Game 149: NYY vs. TOR — Even a butterfly couldn’t help in extras

For this weekend’s 3-game series, the Yankees traveled across the northern border to Toronto to meet the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Tonight’s game was long and grueling, tied for most of the innings as both teams battled for the win, even going into extra innings to battle it down to a walk-off.

Masahiro Tanaka took the mound for New York through 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs, for a not so memorable start. Tanaka started well and quickly faced 3 batters for 3 outs.  In the 2nd, Tanaka gave up a home run to left field, and later, 2 singles and a double allowed 2 more runs in the 4th. And Tanaka gave up a double and a single that scored another run for Toronto in the 5th. Tanaka was replaced in the 6th by Tommy Kahnle who gave up a single, but no runs.

Adam Ottavino took over in the 7th. He gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. After a walk and fielder’s choice, runners were on the corners, but a balk moved the runners up and scored a run for the home team to tie up the game at that point. Zack Britton took strong command in the 8th for 3 quick outs, including a swinging strikeout and a rather close call with a butterfly. (Yes, a real live butterfly.)

Cessa came out for the 9th and 10th, and gave up a couple of singles, but allowed no runs, keeping the game tied. Tyler Lyons replaced Cessa for the 11th, facing 3 batters for 3 outs. But when Lyons remained on the mound in the 12th, things didn’t resolve in their favor. Lyons gave up a home run to the first batter of that inning, allowing a walk-off win for the Blue Jays.

Scoreless in the first 4 innings and behind by 3 runs in the 5th inning, New York bats finally came alive in a big way. Gardner doubled and then promptly scored on a double by Clint Frazier. A single to left by Austin Romine scored Frazier.

LeMahieu’s single on moved Romine to 2nd, and Torres hit into a fielder’s choice that left runners on the corners. Luke Voit then reached base on a fielder’s choice, scoring Romine to tie-up the game. And wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position so that Gio Urshela’s single allowed both Torres and Voit to score and jump the Yankees ahead.

After the Blue Jays evened up the score again by the 7th, the Yankees tried to break that tie through the rest of their game. And while they certainly had some great opportunities, they never were able to cross home pate again.

Final score: 6-5 Blue Jays, in 12 innings

Injury update: Good news for JA Happ. Sidelined with recurring bicep tendonitis, he is showing improvement since a cortisone shot. He is expected to return to the mound next week during the Yankees’ final home stand. And he could be joined by some other teammates working their way off the IL as well.

Roster moves: In the last week, the Yankees have activated pitchers Ben Heller and CC Sabathia from the IL, and both pitched pretty well this week too. They also put Mike Tauchman on the 10-day IL due to his calf strain. Stephen Tarpley began his rehab assignment with the AA Trenton Thunder on Tuesday before being activated back to the major league roster on Thursday. And they also designated reliever Adonis Rosa for assignment before outrighting him to AAA Scranton.

Finally, MLB is currently featuring the New York Yankees for their annual honoring of Hispanic Heritage Month. The story features several current and former players. Check out the video here.

Go Yankees!

Game 140: TEX vs. NYY: Big Maple in command

After yesterday’s dreary shutout at Yankee Stadium, tonight’s team roared back with a near shutout of their own. A strong pitching outing from New York in the form of James Paxton and Jonathan Loaisiga, plus stellar defense and more record-breaking batting, showed the crowd why the Yankees are on a hopeful path to the Fall Classic this year.

James Paxton, “Big Maple”, took a firm command of the mound for the Yankees tonight. He faced the Rangers and easily breezed his way through the lineup for 7 scoreless phenomenal innings.

A pitching change in top of the 8th brought Jonathan Loaisiga to the mound allowing a walk, but the defense easily shut down the inning with a double play by the Wade-Gregorius-Voit combination to keep the Yankees firmly in the lead. Loaisiga was back in the 9th, and while allowing one home run, the New York defense shut down the inning with a final ground out maintaining the Yankee lead for a solid win for the pinstripes tonight.

The Yankee bats were alive and well throughout the game. In the 1st, Gary Sanchez sent a fly ball over the fence in center field for the first home run, scoring Didi Gregorius and the Yankees were on the board and in the lead 2-0.

In the 6th, LeMahieu and Aaron Judge singled on grounders and scored on Didi Gregorius’ homer to right center field. Gary Sanchez followed him with another homer also to right center. Encarnacion then singled and scored on a home run sent to right field by Brett Gardner to increase their lead over Texas.

