Game 96: COL vs. NYY — A parrot’s Grand Slam

Apparently, it didn’t surprise former teammates that Yankee players like Ottavino and LeMahieu found a home in New York. While there was a bidding war for what was considered top players who eventually landed with the Phillies and Padres, the Yankees were making deals for these guys.

So, just maybe the front office knows what they’re doing in all this. LeMahieu has been a force all over the infield and leading the Yankee offense, and Ottavino’s role as mid-game reliever staple is quite dependable.  And with the Yankees currently sitting atop all of MLB in the standings, perhaps it was the Yankees who got the better end of these off-season deals. And they aren’t stuck in long-term ridiculous payout contracts for players that aren’t always consistent, especially as “team players”.

Anyway, the Yankees began their weekend series against the Rockies tonight with JA Happ on the mound to start the game. Happ had a pretty good outing overall, throwing 90 pitches through 5 innings. He gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs and impressively struck out 8. His allowed runs came in the 2nd, with a lead-off solo home run and a 1-out single that scored on a double and fielding error.

But those would be the only runs the visitors would score all night. Adam Ottavino threw a scoreless 15-pitch 6th inning with 3 beautiful strikeouts. And Stephen Tarpley went for the long haul, throwing through the final third of the game, holding the Rockies to just 1 hit and adding 6 strikeouts to the overall total of 17 for the Yankee pitchers tonight.

The Yankee offense got off to a big start in the 3rd. With 1 out, they loaded the bases with a single to LeMahieu and walks to Judge and Sanchez. Then Edwin Encarnacion hit a monster grand slam into the left field seats to leap frog the Yankees into the lead. Now, Encarnacion is known for his home run trot because he kind of props his right arm up as he rounds the bases as if he’s holding a parrot (like a stereotypical pirate would, I guess). So, he’s known as “the parrot”, hence tonight’s blog title.

In the 4th, with 2 outs, Tauchman managed to eke out a double that was upheld after a Rockies’ challenge. He then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. Tauchman singled in the 6th, and then he stole 2nd and managed to get to 3rd on a messy throwing error. He scored when the Rockies’ defense were slow to respond LeMahieu’s at-bat and turned it into a fielder’s choice play but no out. Aaron Judge’s 2-run home run scored LeMahieu to wrap up the Yankees’ big Friday night.

Final score: 8-2 Yankees

After the kerfuffle in yesterday’s first game, Aaron Boone was officially disciplined for his ejection. This happens every time a player faces an ejection. Essentially, it’s like putting a kid in timeout, while the parent figures out what the actual punishment will be. Maybe for kids it’s the loss of a favorite toy, but in baseball, it’s usually a suspension from games. Though he admits his word choice, he doesn’t regret his actions in sticking up for his players. Boone was suspended one game, which he served during tonight’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 84: NYY vs. NYM — German’s strong return

The Yankees continue their march to being the best. While still 4 games behind 1st place Dodgers for all of MLB, the Yankees easily sit atop the AL, 6 1/2 games above the Rays in the AL East, 2 games above AL Central leader Twins, and 1 1/2 games above the AL West leader Astros. At least if my math is right tonight, but the Yankees’ average is better than every other team in the AL.

Domingo German is back with the team, and his start tonight was exactly where the Yankees need him to be in the second game of this 2-game mini-series at the Mets. He threw 80 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 5 hits and just 1 run, and struck out 6 Mets batters to earn the eventual win.

His lone allowed run (and the only run by the home team all night) was a 1st pitch solo home run in the 1st. After that first pitch, German held the game strong for the remainder of his outing, setting an easy pattern for the final third of the game. Green held the game strong through the 7th and 8th inning, and Cortes close out the game with a great 18-pitch 9th inning.

The Yankees, meanwhile, got off to a good start. DJ LeMahieu doubled to lead off the game and then immediately scored on Aaron Judge’s double. Two outs later, Judge scored on Gleyber Torres’ single. In the 6th, Didi Gregorius hit a 1-out solo home run, and after a pitching change, Gio Urshela followed that up with a solo home run of his own.

Finally, LeMahieu led-off the 7th with a double. After 2 outs and a walk to Hicks, LeMahieu scored on Torres’ single to cap off the Yankees’ extra (albeit unnecessary) insurance runs.

