Game 158: NYY vs. TB — 12 inning pitching exhibition

The Yankees traveled to Florida for a 2-game series in Tropicana Field to face the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Yankees have secured their spot in the post-season as the AL East Champs, the Rays are still working for their chance in the wild card race.

Yankee pitchers were out in force tonight as the Tampa crowd witnessed outings from 11 New York pitchers. To start the game, Jordan Montgomery took the mound for 2 innings and faced 9 batters for 3 strikeouts, giving up 3 hits, but no runs. In the 3rd, Ben Heller took the mound, also facing 3 batters, giving up a single, but no runs.

CC Sabathia replaced Heller in the 4th inning for his first regular season appearance as a reliever. Sabathia threw 13 pitches to 3 batters for 3 outs, including 2 strike outs. In the 5th inning, Tarpley took the ball and gave up a home run to right field that tied the game, followed by a single that reached base safely, but was called out trying to steal 2nd.

Another pitching change in the 6th brought Lyons to the mound to face one batter for a walk. Lyons was then replaced by Luis Cessa who allowed 2 more walks to load the bases before a ground out ended the inning with no runs. Kahnle took the mound in the 7th for quick 3 outs, followed by Britton for another 3 up 3 down. In the 9th, Ottavino replaced Britton and threw 11 pitches to 3 batters for 3 outs.

With the score still tied 1-1, Green replaced Ottavino at the helm for the 10th and 11th innings, facing 6 batters for 6 outs, 5 of which were strikeouts. In the bottom of the 12th, Green was replaced by Cory Gearrin who gave up a lead-off home run that broke the tie in favor of Tampa Bay.

Yankee batters had several chances to score tonight, but even with 7 solid hits, only 1 run scored for New York. After a scoreless first 2 innings, the 3rd inning lead-off batter Cameron Maybin sent a solo home run to center field. But then the opportunities started stalling. Like in the 4th, Judge led off with a single infield grounder, but was left stranded when the next 3 batters failed to reach base, an unfortunate pattern the Yankees would continue in nearly every inning.

Stanton earned a walk in the 6th inning, and moved to 2nd when Gio Urshela was hit by pitch and awarded 1st, but, again, all runners were left stranded. With the score tied at the end of 9 innings, the game dragged on for 3 more innings. The Yankees had a couple more opportunities to break the tie in the top of the 12th inning, but they ended up stranding the base runners. A lead-off homer by the Rays in the bottom of the 12th finally ended the game and gave the game to Tampa Bay.

Final score: 2-1 Rays

CC Sabathia’s call to the mound tonight was his first appearance as a reliever in regular season play in his long career. But it wasn’t the first time ever as a reliever. The last time Sabathia had a reliever appearance was in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS. In tonight’s game facing the Rays, Sabathia threw his 1700th strikeout as a Yankee, for a career record of 3091.

Injury update: Gio Urshela was hit by a pitch in the 6th inning and attempted to stay in the game before being replaced to have his sore hand checked. Thankfully, x-rays on his hand were negative except for a bad bruise.

Go Yankees!

Game 151: NYY vs. TOR — Pinstripe troubles in Canada

Today’s game in Toronto may have been disappointing for New York, but the good news is that the Yankees welcomed back Dellin Betances and Jordan Montgomery to the mound.  Unfortunately, the Yankees could not capitalize on it for the win in today’s rubber match.

Chad Green took command of the ball as the “opener” for just the 1st inning. Throwing 19 pitches, 12 for strikes, Green gave up a double, but allowed no runs. In the 2nd, Jordan Montgomery took the mound, his first start for the Yankees since last year’s Tommy John surgery. After 2 quick outs, Montgomery gave up a double to left. A single allowed that runner to score. Montgomery then allowed another double and thus another run before a strike out swinging ended the inning. And in the 3rd, Montgomery game up a 1-out solo homer.

Dellin Betances got his long-awaited season debut in the 4th. With the game tied, Betances faced 2 batters for 8 pitches and 2 strong strikeouts before Nestor Cortes, Jr. was called upon to end the inning with a solid strikeout. Cortes had some trouble in the 5th, giving up a bunt single, a walk, and a 3-run home run to put Toronto ahead. He then gave up another single and walk before a line out to right field ended the inning and the threat.

In the 6th inning, Heller replaced Cortes, Jr. giving up a walk and a sacrifice bunt, but no runs. Heller remained on the mound in the 7th for 3 straight strikeouts. Lyons took the mound in the 8th for 2 strikeouts and a line out to right field.

In the 1st, the Yankees were the first to score when Aaron Judge hit his 23rd homer of the season to right field. Wade hit a 1-out single in the 3rd and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s double. Judge worked a walk, and a single by Didi Gregorius that allowed LeMahieu to score.

