Game 3: NYY vs. TOR — Injury plagued loss, despite young power

Well, it was bound to happen sometime. The loss that is, not the injuries. But those injuries need to stop (more later). But the loss is a guarantee in this kind of game. There is no such thing as an undefeated season in MLB, and honestly, the entire game is really about losses.

I mean, when you think about it, even the best batters fail 7 out of 10 at-bats to get an average of .300. And in a season of 162 games, the best teams may win 90-100 in a season. That still means 60-70 losses. In fact, every day, one team will lose and one will win. This afternoon happened to fall in favor of the Blue Jays, proving perhaps that they really are “Toronto the Good“.

CC Sabathia got the start for the Yankees today and threw a decent outing — 84 pitches in 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs (only 1 earned), and struck out 4 Toronto batters. In the 1st, with 1 out, a batter doubled and then scored on a long single. And the lead-off batter in the 3rd made it safely on a throwing error before scoring on a double.

Sabathia would actually get a no-decision in the scorebook. The Yankees were certainly held off for much of the game, only getting 4 total hits, thanks mostly to the Blue Jays’ starter. But in the 5th inning, Drury worked a lead-off walk and then scored as part of Tyler Austin’s big 1-out 2-run home run to tie up the game.

Adam Warren came out for the 6th inning. He quickly got one out before giving up a walk. The next batter hit a sharp grounder right into Warren’s ankle. The defense got the out at 1st, but the other runner made it to 2nd and Warren came out of the game. Jonathan Holder came in to close out the inning for Warren, but gave up a single that scored the runner, giving the Blue Jays the lead.

But then it would be Tyler Austin to come back in the 7th to hit a 2-out solo home run to tie up the game once again. In fact, all of the Yankee runs were Austin’s fault, his first multi-homer game. Reliever Dellin Betances came in for a clean 7th inning, but then got into some trouble in the 8th. He gave up a lead-off solo homer (to a former Yankee, by the way) to shift things back to the Blue Jays’ favor.

Then things got messy. With 2 outs and a runner on 1st with a single, that runner stole 2nd, watched the next runner work a walk, the first runner stole 3rd, and then the other runner stole 2nd, putting both runners in scoring position. (Yes, a scorer’s nightmare!) And in a terrible play, thanks to a throwing error by Betances, both runners then stole the next base, which means someone stole home.

Final score: 5-3 Blue Jays

Injuries incurred today: outfielder Billy McKinney slammed against the wall in left field, which is actually a scoreboard. He seriously injured his left shoulder, coming out of the game then. X-rays were negative, but he’s still going on the DL. Adam Warren‘s injury, the grounder to his ankle in the 6th, was also enough to take him out of the game. With x-rays coming back negative, it looks like he’ll be nursing a deep bruise there, and some time on the DL.

To solve the immediate issue of McKinney’s absence and now hole in the roster, and with all the other outfielders on the 40-man roster also on the DL (Ellsbury, Frazier, and Hicks), the Yankees are calling up Miguel Andujar. Andujar can play 3rd, 1st, and DH, leaving the two other primary bench players (Wade and Torreyes) to sub in the outfield (to break Stanton, Judge, and Gardner). Ellsbury will probably be the first off the DL, but not until April 5, so it could be a very long week for the outfield. Still no word on who might take over for Warren, but fortunately, there’s a plethora of relievers waiting for that call with the RailRiders.

Okay, that’s enough injuries this week. Let’s stay healthy, guys!

Also, we are in the first full day of Passover week, so Chag Sameach! to those celebrating this week. We hope you all had a great Pesach dinner with your friends and family.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 23: MIA vs. NYY — #SevySharp, #ElGary, #FloridaIsHot

Okay, two things made this game a little weird. First, it was easily the warmest game so far this Spring. (Finger crossed for “ever this Spring”.) So when the sun finally found shade behind some clouds, the miserably sweaty sea of people all collectively sighed in appreciation along with some cheers. And second, unlike most games, there was only a handful of opposing fans. Usually, there’s a decent contingency of fans present to cheer on the visiting teams, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of local love for Miami today.

