Game 154: LAA vs. NYY: 100th win for the AL East Championship

Yankee Stadium fans were in for a treat tonight as they witnessed an outstanding game. Facing the Los Angeles Angels, the New York Yankees earned their well-deserved 100th win that clinched the 2019 AL East Division Championship, their first division title since 2012. Despite being plagued this year by a record-breaking number of players on the IL that had many doubting a shot at a title, the Yankees continued to show their depth of talent and solid ability to play as a team, no matter who was in the lineup or on the mound. The Yankees came ready to play as a team and it showed.

Masahiro Tanaka took a solid command of the mound to start the game against the Los Angeles Angels. It was “Tanaka Time” for a full 7 innings that gave the starter his 11th win of the season. Facing 24 batters, Tanaka threw 86 pitches and gave up just one run, a solo home run to right field in the 4th. Gearrin replaced Tanaka in the 8th for an easy 3 outs. And in the 9th, Aroldis Chapman took over the mound to close the inning for the Yankees 100th season win to clinch the AL East, their first since 2012.

After a scoreless 1st, the Yankees started off the 2nd inning with a walk from lead-off batter Maybin, who was then caught on fielder’s choice by Gardner. Romine then singled, and DJ LeMahieu came to the plate and sent a 3-run homer, his 25th this year, over the right-center field fence, scoring both Gardner and Romine.  In the 4th, Brett Gardner homered to right field for another run.

Gregorius led-off the 6th with a single and then stole 2nd. Following a walk by Urshela, Maybin hit into a ground out that moved Urshela and Gregorius into scoring position. Gardner then hit a solid double that scored both Urshela and Gregorius. And in the 8th, with the Yankees solidly ahead, Cameron Maybin hit a solo home run. After a walk by Gardner, Clint Frazier then sent a 2-run home run ball over the left field fence. All ending up in a solid 100th win tonight for the Yankees.

Final score: 9-1 Yankees, Yankees win the series 2-1

News updates: Yankee pitcher Domingo German is on restricted leave due to an investigation by MLB into alleged domestic abuse incident. No formal charges have been filed, but until the investigation is completed, the Yankees selected the contract of right-hander Michael King from AA Trenton to take German’s place on the roster.

A big congratulations to all the Yankees on their 100th season win and their new title as AL East Division Champions, such a well-deserved honor.

Go Yankees!

Game 153: LAA vs. NYY — Sabathia’s last stand, but still waiting for #100

Under a clear New York evening sky, tonight’s crowd in the Bronx had the privilege of witnessing Yankee veteran CC Sabathia pitch his final regular season start at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia tipped his hat in appreciation to the roaring crowd, who gave him a well-deserved standing ovation as the All-Star pitcher walked off the mound to be congratulated by his teammates in front of the dugout. Sabathia, who has been a Yankee longer than any current player except Brett Gardner, may well be called upon for the playoffs. So fans have reason to hope for a few more priceless chances to see “Dub” pitch before he officially retires.

Yankee starter, CC Sabathia, pitched into the 3rd inning tonight, throwing 62 pitches to 15 batters for 4 strikeouts and giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs. In the 1st inning, Sabathia gave up 2 singles, but no runs. In the 2nd, Sabathia each of his 3 batters struck out swinging. Sabathia returned in the 3rd to allow a walk and 2 singles that scored a run. Another walk and a mound visit was followed by another single that gave up a second run to the Angels, and Sabathia was done for the evening.

After a break in the action as the crowd gave Sabathia his farewell ovation, German replaced Sabathia for the 3rd out to end the inning. German got 3 quick outs in the 4th, followed by a single and a walk in the 5th, but allowed no runs. Adam Ottavino took over in the 6th, giving up a double and 2 singles to load the bases. His wild throwing error to home allowed a runner to score. Kahnle replaced Ottavino for the final 2 strikeouts of the 6th. Green was called on in the 7th, and despite a walk and hit by pitch, allowed no runs. Britton’s 8th ended up being 3 solid outs in a row, and Cessa’s 9th allowed a single but no further runs.

New York was hoping to get that 100th season win tonight, but the goal proved elusive when the Yankee batters struggled to even get in scoring position. After a scoreless 1st inning, the 2nd inning began with lead-off batter Giancarlo Stanton as he was welcomed back to the Bronx with an ovation from the stadium crowd. Returning from time on the IL for a knee injury, Stanton doubled a line drive to center that put the Yankees in scoring position, but 3 outs followed and Stanton was left on base.

