Game 58: NYY vs. TOR — Lucky 13 with a Sonny kind of start

The Yankees finished up their jaunt to Toronto with an extended pitchers’ duel, extra innings, and a chilly Wednesday evening. An open roof allowed the lovely June weather in Toronto to breeze into the stadium at 57° at first pitch, as fans bundled up in sweatshirts and jackets to settle in for a good game tonight.

Sonny Gray got the start for the Yankees tonight, and after a rough season so far, Gray needed a night like tonight to boost his morale. He threw 99 pitches in his 8 scoreless innings, pitching a no-hitter through 4 innings. He gave up 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 8 Toronto batters.

Unfortunately, the Yankees’ batters were faced with a similar situation from the Blue Jays’ starter, who also threw a strong scoreless game, and his bullpen continued that strength and was matched by their Yankees’ counterparts — Chad Green (for the 9th and 10th innings), Dellin Betances (11th), David Robertson (12th), and Aroldis Chapman (13th).

In fact, despite some meager hits throughout the game and even getting runners into scoring position periodically, the Yankees had to hit it out of the park in order to score any runs tonight. And that wouldn’t happen until the 13th inning. With 1 out, Brett Gardner hit a long single to get on base. And then Aaron Judge hit a strong 2-run home run to finally break the tie.

A certain young Judge fan holding a special sign in the right field bleachers was overjoyed, finally getting his wish. The kid got a batting practice ball hit by Judge earlier tonight.

As if they needed the insurance, Giancarlo Stanton hit a fast 2-out solo home run into the left field seats. Then in the bottom of the inning, despite allowing a 1-out double, Chapman closed out the Blue Jays and handed the short series to the Yankees.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees, in 13, Yankees sweep series 2-0

Next up: The Yankees head back to New York, but will face off against the Mets at CitiField for a 3 game weekend series starting Friday. Then, they’ll head back to the Bronx to face the Nationals for 2 games and the Rays for 4 games next weekend.

MLB Draft: The amateur player draft completed today as the teams selected the young players for rounds 11-40. Today, the Yankees picked up 18 pitchers, 4 catchers, 6 infielders, and 2 outfielders — Tanner Myatt, Matt Pita, Isaiah Pasteur, Kyle Gray, Nick Ernst, Derek Craft, Barrett Loseke, Alex Guerrero, Alex Junior, Marcus Evey, Mitchell Robinson, Keegan Curtis, Justin Wilson, Blakely Brown, Sean Boyle, Jack Thoreson, Mickey Gasper, Max Burt, Jackson Bertsch, Tyler Johnson, Patrick Winkel, Sincere Smith, Charlie Ruegger, Matt McGarry, Austin Wells, Jack Anderson, Landon Marceaux, Dan Metzdorf, Brady Allen, and Reid Anderson.

The young potential prospects are now “on the clock”, so to speak, to make their own decision as to what works best for them. It’s worth noting that the Yankees selected just 8 high school seniors overall, focusing the remaining 32 on college players (2 sophomores, 16 juniors, and 14 seniors). The Yankees’ 1st round draft pick (Anthony Seigler) has already indicated that he will sign (as 1st round picks tend to do), but like I said yesterday, you got to do what’s right for you.

Who knows which of these prospects could be the next hot jersey on sale in your nearby Yankees’ fan shop?

Go Yankees!

Game 57: NYY vs. TOR — #CCStrong & Grand Slam Andujar

The Yankees are now “North of the Border” for a brief series in Toronto for another foray into the AL East rivalry. CC Sabathia got the start tonight, and once again, Sabathia just dominated. He threw 89 pitches in his 7th innings, gave up just 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 runs, and struck out 6 batters.

Actually, both of his allowed runs were 1-out solo homers in the 6th and 7th innings. That means, the only other allowed base runners were a lone single in the 1st and a walk in the 4th. David Robertson and Chasen Shreve each sailed through their separate innings and continued Sabathia’s strong start.

The Yankees were held off from the scoreboard for most of the game by the Blue Jays’ starter, despite collecting a hit in most of the innings leading up to the 7th. Their starter gave up a single to Sanchez in the 7th before handing the ball off to the bullpen. It might have been a mistake. The reliever hit the first batter and then gave up a walk to Hicks to load up the bases.