After 3 quiet innings for the Yankee batters, the 7th inning began with a double sent to left field by Romine. LeMahieu reached base on a throwing error that also allowed Romine to score. Despite a few base runners, the Yankees were unable to capitalize on any further scoring opportunities.

Final score 6-4 Toronto, Toronto takes the series 2-1

Next up: After a travel day tomorrow, the Yankees head home for a 3-game series against the Angels, when Luis Severino is expected to make his season debut with the team on Tuesday. The Blue Jays come to the Bronx to close out the home stand next weekend before the Yankees hit the road for their last week of the regular season, visiting the Rays and Rangers.

Roster moves: Before today’s game, both Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances were activated and added to today roster. In order to make room for them on the 40-man roster and prepare them for the postseason roster, the Yankees transferred pitcher Jonathan Holder from the 10-day to the 60-day IL due to his lingering shoulder inflammation. They also designated reliever Ryan Dull for assignment.

Go Yankees!

Game 143: NYY vs. BOS — Happ-y Saturday!

Under a warm but cloudy sky at Fenway, the near-capacity stadium crowd of rival fans saw a game that started much the same as last night’s match-up, but with a decidedly happier ending for the Yankees.

JA Happ was the first on the mound today for New York and threw 92 pitches for a phenomenal 7 1/3 innings, allowing no runs that extended his scoreless inning streak to a 15 1/3. In the 1st inning, Happ gave up a single, followed by a strike out and a grounder to Gregorius who threw to LeMahieu at 3rd and then on to Voit at 1st for a great double play to shut down the inning and kick off a solid game for the Yankees.

Over the next 5 innings, Happ allowed just 1 walk and a single. This solid pitching, plus the Yankee defense, kept Boston from scoring. In the top of the 7th, Happ faced only one batter who struck out swinging. A pitching change gave the ball to Ottavino who secured the next two outs.

Kahnle took command of the mound in the 8th inning for an out. But he then allowed a line drive single to center followed by a ground ball to right field. So with runners in scoring position, a mound visit called in Britton to replace Kahnle who secured the next two outs.

Aroldis Chapman took over in the 9th, facing 4 batters, one of which became a home run that gave Boston their sole run of the afternoon.

Yankee batters initially struggled and were shutdown in the first 3 innings. But in the 4th inning, the bats came alive. LeMahieu reached base on a single line drive to left field and moved to 3rd on a solid double by Gregorius. A ground-rule double to right field by Gary Sanchez scored LeMahieu and Gregorius.

Edwin Encarnacion promptly smacked a homer to left center field, also scoring Sanchez. Brett Gardner singled and stole 2nd, followed by a walk for Voit, but a line out ended the inning with the Yankees solidly in the lead.

The 6th inning saw more opportunities to score with the bases loaded with a double by Torres and walks to Tauchman and Gardner. But with 1 out, a double play ended the inning, stranding those runners. Stranding runners is a familar song the Yankees played through the Red Sox bullpen. Finally, in the 9th, Sanchez, on base after being hit by a pitch, scored on an RBI double hit by Edwin Encarnacion for a solid win for New York.

Final score: 5-1, Yankees

Injury update: With all eyes on the playoffs and October ball, and in hopes he can pitch in a least one more game before retiring, CC Sabathia threw in the bullpen for the first time since the flareup of his knee injury that pulled him from the mound last month. Yankee management was encouraged by how well he did, but remain cautious as to when or if Sabathia will return to the mound. Jordan Montgomery may start another rehab game soon, and his progress looks so encouraging that he may well contribute to the Yankee’ path to October.

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 136 — OAK vs. NYY: Pinstripes plagued by pitching problems

The Yankees returned to the Bronx today after a successful West Coast run, winning 5 of their last 6 games, scoring 35 runs, including 18 homers. Despite being hounded by injuries this season, the team has focused on staying the path to the playoffs and the World Series.

CC Sabathia started strongly today, pitching well for three full innings, despite giving up one home run in the 3rd. This was Sabathia’s third start since returning from the IL, yet unexpectedly left the game and was replaced at the top of the 4th by Luis Cessa. (More below.)

Cessa threw 37 pitches through two solid, scoreless innings. A pitching change in the 6th gave the ball to Tommy Kahnle, who just struggled and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, a rarity for the reliever. Both Gearrin (7th) and Cortes (8th and 9th) also had difficulty with command of the mound, collectively giving up 4 more runs, including another home run, for the eventual disappointing loss for New York.

The Yankees were scoreless in the first two innings, finally getting on the board in the 3rd. Didi Gregorius grounded into a force out that scored DJ LeMahieu to tie the game at that point.

