Game 117: NYY vs. TOR — Saturday sluggish in the bullpen

Okay, so this weekend isn’t really turning out as the Yankees hoped when they hopped on that charter jet through customs. Though they certainly had the opportunity to flip the story along the way today.

Chad Green got the chance again to be the Yankees’ opener in this third game of the four-game weekend series in Toronto. Green threw 24 pitches and a gave up just a walk in the 1st inning. Then Stephen Tarpley came in and took over for longer relief. He kept the Jays off the scoreboard until the 4th inning. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a 1-out single. But with a threat on bases, the Yankees went to their bullpen.

Chance Adams, however, promptly gave up a 3-run home run to get the home team on the board and put them in the lead. But then he sailed through the 5th inning without adding to the score. Kahnle followed suit with a scoreless 6th inning, but Adam Ottavino had a troublesome 7th. With 1 out, a walk and single put runners on base to score on a solid triple. Then Britton closed out the game with a scoreless 8th, working his way out of a minor threat.

The Yankees actually got on the board first with Gary Sanchez’s 2-out solo home run in the top of the 4th. After the Jays took the lead in the bottom of that inning, the Yankees worked their way back in the 6th. Judge led-off with a single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run to tie up the game.

With 1 out in the 7th, Ford worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and after a pitching change, DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly scored Ford. This put the Yankees in the lead again, but the bottom of the inning flipped the script again with the aforementioned triple.

Final score: 5-4 Blue Jays

Roster moves: Yesterday, the Yankees acquired reliever Joe Mantiply from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Mantiply played 5 games with the Tigers in 2016 but spent most of the season in their minor league system. Later that year, the Yankees briefly signed him, and he played for their AAA team before releasing him back to free agency in 2017, where he was picked up by the Reds and bounced around their minor league system. Though initially, Mantiply wasn’t placed on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees also placed reliever Jonathan Holder on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to August 7) with inflammation in his right shoulder. They also activated Gary Sanchez from the injury list, sending back-up back-up catcher Kyle Higashioka back to AAA Scranton. And reliever Stephen Tarpley was recalled from AAA. Both recalled players played key roles in today’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 113: NYY vs. BAL — Bronx Bombers swing for the fences in Charm City

Tonight’s game began with an hour and 12 minute rain delay, waiting for the front to sweep through Charm City. When the game finally got under way, the Yankees came out swinging strong to command this middle game of the midweek series against the Orioles.

In the 3rd, the “Bronx Bombers” showed up. Mike Tauchman and DJ LeMahieu hit consecutive solo home runs. After an out, Didi Gregorius also hit a solo home run to get in on the fun. Maybin walked to lead off the 4th, and Ford doubled to move them in scoring position. Austin Romine’s double then scored both runners.

Romine led-off the 6th with his own solo home run. And then in the 8th, he doubled and scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. Finally, with 1 out in the 9th, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive solo home runs to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Meanwhile, that gave their pitchers some room to get comfortable. Jonathan Holder got the short start in a reliever-heavy pitching outing. He threw 33 pitches into the 3rd inning. With the Yankees up in the top of the 3rd, he had his lone troubled inning. A 1-out single scored on a long triple, and a ground out scored that runner. That was the end of Holder’s decent outing.

Stephen Tarpley came on for relief, pitching into the 5th inning. That inning would prove a little troublesome for him. After 2 outs, he gave up a double that scored on a 2-run home run. Unable to get that 3rd out of the inning after giving up a single, the Yankees turned to Cortes to close it out. Cortes continued on through the 7th, keeping the O’s scoreless and handing the ball to Ottavino for 2 scoreless innings to close out the game.

Final score: 9-4 Yankees

Injury alert: Gleyber Torres came out of tonight’s game during the 3rd inning. After his at-bat, which left him swinging on a strikeout, his side was still bothering him. This is his 2nd time since Sunday’s game that his side/core hasn’t felt 100%. They will send him for further tests, so fingers crossed, everyone. As if we need another player on the IL…

Go Yankees!

Game 109 & 110: BOS vs. NYY — Double the win, double the injuries

A double header is always going to be a long day at the ball park. So mix in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, and the day is going to feel eternal. The evening game was the make up of the rain out from May 30, so tonight’s game closed out that series.