And then with no outs yet, it was up to Miguel Andujar to step into the batter’s box. He liked the first pitch he saw and smacked it into the 2nd deck of the left field seats, Andujar’s first career grand slam and 7th home run of the season, to put the Yankees in the lead with that 1 swing.

Then in the 8th, with a new Blue Jays’ reliever on the mound, Stanton led-off with a single, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and got to 3rd on a ground out. After another out, they changed relievers again, and the new guy walked Gregorius, who promptly stole 2nd to put both runners in scoring position. Aaron Hicks made that possible with a solid 3-run home run to ensure the Yankees’ victory.

Also, all the runs scored for both teams tonight were scored on home runs. It’s a weird, random fact, but I know people like those. I know I do.

Final score: 7-2 Yankees

Injury update: the Yankees announced today that pitcher Jordan Montgomery is scheduled for Tommy John surgery on Thursday. The procedure will be performed by the Yankees’ team doctor Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York-Presbyterian. Standard recovery time is 12-18 months, so Montgomery will be out of baseball activities for the rest of this year and most of next season.

That makes the search for a permanent starter inevitable. There is some room in the Yankees’ salary to sign someone significant without hitting the dreaded luxury tax. In other words, we should expect the Yankees to be making a deal for a 5th starter sometime soon.

MLB Draft Day 2: The Draft continued today with rounds 3-10 and the Yankees picked up 8 more potential prospects, every 30 selections (numbers 97-307 overall). They selected 2 outfielders and 6 pitchers — Ryder Green, Frank German, Brandon Lockridge, Rodney Hutchison, Daniel Bies, Connor Van Hoose, Mick Vorhof, and Josh Maciejewski.

Rounds 11-40 continue tomorrow, and the prospective players have some time to decided whether to sign or not with the organization. Many selected on a later round opt for their other commitments (usually attending or continuing college), which often allows them to re-enter the draft after getting some more playing time and refine their skills with their local and college teams.

You’ve got to do what’s right for you. You might not be drafted right out of high school in the 1st round (like Aaron Judge or Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez), but you may need to do a few years of college before being drafted in the 1st round (like Yankees’ Draft Rep Nick Swisher) or 3rd round (like Brett Gardner) or the 17th round (like David Robertson). Again, you do what works best for you.

Go Yankees!

Games 55 & 56: NYY vs. DET — Let’s split 2 and draft 2 catchers

If you recall back to April, the Yankees last visited Detroit for a 3-game series. They won the first game on Friday (April 13), the game on Saturday was rained out and postponed for a doubleheader on Sunday (April 15), and then both games were rained out on Sunday and pushed to today (June 4), as both team had a day-off between their own scheduled series. The Tigers were home after hosting the Blue Jays and then off to Boston, while the Yankees are flying between the rained out Baltimore and a short series in Toronto.

Game 1 — #SevySharp
Luis Severino is certainly putting up a great case to be considered for that Cy Young Award again this year. In the first game of today’s doubleheader, Severino was sharp as usual, throwing 112 pitches in his strong 8 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 2 runs (1 earned), and striking out 10 Detroit batters.

In the 1st, with 1 out, Severino gave up a single that scored on an RBI double. That would be the only earned run the Tigers got in that first game. Then in the 5th, with 2 outs, the next batter made it all the way to 2nd due to a throwing error before scoring on an RBI single.

The Tigers’ starter was really no match for Severino today. Gleyber Torres got the Yankees on the board in the 3rd with a 1-out solo home run. Greg Bird led off the 4th with his own solo home run. Then the Yankees found their momentum. Stanton and Gregorius each singled and then scored on singles by Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. Then Austin Romine smacked a big 3-run home run to ensure the Yankees’ win. All before an out was recorded that inning.

After 2 outs and a walk to Judge, the Tigers went to their bullpen, who had a better time at keeping the Yankees’ batters from adding to their big lead. But then the Tigers’ batter were up against Severino, and after those 8 innings, the Yankees turned to their bullpen for the last inning. Reliever Jonathan Holder had a bit of issues in the 9th. The lead-off batter made it to 1st on a fielding error and then scored on a double. After a fly out, the runner moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on a double. It was time to call in Aroldis Chapman for a 6-pitch strikeout for his 14th save.

