Game 90: NYY vs. CLE — Messy start to an extended finish

Before the game against Cleveland tonight, three regular players seemed to add themselves to the injury train that has been meandering its way through the clubhouse. Masahiro Tanaka was placed on the 15-day DL with soreness in his right elbow and flown back to New York to follow-up with the team doctor. This means he will miss his regular start on Sunday, and he is also now replaced on the ASG roster. (Update: Tanaka will now be flown out to Seattle where all the best doctors are currently attending a medical conference.)

Carlos Beltran was taking batting practice today and took a comeback ball off his face, fracturing his nose in two places. Current chatter seems to not have him placed on the DL, especially in light of the All-Star break coming up in less than a week. Brett Gardner was also withheld from the lineup tonight with lower abdominal strain. Doctors ruled out a hernia and is assuming it may be lingering pain from a recent stomach flu epidemic last week that Gardner actually played through. A stint on the DL for him doesn’t seem likely either.

Okay, guys, enough with all these random injuries. Can we just get through this week unharmed please?

So then the Yankees played the Indians, and new Yankee Brandon McCarthy made his pinstriped (or away greys, really) debut, clean-shaven (which made his wife happy) and ready to go. Unfortunately, he had a bit of a shaky start before calming down and finding his groove. In his 6.2 innings, McCarthy threw 101 pitches, allowing 9 hits and 4 runs (though only 1 was earned), and striking out 3 Tribe batters. Like I said, that 1st inning was rough on the new Yankee. With 1 out and 2 singles, another Indians batter reached on a force attempt and error to load the bases. A ground out scored the first run for Cleveland, and a single scored 2 more. And the Indians were up 3-0 by the end of the 1st inning.

It took awhile for the Yankees to find their swing. Mark Teixeira hit a lead-off solo home run in the 4th inning to get them on the board. But it was the 5th inning where they finally put things together. Ellsbury’s double and Jeter’s single put runners on the corners. Ellsbury scored on Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly. But it was Mark Teixeira’s 17th home run of 2014 that pushed the Yankees up to a 4-3 lead over the Indians.

But the Indians weren’t going to let that rest for long, tying the score 4-4 with an RBI single in the bottom of the 5th inning. And that’s where the score sat for another 9 innings. No joke.

And the Yankees went through their bullpen like a box of crayons. Thornton got a 2-pitch final out of the 7th in relief of McCarthy, who was now facing a no-decision for his Yankee debut. Betances’ 10 pitch 8th inning was a thing of beauty of course. Warren came on for the 9th and the first out of the 10th, before David Huff threw 22 pitches to load the bases with 3 consecutive walks in the 10th. Fortunately, Kelley came in and got a quick 2 outs, getting the Yankees out of trouble. Kelley returned in the 11th continuing his pattern and getting a quick 3 outs.

So they called on Chase Whitley in his first MLB appearance out of the bullpen for a 20-pitch 2-inning outing, throwing the 12th and 13th innings. He would also earn the win because he was the last pitcher throwing when, in the top of the 14th inning, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 2-out solo home run to push the Yankees in the lead 5-4. David Robertson would earn his 22nd save of the season in his 14 pitch 14th inning.

And with that, the Yankees won 5-4 in 14 innings. Four hours and 51 minutes of game time. What a roller coaster of a day — a rather alarming start of the day before the game, an exhausting almost 5 hours of baseball, and finally a win. And if you’re the kind of person who cares about standings, the Yankees are currently 1/2 game behind the 2nd place team (Toronto) and 3 games behind the 1st place team (Baltimore). This weekend’s games in Baltimore could drastically shake up the AL East going into the break. But it’s a pretty tight race and still a huge chunk of the season left to play. It’s too close to set any plans for October in stone for anyone just yet. But I still keep my fingers crossed. Why not?

Go Yankees!

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