Game 90: NYY vs. BAL — #BirdPower not enough against a walk-off, also #ASGiancarlo

Even after all that work by the Yankees, there’s nothing like a walk-off to both energize the home team and deplete all the energy out of the visiting team that is hoping to gain in the standings behind the division leader from New England.

Fresh off his return from rehabbing his injured hamstrings, Masahiro Tanaka got the start in tonight’s game and actually had a really decent outing for the most part, throwing 80 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and striking out 5 Baltimore batters. In fact, Tanaka didn’t give up a run until the 4th inning, only giving up 3 hits in the scoreless first third of the game.

But then, in the 4th, with 2 outs, he gave up a single and a walk that both scored on a long double. After a throwing error and walk loaded up the bases, Tanaka got out the jam with a great strikeout. However, a lead-off solo home run in the 5th (and an out) ended Tanaka’s outing. Holder closed out the 5th with just 5 pitches.

Chad Green breezed his way through the 6th, but then got into a bit of trouble in the 7th. With 1 out, he gave up a single and a 2-run home run. Originally, however, it was ruled a single that took a wicked bounce off the back wall just out of Judge’s reach. But upon review, the ball bounced off the top of the wall, thus a home run to tie up the game at that point.

Now, to get to that tie, the Yankees put in some big work behind a particular player. In the 5th, Gregorius hit a 1-out single and Andujar worked a walk, and then both of them scored as part of a big 3-run home run by Greg Bird. And in the 7th, with 1 out, Gregorius doubled and moved to 3rd on Andujar’s single. Then after a new pitcher, Greg Bird hit a nice sacrifice fly to score Gregorius. After a walk to Romine, Neil Walker’s single scored Andujar.

So the game was tied, and Robertson cleanly got through the 8th inning with just 15 pitches to keep the Yankees alive. But with no offense breakthrough in the top of the 9th, the Yankees called on Dellin Betances to push the tie into extra innings. But there was some trouble. He hit the first batter, got an out, gave up a double, and then intentionally walked the next batter. Not a great position to be in, but then Betances came through with a great strikeout. Just one more out to go. Instead, he gave up a walk-off single.

Final score: 6-5 Orioles

Roster moves: As previously mentioned, the Yankees activated Masahiro Tanaka off the 10-day disabled list. And after the doubleheader yesterday, they also optioned Luis Cessa, Brandon Drury, and Giovanny Gallegos back to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I actually called the “Scranton Shuttle” the “Scranton Shuffle”, and lately, the latter moniker kind of feels rather accurate these days.

Also, this is your final reminder to Vote #ASGiancarlo, to vote Giancarlo Stanton into the All-Star Game next week. He’s currently sitting at 3rd in the rankings, so it’s your turn, Yankee Universe, to vote consistently until 4pm (EST) tomorrow.

Go Yankees!

Games 88 & 89: NYY vs. BAL — Splitting the doubleheader, #ASGiancarlo

The Yankees penciled in the first of today’s two games back in May, when it was still a soggy Spring and rain delays were trending hotter than the latest string of summer superhero blockbusters. So it became a single-admission doubleheader for today, meaning they play one early-ish game and then a small break later, the second about regularly scheduled game-time.

Game 1:
CC Sabathia got the start in the first game and didn’t really have a great outing. It wasn’t terrible, 99 pitches into the 6th inning, allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs, and striking out just 4 Baltimore batters. But it wasn’t the kind of outing that Sabathia could be happy with, even without factoring in the eventual loss.

He held them off until the 4th. Then, he gave up a 1-out double that scored as part of a 2-run home run to get the O’s on the board. Then after loading up the bases, Sabathia worked his way out of the inning. In the 6th, he gave up a walk, a double, and a 3-run homer that pushed the Orioles into the lead.

With no outs in the 6th, Sabathia handed the ball over to Holder who got into his own jam before getting out of it. Cole followed suit with 2 scoreless innings to keep the O’s from adding to their lead.

