Game 83: NYY vs. NYM — Crosstown rivals snap streak

Blame the jet lag or time difference or going from a soccer stadium to Queens. Or really just the way things happen sometimes. But the Yankees’ big record-setting streak was bound to come to an end at some point. It just happened to be at the hands of their crosstown rivals, the New York Mets.

The Yankees are back in New York after their sweep of the Red Sox in the historic London series. But they’re across the East River to visit the Mets for this quick 2-game series. And tonight certainly showed the Yankees were a bit rusty after their international pond hop.

They got on the board first in the 2nd inning. Gregorius and Encarnacion each singled to get on base. Gleyber Torres’ single scored Gregorius before Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners in the corners. Thanks to the joys of a National League stadium, it was tonight’s starter James Paxton that hit the sacrifice bunt to score Encarnacion to double the Yankees’ early lead.

Those early runs helped boost James Paxton’s rather shaky start, which also helped him limit the damage the home team could do under his watch. He threw 103 pitches in just 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and just 1 run, and struck out just 3 Mets’ batters. That lone run was a lead-off solo home run in his final inning.

Kahnle’s 7th inning was near flawless, but the Yankees struggled their way through the 8th inning. Adam Ottavino was not having a good night. His first batter made it to 1st on a messy throwing error and then scored the tying run on an RBI double. After an out, he intentionally walked one batter and gave up a single to load up the bases.

That was it for Ottavino, but Zack Britton promptly gave up a double that scored 2 runs to give the home team the lead. The Yankees were unable to bounce back in the final inning, despite Gregorius’ lead-off single and stolen base to put him in scoring position. The team left him stranded out there.

And with no home runs hit, the Yankees’ start all over again with those consecutive games with a home run. Still record-holders. Until they break it again one day.

Final score: 4-2 Mets

Roster moves/injury update/Scranton Shuttle: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees announced that they were going to send Luke Voit to the 10-day injured list. The abdominal strain he suffered during the first game in London wasn’t healing fast enough, and the Yankees needed to make a move to help close out this week.

The Scranton Shuttle is in full swing with more moves. They recalled infielder Mike Ford to fill Voit’s vacant spot and reliever Nestor Cortes Jr for a fresh arm. And they optioned infielder Thairo Estrada (the 26th man for the London series) and reliever Chance Adams back to AAA Scranton.

Yankees Universe News: The “Voice of the New York Yankees” John Sterling is looking forward to his upcoming long vacation. Feeling a bit under the weather lately, Sterling will start his vacation on Thursday, celebrating his 81st birthday and missing the series at the Rays and then enjoying the All-Star Break.

This will be the first games he’s missed since he became the “Voice of the Yankees in 1989. That’s 30 straight years, over 4900 games called by the award-winning broadcaster, a familiar voice to so many Yankee fans. In the same vein as other old-time radio voices, Sterling made the “home run call” his signature, with highly creative calls — “An A-bomb from A-Rod”, “Gardner planted one in the seats”, and “Gary is scary”.

Finally, our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room yesterday afternoon before their game against the Rangers. He was declared dead at the scene, and no further details are forthcoming. The southern California native was just 27 years old.

The game was canceled last night, but the Rangers made sure to honor his memory during tonight’s game and will donate the proceeds of their nightly raffle tonight to the Angels’ foundation in his honor. The Angels will wear a patch with his #45 for the remainder of the season. Again, our hearts go out to his wife Carli and his family and friends as they mourn.

Go Yankees!

Game 80: TOR vs. NYY — Walk-off and glory by All-Star Finalists

Well, that was… eventful. Leave it to this year’s Yankees to close out their final home stand before the All-Star Break with quite the dramatic flair. The Blue Jays, for their part, certainly made it one worth fighting for all the way to the end.

James Paxton got a rocky start in this afternoon’s finale, throwing 91 pitches into the 5th inning. He gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out 3 Toronto batters. At the top of the game, he gave up consecutive walks that then scored on a 3-run home run to the glee of the smattering of Blue Jay fans in the stadium. Then in the 2nd, a 1-out single scored on a 2-run home run to add more to the Jays’ early lead.