Final score: 7-4 Yankees

Game 2 — Making up Jackie Robinson Day
Because this game was originally scheduled for April 15, or Jackie Robinson Day, the Yankees and Tigers made up the memorial as well as the game by all wearing #42 on their jerseys. Domingo German got the start and just was unable to really get a handle on the game as consistent as his counterpart in the first game. And still, he threw 95 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 3 batters.

In the 2nd, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a passed ball and then later scored on sacrifice fly to get the Tigers on the board. A lead-off single in the 4th scored on an RBI double. That runner later scored on a 2-out double. Later in the 7th, with 2 outs, German gave up a double, and the Yankees went to their bullpen for Adam Warren to finish off the game. But he gave up a double that scored that final run for the Tigers. Then despite loading up the bases with 2 walks, Warren got out of that jam before giving a scoreless 8th inning.

The Tigers’ starter did better than his counterpart in the first game, but it still wasn’t the greatest outing. And yet, the Yankees just weren’t coming through, despite loading up those bases multiple times. In the 3rd, Clint Frazier hit a 1-out single and then scored easily on Brett Gardner’s triple. Later, Sanchez worked a 2-out walk and Stanton was hit by a pitch to load up the bases before the Tigers’ defense kicked in a got Gardner out at home on a baby grounder.

There was some talk in that inning about Stanton’s hit-by-a-pitch because the Tigers’ starter was the one who actually hit Stanton in the face in September 2014 when Stanton was with the Marlins and Fiers with the Brewers and the reason he wore a helmet with a face guard for years. The experience tonight shook Stanton up a bit and it caused some immediate tension, but then Stanton came back in the 6th with a huge lead-off solo home run.

The Yankees loaded up the bases again in that inning never got the chance to cross home again, and thus fell short in the 2nd game. Honestly, the Tigers’ bullpen outpitched the Yankees, with a total of 14 strikeouts.

Final score: 4-2 Tigers, meaning the Yankees win the original series 2-1 from April

Roster moves prior to today’s games: the Yankees sent Tommy Kahnle to AAA Scranton in order to reinstate Adam Warren from the DL and bring him into today’s doubleheader. Clint Frazier was also added as the 26th man just for the doubleheader, and he certainly helped the Yankees when called upon.

Next up: the Yankees head to Toronto for a short 2-game series there before heading back to NY. But they are scheduled for a 3-game weekend series at CitiField, so at least they get to sleep in their own beds.

And the annual amateur draft started tonight and will take place over the next 2 days. Each team selects one young player from a pool of high school and college students per round for 40 rounds, plus 2 auxiliary rounds following 1st and 2nd rounds as part of some off-season trades (but the Yankees didn’t get any picks for these special rounds).

The Yankees held pick #23 (the 1st round) and #61 (the 2nd round) overall. They selected 2 catchers — ambidextrous high school senior from Georgia Anthony Seigler and a sophomore from a Texas community college Josh Breaux. And the best part of that pick was having Yankees Draft Rep Nick Swisher say “Bro” at the official draft, something he says in his trademark speech patterns.

The Draft continues tomorrow with Rounds 3-10. It’s worth noting that some of the current Yankee stars were selected much further down in the Draft than you’d expect — Gardner (3rd), Betances (8th), Robertson (17th), Austin (13th), Bird (5th), and Montgomery (4th). So you never know where the next great Yankee is going to pop up.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 75: NYY vs. CHW — Last-second loss in Second City

The Yankees are now 37-1 when leading in the 9th inning, thanks to tonight’s game. And up until then things were looking rather hopeful in this second game (of four) of this series on the south side of Chicago.

Honestly, Luis Severino threw a beautiful game tonight — 105 pitches in 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, no walks, and a single run, and striking out a whopping 12 White Sox batters. Easily one of his more dominant starts. In the 3rd, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a 1-out single and then scored on a 2-out double to get the first run on the board.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense was a bit stymied by the White Sox’s starter, only getting 2 hits but 4 walks off him, so they weren’t exactly advancing much. In fact, they didn’t do much until the second reliever they faced in the 8th inning.

