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 114: NYY vs. BAL — #BigMaple & the #BronxBombers

Baltimore has been good to the Yankees this series, allowing them to reclaim their “Bronx Bombers” moniker with some well-earned offense. Of course, it was more on display tonight than any the previous games, which is already saying a lot. But the Yankee offense gave their pitchers quite a bit to work with along the way.

James Paxton got the start tonight and had a really great outing. He threw 108 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 5 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out 7 batters to earn the eventual win. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo home run in the 9th.

Chance Adams closed out the 7th for “Big Maple” and sailed his way through the 8th. His lone troublesome inning was the 9th, and I use the word “troublesome” loosely in this game. A 1-out walk scored on a 2-out double to double the home team’s score.

Though there wasn’t much to celebrate at Camden Yards for the fans in orange and black at that point, as the visiting Yankees kind of dominated the O’s for most of the game. In the 4th, with 1 out, Urshela doubled, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s single. Then Kyle Higashioka’s monster 2-out, 3-run home run pushed the Yankees into a big lead.

In the 5th, Judge ended up at 1st on the better end of a throwing error and then scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run. Tauchman led-off the 6th with a walk, took 2nd on a grounder, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and easily scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. A wild pitch moved LeMahieu to 2nd, and he scored on Aaron Judge’s long single. Urshela did it again, with a 2-run home run to keep things moving into double digits.

After a pitching change, Gregorius singled and ended up at 3rd on Maybin’s single and a throwing error. Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (an unsuccessful double play), which allowed Gregorius to score yet another run. Finally, Cameron Maybin led-off the 9th with a solo home run. After Gardner doubled and another pitching change, Higashioka smacked his 2nd home run of the game, a 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Final score: 14-2 Yankees, Yankees sweep 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel north of the border to see another division rival. They will play a long 4-game weekend series against the Blue Jays before heading back home to face the Orioles and Indians. After an event-filled weekend, the Yankees make their final West Coast trip to visit the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners.

It’s worth noting that the Yankees hit some records in tonight’s big game and overall during this series, like hitting the most home runs in a series and the single-season record in an away stadium. I mean, you’re going to make some kind of difference when you outscore your opponent 32-12. And, like the link mentions, the divide between the Yankees and the rest of the AL East continues to expand as the Yankees continue to win (and sweep series). The Yankees are currently 10 games ahead of the Rays and 16 ahead of the Red Sox (and 29 1/2 over Toronto and 37 over Baltimore).

Go Yankees!

Game 104: NYY vs. BOS — The skidding story line continues…

Actually, the Yankees changed this one up a bit and kept things rather competitive in the third of this four-game series in Boston. Right up until a rather reliable reliever became rather unreliable. I’m starting to think Fenway is cursed this weekend. Not that I believe in that stuff.

CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees this afternoon, and his outing was a mixed bag. He threw just 65 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 9 hits and 5 runs, and struck out just 3 Boston batters. This, of course, is a massive improvement over the last two games when the Red Sox pounced early and just drowned the Yankees’ starters in runs scored.

With 2 outs in the 2nd, the batter hit the ball out to the right field corner where it bounced off the “Pesky pole” and back onto the field. The play continued with the runner making it to 1st, but an umpire review showed that the ball hit the pole before bouncing back in making it an official home run.

A lead-off single in the 4th scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run. Then a single moved to 3rd on a 2-out single and scored on an RBI single. Then in the 5th, a 1-out ground-rule double scored on a double to end Sabathia’s outing. In light of recent games, this was a fairly successful start for the Yankees, limiting their opponents’ damage early on.

The Yankees actually struck first with Gio Urshela’s 1-out solo home run up the middle in the 2nd. Voit led-off the 4th with a double and scored on Urshela’s 2-out single. And in the 5th, Hicks worked a 1-out walk and scored on Edwin Encarnacion’s 2-out double.

Now, Chad Green closed out the 5th with 2 quick outs, but then he got into his own troubles, a rarity for the evergreen reliever. In the 6th, he gave up a double that moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a pinch-hitting sacrifice fly. A triple scored another run, and another sacrifice fly scored yet another run.