After settling into a good pattern for the next few innings, Paxton gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 5th. After a walk and out, he handed the ball over to Hale to close out the inning. Hale quickly picked the runner off 1st and got a grounder to do so. He continued that momentum through a scoreless 6th inning. Then, Ottavino and Tarpley each took an inning to run with that pattern.

In the mean time, the Yankees chipped away at the visitors’ lead. With 1 out in the 2nd, Didi Gregorius continued the Yankees’ homer magic with a solo home run, making it the 29th consecutive game with a home run. The Yankees loaded up the bases with a walk to Hicks, a single by Torres, and a 2-out walk to LeMahieu. Aaron Judge’s single scored both Hicks and Torres.

DJ LeMahieu came back in the 4th to hit a 1-out 2-run home run. In the 5th, Encarnacion hit a 1-out double, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to finally tie up the game. With 2 outs in the 6th, the Yankees finally took the lead. Judge singled, moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s single, and then scored the go-ahead run on Luke Voit’s single.

Things were finally looking up for the home team. Zack Britton came on to close out the game, but he immediately struggled his way through those pesky 3 outs. The lead-off batter singled, his pinch-runner took 2nd on a passed ball, and then scored on a single to tie the game up again.

So, the game went to the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out, Gregorius singled. Hicks worked a walk to moved Gregorius to scoring position. And then he did on Gleyber Torres’ walk-off single.

Final score: 8-7 Yankees, Yankees sweep the series 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel across the pond for their much-anticipated series against the Red Sox in London. They have the next two days off for travel/jet lag and will start the mini-series agains their famed rivals on Saturday. They will come back to America with an off-day the first day of July before doing a quick 2-game series in Queens against the Mets. They will spend the final weekend before the All-Star Break in Tampa for a 4-game series there.

Injury update/roster moves: Despite some home for a simple injury, Giancarlo Stanton is headed back to the Injured List. An MRI revealed a strain (or partial tear) in the posterior cruciate ligament in the knee, the connective tissue between the leg bones close to the back of the knee, behind the patella (knee cap).

The Yankees have recalled Mike Tauchman to replace Stanton on the roster. In preparation for the big London series, the teams are allowed to carry a 26th man on their roster. They will select Thairo Estrada. However, Kyle Higashioka and Chance Adams will be held in standby in case they are needed due to injury.

Yankee Trivia: I was not aware of this until today, but this is a great fact. As of today, the Yankees have played 162 regular games straight without being shutout. They have scored in every game for an entire season. That is quite the feat, though it is short of the record held by the Yankees way back from 1931-1933. Those Yankees got runs in 308 straight games, and even won the World Series in the middle of that (1932), their fourth championship.

Finally, VOTE NOW for your favorite finalists in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game. You get one vote on MLB and one vote on Google, so choose wisely. For your consideration, there are six Yankees on the ballot in their respective positions — Luke Voit (1st base), DJ LeMahieu (2nd base), Gio Urshela (3rd base), Gleyber Torres (shortstop), Gary Sanchez (catcher), and Aaron Judge (outfield). This round of voting ends Thursday at 4 pm ET.

Go Yankees!

Game 62: NYY vs. CLE — Didi’s back in the Rock & Rock Capital

If you’ve read this blog for some time, you might know that the Cleveland-New York series are always a special time for my family. A good chunk of my maternal relatives are from northeast Ohio and thus Indians’ fans. It can become quite contentious at times, our own private rivalry. This is the only time the Yankees will be in Cleveland this season, except those we might send for the All-Star Game (hint, vote now!).

The Yankees started the offense tonight early. Sanchez led-off the 2nd with a single. Didi Gregorius (he’s back, see below) hit a long single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. After a walk to Morales, Sanchez scored on Clint Frazier’s double to get the Yankees on the board first.

Aaron Hicks hit a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd to double the Yankees’ score. But the home team’s defense continued strong to help their starter keep control of the game and ended up making all the difference in the end.

Domingo German got the start for the Yankees in tonight’s opener of this weekend series against the Indians. He threw 92 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 6 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, and struck out 6 batters. In the 4th, with 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a walk and then scored on an RBI single. A 2-out solo home run in the 5th tied up the game. Then in the 6th, a lead-off single scored on a 2-run home run pushed the Indians in the lead.