The 4th inning began well with singles by Voit and Gardner. Romine then reached 1st on a fielder’s choice. And after an overturned call, the bases were loaded. Mike Tauchman grounded into a double play, scoring just Voit, giving New York a brief lead. The last four innings were scoreless for the Yankees, who were never able to get on base again the rest of the game against the strong A’s bullpen.

Final score: 8-2 Oakland

Injury update: After just 3 innings today, CC Sabathia left the game due to some discomfort in his right knee. Though no tests are scheduled at this time as this is a lingering issue for the star pitcher. He’s hoping that resting the knee will solve the issue, and he can return to the mound soon as the race for pennant draws near.

Roster updates: Before the game, the Yankees placed Gio Urshela on the IL with a left groin strain and activated Luke Voit back to the roster, to score one of the Yankees’ two runs tonight. The Yankees also officially sent pitcher Jordan Montgomery to his rehab assignment at AAA Scranton as his recovery from Tommy John surgery is complete.

Looking ahead, it seems likely that outfielder Clint Frazier will get a call up for the September roster. According to Aaron Boone, they are impressed to see how Frazier has been working successfully on his defensive skill set at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Finally, our hearts continue to be with the family of Rays’ minor league pitcher Blake Bivens, who lost his wife, 10-month old son, and mother-in-law in an absolute tragedy earlier this week. Our prayers are with you and your family and friends.

Go Yankees!

Game 132: NYY vs. LAD — Rubber match redemption

After Saturday’s game, and that still unexplained game-changing call for time by the umpire, the Bronx Bombers roared back today as a team and claimed this game for New York. And despite so many still on the injury list, the Yankees showed up in force.

Domingo German started the game and pitched a full 6 innings, allowing only 1 run. Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle shared the 7th inning for 3 strikeouts. Zack Britton commanded the 8th and protected the Yankees lead. At the top of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman took command of the mound and finished the inning strong, striking out a Dodger favorite with his 100 mph four-seam fastball.

Yankee bats were awake and active today. At the top of the first, DJ LeMahieu homered deep to center field to get the Yankees on the board first. Didi Gregorius was drilled hard by a pitch to his right shoulder, but he took his base determined to stay in the game and moved to 2nd on a wild pitch.

The game was tied at the top of the 3rd, so Aaron Judge homered to center to regain the Yankees’ lead. Didi Gregorius’ shoulder was a concern and replaced by Mike Ford in the line up when Gregorius was later pulled from the game in the 4th. So, the bottom of that inning saw a shuffle in the Yankee infield — LeMahieu manning 1st, Ford on 2nd, and Torres as shortstop.

Mike Ford homered to right center field in the 6th to widen the Yankees lead. The 8th inning had DJ LeMahieu reach base on a grounder to center, followed by Mike Ford’s double that scored LeMahieu. In the 9th, Gardner singled and later scored on Gio Urshela’s pop out to give the Yankees their final score.

Final score: 5-1 Yankees, Yankees win the series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees head up the Coast to visit the Mariners for a 3-game mid-week series. After a travel day back to the East Coast on Thursday, the Yankees will host the Athletics and Rangers before hitting the road again, starting in Boston.

Injury update: Didi Gregorius had his shoulder x-rayed after being hit by pitch in tonight’s game. Results show maybe a bone bruise, but nothing to be overly concerned about. His shoulder is expected to be painful for a few days, and the treatment prescribed is mainly icing and rest. He’s, of course, anxious to return to the field as soon as possible.

Further news came out today that Luke Voit is expected to return within a week. Many other players on the Injured List are expected (hopefully) to return in September including Betances, Encarnacion, Estrada, Stanton, Hicks, and even possibly Bird.

Roster moves: Jordan Montgomery was sent to Tampa Tarpons for rehab assignment. This will be his first game since Tommy John surgery last June. Nagging post-surgery shoulder inflammation kept him out of action until now. The Yankees are hoping he will be game-ready and available as a reliever for September.

And finally, Yankees still waiting on an explanation for the umpire’s call for time out while sending Torres back to third during Saturday’s game. The unusual timing of the umpire’s call while play was still happening was a potential game changer. Just add it to the growing list of odd calls by umpires across the league this year.

Go Yankees!

Game 118: NYM vs. NYY — Crosstown rivals surge in damp make-up game

Let’s be honest here. A few days ago, they came out with which team had the hardest schedule and which team had the easiest one. The Yankees were said to have the 5th easiest schedule because they’re mostly facing teams sitting on the bottom half of the standings, including tonight’s opponent. But you can’t really predict when a team will oddly surge or sputter. So there’s just no guarantee.