The Yankees scored 2 runs in the 3rd inning when LeMahieu led off with a walk and then crossed the plate on Aaron Judge’s 24th home run to right field. But then that awful pattern emerged again: A solid double put Torres on 2nd to lead off the 3rd, but 3 outs followed that left him on base; and in the 4th, Gardner bunted for a single and moved to 2nd base on a wild pitch, but then 3 outs later, he too was stranded.

After a quick, scoreless run for the next 4 innings, the last chance for the Yankees to score was in the 9th. With 1 out, Gardner hit a ground ball to center field, and the crowd was quite hopeful to tie up the game, but 2 quick outs followed and ended the evening.

Final score: 3-2 Angels

Injury update: Dellin Betances was in the dugout for tonight’s game, sporting a walking boot to protect his partially torn Archilles tendon. No surgery is scheduled at this time. The Yankees still have 9 players on the IL, none of which will be returning for the playoffs. The 9 include Betances, Tauchman, Hale, Holder, Bird, Hicks, Ellsbury, Andujar, and Barrett.

The Yankees also activated Giancarlo Stanton from the 60-day IL to play in tonight’s game. Stanton looked strong in his outing but was unable to contribute much in tonight’s game, much like the rest of his offensive teammates. Also, the Blue Jays claimed pitcher Ryan Dull off waivers. Best of luck to him on his journey.

Go Yankees!

Game 152: LAA vs. NYY: Shutout in the Bronx for the 99th win

After a long (and disappointing) weekend across our northern border, the Yankees were back home in the Bronx for to host the Los Angeles Angels. It ended up being a good game for the hometown crowd that witnessed another strong pitching debut this season.

Yankee Stadium welcomed back Luis Severino who took the mound for the first time since last year’s division series playoffs. Severino pitched 4 scoreless innings to a constantly cheering hometown crowd, giving up 2 hits and 2 walks and striking out 4 LA batters. Unlike Betances who was injured in his debut on Sunday, Severino came out of the game healthy and ready for the playoffs.

Loaisiga came on in relief of Severino, pitching 2 full innings, allowing 1 walk, but striking out 3 batters and allowed no runs. Tarpley took over in the 7th inning, giving up a single to center, followed by a wild pitch and a hit by pitch to put runners on the corners. But Tarpley managed to get that last strikeout to get out of the jam. He gave up 2 singles in the 8th and was replaced by Gearrin, the inning ending with a solid double play and no runs. In the top of the 9th, Adams took the mound, giving up a walk and single to center, but keeping the Angels scoreless and closed out the game with two solid strikeouts.

After a quiet 1st inning for Yankee batters, the 2nd inning began with a solid line drive to left by Torres and a walk by Voit. An RBI single to left by Gio Urshela scored Torres and gave the Yankees an early lead. Cameron Maybin doubled to left field that moved Urshela to 3rd and allowed Voit to score.

But it was the 4th inning that padded the lead for the Yankees. Urshela singled, moved to 2nd on a single by Maybin, and scored on a single by DJ LeMahieu. Judge’s walk loaded the bases, and Didi Gregorius then hit a 2-run double, scoring Maybin and LeMahieu. Finally, a 3-run home run hit by Gleyber Torres to left center field allowed Judge and Gregorius to cross the plate.

That 4th inning ended with the Yankees way ahead, much to the delight of the cheering hometown crowd.  Except for a few walks and a couple singles, the final innings were quiet for the Yankee lineup. But the Angels were kept scoreless the entire game for the Yankee win tonight.

Final score: 8-0 Yankees

Injury updates: Dellin Betances made his season debut in Toronto over the weekend, but he’s now back on the IL and is out for the rest of the season. Returning to New York with a sore ankle, tests today revealed a partially torn left Achilles tendon that apparently happened when Betances jumped on the mound in celebration after his second strikeout in Sunday’s game. After working so hard to come back this season, and with a strong outing facing the Blue Jays, this is truly heart-breaking, season-ending news for Betances.

Our congratulations to retired Yankee pitcher, Mariano “The Sandman” Rivera,  who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award, on Monday at the White House. The Hall of Famer, a 13-time All Star with 5 World Series Championships, entered the ceremony to his familiar entrance music, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”. Rivera received this well-deserved award for his extraordinary contributions to sports, culture, and the community.

Go Yankees!

 

 

 

Game 83: NYY vs. NYM — Crosstown rivals snap streak

Blame the jet lag or time difference or going from a soccer stadium to Queens. Or really just the way things happen sometimes. But the Yankees’ big record-setting streak was bound to come to an end at some point. It just happened to be at the hands of their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets.

The Yankees are back in New York after their sweep of the Red Sox in the historic London series. But they’re across the East River to visit the Mets for this quick 2-game series. And tonight certainly showed the Yankees were a bit rusty after their international pond hop.