In that first game, the Yankees actually got on the board first, thanks to Giancarlo Stanton’s lead-off solo home run in the 2nd, his 22nd of the season. In the 3rd, Higashioka led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Wade’s single before getting caught out at home on a double play that moved Wade to 2nd. Aaron Judge singled Wade home, and Didi Gregorius singled home Judge.

Under a new pitcher in the 6th, Stanton led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on Neil Walker’s single. But then the Orioles’ bullpen kept the Yankees from retaking their lead and handed the game to the home team.

Final score for Game 1: 5-4 Orioles

Game 2:
Forty minutes and a field reset later, the second half of the doubleheader was ready to go. And Luis Cessa was tapped to start this game. Cessa was in performance mode tonight, throwing 85 pitches in 6 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits and 3 walks, and striking out 4 batters along the way.

After dropping the first game, the Yankees were ready to come back strong and sure for the second game, striking first and keeping control of the game. Gardner led-off the 1st inning with a solid single, moved to 2nd on a fly out, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. And in a pattern for the rest of the game, they loaded up the bases but didn’t capitalize on the Orioles’ weak season patterns on display in this 2nd game.

In the 4th, with 2 outs, Walker singles and then scored on Brett Gardner’s 2-run home run. Stanton led-off the 5th with a double, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Greg Bird’s single. That ended the Orioles’ starter’s night and for a few innings, the Yankees were held off.

Then in the 8th, with 2 outs, Frazier doubled and then scored on Austin Romine’s big 2-run home run. Walker then doubled and scored on Gardner’s double. A new pitcher loaded up the bases with walks to Judge and Gregorius. Stanton then made it to 1st safely due to a sloppy throwing error, keeping the bases loaded and scoring Gardner.

Giovanny Gallegos took over for Cessa for the final third of the game and kept the Orioles at bay until the 8th inning when a lead-off single scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run to break the shutout. Despite their extensive lead, the Yankees opted to take back those allowed run in the top of the 9th.

Andujar led-off with a double, and Frazier worked a walk. Austin Romine’s double scored Andujar, but Frazier was caught out at home. Gardner hit a 2-out single to move Romine to 3rd before scoring on Judge’s single. A new reliever finally ended the Yankees’ threat.

Final score for Game 2: 10-2 Yankees

In a weird twist, the original series was a 4-game weekend series in Baltimore. The first game was rained out and made-up today, the Yankees won the middle 2 games, and the last game was also rained out and will be made-up August 25, as the first game of a standard double header. In other words, that series’ result is still pending, though currently stands at 2-1 Yankees.

Roster moves: before the game, the Yankees called in Gallegos to be the 26th man allowed for a doubleheader. Then between innings, the Yankees recalled Luis Cessa so he could start the second game, and had to make a hard choice. They ended up optioning Brandon Drury to AAA Scranton. It wasn’t a decision that sat well with many people as Drury has been a reliable bench player, but he’s a phone call away and I can guarantee he’ll be back soon.

And this is your reminder to “Vote #ASGiancarlo“, and vote for Giancarlo Stanton to be the Yankees’ 5th representative at the All-Star Game. There are so many deserving players on the Yankees’ current roster, and every player has their own person they’d nominate that didn’t make the cut.

But that’s the way some seasons work — some rosters are just packed with All-Stars, and some years you can barely find a veteran to honor for the required lone representative. A potential of 5 Yankees (and talks of who’s forgotten) sounds like it’s the former kind of year, as does the standings and anyone with eyes watching the Yankees play this year.

Go Yankees!

Game 79: BOS vs. NYY — A little of #CCStrong, a lot of #BabyBombers

The Yankees kicked off their final home stand before the All-Star Game on a high note, battling the Red Sox tonight for their first game of this weekend series. Going into tonight’s game, the Boston rivals were a game ahead of the Yankees (thanks to a less-than-ideal road trip). But the Yankees were quick to even up things in the AL East.

CC Sabathia had another solid start in tonight’s game, throwing 97 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and 1 run, and striking out 5 Boston batters. But he kept the Red Sox scoreless through 4 innings. In the 5th, with 2 outs, he gave up consecutive doubles to score the Sox’ lone run tonight.

