Game 107: ARI vs. NYY — Soggy series split at the trade deadline

It was bound to be an interesting afternoon. The baseball world watching for any big trade moves before the 4 pm (ET) deadline, and there was. The Yankees and Diamondbacks facing off in the rare mid-week matinee so that the visitors could catch a plane and take the long trip back home to Phoenix. And there was the rain that caused a 36 minute delay and lingered through most of the latter half of the game.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in this afternoon’s game, throwing 82 pitches into the 5th inning. He gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and just 2 runs and struck out 4 Arizona batters. Actually, under his watch, the D-backs were held fairly stagnant. He gave up consecutive singles to lead-off the 5th inning but handed the ball over to the bullpen before he could close out that inning.

Chad Green came on and again had a bit of struggle through his outing. His first batter hit into a line drive out, but Tanaka’s lead runner still scored. A single put runners in the corners, and a walk loaded the bases. Then a sacrifice fly and a sloppy throwing error allowed 2 runs to score (1 charged to Tanaka, 1 to Green) before Green got out of the inning.

Then Kahnle, Ottavino, and Britton each threw a beautiful scoreless inning that really helped cement the momentum the Yankees needed to carry the day. Nestor Cortes Jr only threw 2 pitches to kick off the 9th, but that second one ended up in the left field seats for a solo home run.

So, it was on to Aroldis Chapman for the save. But he too struggled his way through the inning. He gave up a walk that moved to 2nd on a ground out. After a nice strikeout, a double scored the D-backs’ final runner. Another allowed walk caused further tension before an easy ground out at 2nd ended the visiting threat.

On the other side of things, the Diamondbacks’ starter was one of the chief targets for a trade. Understandably so, as he’s easily one of the best starters in the game for the last few years. Little did he know that he was pitching his last game as a Diamondback, throwing a no-decision and holding the Yankees to just 2 hits. But the Yankees did the most they could with those 2 hits. In the 2nd, with 1 out, Urshela doubled and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s 2-out 2-run home run to give them an early lead.

Once the rain really started picking up in the 5th inning, the grounds crew was aching to protect their field. The brave fans progressively vacated their seats for the concourse. After Kahnle’s top of the 6th inning, the rain was too much for play to continue. So the tarp came on and play halted. And somewhere in there, Arizona’s starter found out he’d been traded to the Astros and thus had to leave the stadium to join his new team (who are playing the Indians this week).

The rain still drizzled a bit, and later became heavier, but the game did come back to finish after 36 minutes of protecting and then drying the field a bit. And the Diamondbacks moved onto their bullpen. Perhaps that helped the Yankees in the end too.

With 2 outs in the 7th, and another new pitcher, Tauchman doubled, and after yet another pitching change, Austin Romine smacked a long 2-run home run into the left field seats to put the Yankees back on top.

Judge and Encarnacion hit consecutive singles to lead off the 8th. After another pitching change, Didi Gregorius hit into a simple ground out that scored Judge, and Gleyber Torres’ double scored Encarnacion. Cameron Maybin’s 2-out single then scored Torres. This big inning helped solidify the Yankees’ win in the end, even with a sloppy 9th inning.

Final score: 7-5 Yankees, split series 1-1

Next up: The Yankees’ home stand continues with a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox, including a doubleheader on Saturday thanks to a make-up game (from May 30) that night. Then, they hit the road to face other division rivals in Baltimore and Toronto. Looking beyond that, they’ll host the Orioles and Indians before their final West Coast trip.

Injury update/roster moves: Luke Voit is definitely on the 10-day injured list due to a sports hernia. This could mean he’s out up to 6 weeks if he’ll need surgery. Reliever David Hale was also sent to the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Sunday) with lumbar spine strain. In their places, the Yankees recalled reliever Jonathan Holder and infielder Breyvic Valera from AAA Scranton.