Game 1 (regularly scheduled game)
Domingo German got the start for the afternoon game, commanding his way through 7 innings with 97 pitches. He gave up 5 hits and 2 runs and struck out 7 Boston batters. His allowed runs were lead-off solo home runs in the 2nd and the 5th. Jonathan Holder came in to close out the final 2 innings, sailing through the Red Sox lineup in just 26 pitches.

On the other side, the Yankees struck first in the 1st with DJ LeMahieu’s lead-off solo home run. After the Red Sox came back to tie it up, the Yankees struck hard in the 4th inning, and the Red Sox upped the ante with some dramatics. Because… rivalry game?

The Yankees loaded up the bases around a couple outs — Encarnacion singled, Urshela hit a 1-out single, and Higashioka got a short 2-out single. Then Breyvic Valera hit a single that scored Encarnacion. That triggered the Red Sox’s manager, who was quickly tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes. Brett Gardner’s single scored both Urshela and Higashioka, before DJ LeMahieu smacked a solid 3-run home run to clear the bases.

After Judge hit a ground-rule double, the Red Sox starter was also kicked out of the game as he was walking off the mound in a pitching change. (Quick side note: first, the calls were really not that bad overall. I only had beefs with a couple, usually higher balls on the bigger guys. Also, you’re leaving the game anyway, what was the point of now getting further punishment?)

With a new pitcher on the mound, Edwin Encarnacion then singled home Judge to keep the hits coming. And finally, in the 6th, Gardner led-off with a single, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Encarnacion’s single. The Yankees firmly in the win column thanks to some Sox drama and some solid home pitching.

Final score: 9-2 Yankees

Game 2 (make-up game, rain out of May 30)
The Yankees utilized the opener style for the evening half of today’s doubleheader. The Red Sox pushed Chad Green through the 1st, and he pushed back, keeping them off the board. Nestor Cortes Jr continued the momentum with a scoreless 2nd. But a lead-off double in the 3rd scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run to give the Red Sox the lead.

Chance Adams, the Yankees’ 26th man for the doubleheader, came on for a troubled 4th. He gave up a walk and double to put runners into scoring position early. After 2 outs, a single scored both runners. His 5th inning was much cleaner, before he handed things off to the rest of the bullpen (Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman) who would push through the final half of the game and keep the Red Sox limited to their early score.

Gleyber Torres hit a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd to get the Yankees on the board. Hicks and Urshela each singled and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s double to put the Yankees in the lead. After the visitors took the lead, Torres’ lead-off solo home run in the 5th tied up the game.

So it would be the 7th for the Yankees to tip the scale in their favor. Torres (again) led-off with a double, and walks to Hicks and Urshela worked walks to load up the bases. After an out, Mike Tauchman singled home Torres and Urshela.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees (For the make-up game, the Yankees win May 30-June 2 series 3-1.)

Injury alert/roster moves: The Yankees are watching Aaron Hicks right now. During the second game tonight, in the 6th inning, he injured his elbow throwing to 3rd during a play. He eventually came out of the game in the 8th and will get an MRI tomorrow to make sure it’s nothing serious.

But the biggest news was Edwin Encarnacion. During the first game, in the 8th inning, he was hit by a pitch right on the wrist, nearly the same place Judge was hit last season and with the same results, unfortunately. A CT scan confirmed that Encarnacion has a hairline fracture in his right wrist. So they moved him to the 10-day IL (though he’ll be out at least a month). And yes, the toy parrot even got a cast to match his human.

In between the games, they recalled infielder Mike Ford from AAA Scranton to replace Encarnacion. Before the game, Chance Adams was recalled to be the 26th man in today’s doubleheader and was sent back to AAA Scranton following the second game.

Finally, our hearts go out to those dealing with tragic fallout from domestic terrorism today at an El Paso Walmart, the Garlic Festival in Gilroy (California) last week, and in Dayton last night. While our prayers are with everyone involved in the recovery, we support all those fighting to end the need for me to ever write a paragraph like this or hold a moment of silence at a ball game in memoriam.

Go Yankees!

{Edited to include further information gained overnight.}

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 101: NYY vs. MIN — 6 homers, 2 triples, 17 runs, 3 double plays, 2 league leaders

The team from the “Mini Apple” certainly gave the team from the “Big Apple” a much-needed challenge in preparation for the final two months of the season. And while I can’t say much about the pitching for either team this series, the offense certainly had quite the time.