The 7th inning saw Sanchez take his base after being hit by a pitch and promptly scored on a fly ball home run to left field from Edwin Encarnacion, placing the Yankees ahead by double-digit runs, and a shutout seemed probable. But then that homer in the 9th gave a run back to the Rangers that quashed the near shutout. It was quite the game. Another strong display of the the range of talent the Yankees have in abundance this year.

Final score: 10-1 Yankees

Injury update: CC Sabathia remains on the IL until at least Sept. 10. After his knee was drained and treated with a cortisone shot and lubricant, Sabathia is feeling better but has yet to test the knee. Apparently on a “wait and see” list, his day-to-day will be monitored in hopes to see Sabathia on the mound at least once more before his retires. Whether he gets to pitch again this season or not, Sabathia’s legacy is already well established.

While pitchers David Hale and Jake Barrett are definitely out for the season, others like Dellin Betances, Thairo Estrada, Aaron Hicks, Gio Urshela, Jordan Montgomery, Stephen Tarpley, Giancarlo Stanton, Jonathan Holder, and Luis Severino are expected to return in later this month. A few, like Montgomery, are already starting their rehab assignments to work their way back to the Bronx.

Go Yankees!

Game 139: TEX vs. NYY: Dreary day in the Bronx

A grey and rainy game day in New York greeted the 40,000 fans to the Bronx. Waiting out a long rain delay, fans were hopeful for another Yankee win. But the dreary day never got any brighter for the team and ended with the first Yankee shut-out in 220 games, the second longest major league scoring streak in history. Until today, the Yankees have scored at least 1 run in every game since July 1, 2018.

After a nearly 3 hour rain delay, Masahiro Tanaka finally took the mound for 6 full innings against the visiting Rangers for this Labor Day opener. Tanaka threw 103 pitches, giving up a total of 7 hits and 2 runs. In the 1st, Tanaka gave up 2 singles and a sacrifice fly to allow for that first run. And in the 5th, Tanaka allowed a home run to right center field.

Cortes took over in the 7th, and in the 8th, Cortes gave up a couple of base runners, including an RBI single, followed by a 2-run home run to left to widen the Rangers’ lead. Lyons replaced Cortes for the 9th and up another home run to right center field on his first pitch, but then he secured 3 outs quickly to close the inning.

Now, the Yankee bats had their own set of struggles with the Rangers’ pitchers. The soggy stadium crowd that had patiently waited out the rain delay was treated to several displays of strong batting for several opportunities to score but were disappointed as the Yankees remained scoreless this afternoon.

For example, in the 1st, after Torres worked a walk, Sanchez hit a solid double to move Torres to 3rd, but both were left in scoring position at the end of the inning. And finally, in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, Ford hit a line drive single to right in hopes to actually score a run today, but the final out of the game left Ford stranded, and this dreary rainy day game was over.

Final score: 7-0 Rangers

Injury updates: With all eyes on the playoffs, the players on the IL are being closely monitored. No update on when CC Sabathia will return to the mound. His knee was drained and treated but will remain on the IL with that right knee inflammation.

Jonathan Holder, on the IL for three weeks due to right shoulder inflammation, has begun a throwing program, the first since his injury. Stephen Tarpley is closer to returning with noted progress as he recovers from his left shoulder impingement. And good news for Luis Severino, who threw 33 pitches on Sunday in a rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, plus an additional 12 bullpen pitches.

And finally, our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of former Yankee minor leaguer, Chace Numata, who died tragically earlier today after a skateboarding accident in Erie, PA. Numata was most recently with Detroit’s AA team. According to the Tigers’ press release, the young catcher was considered a leader on and off the field, encouraging other players, and always making everyone feel welcome wherever he went. His grieving family thanks everyone for their prayers and support during this difficult time.

Go Yankees!

Game 118: NYY vs. TOR — #TanakaTime pitchers’ duel closes out series

The Yankees say “farewell” to Toronto on a bit of an upswing. Masahiro Tanaka threw a great game, commanding the home team through 8 scoreless innings with just 94 pitches and 3 allowed hits. And Aroldis Chapman earned his 31st save with a 1-hit and still rather dramatic 9th inning to close out the really dominant game.

