently getting cortisone injections.

And it’s that time of year again. The All-Star Game voting is underway. They’re doing things a bit different than they did in previous years. Fans still get a chance to help pick their favorites to start the game, starting today. Fans can vote up to 5 times a day via MLB team sites or once a day through Google Search until June 21 at 4 pm EST.

The finalists (top 3 per position, top 9 outfielders) will be revealed June 21 at 7pm EST. Then fan voting resumes for the finalists June 26 at 12pm EST through June 27 at 4pm EST. The winners of this vote will be revealed June 27 at 7pm, and the rest of the ASG roster on June 30.

The All-Star Game will be July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, with many fun local festivities leading up to the main event like the Fan Fest, Workout Day, and the Home Run Derby.

Go Yankees!

Game 44: TB vs. NYY — 11th inning let-down

Masahiro Tanaka had a great outing this afternoon in the second game of this weekend series against the visiting Rays. He threw 88 pitches through 6 scoreless innings, giving up just 3 hits and striking out 6 batters. He took a nasty grounder off his shin in the 5th, managed to finish the inning, but then came out of the game. Later x-rays came back negative, but he’ll have a nasty bruise on his shin.

The Yankees struck first in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, they loaded up the bases with singles by Brett Gardner and LeMahieu and a walk to Voit. After another strikeout, a messy wild pitch moved up the runners, and Gardner raced home to score the Yankees’ lone run this afternoon.

In the 7th, Tommy Kahnle came on in relief for Tanaka. He promptly gave up a lead-off solo home run to tie up the game but held off the Rays from doing further damage. Britton and Chapman each followed suit, breezing through with a scoreless inning of their own.

And so the game went on into extra innings. Holder continued the pattern through the 10th with a quick 11-pitch scoreless inning. But Luis Cessa had some trouble in the 11th. With 1 out, a solo home run put the Rays in the lead. And the Yankees couldn’t put together the rally for the bottom of the inning, thus falling to the visitors today.

Final score: 2-1 Rays, in 11 innings

Injury updates: James Paxton threw a bullpen session before Friday’s game and will throw again on Sunday. He still felt some pain due to his knee injury (from May 4), but it’s improved and hoping to diminish as he continues his rehab.

Didi Gregorius will start his extended Spring Training on Monday. After his Tommy John surgery last October, the shortstop will spend time working on simulated games and exercises similar real Spring Training, but compacted down from the standard 7 weeks. This is a really good sign that Gregorius could be back on the team well before the All-Star Break.

And Giancarlo Stanton took live at-bats this week. It looks like his biceps and shoulder strain injuries from early April are healed, and he will begin his rehab assignment with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons on Monday.

(A quick note to Tampa-based Yankees fans: most of the rehabbing players seem to spend their recovery time with this team. So you could see your favorite stars for cheaper than Spring Training prices and way closer seats throughout these next few weeks and months, and you don’t have to travel to the Bronx to see them in action.)

Go Yankees!

Game 38: NYY vs. TB — Under the dome’s Friday Night Lights

Tropicana Field is a strange place. It’s the only stadium in MLB to have a roof that isn’t retractable. And because of that, it has weird rules on how a ball hits a certain beam in the dome’s structure is an out/hit/home run.

Of course, there are positives to it. Florida is super hot most of they year, but in the Trop, it’s always 72° F. And when there’s inclement weather, like tonight, there’s never any rain delay, wet fields, or strangely sponsored tarps.

While it stormed outside, the Yankees kicked off their first game of this weekend series against the Rays. Domingo German got the start tonight, throwing 84 pitches in 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 5 Rays’ batters. He kept the Rays scoreless through most of his outing until his last inning, the 5th. A lead-off double scored on a 1-out 2-run home run to get them on the board. And a 2-out solo homer eased the home team into the lead.

Despite a decent showing of Rays’ fans, the majority of tonight’s packed stadium were rooting for the visitors, as usual. And the Yankees were ready to put on a show for their local fans. DJ LeMahieu led-off the game by making it to 1st on a throwing error. Voit walked and Sanchez singled to load up the bases. After a strikeout, a passed ball allowed LeMahieu to hustle home, and Gleyber Torres singled home Voit.

After the Rays tied up the game and then took the lead in the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees only needed the 6th to switch things back in their favor. Sanchez and Frazier hit consecutive singles. After a strikeout, the Rays went to their bullpen for their first reliever.

It didn’t help. Andujar’s single loaded up the bases, and Gio Urshela’s big single scored both Sanchez and Frazier to put the Yankees back in the lead. After another strikeout, the Rays brought in another reliever, whose lone pitch of the game became a grounder to end the inning.

But Urhsela’s RBIs were enough for the Yankees to defend for the rest of the game. Kahnle, Ottavino, Britton, and Chapman each put up a scoreless inning, still allowing the Rays tried a few opportunities to threaten before getting out of the jam, thanks partly to a great defense.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees

Injury updates: Didi Gregorius (elbow) has been in Tampa, trying to come back from his Tommy John surgery last off-season. So when the Yankees came to town, it was only natural for their energetic shortstop to stop in for a visit with his teammates and hang out for the game.

Aaron Hicks (back) has been spending his rehab games with the local minor league Yankees team — Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons. He has three more games scheduled with them before the Yankees will activate him onto the Yankees main roster, which looks to be next week back in the Bronx.

Dellin Betances (shoulder) and James Paxton (knee) both played catch at the Trop before tonight’s game. Betances’ recovery is slow going, progressively working his way to longer and longer tosses to see how his healing is progressing. Paxton, however, is looking good and will hopefully be back after missing just one or two starts.

And for those asking, there is no set timetable on the returns of Aaron Judge (oblique) and Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder). Stanton has resumed hitting and working out with baseball activities. But Judge is not yet ready for that, sticking solely to rehab exercises.

Get well, guys!

Go Yankees!