Chad Green kept Sabathia’s momentum going with a solid, scoreless 8th inning, and in the 9th, Chasen Shreve got a chance to redeem himself after some bad outings this month. There’s a lot to be said about momentum and confidence. Shreve needed just 14 pitches to breeze his way through the inning, including 2 sharp strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were ready to make a dent in the Red Sox’s game tonight. Big time. In the 2nd, Gleyber Torres led-off with his first MLB triple and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s single to get the Yankees on the board first. Then Stanton led-off the 4th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ double, and scored on Torres’ sacrifice fly. Andujar promptly hit a long 2-run home run into the left field seats, only to be followed by Greg Bird’s solo home run to ensure the Yankees’ easy victory.

Later, in the 7th, with a new pitcher on the mound, Hicks hit a nice 1-out single and then scored as part of Aaron Judge’s big 2-run home run. Then with 2 outs in the 8th, Bird hit his 2nd homer of the night, a solo shot deep into the right field seats.

Final score: 8-1 Yankees

Roster moves/Scranton Shuttle alert: the Yankees sent pitcher Luis Cessa back to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With some strong left-handed pitchers coming up in the Red Sox and Braves’ rotation and bullpen, the Yankees wanted a strong bat. So they recalled infielder Brandon Drury, who has had a great time in recovery and while with the Rail Riders.

Yesterday, during the off-day, CC Sabathia hosted a charity softball game at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia and his wife Amber run the PitcchIn Foundation that helps out the Sabathia’s local communities in New York and their hometown of Oakland, like backpack drives, ball field renovations, and scholarships. This year’s big fundraiser raised over $1 million and featured current and former Yankees (like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Alex Rodriguez) alongside other celebrities (like Jennifer Lopez, Leslie Jones, Terrell Owens, Michael Rapaport, and Christopher Jackson) in front of a few hundred fans. It was a fun night for all, with Team CC beating Team Giancarlo 2-1 at the end of the night, and a great cause to help so many.

Go Yankees!

Game 78: NYY vs. PHI — Shut out of a sweep

The Yankees conclude their tour of the “City that Loves You Back” by not feeling so much of that love. In a quirky turn of events, about 20 years ago, the City of Philadelphia launched a campaign in a sort of response to New York’s “I Love New York” campaign with one that might encourage tourists to receive the “brotherly love” rather than be compelled to give it. So, they launched ads that relied on “Philadelphia’s heritage as the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ infused with the Quaker values of universal love, nonviolence, tolerance, and equality.”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of love for the Yankees tonight. Luis Cessa got the start tonight, throwing 74 pitches in his 3 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and striking out just 2 Phillies batters. In the 2nd, with 1 out, Cessa gave up a single who moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt. After another batter worked a walk, the next player hit a long 3-run home run for the only runs to score all night.

Giovanny Gallegos came on in relief of Cessa in the 4th and continued on for the next 3 innings, keeping the Phillies to those runs. But his strength was actually getting a strong 6 strikeouts. Holder and German continued Gallegos’ momentum, breezing their ways through the 8th and 9th scoreless innings.

But the Yankees’ offense was limited to 4 hits and 2 walks off the Phillies’ starter, but he and his lone reliever kept the Yankees completely and disappointingly scoreless for the whole game. The Yankees’ biggest show tonight was defensively, with both Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton slamming up against the back wall to make some great plays.

Final score: 3-0 Phillies, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: After a travel day and day-off tomorrow, the Yankees head back to the Bronx to face the Red Sox for a weekend series starting Friday, before 3 games against the Braves. And then, they’re on the road visiting the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Indians right up to the All-Star Game Break.

And speaking of which, have you voted for your favorite All-Star candidates yet? Time is running short (you have until July 5 at 11:59 pm EST). Vote today!

Go Yankees!

Game 73: NYY vs. TB — Falling short at “Yankee Stadium South”

It never fails to make new Yankee players smile, the first time they play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, hearing the kind of roar and cheers that they get used to hearing at Yankee Stadium. You hear it at Angels Stadium in Anaheim too. So it makes sense to dub that “Yankee Stadium West”, and “The Trop” easily becomes “Yankees Stadium South”, overriding any allusions to Steinbrenner Field for the regular season.