JA Happ got the start for the Yankees in the final game against the Twins tonight and had some struggles keeping the Twins’ offense under control. He threw 74 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out just 3 batters. With 2 outs in the 1st, he gave up a single that scored on a 2-run home run to get the Twins on the board first.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, a walk moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a sacrifice fly. A lead-off walk in the 4th promptly scored with a 2-run home run. Then Happ gave up consecutive singles that moved into scoring position on a ground out.

That was it for the starter tonight, handing the ball over to Nestor Cortes Jr. Cortes gave up a sacrifice fly to score just 1 runner before closing out the inning with a strong strikeout. Cortes had a decent outing, despite giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 5th to add just 1 more run for the home team. Cortes then stayed strong into the 7th inning. Kahnle came in for 4 outs before Chapman’s 26th save sealed the series for the Yankees.

Leading up to that, the Yankees also took advantage of some weaker starting pitching. Encarnacion led-off the 2nd with a double and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Torres then walked, and a long fly out moved the runners into scoring position, which they did on Mike Tauchman’s triple. Austin Romine’s sacrifice fly then scored Tauchman.

In the 3rd, Aaron Hicks led-off with a towering solo home run, and 2 strike outs later, Gleyber Torres smacked a solo home run to keep the batting practice rolling for the visiting team. In the 4th, with 1 out and runners LeMahieu and Judge on the corners, Hicks’ single scored LeMahieu, and Gregorius’ 2-out triple scored Judge and Hicks.

Now, with a healthy lead and because you just never know with this series, Edwin Encarnacion still added just one more insurance run with a lead-off solo home run in the 9th. This was both after he fouled one pitch off the back of his leg and then it became his 30th home run of the season.

Final score: 10-7 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees are on their way to Boston for a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox. After an off day, they will start their next home stand, first with a mini-series against the Diamondbacks and then a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox. Then, they’ll hit the road again to face Orioles and Blue Jays.

Injury update/roster moves: As expected, Gary Sanchez was sent to the injured list with a Grade 1 left groin strain. In his stead, they recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka for back up to Romine. For the now requisite “fresh arm” portion of the Scranton Shuttle, the Yankees recalled Nestor Cortes Jr to pitch in tonight’s game and optioned Jonathan Holder back to AAA Scranton.

Go Yankees!

Game 99: NYY vs. MIN — Twins’ opening triple play leads to trouncing

The Yankees were hoping to continue their strong home stand with a strong road trip. But the Twins are having quite the season and were in the position to put a stop to the Yankees’ confidence. It didn’t stop the Yankees from pulling out all the stops to try to chip away at the Twins’ early jump into the lead.

CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees in the first game against the Twins, throwing 77 pitches in just 4 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned), and striking out just 2 Minnesota batters. In the 1st, with 1 out, he gave up consecutive solo home runs to give the Twins the lead early.

In the 3rd, a walk and 2 singles loaded up the bases. The next batter was awarded 1st base due to catcher’s interference, which moved all the runners up and scored the lead runner. Then a pair of near identical plays, a hit into a fielder’s choice, scored the next 2 runners to ease the Twins into a comfortable lead. In the 4th, a lead-off home run and a 2-out solo homer kept the Twins in control of the board.

Luis Cessa came on for some long-term relief, 3 innings through the 7th. Despite 6 strong strikeouts, he gave up a 1-out solo home run in the 6th to cap off the home team’s night. Jonathan Holder closed out the game with a scoreless and hitless 13-pitch 8th inning, including some snazzy defense.

The Yankees did try their best to challenge the Twins, and they did so rather effectively. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Gio Urshela hit the 1st pitch of his at-bat for his 10th home run of the season. Then Tauchman singled, moved to 3rd on LeMahieu’s double, and watched Judge work a walk to load up the bases. Edwin Encarnacion’s single scored Tauchman to tie up the game briefly.

Luke Voit hit a big 1-out solo home run in the 4th. Then in the 5th, Tauchman’s single led-off the inning, and DJ LeMahieu’s 2-run home run inched the Yankees closer to the Twins’ lead. Torres led-off the 6th with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single. Close, but not quite enough.

Final score: 8-6 Twins

And the biggest thing everyone talked about tonight was the Triple Play from the 1st inning. Unfortunately, it was the Twins’ defense that showed off the play. LeMahieu and Judge kicked off the 1st with consecutive walks, but then Encarnacion hit into the standard triple play, or the 5-4-3. (Five is the scoring number for 3rd baseman, four is the 2nd baseman, and three is the 1st baseman.) It is the first triple play inside Target Field, but the ninth triple play by the Twins in their organizational history.