Then, with 2 outs in the 7th, Green couldn’t close it out and instead gave up a double. Nestor Cortes Jr was called in. He promptly gave up a long single that scored the Red Sox’s final run. Kahnle had clearly the best outing — a 10-pitch flawless 8th inning.

Not that Red Sox pitchers are all that good either. Despite the lower score on Thursday, the Yankees have hit quite a few off Boston’s pitching staff, and that trend continued today, racking up 11 total hits and 3 walks. In a final effort to close the gap in the scoreboard, the Yankees found a moment in the 8th. With 1 out, Torres singled, and Urshela doubled to put runners in scoring position. After another out, Kyle Higashioka hit a nice single that scored both runners.

Final score: 9-5 Red Sox

Injury update: DJ LeMahieu was noticeably absent from today’s lineup after an MRI revealed a slight groin strain. He is probably headed to the injured list for some recovery time, depending on the next evaluation tomorrow. And Brett Gardner is still nursing his knee, getting a cortisone shot to help his recovery, eyeing a return possibly next weekend.

Go Yankees!

Game 102: NYY vs. BOS — Getting trounced in Fenway

The most positive thing I can say about tonight’s game is that the Yankees still haven’t been shut out of a game in over a year. I’m not quite sure what happened tonight, as it will probably seem as one of the few flukes in an otherwise really outstanding season. But as with most rivalry games, there is little that is predictable no matter where the teams are in the standings or what kind of season either of them are having.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in what will easily be the start to forget. He threw 87 pitches into just the 4th inning, gave up 12 hits, 3 walks, and 12 runs, and struck out 4 Red Sox batters. As you can imagine, this led to the eventual earned loss. Things got off to a bad start in the 1st inning when he gave up a single and walk that scored as part of a Green Monster 3-run home run before there was an out recorded.

With 1 out, Tanaka then loaded up the bases with consecutive singles. After another out, consecutive doubles each scored 2 more runs. The inning ended with the Red Sox up by 7 runs, something the Yankees just were never able to overcome.

The Yankees found minor moments to attack, but it felt like like “bringing a knife to a gun fight” and more like “bringing a plastic spoon to a tank fight”. With 1 out in the 2nd, Gregorius doubled, moved to 3rd on Voit’s single, and then scored on Gleyber Torres’ single. Tauchman’s single loaded the bases, and after another out, DJ LeMahieu worked a walk to walk in Voit to double the Yankees’ minuscule score. Kyle Higashioka led-off the 5th with a solo home run into the Green Monster to cap off the Yankees’ blip on tonight’s scoreboard.

So, with the Red Sox nicely ahead, they just kept loading on the scoreboard. Despite the early lead enough to win the game, Tanaka’s 4th inning kept the door open for the home team to trounce. A 1st pitch solo home run got the ball rolling. A single moved to 2nd on a 1-out walk, and then scored on an RBI double. A ground-rule double that bounced over the short right field wall into the seats and scored 2 more runs.

That was it for Tanaka, who was mercifully taken out of the game at that point. He was floundering, but it’s not like the bullpen was able to stem the Red Sox either. Stephen Tarpley immediately gave up a double that scored the final run charged to Tanaka before he eventually got himself out of the inning.

In the 5th, a lead-off single moved to 3rd on a double and scored on a single. The next batter doubled home the runner at 3rd. And after the first out of the inning (as part of the infield fly rule), a simple ground out scored the next runner. Tarpley gave up a lead-off walk and was replaced by Luis Cessa. Cessa gave up a double that scored that lead runner, but the defense snapped into action to catch the batter trying to take 3rd.

After a clean 7th inning from Cessa, the Yankee called in a position player to close out the game. These are always a mixed bag, sometimes rather amusing, sometimes surprising. But Austin Romine actually did a decent job, with most of his pitches comfortably in the 70mph range, but the Red Sox took advantage of some well-placed pitches. To start the inning, he gave up a single and 2-run home run, and after an out, he gave up a solo home run and a double. But he only needed 21 pitches to get out of the game for the Yankees. It wasn’t like he could do any worse, like lose the game.