But then, the Blue Jays also closed out this series strong, also only using 2 of their pitchers. They limited the Yankees to just 5 hits and a walk. Fortunately, 2 of those hits resulted in a bit more. In the 5th, Gio Urshela led-off with a double and then scored on Brett Gardner’s ground-rule double bouncing over the right field wall to score the lone run of the night.

Final score: 1-0 Yankees, the Yankees and Jays split series 2-2

Next up: The Yankees are on their way home for a packed home stand. First up, they will host the Orioles for 4 games starting with a doubleheader on Monday, part of a make-up from May. Then the Indians come to the Bronx for a 4-game weekend series. After a travel day, the Yankees begin their long West Coast week to visit the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners.

Roster moves: And before today’s game, the Yankees refreshed their roster again, partly because they could and partly because another name is on the IL again. Reliever Stephen Tarpley’s left elbow bugged him after yesterday’s game, and tests later revealed that he will be out with an impingement. They also transferred Giancarlo Stanton from the 10-day to 60-day IL as his knee sprain is still keeping him from returning any time soon. This removed him from the 40-man roster.

With that spot and after the Yankees also optioned infileder Breyvic Valera back to AAA Scranton, they exchanged them for relievers Brady Lail and Joe Mantiply. Both “fresh arms” were officially signed to the team and placed on the roster.

Actually, the biggest sigh of relief from today was that it felt like the Yankees were back in fighting order and commanding the game once again. Not a bad way to head back home and ready for the final big push before October.

Go Yankees!

Game 117: NYY vs. TOR — Saturday sluggish in the bullpen

Okay, so this weekend isn’t really turning out as the Yankees hoped when they hopped on that charter jet through customs. Though they certainly had the opportunity to flip the story along the way today.

Chad Green got the chance again to be the Yankees’ opener in this third game of the four-game weekend series in Toronto. Green threw 24 pitches and a gave up just a walk in the 1st inning. Then Stephen Tarpley came in and took over for longer relief. He kept the Jays off the scoreboard until the 4th inning. A lead-off walk moved to 2nd on a 1-out single. But with a threat on bases, the Yankees went to their bullpen.

Chance Adams, however, promptly gave up a 3-run home run to get the home team on the board and put them in the lead. But then he sailed through the 5th inning without adding to the score. Kahnle followed suit with a scoreless 6th inning, but Adam Ottavino had a troublesome 7th. With 1 out, a walk and single put runners on base to score on a solid triple. Then Britton closed out the game with a scoreless 8th, working his way out of a minor threat.

The Yankees actually got on the board first with Gary Sanchez’s 2-out solo home run in the top of the 4th. After the Jays took the lead in the bottom of that inning, the Yankees worked their way back in the 6th. Judge led-off with a single and scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run to tie up the game.

With 1 out in the 7th, Ford worked a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and after a pitching change, DJ LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly scored Ford. This put the Yankees in the lead again, but the bottom of the inning flipped the script again with the aforementioned triple.

Final score: 5-4 Blue Jays

Roster moves: Yesterday, the Yankees acquired reliever Joe Mantiply from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations. Mantiply played 5 games with the Tigers in 2016 but spent most of the season in their minor league system. Later that year, the Yankees briefly signed him, and he played for their AAA team before releasing him back to free agency in 2017, where he was picked up by the Reds and bounced around their minor league system. Though initially, Mantiply wasn’t placed on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees also placed reliever Jonathan Holder on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to August 7) with inflammation in his right shoulder. They also activated Gary Sanchez from the injury list, sending back-up back-up catcher Kyle Higashioka back to AAA Scranton. And reliever Stephen Tarpley was recalled from AAA. Both recalled players played key roles in today’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 113: NYY vs. BAL — Bronx Bombers swing for the fences in Charm City

Tonight’s game began with an hour and 12 minute rain delay, waiting for the front to sweep through Charm City. When the game finally got under way, the Yankees came out swinging strong to command this middle game of the midweek series against the Orioles.

In the 3rd, the “Bronx Bombers” showed up. Mike Tauchman and DJ LeMahieu hit consecutive solo home runs. After an out, Didi Gregorius also hit a solo home run to get in on the fun. Maybin walked to lead off the 4th, and Ford doubled to move them in scoring position. Austin Romine’s double then scored both runners.