They got on the board first in the 2nd inning. Gregorius and Encarnacion each singled to get on base. Gleyber Torres’ single scored Gregorius before Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners in the corners. Thanks to the joys of a National League stadium, it was tonight’s starter James Paxton that hit the sacrifice bunt to score Encarnacion to double the Yankees’ early lead.

Those early runs helped boost James Paxton’s rather shaky start, which also helped him limit the damage the home team could do under his watch. He threw 103 pitches in just 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and just 1 run, and struck out just 3 Mets’ batters. That lone run was a lead-off solo home run in his final inning.

Kahnle’s 7th inning was near flawless, but the Yankees struggled their way through the 8th inning. Adam Ottavino was not having a good night. His first batter made it to 1st on a messy throwing error and then scored the tying run on an RBI double. After an out, he intentionally walked one batter and gave up a single to load up the bases.

That was it for Ottavino, but Zack Britton promptly gave up a double that scored 2 runs to give the home team the lead. The Yankees were unable to bounce back in the final inning, despite Gregorius’ lead-off single and stolen base to put him in scoring position. The team left him stranded out there.

And with no home runs hit, the Yankees’ start all over again with those consecutive games with a home run. Still record-holders. Until they break it again one day.

Final score: 4-2 Mets

Roster moves/injury update/Scranton Shuttle: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees announced that they were going to send Luke Voit to the 10-day injured list. The abdominal strain he suffered during the first game in London wasn’t healing fast enough, and the Yankees needed to make a move to help close out this week.

The Scranton Shuttle is in full swing with more moves. They recalled infielder Mike Ford to fill Voit’s vacant spot and reliever Nestor Cortes Jr for a fresh arm. And they optioned infielder Thairo Estrada (the 26th man for the London series) and reliever Chance Adams back to AAA Scranton.

Yankees Universe News: The “Voice of the New York Yankees” John Sterling is looking forward to his upcoming long vacation. Feeling a bit under the weather lately, Sterling will start his vacation on Thursday, celebrating his 81st birthday and missing the series at the Rays and then enjoying the All-Star Break.

This will be the first games he’s missed since he became the “Voice of the Yankees in 1989. That’s 30 straight years, over 4900 games called by the award-winning broadcaster, a familiar voice to so many Yankee fans. In the same vein as other old-time radio voices, Sterling made the “home run call” his signature, with highly creative calls — “An A-bomb from A-Rod”, “Gardner planted one in the seats”, and “Gary is scary”.

Finally, our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room yesterday afternoon before their game against the Rangers. He was declared dead at the scene, and no further details are forthcoming. The southern California native was just 27 years old.

The game was canceled last night, but the Rangers made sure to honor his memory during tonight’s game and will donate the proceeds of their nightly raffle tonight to the Angels’ foundation in his honor. The Angels will wear a patch with his #45 for the remainder of the season. Again, our hearts go out to his wife Carli and his family and friends as they mourn.

Go Yankees!

Game 25: NYY vs. LAA — Denied a sweep

The Yankees were going for the sweep tonight in this final game of the 4-game series against the Angels. But despite a good lead built up, the Yankees were unable to hold onto it in the end as the tables tonight tipped in favor of the home team instead.

In the 3rd, Tyler Wade led-off with a single, then stole both 2nd and 3rd before scoring on DJ LeMahieu’s single to get the Yankees on the board first. Gio Urshela hit a solid 2-out solo home run in the 4th, his first as a Yankee.

And in the 5th, they loaded the bases with singles to Voit and Gardner and a walk to Sanchez. With 1 out and a new pitcher, a wild pitch scored Luke Voit, moving the other two into scoring position. And Gleyber Torres’ single scored Gardner to give the Yankees a healthy lead.

Masahiro Tanaka actually threw a great game for most of his outing, right up until the end of it. Overall, he threw 89 pitches into the 6th, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs (5 earned), and just 2 strikeouts. In the 5th, Tanaka gave up a single and a 2-run home run. Twice. To tie up the game in a single inning.

In the 6th, he gave up a 1-out walk and a 2-out walk before he was replaced by Jonathan Holder. Holder’s passed ball moved runners into scoring position that allowed both runners to score on a single that gave the Angels the lead.

Stephen Tarpley came on for the 7th, an inning I’m sure the Yankees would rather forget. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and another walk and passed ball put runner on the corners. After the first out of the inning, the Yankees called in Joe Harvey.