David Hale came on for relief for the final 2 innings. After a solid 7th inning, Hale had a bit of trouble in the 8th, giving up a lead-off triple that later scored on a sacrifice fly for the unnecessary insurance run.

Final score: 5-2 Indians

Roster moves: Prior to the game, the Yankees optioned Thairo Estrada back to AAA Scranton and activated Didi Gregorius to make a pretty good debut in tonight’s game, going 2-for-4. It was nice of Gregorius to take a break from learning how to channel John Legend, his newest creative talent (like his art and emoji-laced winning game recap Tweets), to play some baseball once again.

Finally, Masahiro Tanaka and his wife Mai Sotoda are celebrating the birth of their daughter earlier today. Tanaka  will be going on paternity leave, of course, to be with his wife, daughter, and their 3-year-old son, and will miss his previously scheduled start on Sunday. Congratulations to their family on this newest addition.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 61: NYY vs. TOR — “The Machine” supports strong Happ outing

JA Happ faced his former team, and perhaps the familiar setting helped him with his dominant outing in the finale against the Blue Jays. Happ threw 102 pitches in his 7 innings, gave up 4 hits and 1 run, and struck out 4 Toronto batters to earn the eventual win. Actually, he held off the Blue Jays for most of the game, only giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 6th to let the home team on the board.

Chad Green continued that momentum through the 8th inning and came out for the 9th. But that’s where he got into trouble, loading up the bases with 3 consecutive singles. Aroldis Chapman was called out to get the Yankees out of the jam. Chapman got the first batter to hit into a double play that scored one run. Chapman only needed 7 total pitches to earn his 18th save of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees came out strong and stayed strong. In the 2nd with 2 outs, Estrada made it to 1st on a throwing error, making all successive runs that inning completely unearned. Estrada moved to 3rd on Maybin’s single and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s big double. Aaron Hicks then smacked a big 3-run home run to ease the Yankees into a strong lead.

Gio Urshela led-off the 4th with a solo home run. Maybin hit a 1-out double and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. With that offense and strong pitching (and minimal messes on the defensive side), the Yankees were able to keep their lead and sail into the win to close out this series.

Final score: 6-2 Yankees, Blue Jays win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees travel across Lake Erie to visit the Indians for a weekend series. They’ll head home for a quick 2-game mini-series against the Mets before heading back on the road to face the White Sox. Then their final long home stand before the All-Star break, including their annual HOPE Week celebration.

Speaking of the All-Star Game, consider this your reminder to vote for your favorite players every day — up to 5 times a day on MLB and once a day on Google Search. The All-Star Game is July 9.

It’s worth noting that Gary Sanchez has revealed a team nickname for a teammate. And if you’ve been following this season, you’ll know that there are quite a few players on this team that are making quite the splash (and perhaps deserve your vote for the ASG).

But tonight’s newest moniker “The Machine” has been bestowed on infielder DJ LeMahieu. Tonight, LeMahieu led-off the roster, went 3-for-4 with a walk, hit 2 RBIs, and scored a run. Currently batting .323 (leading the Yankees roster) for the season, he’s already hit 72 hits, 7 home runs, 40 RBIs (also 1st on Yankees roster), and scored 39 runs. In other words, LeMahieu is as reliable as a “Machine”. He’s an integral cog in the Machine that is the 2019 Yankees.

Go Yankees!

Games 50 & 51: NYY vs. KC — Doubleheader, double win

Yesterday’s opener for this weekend series against the Royals was rained out thanks to the nasty Spring storms that have been plaguing the middle of the country yesterday. Somehow, they managed to stay dry today to help make up the game in what ended up being a fun doubleheader for the Yankees through this Saturday.

Game 1 (regularly scheduled game)
JA Happ got the start for the afternoon game and had strong outing, throwing 82 pitches through 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 3 runs, and striking out 10 Royals batters. Happ actually held off the Royals until his final inning. With 1 out, he gave up 2 singles that scored on a 3-run home run.

The Yankees’ offense had the lead up until then. In the 1st, Hicks walk and Voit singled, and 2 outs later, they both scored on Clint Frazier’s double. In the top of the 6th, with 1 out, Gardner tripled and then scored on Gio Urshela’s sacrifice fly.