With 1 out, the Yankees called on pinch-hitter (and recent call-up) Tyler Wade (making his MLB debut). Wade ended up working a walk and moved to 2nd on Ellsbury’s single. After another out, Aaron Judge broke the stalemate with a single and scored Wade to tie up the game. Then it would be Gary Sanchez’s solid double to score both Ellsbury and Judge for a little cushion. But that would be all the Yankees would get all game.

Domingo German came on for the Yankees in the 8th, now that Severino was on the hook for the win. All he had to do was breeze through 3 outs. But that seemed to be a bit difficult as he threw just 10 pitches to 2 batters, 8 of which were balls to walk both batters. So, with no outs, the Yankees called on Tyler Clippard.

Clippard needed an opportunity to get back on track, and tonight seemed to be the night. Despite loading the bases with a walk, he got a great strikeout and a fly out to get the Yankees’ hopes up. Another walk scored the lead runner, putting the White Sox within 1 run of the Yankees’ lead before getting a much-needed strikeout to end the rally right there (and excite Girardi, which almost never happens during a regular game).

And had this been the 9th inning, this would have been a great game. But it wasn’t, so it wasn’t.

The Yankees turned to Dellin Betances, who seemed to follow the suit of the bullpen recently. With 1 out, Betances loaded up the bases with 2 walks and a hit-by-pitch. After a fly out put both teams on the edge of their seats, Betances gave a single that scored 2 runners — the tying run and the winning one. A walk-off single to hand the White Sox the win.

Final score: 4-3 White Sox

Roster moves: After yesterday’s game and tests, the Yankees placed Starlin Castro on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. So they selected the contract of Tyler Wade from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and called him up to make his debut with the Yankees tonight. They also optioned reliever Jonathan Holder to Scranton and recalled Tyler Webb for a fresh bullpen arm.

And in a brief follow-up from the draft earlier this month, the Yankees have signed 22 of their 40 draftees (numbers 1-17, 19-22, and 27), including their top 2 picks — Clarke Schmidt and Matt Sauer. Schmidt is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is looking forward to getting back into baseball, this time as part of the Yankees organization.

The future continues to look bright for the Yankees, even if the present is somewhat a bit disappointing at times. And that’s what carries us through the disappointing moments in life — hope. A belief that it certainly can’t stay bad. That the future is still filled with unlimited possibilities, the best option being another championship run, even a new dynasty. And with the Yankees, it’s never a matter of “if”, but “when”.

Go Yankees!

Game 63: NYY vs. LAA — Not quite a good night in the City of Angels

Angels Stadium is often called “Yankee Stadium West” because there is a rather large contingent of Yankee fans in the LA area who come out in droves for Angels-Yankees games every year. And that’s apparent by how much blue and white fill the cherry red seats and that the games are sold out in the middle of the week.

But I’m thinking it felt a little less like a second (or third?) home for the Yankees after this series. Despite the strength the Yankees showed this week, even coming from behind, it seemed to fall short in the end in these last two games. Pretty much faulting the less-than-ideal pitching show from both teams in the last 48 hours.

It’s really no surprise that the Yankees broke through right in the top of the game. Gardner led-off with a single and moved to 3rd on Judge’s 1-out single. After Judge stole 2nd (and has just 1 less stolen base than Gardner this year), Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner to get the Yankees on the board. Castro was then hit by a pitch to set-up a big breakthrough by Gary Sanchez, who hit a great 3-run home run into the left field seats.

Michael Pineda certainly had an off-night tonight. He threw 102 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up 10 hits, a walk, and 5 runs overall, and striking out just 2 Angels batters. After the Yankees gave him a nice lead, Pineda struggled right from the start, giving up 3 singles to load the bases with 1 out. A sacrifice fly got the Angels on the board. It was only a sacrifice fly because of the amazing defensive skills of Aaron Hicks actually reached over the center field wall and caught it, robbing that batter of a grand slam that would’ve quickly tied up the game. But Pineda got out of the inning without further damage.