Final score: 5-1 Yankees, Yankees and Mets split the series 1-1

Next up: The Yankees hop a plane and head to Yankee Stadium South, sorry, Tropicana Field in the Tampa Bay area to face the Rays for a 4-game series to close out the official first half of the season. The All-Star Break begins Monday, and following the Home Run Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday, they have two extra days off before starting Part Two of the season. They’ll host a long homestand, with the Blue Jays, Rays, and Rockies.

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees activated Domingo German from the 10-day injured list after his hip injury early last month. To make room, they optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley back to AAA Scranton.

“The Machine” is making waves beyond Yankee Universe. After receiving on of the coveted All-Star starter spots, DJ LeMahieu continued showing off and earned the honor of being June’s AL Player of the Month. Certainly well-deserved, LeMahieu is one of the many cogs in this truly amazing team, and I, for one, am glad more people beyond regular fans to recognize this.

Yankee Universe Bits: So, the greatness of the Yankees apparently extends beyond the big league guys. There are 9 minor league teams that are part of the Yankees’ farm system. (Quick reference: AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; AA Trenton Thunder; Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons; Class-A Charleston RiverDogs; Short-A Staten Island Yankees; Rookie Leagues Pulaski Yankees, Gulf Coast League Yankees East, and Gulf Coast League Yankees West; and International League Dominican Summer League Yankees)

In a game played by the DSL Yankees and the DSL Twins today, the Yankees basically blew the old minor league record of runs scored in a single game (33) by setting a new one by scoring 38 runs. And you thought the craziness in the first game in London was something!

Go Yankees!

Game 82: NYY vs. BOS — London sweep to kick off second half

The Yankees technically split their season in half in London, ending their first 81 games with a win last night and starting their next 81 games with a win this afternoon. There’s rarely anything “normal” about rivalry games between the Yankees and Red Sox, but add in the weird stadium, 5 hours ahead in time zones, and 60,000 British fans, and there’s a whole new level of “not normal”.

London Stadium was originally built for the 2012 Summer Olympics to host the track and field competition before it was converted to be the home of the West Ham Football (Soccer) Club. The pitch (the field) was covered by imported turf from France, the padding to create the outfield space and boundaries of the diamond came from Canada, and the infield dirt was hauled in from Pennsylvania — a truly international experience.

For all the talk of the short outfield walls (just 385 feet to dead center field), the most complicated part for fielders were the way the sun came into the condensed oval, partially blocked by scaffolding to eliminate wind. This also, however, created very strange shadows and the glare of the sun off the dead white of the roofing. Both teams seemed to struggle both days with finding the ball when it was hit in the air. This certainly made the difference today when less of the balls were leaving the playing field and instead being popped up short.

The Yankees opted to go with an “opener” today, calling on reliever Stephen Tarpley to make his first MLB start. Between nerves and the unfamiliar setting, Tarpley struggled his way through that 1st inning. With 1 out, he gave up a single that scored on a 2-run home run. The next batter smacked a big solo home run, and one out later, the Red Sox got yet another solo home run to give them a nice early lead.

After a scoreless 1st for the Yankees (which seemed odd compared to the show yesterday) and the Red Sox coming in strong, the Yankees found their first opportunity to strike in the 2nd. They loaded up the bases with Encarnacion’s lead-off walk, Gregorius’ single, and Torres’ walk. Gio Urshela hit into a force out at 2nd that scored Encarnacion, and Brett Gardner’s single scored Gregorius to get the Yankees on the board, with half the Sox’s score.

Meanwhile, the game suddenly became fairly “normal”. The Red Sox’s starter was fairly dominant, throwing strong into the 6th inning and limiting the Yankees to their 2nd inning score. The Yankee relievers found a good momentum too. Cessa threw 4 strong scoreless innings before handing the ball to Adam Ottavino for a quick 11-pitch 6th, and Kahnle followed that will an 11-pitch 7th.

The Yankees finally found their next chance to advance in the 7th. LeMahieu led-off with a double, and after Judge’s walk, LeMahieu scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. Gary Sanchez’s long single scored both Judge and Hicks to put the Yankees in the lead. With no outs, the Sox went to their bullpen. The new reliever promptly walked Encarnacion and gave up a 1-out single to Torres to load up the bases. And Gio Urshela singled home both Sanchez and Encarnacion.