Luis Severino got the start against the visiting Marlins and mostly had a pretty good day. Despite allowing 7 hits, he still got 7 strikeouts in his 5 innings. But he really breezed through his first 3 innings (only giving up 2 hits), a lead-off solo shot in the 4th broke his scoreless streak. And in the 5th, with 1 out, he gave up consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly scored one run, and a double the other.

Jonathan Holder came on for a flawless 6th inning and found a spot of trouble in the 7th. A lead-off double in the 7th moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and then scored 2 outs later on a single. Chasen Shreve came on to finish off the inning, keeping the Marlins from adding to their score. Wade LeBlanc came on for a near-perfect 2 innings to close out the game, save a 2-out solo home run in the 8th (to Alex Rodriguez’s young nephew, by the way).

It’s worth noting that the Yankee pitching staff earned a whopping 15 strikeouts today, despite giving up 11 total hits. On the other side of things, the Yankee batters only got 5 strikeouts (and 11 hits and 4 walks), which may have been the difference of the game. The Yankee batters started out big in the 1st inning with Gardner’s lead-off single, complete with a “superman slide” into the base to beat the tag. He then stole 2nd and scored as part of Greg Bird’s monster 1-out 2-run home run. Stanton worked a walk but was out at 2nd as Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice (or failed double play). Gregorius singled, and the Neil Walker got his first hit in pinstripes — a nice double to split the outfielders and scored both Sanchez and Gregorius to add to the Yankees’ early lead.

Gary Sanchez hit a 2-out solo home run in the 3rd to add another run, his 4th of the season. In the 6th, Stanton worked another walk, Gregorius hit a double, and Peterson worked a walk to load up the bases. Brandon Drury then hit a long single and scored Stanton and Gregorius. Gardner led-off the 7th with a single and was pinch-run by Crawford. Crawford moved to 2nd on Gittens’ 1-out walk and then scored on Stanton’s long single to cap off the Yankees’ scoring.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees

One to Watch: again, we’re at the stage of Spring Training when it’s difficult to isolate a single farm system guy to notice because they don’t really get much playing time. So I’m going to notice Rashad Crawford. Now, Crawford did hustle it around the bases, pinch-running for Gardner in the 7th. Crawford was something to watch last year, but he hasn’t had much playing time this year to show off his skills. His season batting average dipped a little last year after his promotion to AA Trenton, but that can be great for a competitive athlete, to push himself to do better than last season until you can take it to the next level. A good lesson for all of us, really.

Next up: The Yankees host the Rays again. CC Sabathia will start tomorrow night’s game, as the Yankees continue to hone their final roster and prepare for the opening series in Toronto in about 10 days.

Roster moves: before the game, the Yankees sent a couple of the players we’ve been talking about this Spring to minor league camp. Estevan Florial was reassigned to the camp, and Miguel Andujar was optioned to AAA Scranton. That means that Andujar will not be making the starting roster, but will likely be the first one they call up when something happens. Andujar will get to play daily and continue his skills to be ready for the day they tell him to hop a plane to the Bronx.

About 24 minutes after they sent Andujar down, the Yankees were presenting him with a special award. Every year, the Yankees award the Kevin Lawn Award for the minor league players in their farm system that were truly outstanding the previous year. For 2017, they named Andujar as “Player of the Year” and Domingo Acevedo as “Pitcher of the Year”.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 22: NYY vs. DET — No St. Patrick’s Day Luck for the Yankees this year

Since 2006, the Yankees have certainly had mixed luck on this day. Including today’s game, they’ve had 7 wins, 5 losses, and 1 rain out. Four of those games were against the Pirates (3 wins and a rain out), two against the Tigers, two vs. the Phillies (both losses), and one each against the Blue Jays, Astros, Rays, Red Sox, and Cardinals. In other words, there’s no consistency that superstitious people could possibly cling to. And today, you might need to drown your sorrows in that awful green beer or cry into your “I only wear green today” shirt. Despite being yet another beautiful day at the ball park, it was not a pleasant day at the ball park.

Masahiro Tanaka got the start in today’s game in Lakeland against the Tigers. He did not have the greatest outing only throwing into the 3rd inning. But of his 10 outs, 6 of them were solid strikeouts. The Tigers were just hitting a lot off Yankee pitchers today. The Tigers’ start power-hitter started things with a 2-out solo home run in the 1st inning. But then Tanaka breezed through the 2nd inning, so things were looking up. For a moment.