It didn’t last long. After a lead-off single in the 2nd, a 2-run home run edged the Angels closer to the Yankees’ lead. And in the 3rd, the lead-off single moved to 2nd and then 3rd on 2 ground outs. After a walk, Pineda threw a really messy wild pitch, which easily scored the runner from 3rd (the runner who is not fast at all, a veteran with a persistent injury and better known for some towering home runs) to tie up the game. Another single scored another run and put the Angels in the lead.

The Yankees came back to tie it all up again in the 6th. Sanchez led-off with a single and ended up at 2nd on a throwing error. After 1 out, Chase Headley hit a single which scored Sanchez, and then Headley got caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd. The game was tied again, but it was only the 6th inning.

Pineda was able to fend off the Angels for the second half of his outing, but he handed over the game to recent call-up (see below) Ronald Herrera. Despite getting ahead in the 7th with 2 quick outs, Herrera gave up a walk and then a big 2-run home run to give the Angels back the lead. Herrera had trouble getting that 3rd out of the inning. The next batter was hit by a pitch and then stole 2nd, ending up at 3rd due to a throwing error (Sanchez having a bad defense day, but a great offense day). But then Herrera got the strikeout he needed to stop the Angels’ advance.

Like I said, neither pitching staff was really at their best tonight. The Angels’ starter only made it into the 4th inning due to a potential injury, and both teams gave up 26 collective hits and got just 9 total strikeouts.

Final score: 7-5 Angels, Angels win series 2-1

Injury news: after last night’s unexpected injury and exit, CC Sabathia was tested and examined for what caused the tightening of his hamstring. An MRI revealed a grade 2 hamstring strain, which makes a stint on the disabled list unavoidable. As of yet, the Yankees haven’t set a timetable or announced a rotation replacement (for Sunday’s start) or a corresponding roster move.

Roster moves: The Yankees have been busy moving people around. Chapman is working with the Tampa Yankees on his rehab assignment. After designating Tommy Layne for assignment, they ended up outrighting him to AAA Scranton (like I said, they still want him around). Before the game today, they optioned Ben Heller to AAA Scranton, recalling tonight’s newest addition to the bullpen Ronald Herrera from AA Trenton. And in completion of a trade made earlier (Johnny Barbato) with the Pirates, the Yankees picked up pitching prospect Matt Frawley.

And the final day of the MLB Draft was earlier today, and the Yankees filled out their draft choices with 19 pitchers, 4 outfielders, 5 infielders, and 2 catchers.

Pitchers: Shawn Semple, Harold Cortijo, Aaron McGarity, Garrett Whitlock, Ron Marinaccio, Bryan Blanton, Janson Junk, Colby Davis, Riley Thompson, Austin Crowson (L), Alex Mauricio, Shane Roberts, Tristan Beck, Jacob Stevens, Jordan Butler (L), Andrew Abbott (L), Tanner Burns, Brent Burgess, and Andrew Nardi (L)
Outfielders: Steven Sensley, Pat DeMarco, Jake Mangum, and Jimmy Herron
Infielders: Eric Wagaman (1B), Ricky Surum (SS), Chris Hess (2B), Alika Williams (SS), and Hayden Cantrelle (SS)
Catchers: Ryan Lidge and Steven Williams

Overall in the draft, the Yankees clearly sent a message as they sought 28 total pitchers, 5 outfielders, 5 infielders, and 2 catchers. In thinking back to these last few seasons, the biggest weakness is the pitching and the Yankees are clearly setting themselves up for a future of stronger pitching options. And prospective pitchers made good trade bait if the Yankees need to fill an offensive hole along the way. It was a good move for the organization.

Go Yankees!

Game 62: NYY vs. LAA — Angelic walk-off sours West Coast hopes

West Coast Week is hard on all of us East Coasters. But an extra innings night game, over 4 hours of play, and one with an unfavorable outcome, is rather less than thrilling. Add in a potential loss of a starter who’s been on a great run, due to an injury, and it’s basically not going to be a good night.