But that’s not all. With another new reliever on the mound, Brett Gardner worked a walk to load the bases, and DJ LeMahieu smacked a ground-rule double into the right field seats to score Torres and Urshela. Judge was intentionally walked to load the bases yet again. Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly scored Gardner, and a fielding error on Gary Sanchez’s at-bat scored LeMahieu. The Yankees sent up 14 batters that frame alone and scored a season-high 9 runs.

Finally, Didi Gregorius led-off the 8th with a solo home run. This kept the Yankees’ streak alive with 31 consecutive games with a home run. Now, with an 8-run lead, the Yankees needed to just keep the status quo and sail to the end of the game. But no way were the Red Sox going to go quietly into the night.

Yankees’ reliever Chance Adams came in for the 8th, but he really had some trouble keeping those Red Sox’s bats quiet. With 1 out, he gave up consecutive singles. After another out, a wild pitch moved runners into scoring position which they did on another single. After yet another single, a double into the corner scored the lead runner. That would be it for Adams.

Zack Britton came in to try to stop the Sox’s advance, but he gave up a single that scored one more run. Still looking for that final out of the inning, he ended up walking the next batter and loading up the bases. The tying run coming to the plate, Britton dug deep and got a grounder to end the inning and get out of the jam, owing much of his success, like many of today’s pitchers, to the stellar defense today. (See the snazzy Gregorius-led defense here and here.) Despite a lead-off single, Chapman got 3 great strikeouts to close out the 9th and the game.

Final score: 12-8 Yankees, Yankees sweep series 2-0

London Trivia: Today’s game was much shorter than the marathon of last night’s nutsy show, and yet there was still 9 hours and 6 minutes of total game time. Together, both teams scored 50 runs, 9 of them home runs, and collected 65 total hits. And they will be thankful for tomorrow’s off-day as they collectively went through 30 pitchers in just 2 games.

Next up: The Yankees will need that off-day tomorrow after traveling home from the UK. On Tuesday, they begin a quick 2-game series in Queens at the Mets. Then, they’ll be back in the Tampa area to face the Rays for a 4-game weekend series before the All-Star Break. Following the break, the Yankees will begin their official second half of the 2019 season with a long homestand.

Roster moves: The Yankees played a little with the loophole in the roster for this travel series, optioning Nestor Cortes Jr and recalling Chance Adams, who came to London as part of the “taxi squad” just in case he was needed. And clearly, he was, though I doubt he’ll look back fondly at his outing. Even with the off-day tomorrow, with the depletion of the bullpen, I imagine there will be further moves once the Yankees are back stateside.

Injury update: The Yankees also sent reliever Ben Heller to AAA Scranton to begin his rehab assignment. Heller had surgery on his right elbow earlier this year. And Luke Voit was missing from today’s game roster though he was present and ready off the bench if needed. He said he felt much better after feeling some core tightness during yesterday’s game.

All-Star Roster Update: As you know, the Yankees have two starters on the All-Star Game roster this year. Gary Sanchez will be the starting catcher, and DJ LeMahieu will be the starting 2nd baseman for the AL team. Joining them in Cleveland this year is Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. This will be Chapman’s 6th All-Star Game, LeMahieu’s 3rd, and Sanchez’s 2nd.

Chapman himself noted, “To me, I thought we were going to have six or seven All-Stars from this team. It’s a little surprising.” Yes, it is. I think a lot of us in Yankee Universe were expecting that maybe those who fell short in the final vote last week might get a second chance as part of the reserves, like Voit, Urshela, Torres, and Judge.

While all 3 All-Stars this year will represent the Yankees well, it is hard not to wish the team currently sitting atop the AL in the standings isn’t better represented in this year’s Midsummer Classic. I guess, they will just have to show everyone what they missed in July by an outstanding performance in October. Besides, that’s the stat that really matters in the end.

Go Yankees!

Game 79: TOR vs. NYY — It’s “28” for the Yankees, a sign for October?