In the 3rd, Tanaka gave up a big 1-out triple that scored on a 2-run home run to give the Tigers the lead. The next batter made it to 1st safely on a wild pitch, despite striking out. After another out, Tanaka gave up his lone walk before a single scored another run for the Tigers. That was it for Tanaka, handing the ball over to prospect pitcher Cody Carroll. And despite loading up the bases with a walk, Carroll got himself out of that jam and safely through the 4th inning.

Domingo German got his shot for 2 relief innings, but had his own troubles today. In the 5th, he gave up a single that scored on a double. Another single moved runners to the corners, and one out later, a fielding error allowed another run to score. Then in the 6th, he loaded up the bases with a single, a ground out, and 2 walks before a sacrifice fly easily scored yet another run.

JP Feyereisen got his shot to struggle along with the rest of the pitchers today for the final 2 innings. In the 7th, he gave up a lead-off walk that scored as part of a 2-run home run to cap off the Tigers’ scoring. It’s worth noting that Feyereisen had 4 solid strikeouts (of his 6 total outs) and breezed his way through the 8th unscathed.

Actually, the statistics for both pitching staffs were nearly parallel — each gave up 10 hits, 4-6 walks, and 12-13 total strikeouts. But the biggest difference is that pesky runs scored stat. The Yankees actually got on the board in the 1st inning. Brandon Drury worked a 1-out walk, moved to 3rd on Bird’s double, and then scored on a balk. Bird later scored on Miguel Andujar’s single to give the Yankees an early lead they clearly couldn’t keep.

Though they certainly tried. Like in the 4th, Kratz led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Torreyes’ walk, and then scored on Estevan Florial’s single, aided partly by a fielding error. Wade’s walk loaded up the bases, but the Yankees failed to capitalize on that opportunity. And far too many today.

Final score: 9-3 Tigers

Next up: The Yankees host the Marlins tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon behind Luis Severino.

And speaking of pitchers, the Yankees announced their starting rotation for the 2018 season. Luis Severino will be the official Opening Day starter when the Yankees play against the Blue Jays on March 29. The four game series there will feature Tanaka, Sabathia, and Gray for the other 3 games. That leaves Jordan Montgomery to start the home opener against the Rays on April 2. It is interesting the Yankees are looking at their youngest pitchers to fill these key roles. Perhaps, it’s a sign that the Yankees are leaning toward their strong young players.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 16: NYY vs. MIA — Mixed results on the opposite coast

An interesting mix of 7,648 Yankee, Marlin, and Jeter fans showed up for this afternoon’s match-up between the two team in Jupiter, Florida (about 3 hours southeast of Tampa, just north of West Palm Beach). The team actually traveled south following yesterday’s game, so former Yankee Starlin Castro (and current Marlins 2nd baseman) took some of his former teammates out to dinner (including Sanchez, Torres, and Florial) to catch up. In other words, it was a powerful Yankee (and post-Yankee) presence, but that didn’t stop the Yankees from faltering at first.

Recently named the official 5th starter, Jordan Montgomery certainly had a less than ideal start today. In the 2nd, he gave up a 1-out walk and a 2-out single before they both scored on a double. And in the 3rd, with 1 out, he gave up another walk and single. Things just weren’t looking up for him today. So the Yankees turned to reliever Brady Lail, who promptly gave up a 3-run home run to add to the Marlins’ early lead. Lail, however, had better luck with a scoreless 4th inning.

He handed the game over in the 5th to Wade LeBlanc, who’s had mixed results this Spring and once again today. After 2 outs, he gave up a double and a 2-run home run to further the Marlins’ lead. But LeBlanc had a perfect 6th inning to bounce back and set the tone for the rest of the pitchers. Carroll and Harvey each had a scoreless inning to close out the game for the Yankees. Yankee pitchers racked up 11 total strikeouts, but it was those 11 allowed hits and 4 walks that became the determining factor.