CC Sabathia was looking for his 5th straight win tonight, but fell a bit short. And not by his own fault. Actually, overall once again, he had a pretty good outing. In his 4 strong innings, he only gave up 3 hits, a walk, and an unearned run, striking out 4 Angels batters. But coming up off a pitch in the 4th and grabbing his leg was definitely not a good sign. (More after the recap)

In the 4th, with 2 outs, a batter reached on a missed catch error at 1st, ending up at 2nd on the play. He then scored on an RBI single, though due to the error, it was unearned for Sabathia, keeping his ERA in pretty good shape. The runner got caught stealing (“you don’t run on Gary!”) to end the inning for Sabathia, a good thing as he was clearly injured at that point.

After Sabathia left, the Yankees bullpen got quite the workout. Giovanni Gallegos got the first 2 innings (5th & 6th) and fairly sailed through them, as did Warren in the 7th. But Tyler Clippard gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 8th to tie up the game at that point.

To get to that point, the Yankee actually relied almost solely on one player for their scoring tonight — the unlikely hero of Chase Headley. In the 5th, Headley hit a 1-out ground-rule double and then hustled home to score on Brett Gardner’s single. And then in the 7th, Headley hit a 1-out solo home run up the middle.

When the starter came out of the game that inning with 2 men on base and 2 outs, the Yankees once again left them stranded (a common theme in this game, actually). And while they certainly had opportunities to do something (read: that common theme), the Yankees didn’t capitalize on them.

With the game now tied, Yankees reliever Holder started the bottom of the 9th inning, but struggled his way through 2 hits and 2 outs before the Yankees opted for Chasen Shreve who got out of the jam and then pitched his way into and out of another jam the 10th.

As they hit the 4-hour mark, the game turned into 11 innings. The Yankees weren’t adding to the score, and the Angels saw their only opening in the bottom of the 11th when Shreve gave up a lead-off walk. After an out, Shreve was responsible for that lone runner at 1st as Heller came on to close out the inning. That runner moved to 2nd on a ground out, watched as another baserunner joined him on a walk, and then promptly scored on a bloop single to score a walk-off win.

Final score: 3-2, in 11 innings, Angels

Injury news: Sabathia felt his leg “grab” on his 2nd to last pitch, and then said when he could push off (a necessary move for a pitcher, as you can imagine) for that final pitch, he knew something was terribly wrong. They will send him for testing, mainly an MRI, to get a timetable of recovery before deciding on a DL stint (and his replacement on the rotation), but with a hamstring injury, there’s always going to be a DL stint.

Aroldis Chapman was to begin his rehab with the Advanced-A Tampa Yankees (against the Bradenton Pirates affiliate) tonight, but severe weather forced a postponement. They are scheduled to play in Bradenton tomorrow night and the weather is looking much better. Chapman is nearing his return, still shooting for the end of the Oakland series, but I guess that depends on whether weather will cooperate with his rehab starts at this point.

Today was also the second day of the MLB Draft. The Yankees continued picking up pitchers (mostly right-handers), and mostly juniors and seniors in college.
Pitchers: Trevor Stephan, Arkansas junior, (round 3, 92nd overall); Glenn Otto, Rice junior (round 5, 152nd); (the lefty) Dalton Lehnen, Augustana College junior (round 6, 182nd); Dalton Higgins, Dallas Baptist junior (round 7, 212nd); Kyle Zurak, Radford University senior (round 8, 242nd); Austin Gardner, University of Texas Arlington (round 9, 272nd); and Chad Whitmer, Southern Illinois University Carbondale senior (round 10, 302nd). And an outfielder: Canaan Smith, Rockwall-Heath High School (round 4, 122nd overall).

One more day and 30 more picks. Basically, this is an offer by the Yankees to these young players. They can accept the offer for a chance to play ball with the Yankees organization and enter the realm of professional sports, or they can decline the offer and continue their studies or pursue a different avenue. Some will decline to hone their skills and try again next year for the draft, especially the younger players. I’ve heard stories of high school kids getting drafted (even at early rounds) but declining because they made a deal with their parents to get through at least 2 years of college first. They may come back at get drafted again or even attempt a tryout at an open call.