The Yankees made history tonight. Right in the 1st inning, a lead-off home run by DJ LeMahieu moved the Yankees into the history books as the MLB team with the most consecutive games with a home run with the fated number of 28. But they may not be done yet with this kind of momentum, continuing their moniker of “Bronx Bombers”. And in passing, Yankee Universe is hoping that the number “28” is catching as the team is hoping to move forward from its 27 championships. (Hint, hint.)

Chad Green got the start as the “opener” again in tonight’s game, the middle game of this 3-game mid-week series against the visiting Blue Jays. Green needed 13 pitches to breeze his way through the 1st inning before handing the game over to Nestor Cortes Jr for long-term relief. Cortes pitched strong through the 5th inning, but he had trouble when he came out for the 6th.

Cortes gave up a single and double to put runners in scoring position, which they proceeded to do on a sacrifice fly and a single. Kahnle came in as the rescue reliever again to clamp down and close out the 6th. Yankee pitchers went back to the strong scoreless kind with Tarpley and Britton sailing through their respective innings.

In the 9th, Aroldis Chapman gave up a single on his 1st pitch, who moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. The next batter got to 1st on a catcher’s interference before getting consecutive strikeouts. But to amp up the drama, the next batter singled home the lead runner before a simple ground out got them out of the inning.

That didn’t help as the Yankee offense was oddly limited as far as the scoreboard to just solo home runs. After LeMahieu led-off the Yankees with a record-setting solo home run into the 2nd deck of the left field, Aaron Judge followed him up with one of his own, a solo home run just shy of the Bleacher Creatures.

Then, with 2 outs in the 2nd, Gleyber Torres got in on the fun with a solo home run of his own. But it was Edwin Encarnacion’s 2-out solo home run in the 8th, just past the special frequent stadium avian visitor, that would end up being the insurance run the home team needed to pull out the win.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees

Before the game, the Yankees continued to honor Pride Month by asking City Council speaker Corey Johnson to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and invited the first ever recipients of the Stonewall Scholars Initiative to unveil a plaque in Monument Park to honor the 50th anniversary of the world-changing events at the Stonewall Inn just a few miles south of the Stadium.

Last month, the Yankees announced the Stonewall Scholars Initiative. The Initiative is a personal donation by the Steinbrenner Family of $50,000 in college scholarship to five local graduating seniors from each of the boroughs as “recognition of their academic achievement, commitment to equality, and impactful support for the LGBTQ community”.

Injury update: After all the hubbub in the 1st, Giancarlo Stanton hit a single but was later tagged out at 3rd on the double play to end the inning. He dove back to the bag and banged up his knee on the infield at bit. He continued in the game for the next 2 innings, but he knew it was stiffening up and asked to be replaced by Gardner for the 4th. It doesn’t look series, and an MRI will hopefully confirm it was just a contusion (bruise), which a few days rest and ice will help heal rather quickly.

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees officially optioned Jonathan Holder to AAA Scranton (as we discussed yesterday) and recalled reliever Stephen Tarpley, who ended up pitching well tonight. They also activated Kendrys Morales from the 10-day IL and designated him for assignment, a predictable progression as regular players heal up and come off the IL.

And finally, tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of a game played by the 3 New York-based teams at the same time, as in all 3 teams (Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers) somehow played a ball game against each other about 3 weeks after D-Day to help boost stateside morale and raise money for the war effort.

There were about 500 local wounded veterans as special guests of the teams and nearly 50,000 fans packed the stands to play this oddball “Tri-Cornered Game”. All the ticket proceeds went to a larger donation of $56 million to the war effort, which included a little $50 million boost from the city itself.

Admittedly, for all the history I know, I had never heard of this event until today. But it’s history, execution, and legacy is absolutely fascinating. It took about 2 hours and 5 minutes to play to a final score of Dodgers 5, Yankees 1, and Giants 0, with absolutely no home runs hit during the game. Though, to be fair, many of the stars and power-hitters from that era (and future Hall of Famers) were busy fighting on both fronts and not playing baseball.

Go Yankees!

Game 67: NYY vs. CHW — Second City stumble

Tonight’s opener in Chicago looked like it was going to be a great start to this weekend’s 4-game series for the Yankees. But halfway through the game, things took a bit of a dive, and one swing flipped the story.