The Yankees were in a lot of conversations for some big trades this week, but nothing came out of it that made a splash. Perhaps, the fact that the Yankees currently are still sitting atop the standings very safely kept them from pursuing anything too outrageous. They still made one notable trade — sending reliever Joe Harvey to the Rockies in exchange for reliever Alfredo Garcia.

Does the Yankees’ roster have some gaps? Yes. Do they need to fix some problems and patterns? Yes. Is it affecting their standings? Not immediately, but it could. So, the opportunity for future moves are still on the table, but for now, the boys you know in pinstripes are the boys you’re going to see in pinstripes.

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 53: SD vs. NYY — Memorial Day matinee with strong bats

The Yankees continue their strong season, piecing together wins however they can. I know I had some doubts about the idea of the “opener”, the 1-inning starter model first made popular a few years ago by the Rays. But since then, my initial skepticism has proven unfounded, with Chad Green leading the way for the Yankees in how this works.

For today’s opening game against the visiting Padres, Green breezed his way through the 1st inning with 3 strong strikeouts before handing the game over to David Hale for 4 innings of long-term relief. Hale’s lone problem inning was his first, the 2nd inning. After a strikeout, he gave up a single and walk. A double scored the lead runner. After a fielder’s choice out at home, another double scored the Padres’ second runner.

Then, Hale fell back into the pattern set by Green and remained strong through his remaining innings. Then the game was handed to a string of relievers — Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman — who closed out the game with a scoreless inning a piece.

Though the Padres struck first, the Yankees answered back quickly in the bottom of the 2nd. Clint Frazier hit a 1-out solo home run. After Urshela worked a walk, he scored on Brett Gardner’s 2-out 2-run home run to edge the Yankees into the lead. A lead they defended well for most of the game.

It wasn’t until the 8th inning, with a new reliever that they found another chance for insurance runs. With 1 out, Gary Sanchez hit a nice solo home run. Torres then doubled and scored on Cameron Maybin’s single and a fielding error. Another pitching change ended any further run insurance, but that was more than enough in the end.

Final score: 5-2 Yankees

Roster moves/injury updates: Yesterday, the Yankees utilized the Scranton Shuttle again for a fresh bullpen arm. They optioned Chance Adams back to AAA Scranton and recalled Joe Harvey. They also placed reliever Jake Barrett on the 10-day IL due to right elbow inflammation.

Finally, today we honor all those fallen in service to their country on this Memorial Day. As part of this day, the Yankees and Padres paused at 3:00 pm local time (in the top of the 7th inning) to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. We honor the memories and legacies of all those who died in military service, including those in our own families.

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 35: SEA vs. NYY — A little rain delay for the Yankees’ last-minute walk-off rally

The Yankees continue to find a way to make each moment count as they march on through May and in this 4-game series with the Mariners. In the second game tonight, the Yankees found that way in rather dramatic fashion with a walk-off and a challenge to find a last-minute victory, despite a one hour and 12 minute rain delay in the latter half of the game.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start tonight, throwing 95 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, and striking out 4 Seattle batters. In the 2nd, he gave up a walk and a double, but a fielder’s choice got the lead runner out at home. But a sacrifice fly scored the other runner. And a 1-out solo home run in the 6th added one more for the visitors.

Tanaka came out for the 7th, but the rain that held off most of the night just started pouring down. Enough to stop the game after an error and an out. Enough to call for a one hour and twelve minute delay. When the game returned, it would be Holder to close out the 7th for Tanaka with just 5 pitches to induce a double play, continuing his strong showing this season.

Tommy Kahnle came out for the 8th but found the Mariners ready to pounce again. With 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a fielding error and scored on a 2-out single. A double then scored one more run for the Mariners, continuing their lead. Joe Harvey closed out the 9th, with some drama, pushing the defense to be on their toes a bit, but eventually finishing strong.

The Yankees got a late start to the scoreboard. Already down, Gio Urshela led-off the 3rd with a double, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Brett Gardner’s grounder to get them on the board. But they spent most of the game (besides dodging rain) keeping the Mariners’ from gaining too big a lead.