After the home team tied up the game at the end of the 6th, the Yankees found the next chance to advance right in the next inning. Hicks hit a 1-out single and scored as part of the monster 2-run home run by Luke Voit (to the delight of his huge contingency of his family and friends in the stands). In the 8th, Frazier walked and Gardner singled, and they both scored on Thairo Estrada’s 1-out double to cap off the Yankees’ offense this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Ottavino sailed through a scoreless 7th, and Cessa closed out the game with 2 solid final innings to help deliver the eventual win for the Yankees.

Final score: 7-3 Yankees

Game 2 (the make-up game from yesterday)
After they reset the field, cleaned the stands, and reopened the gates, the second game kicked off, both teams heavily dependent on their long-term arms in the bullpens. The Yankees used that 1-inning opener style, tabbing Chad Green for the 1st inning. After 2 quick outs, he gave up consecutive singles. The first one then scored on a double, but in the same play, the second runner was thrown out to end the inning.

Then the game was handed off to Chance Adams for long-term relief, four decent innings for the reliever. The middle two being the hardest for Adams. With 2 outs in the 3rd, there was a similar situation after a batter worked a walk and then scored on an RBI double. But in that same play, the batter was tagged out trying to stretch it into a triple just after the runner scored. In the 4th, with 1 out, Adams gave up a pair of doubles to scored 1 run, and a 2-out single scored 1 more.

Holder, Kahnle, and Britton each carried a scoreless inning. And Aroldis Chapman was looking for his 14th save in the 9th, and almost lost it with his own error. With 1 out, he gave up a walk and a pick-off error allowed the runner to make it all the way to 3rd and then scored on a sacrifice fly. He also earned his 250th career save.

The Yankees loaded up on the offense early and spent the game defending their lead. The Royals’ starter continued on in the 2nd, after a fairly easy 1st, but found the Yankees were ready to charge forward. They loaded up the bases with Morales’ singles, Frazier’s walk, and Urshela’s single. Austin Romine’s long single and a fielding error allowed both Morales and Frazier scored and put runners on the corners.

Then Cameron Maybin hit a nice double to score Urshela and Romine, and DJ LeMahieu’s single scored Maybin. It was at this point, with no outs, the Royals realized their starter wasn’t getting out of this inning and called in a reliever to mirror the Yankees’ pitching model tonight.

In the 3rd, Frazier worked a 1-out walk, moved to 3rd on Romine’s 2-out single, and then scored on Maybin’s single. But then the Yankees’ offense kind of faltered, and the Royals’ pitching finally snapped into action and held the visitors off.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Injury update: The Yankees officially assigned Didi Gregorius to the Advanced-A Tampa Tarpons for his rehab assignment. Gregorius had Tommy John surgery in October. The usual return for non-pitchers is less than a year, and Gregorius is looking at a few weeks of rehab before making his return to the team. Should all go well, he could be returning prior to the All-Star Break.

Roster move: Before today’s doubleheader, the Yankees recalled reliever Chance Adams as the 26th man. Adams played a key role in the second of today’s games, even earning the win tonight.

Go Yankees!

Game 48: NYY vs. BAL — Bronx Bombs in Baltimore

For all the seasons I’ve complained about the schedule, I’m certainly not complaining this year. Unfortunately, there’s never any kind of idea that certain teams will be good or on a slump at any given time, so it’s not like you can really rig the system. It’s just been good for the Yankees this year, playing teams that just aren’t clicking in the first half of the season. Thus maybe the “easy schedule” has helped the Yankees, despite the spate of injuries in pinstripes.

Either way, the season continues on, and the series continued with the third of four games in Baltimore, with CC Sabathia on the mound. Sabathia had mixed results tonight, throwing 88 pitches in 5 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs (4 earned), but nicely striking out 7 Orioles batters.

After two solid scoreless innings, the Orioles found their moments to advance. In the 3rd, a lead-off walk got out on a fielder’s choice, but then the next runner scored on a long double to get them on the board. A lead-off hit-by-pitch in the 4th later scored on a messy throwing error (the unearned run).

But it was the 5th that energized the home town crowd, starting with a lead-off solo home run. A 1-out double then scored on a 2-out 2-run home run. And after another double, the next batter technically singled before the Yankees went for the out at home. Gardner (center field) threw the ball sharply into Sanchez (catcher) to make a great, but messy tag on the lead runner.