Romine led-off the 6th with his own solo home run. And then in the 8th, he doubled and scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. Finally, with 1 out in the 9th, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin hit consecutive solo home runs to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Meanwhile, that gave their pitchers some room to get comfortable. Jonathan Holder got the short start in a reliever-heavy pitching outing. He threw 33 pitches into the 3rd inning. With the Yankees up in the top of the 3rd, he had his lone troubled inning. A 1-out single scored on a long triple, and a ground out scored that runner. That was the end of Holder’s decent outing.

Stephen Tarpley came on for relief, pitching into the 5th inning. That inning would prove a little troublesome for him. After 2 outs, he gave up a double that scored on a 2-run home run. Unable to get that 3rd out of the inning after giving up a single, the Yankees turned to Cortes to close it out. Cortes continued on through the 7th, keeping the O’s scoreless and handing the ball to Ottavino for 2 scoreless innings to close out the game.

Final score: 9-4 Yankees

Injury alert: Gleyber Torres came out of tonight’s game during the 3rd inning. After his at-bat, which left him swinging on a strikeout, his side was still bothering him. This is his 2nd time since Sunday’s game that his side/core hasn’t felt 100%. They will send him for further tests, so fingers crossed, everyone. As if we need another player on the IL…

Go Yankees!

Game 108: BOS vs. NYY — #BigMaple & #GrandGleyber

The Yankees just came off facing the Red Sox last weekend, but the tables have turned as the rivalry shifts from Fenway to the Bronx. And between the two, the offense on both side were limited to a single inning, oddly the 1st. And I fully blame some really great pitching tonight.

James Paxton (aka “Big Maple”) had a great outing, throwing 100 pitches in his 6 strong innings. He only gave up 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs and struck out 6 Boston batters to earn the eventual win. With 2 outs in the 1st, he gave up a walk that scored as part of a 2-run home run to get the Red Sox on the board first. But then, he basically breezed his way through the next 16 outs.

Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman each took an inning to close out the final third of the game. Each reliever held strong and had efficient innings — taking just 15, 8, and 9 pitches, respectively.

The Yankees, down early, bounced back early. In the bottom of the 1st, they loaded up the bases quickly. LeMahieu singled, and Judge and Encarnacion each worked walks. After an out, Gleyber Torres took the first pitch he saw tonight and sent it into the left field seats for a grand slam, his 2nd grand slam and his 21st home run of the season.

Beyond that 1st inning, there was a handful of base runners, but there wasn’t any further scoring. Again, some great pitching on both sides kept the teams limited to the damage they each did in that opening segment.

Final score: 4-2 Yankees

Roster moves: Before the game, the Yankees activated Brett Gardner from the 10-day injured list, as his “barking knee” is back and ready to go sliding around the outfield as he catches those long fly balls. They also optioned Tyler Wade back to AAA Scranton and recalled reliever Stephen Tarpley for that “fresh arm”.

The Yankees also placed JA Happ on the paternity list as his third child is due imminently. A big congratulations to JA and his wife Morgan, and to their children on becoming a big brother and big sister!

Earlier today, the Yankees partnered with MLB, Goldman Sachs, and DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI) to play in the 4th Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament, a charity game played by GS employees, some current and former ball players, and a few hundred kids in the area helped by DREAM. Cameron Maybin, through his Maybin Mission, took the lead in helping coordinate the game, joined by his teammate Domingo German, former Yankees Mickey Rivers and Mark Teixeira, and former Met John Franco.

The annual charity event has grown over the years and helps DREAM as it serves over 2500 kids in the New York area. This year, over 1000 Goldman Sachs employees volunteered their time to participate in the fundraiser, and while they played, the kids from DREAM acted as umpires and scorekeepers.

Today marks 40 years since the death of the late Thurman Munson. The Yankees’ catcher died tragically at the age of just 32 trying to land his small plane at Akron-Canton Regional Airport. The Yankees immediately retired his #15 and put up a plaque in his honor, the first Yankee captain since Lou Gehrig. It’s still a treat to see so many jerseys blazoned with his jersey number to this day.

His wife Diana Munson is a long-time friend of the Yankees, a frequent face at Old Timers’ Day, and the honored guest to throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch. Catching the ball was Munson’s teammate and Yankees special adviser Willie Randolph. Yankees Magazine covered the anniversary, Munson’s legacy, and featured an in-depth interview with Diana in this month’s issue with some touching moments and memories for every long-term Yankee fan.

A life and promising career cut short by an accident, a legacy we still honor and remember, and a reminder to live each day to its fullest. Forever our Yankee, #15.

Go Yankees!