Final score: 19-3 Red Sox

Injury news: Brett Gardner has officially been placed on the 10-day injured list with left knee inflammation, retroactive to July 22. He’s been out of the line up and available off the bench for the last few days, but the knee isn’t improving as he’d hoped. So to the IL it is. For tonight’s game, the Yankees recalled Stephen Tarpley, who pitched in tonight’s troubled game.

And in a statement this afternoon, Troy Tulowitzki announced his retirement as a major league ball player. Despite a career with so much potential, the shortstop has been constantly plagued with injuries that kept him from building a Hall of Fame-style career. He finally got his lifelong wish of playing in pinstripes this season, but after just 5 games, Tulowitzki was hampered again by injuries.

So he’s going out as a Yankee and joining the University of Texas’ athletic department as an assistant baseball coach. His coaching skills were on display during the Spring with the Yankees as he volunteered to spend time with the younger players and work on their skills. Best of luck to “Tulo” and his family on this new chapter of life!

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 80: TOR vs. NYY — Walk-off and glory by All-Star Finalists

Well, that was… eventful. Leave it to this year’s Yankees to close out their final home stand before the All-Star Break with quite the dramatic flair. The Blue Jays, for their part, certainly made it one worth fighting for all the way to the end.

James Paxton got a rocky start in this afternoon’s finale, throwing 91 pitches into the 5th inning. He gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out 3 Toronto batters. At the top of the game, he gave up consecutive walks that then scored on a 3-run home run to the glee of the smattering of Blue Jay fans in the stadium. Then in the 2nd, a 1-out single scored on a 2-run home run to add more to the Jays’ early lead.

After settling into a good pattern for the next few innings, Paxton gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 5th. After a walk and out, he handed the ball over to Hale to close out the inning. Hale quickly picked the runner off 1st and got a grounder to do so. He continued that momentum through a scoreless 6th inning. Then, Ottavino and Tarpley each took an inning to run with that pattern.

In the mean time, the Yankees chipped away at the visitors’ lead. With 1 out in the 2nd, Didi Gregorius continued the Yankees’ homer magic with a solo home run, making it the 29th consecutive game with a home run. The Yankees loaded up the bases with a walk to Hicks, a single by Torres, and a 2-out walk to LeMahieu. Aaron Judge’s single scored both Hicks and Torres.

DJ LeMahieu came back in the 4th to hit a 1-out 2-run home run. In the 5th, Encarnacion hit a 1-out double, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to finally tie up the game. With 2 outs in the 6th, the Yankees finally took the lead. Judge singled, moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s single, and then scored the go-ahead run on Luke Voit’s single.

Things were finally looking up for the home team. Zack Britton came on to close out the game, but he immediately struggled his way through those pesky 3 outs. The lead-off batter singled, his pinch-runner took 2nd on a passed ball, and then scored on a single to tie the game up again.

So, the game went to the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out, Gregorius singled. Hicks worked a walk to moved Gregorius to scoring position. And then he did on Gleyber Torres’ walk-off single.

Final score: 8-7 Yankees, Yankees sweep the series 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel across the pond for their much-anticipated series against the Red Sox in London. They have the next two days off for travel/jet lag and will start the mini-series agains their famed rivals on Saturday. They will come back to America with an off-day the first day of July before doing a quick 2-game series in Queens against the Mets. They will spend the final weekend before the All-Star Break in Tampa for a 4-game series there.

Injury update/roster moves: Despite some home for a simple injury, Giancarlo Stanton is headed back to the Injured List. An MRI revealed a strain (or partial tear) in the posterior cruciate ligament in the knee, the connective tissue between the leg bones close to the back of the knee, behind the patella (knee cap).

The Yankees have recalled Mike Tauchman to replace Stanton on the roster. In preparation for the big London series, the teams are allowed to carry a 26th man on their roster. They will select Thairo Estrada. However, Kyle Higashioka and Chance Adams will be held in standby in case they are needed due to injury.