But it wasn’t like the Yankees didn’t make an effort. The had their first real opportunity in the 4th, with consecutive singles by Bird and Sanchez and a passed ball that put them in scoring position. Didi Gregorius’ ground out scored Bird and moved Sanchez to 3rd. Sanchez then scored on Miguel Andujar’s sacrifice fly.

In the 6th, with 1 out, Sanchez made it safely to 1st on a fielding error and was replaced by Higashioka. Not that a speedier runner was necessary as Didi Gregorius decided to rack up more RBIs this Spring with a big 2-run home run over the center field fence. Andujar’s beautiful triple went wasted with 2 quick outs to quell the Yankees’ attempts to chip away at the Marlins’ lead. Aaron Judge made one more effort in the 7th with a huge 2-out solo home run. It went so far over the left field fence that it landed on the balcony of the Marlins’ executive offices.

Final score: 7-5 Marlins

Next up: the Yankees host the Twins for an evening matchup in Tampa. Tanaka is scheduled to face off a former Yankee pitcher, and Tanaka really needs a better start than last time.

Someone pointed out that former Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton was oddly absent from this key game. Comparing it to Jeter’s obvious presence before the game and during the game from the owner’s suite. I didn’t really think either instance was that odd. First, it’s pretty common that the bigger stars or veterans often skip the longer bus trips. Like you might see Sabathia and Gardner on the 30-minute trip to Clearwater (Phillies) or Dunedin (Blue Jays) or Lakeland (Tigers) or even the hour trip to Bradenton (Pirates) or Sarasota (Orioles). But very rarely will they make the longer trips. It’s part of the perk of their status on the team not to have to sit through an uncomfortable bus ride (yes, even those super luxury buses aren’t really comfortable for hours on end).

And to point out the obvious, Jeter is part of the ownership group that runs things down in Miami (or Jupiter for the Spring) and runs the baseball operations part of things. So why would he not be at the home games to watch how the team he invested a ton of money in is doing? You don’t have to look very hard during Yankees’ Spring Training to see one of the Yankees’ owners (often Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal in the owners’ box by the dugout). I suppose people are just getting used to the fact that a former player they used to cheer has moved from pinstripes on the field to a black short-sleeved shirt and pants in a cushy suite chair. Add in that it’s a whole different team, and the feelings get messed with on a different level.

In baseball, you get used to seeing players come and go thanks to trades, free agency, big signings, retirements, and rookie promotions. I mentioned to a friend at the game yesterday that there were players on the Mets that I liked as humans (and I think I could say that about every team), but until they wore pinstripes, they will just be a good guy in the wrong uniform.

It’s why I’ll remain with this simple tagline…

Go Yankees!

{Media note: no broadcast, no video highlights. Sorry!}

Spring Game 9: NYY vs. BOS — Setting a good start for the rivalry this year

The Yankees traveled down the coast to “Fenway South” for the first rivalry game of the season. The Yankees won’t host the Red Sox until the end of the Spring, so this was a nice taste of the long-term AL East rivals for the season.

Prospect pitcher Chance Adams started the big game this afternoon and had a pretty great start for his 2 innings. Another prospect pitcher, Justus Sheffield, came on in relief for his 2 innings and got into a spot of trouble in the 4th inning. After 2 outs, Sheffield gave up a double that scored on a long single to get the Red Sox on the board.

Reliever Brady Lail came on for a scoreless 5th inning, but then struggled in the 6th giving up 2 singles to put runners on the corners. After an out, 2 more singles scored both runners. So Lail handed the ball to Trevor Lane to wrap up the inning. In the 7th, Cody Carroll kept Lane’s scoreless momentum going before handing things over to Jonathan Holder‘s final 2 scoreless innings.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took their time and found their offensive openings when they could. In the 3rd, Aaron Hicks smacked a solid 1-out solo home run to get the Yankees on their board. They found footing again in the 6th as Torres doubled and moved to 2nd on a balk before scoring on Austin Romine’s 2-out single.

Down by a run in the 8th, the Yankees found one more opportunity to advance. Espinosa led-off with a walk, and Holder double to move both into scoring position. Minor leaguer Jeff Hendrix smacked a 1-out double to score both runners. After a pitching change and another out, Miguel Andujar hit one more run (Hendrix) in with his single to cap off the scoring.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees host the Rays before a dual hometown crowd tomorrow afternoon. Chad Green is set to face off with former Yankee Eovaldi.