The Yankees got off to a hot start against the White Sox. In the 2nd, Didi Gregorius led-off with the single, moved to 2nd on Torres’ single, and advanced to 3rd on Gardner’s fielder’s choice out. Gregorius raced home on a wild pitch that also moved Gardner into scoring position. Clint Frazier then singled Gardner home.

Then with 2 outs in the 4th, Torres singled and scored as part of Brett Gardner’s 2-run home run. This doubled the Yankees’ score and leapt them ahead of the home team with a hefty lead early in the game.

JA Happ got the start tonight, throwing 91 pitches through 5 innings. And leading up to his final inning, he was doing great, only had 3 allowed hits and 3 walks but no runs. But in the 5th, he gave up a lead-off walk that moved to 2nd on a single, and scored on an RBI double. Then a big 3-run home run quickly tied up the game. Three outs later, Happ’s night was done.

Now, with the game tied, the Yankees needed to protect that tie and wait for their offense to pounce. Kahnle came in to right the ship and breezed his way through the 6th inning. But Adam Ottavino had a spot of trouble in the 7th, giving up a lead-off solo home run to break the tie. Later, with 2 outs and 2 runners on base, the Yankees called Holder to close out the inning and breeze his way through a scoreless 8th.

Again, they were just waiting for the Yankees’ offense to leap at the next opportunity. And they collected 3 extra hits through the final third of the game, but they didn’t do much beyond that. One could certainly question the floating strike zone (and increase in called strikeouts), but not scoring runs isn’t going to help shift the game again.

Final score: 5-4 White Sox

Roster moves: Yesterday, the Yankees optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley back to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and sent 26th man reliever Chance Adams back to AA Trenton. And today, before the game, the Yankees recalled outfielder Mike Tauchman and reliever Nestor Cortes Jr from AAA Scranton.

The Yankees also placed Kendrys Morales on the 10-day IL with left calf strain. Morales felt a tightness in his calf during the first game of the doubleheader on Tuesday, further testing confirmed the strain, and to be safe, they’re giving him some rest to recover.

This year’s much anticipated 73rd Annual Old Timers’ Day will be Sunday, June 23. Yesterday, the Yankees announced the roster of Yankee alumni scheduled to attend, but one name stuck out to everyone — rookie Old Timer (and member of this year’s Hall of Fame class) Mariano Rivera. Rivera will be back in pinstripes to play ball again with many of his former teammates and many Yankee legends and fan favorites. It’s always a great day.

Scheduled alumni (or their widows*): Jesse Barfield, Aaron Boone, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Chris Chambliss, David Cone, Johnny Damon, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Jason Giambi, Jason Grimsley, Ron Guidry, Jerry Hairston Jr., Charlie Hayes, Helen Hunter*, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin*, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Gene Monahan, Diana Munson*, Kay Murcer*, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, Mariano Rivera, Mickey Rivers, Luis Sojo, Jean Stottlemyre, Marcus Thames, David Wells, and Bernie Williams.

Go Yankees!

Games 65 & 66: NYM vs. NYY — Subway series split, big bats & messy defense

Yesterday’s game to kick off this brief stint back in New York during this odd road trip was once again at the mercy of the weather, with the rain turning the outfield once again into large puddles. So, they rescheduled last night’s game for the afternoon game of what became today’s double header against the Mets.

Game 1 (rescheduled from June 10)
Masahiro Tanaka is back from paternity leave to make this afternoon’s start of this 2-game mini-series against the Yankees’ crosstown rivals. Tanaka had a pretty great outing, throwing 101 pitches into the 7th inning, allowing 7 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), and striking out 7 Mets’ batters.

In the 3rd, the lead-off batter made it safely to 1st on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a single, and then scored on another single. Then a big 3-run home run gave the Mets a nice cushion. In the 6th, a lead-off double scored on a 2-out single to add just one more run. Kahnle closed out the 7th for Tanaka with a great 3-pitch strikeout before handing the gave over to Hale to finish the final 2 scoreless innings for the Yankees.

Despite that wobble in the 3rd, the Yankees dominated the Mets’ pitchers throughout the afternoon. In the 2nd, Gregorius hit a 1-out double and scored on Kendrys Morales’ single. This got the Yankees on the board first, but after the Mets took the lead in the top of the 3rd, the home team just surged forward.