There is no typical draft story. One example is current Yankees rep at the draft Andy Pettitte. Technically, he was selected in the 22nd round for the 1990 draft right out of high school. But he chose to enroll in a local junior college and came to an agreement with the Yankees of what’s called a “draft-and-follow prospect”. He eventually signed with the Yankees a year later. But he and his wife later made their sons promise to go to college, despite being very good athletes (and still drafted) themselves. It certainly depends on the player, their circumstances, and their life choices.

Go Yankees!

Game 61: NYY vs. LAA — Back to #TanakaTime helps make it 6 in a row

An extra day’s rest seemed to be exactly what tonight’s starter Masahiro Tanaka needed to get back into form. Not that it was the greatest outing, but it was certainly more “Tanaka-esque” compared to his more recent outings. Not quite back to the Tanaka who dominated Spring Training, but more on par with a regular season kind of Tanaka.

In this first game of the series in Anaheim against the Angels, Tanaka threw 89 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up just 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs (though only 1 was earned), and struck out an impressive 8 batters. Actually, he was quite dominant tonight. He gave up a 1-out solo home run in the 1st inning but then held the Angels off for most of his outing. In his final inning, the 7th, with 1 out, a batter reached on a fielding error, stole 2nd, and then scored on an RBI single.

The Yankees then handed the ball off to Tyler Clippard to finish the 7th inning. Clippard gave up an RBI double that technically blew Tanaka’s win, but then buckled down and got that 3rd out and then the first 2 of the 8th inning. Dellin Betances came out for a 4-out save, breezing through them in just 18 pitches, including 3 strong strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees had to catch up to the Angels early small lead, get out in front, and then overtake them again to win this game. The Yankees hit into the Angels’ starter pretty hard, pushing him to 93 pitches and exiting the game in just the 5th inning.

First, in the 3rd, with 2 outs, Holliday and Castro each worked a walk, and Didi Gregorius’ single scored Holliday to initially tie up the game. Then in the 5th, Judge worked a 1-out walk, and Castro hit a 2-out single. Gregorius’ single then scored Judge to break the tie.

Deep into the bullpen already, the Angels sent in a new reliever for the 7th inning. Judge led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, watched the reliever intentionally walk Gregorius with 2 outs, and then scored on Chase Headley’s single. Despite a walk to Carter loading the bases, the Yankees couldn’t capitalize at that moment to gain any further ground.

After the Angels tied up the game in the bottom of the 7th, the Yankees immediately came back in the 8th to retake the lead. Aaron Hicks hit a nice 1-out double and waited for another pitching change. And then Aaron Judge promptly hit his 22nd home run of the season, a 2-run shot to the right field seats to give the Yankees the ultimate win, setting Betances up for the save.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

It’s worth noting that Didi Gregorius was on fire tonight, going 4-for-4, with a walk and 2 RBIs. He’s now batting .344 for the season. He’s still 2nd on the team for batting average (Judge, of course, is 1st with .347), but it’s worth noting of the 9 players who started tonight’s game 4 have batting averages above .300 (Judge, Gregorius, Castro, and Hicks), while of the regular roster, there’s 9 players who have averages above .260 (the four above plus Ellsbury, Torreyes, Holliday, Sanchez, and Gardner).

And today was the first day of the MLB Draft: the Yankees first pick (and 16th overall) was right-handed pitcher Clark Schmidt, a junior at the University of South Carolina (and former fellow classmate and teammate of current starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery). Schmidt is actually still on recovery from Tommy John surgery this April. So despite being a first-round draft pick, he won’t be able to resume baseball activities for another year, meaning he will probably still finish his education while he recovers.

For the Yankees other pick of the day, the second round and 54th pick overall, they selected Matt Sauer, another right-handed pitcher, who graduates from a California high school this year. Oddly, because of Schmidt’s current status on the unofficially disabled list, Sauer was actually rated much higher on the Draft prospect list than Schmidt. But the funniest thing about the draft is that you just never know who’s going to be the next hall-of-famer and who might have more success as a high school baseball coach.

There’s two more days and 38 more rounds of the draft tomorrow and Wednesday, and you never know who might they might pick up  along the way.

Go Yankees!