Roster moves/Scranton Shuttle: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees played the old “fresh arm switcheroo” again. They called Jonathan Holder back up from AAA Scranton, sending Stephen Tarpley back down. Holder, of course, threw a great inning in tonight’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 79: TOR vs. NYY — It’s “28” for the Yankees, a sign for October?

The Yankees made history tonight. Right in the 1st inning, a lead-off home run by DJ LeMahieu moved the Yankees into the history books as the MLB team with the most consecutive games with a home run with the fated number of 28. But they may not be done yet with this kind of momentum, continuing their moniker of “Bronx Bombers”. And in passing, Yankee Universe is hoping that the number “28” is catching as the team is hoping to move forward from its 27 championships. (Hint, hint.)

Chad Green got the start as the “opener” again in tonight’s game, the middle game of this 3-game mid-week series against the visiting Blue Jays. Green needed 13 pitches to breeze his way through the 1st inning before handing the game over to Nestor Cortes Jr for long-term relief. Cortes pitched strong through the 5th inning, but he had trouble when he came out for the 6th.

Cortes gave up a single and double to put runners in scoring position, which they proceeded to do on a sacrifice fly and a single. Kahnle came in as the rescue reliever again to clamp down and close out the 6th. Yankee pitchers went back to the strong scoreless kind with Tarpley and Britton sailing through their respective innings.

In the 9th, Aroldis Chapman gave up a single on his 1st pitch, who moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. The next batter got to 1st on a catcher’s interference before getting consecutive strikeouts. But to amp up the drama, the next batter singled home the lead runner before a simple ground out got them out of the inning.

That didn’t help as the Yankee offense was oddly limited as far as the scoreboard to just solo home runs. After LeMahieu led-off the Yankees with a record-setting solo home run into the 2nd deck of the left field, Aaron Judge followed him up with one of his own, a solo home run just shy of the Bleacher Creatures.

Then, with 2 outs in the 2nd, Gleyber Torres got in on the fun with a solo home run of his own. But it was Edwin Encarnacion’s 2-out solo home run in the 8th, just past the special frequent stadium avian visitor, that would end up being the insurance run the home team needed to pull out the win.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees

Before the game, the Yankees continued to honor Pride Month by asking City Council speaker Corey Johnson to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and invited the first ever recipients of the Stonewall Scholars Initiative to unveil a plaque in Monument Park to honor the 50th anniversary of the world-changing events at the Stonewall Inn just a few miles south of the Stadium.

Last month, the Yankees announced the Stonewall Scholars Initiative. The Initiative is a personal donation by the Steinbrenner Family of $50,000 in college scholarship to five local graduating seniors from each of the boroughs as “recognition of their academic achievement, commitment to equality, and impactful support for the LGBTQ community”.

Injury update: After all the hubbub in the 1st, Giancarlo Stanton hit a single but was later tagged out at 3rd on the double play to end the inning. He dove back to the bag and banged up his knee on the infield at bit. He continued in the game for the next 2 innings, but he knew it was stiffening up and asked to be replaced by Gardner for the 4th. It doesn’t look series, and an MRI will hopefully confirm it was just a contusion (bruise), which a few days rest and ice will help heal rather quickly.

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees officially optioned Jonathan Holder to AAA Scranton (as we discussed yesterday) and recalled reliever Stephen Tarpley, who ended up pitching well tonight. They also activated Kendrys Morales from the 10-day IL and designated him for assignment, a predictable progression as regular players heal up and come off the IL.

And finally, tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of a game played by the 3 New York-based teams at the same time, as in all 3 teams (Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers) somehow played a ball game against each other about 3 weeks after D-Day to help boost stateside morale and raise money for the war effort.

There were about 500 local wounded veterans as special guests of the teams and nearly 50,000 fans packed the stands to play this oddball “Tri-Cornered Game”. All the ticket proceeds went to a larger donation of $56 million to the war effort, which included a little $50 million boost from the city itself.

Admittedly, for all the history I know, I had never heard of this event until today. But it’s history, execution, and legacy is absolutely fascinating. It took about 2 hours and 5 minutes to play to a final score of Dodgers 5, Yankees 1, and Giants 0, with absolutely no home runs hit during the game. Though, to be fair, many of the stars and power-hitters from that era (and future Hall of Famers) were busy fighting on both fronts and not playing baseball.

Go Yankees!