A stolen base put runners in scoring position, and a single and fielding error scored both runners. Two walks loaded up the bases, before the Yankees’ defense snapped into action getting a force out at home. The bases still loaded, so that a big triple cleared the bases to give the Angels a distinctive lead. Kahnle returned the Yankee pitching back to the earlier model, with a quick, clean 10-pitch 8th inning.

The Yankees found one more opportunity to try to chip away at the Angels’ big lead in the 8th. Ford and Urshela worked walks, and LeMahieu’s short 1-out single loaded the bases. Opportunity for a late rally was in play. After another out, Brett Gardner worked a 4-pitch walk to score Ford. But a pitching change quickly ended the rally opportunity.

Final score: 11-5 Angels, Yankees win series 3-1

Next up: The Yankees travel a up the California coast to face the Giants this weekend. After a travel day, they’ll play the Diamondbacks for a quick 2-game series, before heading home to host the Twins and Mariners.

Roster moves: The Yankees continue to shift the roster around in effort to combat the growing injured list. They officially moved Clint Frazier to the 10-day Injured List and sent Jonathan Loaisiga back to AAA for a fresh arm in Joe Harvey. They also moved Luis Severino to the 60-day IL to remove him from the 40-man roster and make room for their newest trade — outfielder Cameron Maybin.

Maybin is a 12-year veteran outfielder, spending the early part of his career with the Marlins and Padres, but also 9 other teams as part of trades and signings. He also was a key part of the 2017 Astros’ World Series team. He was signed this off-season with the Giants, spending most of Spring Training with them before being released and signed by the Indians. They then traded Maybin to the Yankees for cash.

And for you numbers/trivia nerds, Maybin showed up at tonight’s game wearing jersey #38.

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!

Game 23: NYY vs. LAA — Voit’s power & Ford’s first dinger

The streak continues for the Yankees in this middle game of their series against the Angels. Though there was a few moments where it looked like the Angels might have a rally in them, even a grand slam couldn’t stop the Yankees from dominating tonight’s game.

Starter Domingo German held control into the 7th inning, with 99 pitches, 4 hits, a walk, and an unearned run, and 5 strikeouts against the home team. German held them off until the 5th. A lead-off double, moved to 3rd on a fielding error, and then scored on a fielder’s choice out at 2nd.

In the 7th, with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd, Chad Green came into the game for relief and quickly got out of the inning. But coming back out in the 8th almost cost the Yankees the game. He loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk before giving up a big grand slam up the middle to leap the Angels up on the scoreboard.

Luis Cessa came in and promptly gave up a double and a walk. Things looked bleak again for the Yankees, but then Cessa settled in, getting a strikeout and a great double play to end the Angels’ hopes of trying to overcome the Yankees. And Zack Britton sailed his way through a 7-pitch 9th inning to earn his 1st save of the season.

Again, the Yankees needed to dominate tonight in order to earn the win, and it would be Luke Voit to lead the way again with a 1st inning 1-out solo home run, extending his on-base streak to 35 games. They loaded up the bases in the 2nd with a single to Ford, a walk to Tauchman, and a 1-out single to Thairo Estrada, his first MLB hit. Tyler Wade hit into a fielder’s choice that allowed Ford to score. In the 5th, Gardner hit a 1-out single and then scored on Mike Ford’s 2-out 2-run home run.

Voit led-off the 7th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Gardner’s double, and then scored on Gleyber Torres’ single. After a pitching change, pinch-hitter Urshela hit into a fielder’s choice out at home. Then a walk to Tauchman loaded the bases. Austin Romine’s simple grounder scored Torres, and despite loading up the bases again with Estrada’s walk, the Yankees couldn’t add any further runs that inning.

Voit added one more to the score, an insurance run of sorts, in the top of the 8th with another 1-out solo home run. And after the Angels tried to get a few of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, the Yankees were glad for every extra insurance run they had to ensure their win tonight.

Final score: 7-5 Yankees

Mike Ford hit his first major league home run with that 5th inning 2-run homer. The Yankees were able to retrieve that milestone ball from the lucky fan that caught it in the right field seats. Ford intends to give the ball to his parents, something I think is a great gesture.

He’ll hit lots of home runs, but that first one deserves a spot on his parents’ mantle, next to the baseball trophies he won in Little League, where they cheered him on and hoped he would one day achieve his dream. Remember, he grew up in New Jersey, a huge fan of the Yankees during their most recent dynasty years. The dream was always to wear pinstripes (or away greys).

You know, somewhere, there’s some kid sleeping with his glove under his pillow, dreaming of the night he’ll get to hit his first home run with the Yankees. And someday, we’re going to watch that kid do just that.

Go Yankees!