It is worth noting that the Yankees are currently 8-1 on the standings, top of the league just like they finished last Spring Training. However, I took a brief look back at the 2017 Spring standings, finding where the teams that faced off in the 2017 World Series ended up. The Astros finished 15-15, the Dodgers 18-17 — both clearly middle of the pack in both leagues. But both by October the Astros won 101 games, the Dodgers 104, easily the top of their divisions (the Dodgers at the top of all of MLB). In other words, Spring tells you a grand total of nothing.

But as I’ve said before, while your team is leading in the standings (even the ones that don’t really matter), you take what you can get. And as of today, the Yankees are the best team in all of MLB. So I’ll take it.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 8: ATL vs. NYY — Tanked out, but a strong comeback for a walk-off

Today started out so overcast and humid, but by game time, the sun was out and shining and the sky was back to its beautiful, clear blue. Plus, the humidity left with the grey clouds, leaving a slight breeze and little puffy white clouds to dot the sky about the stadium as the Yankees hosted the Braves.

Masahiro Tanaka got his Spring debut today, and it certainly didn’t go as planned. After a strikeout to the lead-off batter, he walked the next guy who ended up at 2nd on a wild pitch and then scored on a 2-out ground-rule double to put the Braves in an early lead. It didn’t help that the next batter hit a big 2-run home run to solidify that lead. Tanaka came back out for his second inning to give up a lead-off double that scored on a 1-out double. That would be it. Not exactly the greatest start to the year, more in line with his 2017 regular season and the opposite of his 2017 Spring (where he was just dominant).

Chasen Shreve came on in relief for the final 2 outs of the 2nd and kept the Braves scoreless through the 3rd, which set a pattern for the rest of the afternoon. Showing off further reasons as to why he belongs in the starting rotation again, Jordan Montgomery took 3 innings and certainly helped keep the Braves’ offense from advancing, with 5 strikeouts across his 9 outs. Tommy Kahnle and Jonathan Loaisiga continued that scoreless streak in the 7th and 8th, both with 2 strikeouts of their own. But it was prospect pitcher JP Feyereisen who breezed his way through a quick 3 outs in the 9th inning for an impressive close of today’s “bullpen”, setting himself up for his 2nd win of the season so far.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense had quite the lead to chip away at this afternoon. In the 4th, Bird worked a 1-out walk and moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single. They would both then score on Miguel Andujar’s deep double to halve the Braves’ lead. In the 5th, the Yankees sent Russell Wilson (yes, that one) lead-off with a pinch-hit and unfortunately strikeout. I haven’t heard a crowd give such a cheering applause for a strikeout of the home team since Billy Crystal‘s famous Spring Training strikeout in March 2008. He leaves camp on Sunday, so fans today were in for what may be the only time they could see him take an at-bat outside of some minor league games this summer.

Anyway, after Wilson’s celebrated strikeout, Stanton hit a nice double to get on base, and Bird worked a 2-out walk. The Braves’ lead then narrowed as Didi Gregorius singled home Stanton. So going into the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees were down by just one run. Wade led-off the inning with a single. Torres hit into a grounder to short, and the Braves got the first part of the double play with Wade out at 2nd but a sloppy throw to 1st allowed Torres to make it safely. It would be Tyler Austin’s monster 2-run home run up the middle that would win the game in that amazing walk-off fashion.

Final score: 5-4 Yankees

One to watch: I debated all game and on the way home as to who I would pick today. But I’m going with pitcher JP Feyereisen. This was his 2nd win of the Spring already, and his flawless, quick 9th inning helped keep the Yankees’ momentum going and set them up for Austin’s great walk-off home run. Don’t get me wrong — those monster hits and home runs are always fun to watch. But as they say: “if you don’t got pitching, you don’t got nothin’!” The stark difference between Tanaka’s brief outing today and every successive pitcher proves that so very true. Feyereisen came with fellow stellar pitchers Ben Heller and Justus Sheffield and Clint Frazier in the July 2016 trade that sent closer Andrew Miller to Cleveland. While I do miss Miller, the Yankees got 4 outstanding players that are certainly making their mark and already building their Yankee legacy, including my O2W today.