Yankee Trivia: I was not aware of this until today, but this is a great fact. As of today, the Yankees have played 162 regular games straight without being shutout. They have scored in every game for an entire season. That is quite the feat, though it is short of the record held by the Yankees way back from 1931-1933. Those Yankees got runs in 308 straight games, and even won the World Series in the middle of that (1932), their fourth championship.

Finally, VOTE NOW for your favorite finalists in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game. You get one vote on MLB and one vote on Google, so choose wisely. For your consideration, there are six Yankees on the ballot in their respective positions — Luke Voit (1st base), DJ LeMahieu (2nd base), Gio Urshela (3rd base), Gleyber Torres (shortstop), Gary Sanchez (catcher), and Aaron Judge (outfield). This round of voting ends Thursday at 4 pm ET.

Go Yankees!

Game 24: NYY vs. LAA — Come from behind victory… once again

The Yankees are making it a pattern for the dramatic fall-behind moment only to come back and find victory over their West Coast opponent. In tonight’s third of four games this series in Anaheim, the Yankees were looking at California-native CC Sabathia to write the story (more later), but once again, it ended up being the relatively unknowns that made all the difference.

Sabathia came into tonight’s game with 2994 career strikeouts, and by all accounts, there was a high possibility that he might hit that rare feat of 3000 by the end of his outing. But call it pressure or just an off-night, things really didn’t go that way. Sabathia threw 86 pitches in his 5 innings, gave up 6 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), and struck out just 3 Angels’ batters.

In the 1st, he gave up a 2-out solo home run to get the home team on the board first. But it was the 4th inning that caused so much trouble. After a lead-off home run to double their score, the Angels got a single that moved to 2nd on a bunt and fielding error, ended up at 3rd on a fielder’s choice out, and then scored as part of a big 3-run home run.

Jonathan Loaisiga came on for relief and tamped down on the Angels’ offense in his 3 innings, only allowing sporadic base runners but no further runs, an outing that would surprisingly earn the win. And it would be Aroldis Chapman to close out the game with a solid 17-pitch 9th inning to earn the save.

The Angels’ pitching used the “opener” model, where their “starter” would only pitch one inning, and the bulk of their pitching would be by a long-term reliever. And tonight, it seemed to work as it held off the Yankees for most of the game and allowed their offense to collect a rather solid lead.

The Yankees didn’t find a scoring opportunity until the 6th inning. Wade singled and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s double. Voit’s single moved LeMahieu to 3rd, and after 2 outs (and an unsuccessful challenge), LeMahieu jogged home to easily score on a passed ball to further chip away at the Angels’ lead.

Once the Angels got into their bullpen, it was the Yankees’ chance to advance. In the 7th, they loaded up the bases with a walk to Ford, single to Urshela, and walk to Tauchman. Tyler Wade then worked a walk to score Mike Ford. After another pitching chance, DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly scored Urshela, and Luke Voit’s fielder’s choice scored Tauchman to tie up the game before a bad double play ended the inning.

So it would come down to the 9th inning to break the tie. With 2 outs, Wade singled and stole 2nd to put himself in scoring position. DJ LeMahieu would again be the hero, whose single drove home Wade for the winning run.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

CC K Count: 2997

Roster moves/Scranton Shuttle: Yesterday, the Yankees optioned Joe Harvey and recalled Jonathan Loaisiga for a fresh arm to pitch in tonight’s game. And before the game, the Yankees activated Gary Sanchez and recalled Stephen Tarpley, optioning Kyle Higashioka and Chad Green.

Green’s consistent issues seem out of place, so the Yankees are hoping a stint in AAA could help him get some of the kinks out of his delivery and back to the reliable Green he can be. Higashioka is only back in AAA because there’s only room for one back-up on the roster. He’s proven more than reliable when called upon, perhaps proof that time in AAA sharpens and hones players’ skills.

Injury update: Clint Frazier’s hopes to remain off the IL seem dashed after an MRI revealed his sprained ankle includes a small tear that demands he heal first. Apparently, Frazier was reminded of his injury setting foot out of bed and then when it swelled up a bit. Being forced to stay off it will definitely aid in healing it quicker than “playing through” the injury as he intended.

Go Yankees!