In the 8th, Gardner and LeMahieu each worked a walk. Voit hit into a force out at 2nd to put runners on the corners. And a wild pitch allowed Gardner to score the Yankees’ second run. So in a last-ditch opportunity, the Yankees looked to the 9th inning for a rally. And found one.

With 1 out, Torres singled and then scored as part of Gio Urshela’s game-tying 2-run home run, hit neatly into Monument Park beyond center field. After Maybin singled, the Mariners changed relievers in hopes of pushing the game to extra innings, but Maybin promptly stole 2nd. After a strikeout, DJ LeMahieu singled and Maybin came around to score. It was a walk-off.

But wait, not without a challenge, just in case. The Mariners’ challenged the call to see whether their catcher actually tagged Maybin sliding home in time for the out. It was fairly quick to see the original call was correct, and the game won in a great come-from-behind and rally to victory by the home team.

A very much worth the wait through the delay for the victory celebration tonight.

Final score: 5-4 Yankees

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 28: NYY vs. SF — A Giant Sweep

The Yankees continue to push forward despite the seemingly continual new additions to their lengthy injured list. And somehow, they keep on winning. Maybe it’s part of their schedule, playing teams that just aren’t playing well right now. Maybe it’s just too early in the season to really gauge how good teams can be this season. Or maybe it’s just a sign of how deep the Yankees’ roster and farm system is.

Domingo German started today’s final game against the Giants, throwing 87 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, and striking out 4 batters. In fact, until the 6th inning, he was keeping them scoreless and to one hit, a single in the 3rd inning. But that final inning just collapsed around him.

A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a wild pitch and scored on a single. After a fielder’s choice out, he gave up a single and an RBI double. A line drive got another out on the board before a long single scored both runners.

Then Holder and Kahnle each put up a scoreless inning in relief. And Joe Harvey struggled a bit in the 9th but limited the damage to a lead-off solo home run to add to the home team’s score.

The Yankees once again struck first and dominated to the end. In the 1st, they loaded up the bases with a single to LeMahieu and walks to Voit and Gardner. Gary Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice and fielding error, which scored LeMahieu. Torres hit into a double play that scored Voit.

In the 2nd, Urshela singled and Wade walk, and two outs later, they both scored on Luke Voit’s single. Sanchez led-off the 3rd by working a walk and then scoring on Gleyber Torres 2-run home run to continue the early scoring. Then, in the 6th, Voit hit a 1-out and scored on Gary Sanchez’s big 2-out 2-run home run deep into the left field seats.

And when the Giants chipped away a bit at the Yankees big lead, the visitors used their final opportunity to take some of those runs back in the 9th. Torres worked a walk, stole 2nd on a wild pitch, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s single, and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s single. Tyler Wade’s deep single scored both Tauchman and Maybin to cap off the Yankees’ big afternoon.

Final score: 11-5 Yankees, Yankees sweep 3-0

Next up: After an off-day/travel day tomorrow (Monday), the Yankees will play a short 2-game series against the Diamondbacks. Another off-day on Thursday to get them home for their next home stand against the Twins and Mariners, starting next weekend.

Injury updates: And it wouldn’t be 2019 if there wasn’t a few injuries tonight. DJ LeMahieu took a foul ball off his right knee on Friday night and played through yesterday’s game. But by the 3rd inning today, his bruised knee was just too much, stiffening up with inflammation. Further treatment and tests are in process, and hopefully he’ll avoid an IL stint. Estrada replaced the infielder on the roster in today’s game.

But that wasn’t all. Gio Urshela was hit by a pitch in his 5th inning at-bat. The ball hit his left hand/wrist area enough to warrant an x-ray, which later came back negative. The jury is still out as to whether this will require more than just icing and treatments or an IL trip. Urshela’s replacement in the game today was Maybin.

Now, neither of today’s injuries seem too severe, other than the fact that LeMahieu and Urshela have been some of the best hitters and infield defenders this season. But if history (at least as far as 2019 goes) tells us anything, they Yankees can handle anything that comes their way.

Go Yankees!