Tonight’s game was a good example of this. The Mets are having a really terrible year. Mets fans everywhere are complaining, and rightly so, about how poorly their team is performing and the fact that they’re competing with the Marlins for worst team in the NL East. (The Marlins are 4.5 games behind the Mets right now, if you’re wondering.) But baseball isn’t predictable or easy. And oh, by the way, it sort of rained some during the game, but the game played on.

Luis Severino is just not having a good time lately, and his struggles continued tonight. He threw 98 pitches in just 4 innings, gave up 7 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, and struck out 6 Mets batters. Things started right from the first batter of the game, giving up a lead-off solo home run.

Then a double moved to 3rd on a grounder before scoring on a 2-out RBI single. In the 4th, he gave up a single and 2-run home run to double the Mets’ score. Green came on for the 5th and kept the Mets from adding to their score with a fairly clean 14-pitch inning.

AJ Cole came on for the 6th and promptly gave up a lead-off homer. Then in the 7th, with 1 out, he gave up back-to-back solo home runs. Then after a walk, the Yankees called in recent call-up George Kontos, who despite allowing a single got out of the inning without giving up more and then cleanly going through the 8th inning.

Zach Britton had a messy 9th inning to cap off this less-than ideal night for the Yankees. With 1 out, a hit-by-pitch and single threatened. The next batter hit into a ground out and potential double play, but Torres bobbled the transfer so the run scored.

Initially, the runner going to 2nd was called out, but the Mets challenged the call as if Torres didn’t properly have the ball from Gregorius before touching 2nd before the ball was bobbled. But replay worked, the call was upheld — 1 out at 2nd, runner safe at 1st, the other runner scored. Britton then gave up 2 more singles to load up the bases before the next batter hit into an easy force out at 2nd.

Now, the Yankees weren’t exactly silent, but neither were they having a great offensive day. Part of that is because the Mets sent up their strongest starter, who held the Yankees to a minimal offense into the 7th inning, while striking out an impressive 12 Yankee batters.

In the 3rd, Romine led-off with a single and Gardner walked. Giancarlo Stanton hit into a force ground out at 2nd to eliminate Gardner, but Romine still scored. A throwing error (when the infielder tried to turn two he overthrew it at 1st) helped advance Stanton to 2nd and Romine score safely. Aaron Hicks’ single later scored Stanton to tie up the game at that point.

Gardner hit a 1-out double in the 5th and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ 2-out single to chip away at the Mets’ lead. But the Mets’ starter held the Yankees off for most of his outing. The next opportunity the Yankees got was in the 8th under a new pitcher. With 2 outs, Hicks worked a walk and then scored as part of Miguel Andujar’s big 2-run home run into the left field seats.

Final score: 8-5 Mets. Picking up from the series last month that this game was the make-up from, the loss on this game means the Mets won this series 2-1.

Next up: The Yankees host division rivals, the Rays and Blue Jays, for the next 6 games through the rest of the week before hitting the road. They’ll be down in Miami for 2 games and back to Baltimore for 4 games. The Rays are the only team of those four that have a winning season so far, but they’re only 2 games above .500 and 14 games behind the Yankees.

Injury news/roster moves: After pitching a strong game yesterday, CC Sabathia felt it in his surgically repaired knee and is now on the 10-day DL with knee inflammation. This means he will miss his next start, something that has always been on the table as they watch the veteran starter’s previous injuries closely.

Now, the Yankees needed to make some moves to compensate for this temporary move. First, they moved Jordan Montgomery from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL, a move they’ve been needing to make since Montgomery will be out recovering from his Tommy John surgery far into next season.

They also optioned infielder Luke Voit to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. So, with 2 open spots on the 25-man roster, they selected the contracts of pitcher George Kontos (who pitched in tonight’s game) and infielder Ronald Torreyes from AAA. Yes, that’s right, the “Toe-Night Show” is back!

And for all you trivia nerds: On this day in 2016, two very particular Yankee prospects made their MLB debut — Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin. In their very first at-bats, they hit back-to-back home runs and had everyone talking about the greatness of Yankee future. Of course, Austin is now with the Twins, as part of the trade where the Yankees acquire starter Lynn, and Judge is out on the DL with that nasty chip fracture in his wrist. But what a great memory for those who still believe in the greatness of Yankee future.

I still believe… seriously, the Yankees are still one of the best teams in baseball. Don’t forget that. Like the only team that’s better than them is the Red Sox in all of MLB. The Yankees are 74 wins (and 44 losses), while most division leaders have 60-something wins. Any other year, this would be a blowout for the Yankees, but the Red Sox are just having a ridiculous year.

Go Yankees!