Injury news: about 30 minutes before the game, Jacoby Ellsbury was scrapped from the lineup due to tightness in his right side, later diagnosed as a “mild oblique strain”. It doesn’t seem serious (as say Frazier’s still lingering concussion symptoms), but there’s no set time-table yet as to when he might be back in the lineup.

And just before the game, the Yankees announced that they signed free agent veteran 1st baseman and outfielder Adam Lind to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite and an opt-out option after the Spring. Lind is a 12 year MLB veteran, spending most of that with the Blue Jays (2006-2014) before bouncing to the Brewers, Mariners, and Nationals the last 3 seasons. Lind gives the Yankees potential veteran options in the roster should they choose to go that route.

Next up: The Yankees travel about 2 hours (or 140 miles) down the Florida Gulf Coast to face off against the Red Sox at “Fenway South” in Ft. Myers. #2 Yankee Prospect Chance Adams is on tap to start the rivalry game.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 7: NYY vs. PHI — #CCStrong, Baby Bombers alert!

Under more clear blue, sunny skies, fans scattered themselves across Spectrum Field in Clearwater, filling about three-quarters of the Phillies’ Spring home stadium, to watch the Yankees come for another visit. CC Sabathia got his Spring start this year, looking to duplicate (or even exceed) his 2017 success. And boy was today a good day for Sabathia. In his 2 innings, he dominated Phillies’ batters, getting 3 solid strikeouts and set himself up for the eventual win.

Domingo German came on in relief for Sabathia and breezed his way through the 3rd. He threw 3 solid innings with a single issue — a 1-out solo home run in the 4th to get the Phillies on the board. Wade LeBlanc had a bit of an issue in the 6th, giving up a double, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI ground out before breezing his way through the 7th unscathed.

Actually, the best inning for Phillies’ batters was the 8th. It was also the worst for reliever Giovanny Gallegos. He gave up a lead-off single and 2 walks to load up the bases, with no outs. A big double scored 2 runs for the Phillies, again with no outs. So the Yankees went to their bullpen and called on the final pitcher of the afternoon Ben Heller for the final 6 outs, which he breezed through.

Meanwhile, the thing that really marked this game (and sent many Phillies fans home early) were the unending home runs by Yankee batters today — well, 5 in total. Miguel Andujar set the pace with a big lead-off 1st pitch solo home run in the 2nd. With 2 outs, Tyler Austin, Romine, and Cave then loaded up the bases, but an early pitching change ended Yankee hopes to add to their lead. That’s okay. Andujar came back in the 3rd and hit a 2-out home run to double the Yankees’ score, and that was his 4th just this Spring.

Then the rest of the team got in on the action. Brandon Drury led-off the 5th with his own solo home run, and Tyler Austin followed suit with a lead-off home run in the 6th. They changed things up a bit in the 7th as Estevan Florial narrowly missed a home run, smacking a long triple before scoring the first non-homer run on Ronald Torreyes’ sacrifice fly. But then it was back to business as usual when Billy McKinney hit a solo home run to cap off the Yankees’ scoring today.

Final score: 6-4 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees host the Braves tomorrow afternoon back at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Masahiro Tanaka is schedule to make his Spring debut, looking to repeat his 2017 Spring excellence and redeem his less-than-stellar 2017 regular season. (And in personal news, it’s supposed to be about 12° cooler for local fans, or back to a more tolerable normal temperature for Spring Training around here.)

Also, if you’re watching the farm system, it’s worth noting that the powers-that-be recently ranked the Yankees farm system and prospects at #6 overall. They were #2 last year but found themselves demoted due to how many prospects found themselves playing in the Bronx last year and no longer considered “prospects” (Frazier, Green, and Montgomery), as well as many who’ve been shipped off to other teams (Fowler, Kaprielian, and Mateo). But there are plenty of really good guys left — Andujar, Florial, and Gleyber Torres jump to mind. In other words, the farm system is so loaded that the future looks really good, regardless of how many players come and go.

Go Yankees!