Anyway, for the 27,252 area fans that crowded the small stadium (its capacity just a little over 30,000), at least half of them were Yankees’ fans, though Twitter estimates put them closer to 27,000, which can be the case in many previous seasons. And that certainly had an effect on the overall game, perhaps even helping the Yankees stem the Rays’ strong showing tonight.

CC Sabathia was far from clean in tonight’s opener against the Rays, but somehow got out of most of the jams along the way. He threw 92 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 9 hits, a walk, and 2 runs (1 earned), and striking out just 4 batters. Despite all those base runners, Sabathia didn’t allow any runs until the 4th inning.

With 1 out, he gave up a double and hit the next batter to get 2 more base runners. Then the next batter singled and the Yankees’ defense kicked in to try to get an out somewhere. They ended up trying the one at 2nd, and initially called out, the Rays challenged and it was quickly overturned. Meanwhile, a run scored and 2 runners were in scoring position. The next batter hit into a fielder’s choice that got the out at home, before a simple grounder ended their rally.

Then, in the 5th, the lead-off batter singled and ended up at 2nd on a throwing error by Sabathia’s bad defensive throw to Bird. Another single moved that runner to 3rd before he scored on a long sacrifice fly. A double play ended that threat.

With 1 out and a runner on base with a single in the 6th, Adam Warren came in and managed to load up the bases before getting out of the jam to the delight of the crowd on the 3rd base side of the stadium. Luis Cessa got his shot to test his return from rehab, keeping the Rays to those 2 runs during his 2 innings, despite allowing a couple of base runners himself.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had their moments once again, collecting 6 walks and 5 hits overall, but there was very few that made a difference in the game. In fact, the Rays’ starter only made it through the 1st inning, but his first reliever was actually really strong throwing into the 5th inning. Then they pieced together their bullpen to maintain their home field advantage.

In the 7th, with 1 out, Torres walked and Gardner singled to put runners on the corners. Aaron Judge singled home Torres easily, and a ground out put runners in scoring position. But then sensing their lead might be in trouble, the Rays changed pitchers again and it worked. The Rays stayed strong and that final out in the 9th was a huge letdown for the faithful fans hoping for a big come back they’ve been used to this season.

Final score: 2-1 Rays

Did you vote for the All-Star Game starters yet? Time is running short, so get your votes in now! This round of voting continues until July 5 at 11:59 pm EST.

Go Yankees!

Game 72: SEA vs. NYY — 1st inning Bombers help sweep

The Yankees tabbed their ace Luis Severino to start this afternoon’s finale against the Mariners (and the home stand). And Severino continued his Cy Young candidacy this year earning his 11th win and yet still throwing 107 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 8 hits, a walk, and 3 runs, and striking out just 5 batters.

In the 2nd, a lead-off walk scored on a 2-run home run to get Seattle on the board. Later, in the 6th, with 2 runners on base with singles and 2 outs, another single scored the Mariners’ final run. That would be the end of Severino’s afternoon, and Robertson closed out that inning quickly before easing his way through the 7th. Robertson was followed with solid innings by Betances and Chapman, who earned his 22nd save of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees actually earned their win entirely in the 1st inning and spent the rest of the game fending off the Mariners. Clint Frazier led-off the bottom of the 1st with a single and then scored quickly on Aaron Judge’s 19th homer of the season, a 2-run shot into the right field seats. Two outs later, a bit of deja vu as Torres singled and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s 2-run home run.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep series 3-0

Injury update/roster moves: the Yankees placed reliever AJ Cole on the 10-day Disabled List due to a neck strain or possible pinched nerve. In his place, the Yankees shortened the rehab of Luis Cessa, scheduled to pitch today in Trenton, but he’s been strong since his return to baseball after his oblique strain injury back in April.

Next up: the Yankees are on their way south for a weekend series in Tampa Bay against the Rays before heading up to face the Phillies. Then, they’re back in the Bronx to host the Red Sox and Braves for the final home stand before the All-Star Break, coming on the heels of a long road trip.