Gardner led-off the 3rd with a single and moved to 2nd on what was eventually called a fielder’s choice. The fielder who handled the ball in an attempt to do the double play (that never happened), but he never touched 2nd to make the force out there. A very quick replay overturned the out call. Gardner moved to 3rd when Hicks into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (and yes, the fielder touched the bag this time). After another out, Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner.

In the 4th, Morales hit a 1-out single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen. After another out, LeMahieu made it all the way to 2nd on a bad throwing error and moved up at 3rd on a wild pitch. After Hicks worked a walk, Luke Voit smacked a big 3-run home run deep into the left field bleachers to ensure the Yankees’ lead.

But they weren’t finished. With 2 outs in the 5th, Morales doubled and scored on Urshela’s single. Urshela then scored on Brett Gardner’s great triple. Frazier led-off the 7th with a double, moved to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on Urshela’s double. And in the 8th, Voit worked a 1-out walk and then scored on Gardner’s solid 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big afternoon.

It’s also worth noting that of the 12 Yankee runs only 8 were considered earned due to the sloppy defense, a rather common scene today. Not that the Yankees’ defense was immune to the sloppy defense bug either, which was the cause of some of their more recent losses (or near losses). There were 5 errors made in the first game alone (and 1 in the later one).

Final score: 12-5 Yankees

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees were hoping for the mini-sweep today, but so many things just didn’t work out in their favor tonight. James Paxton got the start and was just shaky from the beginning. He threw 63 pitches into just the 3rd inning, gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out just 1 Mets’ batter.

In the 1st, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single, and both runners scored on a 3-run home run to kick things off before anyone got an out tonight. After a scoreless 2nd, with 1 out in the 3rd, Paxton gave up 2 walks that proceeded to score on consecutive singles. After another out, another single scored a run.

That was it for Paxton’s night, and the Yankees handed things over to their 26th man for the double header, Chance Adams. Adams finished the 3rd and through the majority of the game for the next 4 innings. He too found some problems in his outing. In the 4th, the lead-off batter made it safely due to a fielding error and then scored as part of a 2-run home run. And a 2-out solo home run in the 5th kept the visitors on a roll.

After Adams had a better few innings to finish his stint, Cessa threw a flawless 8th. Things were looking up. But Stephen Tarpley had some issues in the 9th but managed to keep the damage minimal. The lead-off batter was hit by a pitch, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on a 2-out double to cap off the Mets’ runs tonight.

The Yankees had a lone inning of offense tonight. LeMahieu led-off with a single, Voit worked a walk, and Sanchez hit a short single to load up the bases. Gleyber Torres’ single scored just LeMahieu. Clint Frazier hit into a fielder’s choice that just scored Voit. Urshela repeated the play to score Sanchez.

But with the Mets’ offensive dominance tonight, the Yankees just couldn’t catch up. But they tried. Brett Gardner even got in on the action with a lead-off solo home run in the 9th. But there was no last-minute rally to make up the difference.

Final score: 10-4 Mets, The New York teams thus split this year’s Bronx edition of the Subway Series. (The teams will have another mini-series in Queens at the beginning of next month.)

Next up: The Yankees have a travel day/off-day tomorrow (Wednesday) before they play a 4-game weekend series against the White Sox. Then they’re back in the Bronx again to face the Rays, Astros, and Blue Jays and host HOPE Week. Then it’s off to England for the much-anticipated international rivalry series in London.

Roster moves: The Yankees have been quite busy moving players into position for these last few days. As mentioned above, they activated Masahiro Tanaka from paternity leave, optioned Nestor Cortes Jr to AAA Scranton, and selected Chance Adams for the 26th man for the double header.

Injury updates: The Yankees also sent Giancarlo Stanton start his rehab assignment with the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons. Expect to hear news on Judge this weekend, as the Yankees expect both star outfielder to rejoin the team shortly. But the rough news is about Dellin Betances, who suffered a setback in his recovery with a lat strain. Betances is shut down a few weeks to nurse this new pain in his middle back.