However, the Orioles immediately challenged the call as a violation of the home plate collision rules. After a review and replay, the call was upheld. It was just messy and where the ball landed, not an intentional blocked plate, though that play can be problematic sometimes.

On the other side of the field, the Yankees weren’t exactly sitting idly by, as per their usual this season against the Orioles. In the 2nd, Gardner hit a 1-out double and then scored as part of Thairo Estrada’s 2-run home run. After Maybin worked a walk, he then scored with DJ LeMahieu’s 2-run home run.

Then it was time for the “Oriole Killers”. Gleyber Torres led-off the 3rd with a big solo home run, Gary Sanchez hit a monster 2-out solo home run in the 4th, and Torres did it again with a lead-off solo shot in the 5th. And if you’re keeping track, every run scored by a Yankee tonight was done so on a home run.

To close out the final 4 innings of the game, Kahnle, Ottavino, Green, and Chapman each put in a scoreless inning of their own to protect the Yankees’ lead.

Final score: 7-5 Yankees

CC K-Count: 3020

Look, between the mostly strong pitching, the great defense, and the big bats, the Yankees are just clicking this season. “Easy schedule” or not, things are just working for them right now, and we’re just going to take it while it lasts. Nothing lasts forever, but I’m okay with something lasting for a bit longer.

Like maybe through October.

Go Yankees!

Game 45: TB vs. NYY — Lucky number 6

Sometimes, the fate of a game comes down a single swing of the bat, a missed catch, a matter of inches, a play, an out, a pinch-hitter, a missed pitch, or error. And sometimes, like today, it comes down to one really big inning.

The Yankees split up the pitching duties of today’s game between a few of their relievers. Chad Green got the nod to go first, thus starting today’s finale against the visiting Rays. After a scoreless 1st, and 2 outs in the 2nd, he gave up back-to-back solo home runs to put the Rays in the lead. After hitting the next batter, he handed things off to Nestor Cortes Jr.

After a quick strikeout, Cortes came back out for the 3rd. With 1 out and runners in scoring position, a 3-run home run insured a hefty Rays’ lead. Cortes continued on into the 7th inning and kept the Rays from doing further damage. Ottavino closed out the 7th for Cortes with a single strikeout, getting out of a jam. And Chance Adams gave a long-term push to close out the final third of the game with 3 scoreless innings and the eventual save.

The Yankees got on the board first in the 1st. LeMahieu led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Voit’s 1-out walk, and Kendrys Morales’ 2-out single. But after the Rays jumped ahead in the 2nd, the Yankees answered back with Urshela’s lead-off walk and Brett Gardner’s 2-run home run.

Down again to the Rays after the 3rd, they tied up the game again in the 4th. With 2 outs, LeMahieu reached base on a fielding error and then scored as part of Aaron Hicks’ 2-run home run deep into the right field seats. This was Hicks’ first home run of the season.

But it was the 6th inning that certainly made all the difference. Gardner led-off the inning with a single and stole 2nd. Frazier then walked, and 1 out later, Hicks’ walk loaded the bases. Luke Voit’s walk scored Gardner to break the tie. After a pitching change, a messy pitch and some quick defense got Frazier out at home but moved the runners up.

Then the Rays intentionally walked Sanchez to load the bases again. Kendrys Morales then worked yet another walk this inning to score Hicks. Gleyber Torres’ single scored Voit. However, the Rays challenged whether there was a play at 1st to get the out and end the inning, but the replay went the Yankees’ way, upholding the original call.

After another pitching change, pinch-hitter Thairo Estrada hit a bases-clearing double, scoring 3 more runs. Back at the top of the batting order, Brett Gardner closed out this big inning with a double to score Estrada.

DJ LeMahieu led-off the 7th with a solo home run for a completely unnecessary insurance run. As if the Yankees were going to somehow give up their big lead after that ridiculous rally.

Final score: 13-5 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees hit the road this week with 4 games in Baltimore against the Orioles, before spending next weekend with the Royals. They then travel back home for a week of games against the visiting Padres and Red Sox to bring baseball into June.

Go Yankees!