And speaking of the All-Star Game, consider this your regular reminder to get your votes in today for your favorite players (*hint: Yankees*). You can vote up to 5 times every 24 hours, up to 35 total times, until July 5 at 11:59 pm EST. Fans can cast votes for players they want to see start the All-Star Game next month (July 17) in Washington, D.C.

Once voting closes, league coaching teams will announce their selections for bench players, pitchers, and relievers to fill out their rosters, plus 5 nominees for the final spot that fans will get a chance to vote again. During the All-Star Game, fans can also vote for their choice for the MVP of the game. This whole fan voting process is to further engage fans in the Midsummer Classic, and to allow “something to matter” now that home field advantage isn’t something that is earned at this game but rather a result of best record.

And if you’re wondering about that Home Run Derby, you might have heard that Judge isn’t interested in defending his title as reigning Home Run Derby Champion. And honestly, Judge is a bit behind the AL leaders anyway — Trout (Angels) has 23, Martinez (Red Sox) and Ramirez (Indians) are tied with 22, Davis (Athletics) has 20, and then Judge is tied with Betts (Red Sox) with 19 runs. If you’re wondering, Stanton is tied with 3 other players with 18 homers.

But if you think that’s a tight race, the NL leader Harper (Nationals) has 19 runs, but then 4 players at tied with 16, 4 players with 15, and 6 players with 14. In other words, there’s very little settled in this special event to be held July 16 as the culmination of All-Star warm-up day.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 17: TOR vs. NYY — Secret to success: Just play better than the other team

The Yankees are back on the plus side after tonight’s game, their opening game against the Blue Jays in this 4-game weekend series to continue their homestand. And CC Sabathia is back on the mound (more below). He was rather strong through most of his outing, throwing 71 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 4 hits, a walk, and 2 unearned runs, and getting just 1 strikeout.

In the 3rd, Sabathia gave up consecutive singles that moved into scoring position on a ground out. After another ground out, a passed ball allowed the lead runner to score the Jays’ first run. A throwing error allowed the lead-off batter in the 4th to reach safely before he moved to 2nd on a hit-by-pitch and later scored on a 2-out single.

Chad Green came on to get out of a jam in the 5th and then pitched through the 6th flawlessly. He handed the game over to Betances for a dominant 15-pitch 7th inning. David Robertson, however, had some struggles in the 8th, loading up the bases with a single and 2 walks and no outs. A pinch-hitter hit a 1-out single to score one more run for the Jays before Robertson pulled it together and got another good strikeout and a fly out to left field to get out of the bases-loaded jam. Chapman then threw a perfect 12-pitch, 3-strike out 9th inning to close out the game and earn the save.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took their moments when they came up and used them well. In the 2nd, with 1 out and Hicks and Walker in scoring position, they each scored on Tyler Wade’s ground out and Ronald Torreyes’ single. Then in the 5th, with 2 outs and Torreyes and Judge on the corners, Didi Gregorius’ single scored Torreyes. Stanton’s single loaded up the bases, but the Yankees failed to utilize that moment and grounded out to end the inning. Aaron Judge’s solo home run in the 7th would be the key to winning the game.

Put simply: the Yankees just played a better game than the Blue Jays tonight.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees

Roster moves/injury updates: before the game today, the Yankees activated CC Sabathia from the 10-day DL to start tonight’s game and placed pitcher Luis Cessa on the 10-day DL, retroactive to April 18, due to his left oblique strain injury. And they announced that pitcher Tommy Kahnle has been diagnosed with tendonitis in his biceps and shoulder, which means no throwing for 10 days; Kahnle is estimated to be out about three weeks.

And in community news: the Yankees responded to a recent viral video. Cassidy, a 10-year-old girl from Scranton posted an online video (through her mom’s Facebook account) about her experiences being bullied at her school, feeling extremely alone, but ending her message with one of encouragement to anyone else in her position. In response, the Yankees made their own video, standing up for Cassidy and anyone else facing bullying. It made me proud once again to be a Yankee fan.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for anyone ever. Be part of the solution. Change your world one kindness and moment of strength and courage at a time.

Go Yankees!