Finally, there’s good news on the All-Star Game voting. Your Yankees are some of the fan favorites so far. Sanchez is by far leading all other AL catchers, and Voit has a good lead at AL first base. But the rest of the team are also still contenders — Urshela is pulling a strong 2nd at 3rd base; LeMahieu and Torres are in 3rd in their categories (second base and shortstop); Stanton is coming in 5th as DH; and outfielders Judge, Gardner, and Hicks are currently 7th, 13th, and 16th.

In other words, go vote today and keep the Yankees at the top of their respective categories. The top 3 in each group (top 9 in the outfield) will move on to the next round of voting. This first round of voting ends June 21 at 4 pm EST, so vote today, up to 5 times every 24 hours.

Go Yankees!

Game 64: NYY vs. CLE — Sweep denied in extra innings

I can imagine most of the Yankees are glad to see Cleveland in the rear view mirror (or rather, far above from their airplane window). This weekend series hasn’t been good for morale, and the Yankees need to put it firmly in the past to move onto the next two weeks of busy baseball. But it was nice to (eventually) pull out a win in the finale against the Indians.

Due to Tanaka’s paternity leave, the Yankees opted for the “opener” model, calling on Chad Green to start this afternoon, throwing 2 strong scoreless innings. Cortes continued the momentum with 3 more scoreless innings to allow the Yankee bats to jump way ahead.

Whether the Indians meant to or not, they too ended up with the “opener” model, as the Yankee offense didn’t allow their starter to even complete the 2nd inning. After a clean 1st and 2 outs in the 2nd, the Yankees just pounced and wouldn’t let up. Frazier hit a single and then scored as part of Brett Gardner’s big 2-run home run to get the Yankees on the board first.

Then Urshela walked, moved to 2nd on Maybin’s single, and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position, and Hicks worked a walk to load up the bases. Luke Voit’s long double scored both Maybin and LeMahieu, forced the Indians’ starter out of the game, and gave the Yankees a rather large lead to defend early.

But they did right up until the 6th inning. Tommy Kahnle just struggled his way through the inning as the Indians chipped away at the Yankees’ lead. The lead-off batter turned Kahnle’s 1st pitch into a solo home run. A 1-out single moved to 2nd on a messy wild pitch and then scored on an RBI single. And a 2-run home run put the home team within a run of the Yankees’ lead.

Adam Ottavino came on for the 7th and would have put in another great outing, but he gave up a 1-out solo home run. That tied up the game, and things just got interesting. Britton, however, righted the ship with a scoreless 8th inning, so both teams were looking for that tie-breaking run.

With 1 out in the 9th, the Yankees loaded up the bases with a single to Voit, a double to Sanchez, and an intentional walk to Torres. Clint Frazier’s sacrifice fly scored Voit as the Yankees’ go-ahead run. And the Yankees called in their closer, Aroldis Chapman, who just needed 3 outs for the victory.

But it wasn’t that kind of weekend. The lead-off batter singled and ended up at 2nd on a pick-off error that bounced into the stands. After a walk, Chapman finally got a good 2 outs. The next batter hit into a little grounder that bounced away from Gregorius, and that fielding error allowed the tying run to cross the plate and force the game into extra innings.

In the 10th, Maybin hit a long 1-out double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. The Yankees were back in the lead. And in came Stephen Tarpley to close out the game and hunt for those elusive 3 outs. 16 pitches and 3 strikeouts later, Tarpley got his first ever save, and the Yankees weren’t swept this weekend.

Final score: 7-6 Yankees in 10 innings, Indians win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees take a short break in this road trip to host a quick 2-game series against the Mets before traveling to Chicago for a 4-game weekend series against the White Sox. They’ll be back in the Bronx for a long home stand and HOPE Week. They will face the Rays, the Astros, and Blue Jays during this final home stand before the All-Star Break. But the final weekend of this month will find the Yankees in London for the first ever MLB series to be played in the UK.

Roster moves/injury update: Yesterday’s starter Domingo German was sent to the 10-day injured list with recurring hip flexor strain. He will get an MRI to check for further problems, as he’s been battling this injury since his previous start in Kansas City, trying to pitch through the pain. In his stead, the Yankees recalled Stephen Tarpley, which ended up being a good choice for today’s game.

Go Yankees!