Game 128: NYY vs. ATL — Good pitching on the field, tragic loss off the field

Well, I can say that the Braves’ pitching tonight was infinitely better than last night’s staff. And while the young rookie starter did a pretty good job, the Yankees’ rookie starter was just better. And isn’t that just what the Yankees needed tonight?

Luis Severino threw 88 pitches in his 6 innings tonight, giving up just 4 hits, 3 walks, and no runs, and striking out 5 batters. Severino earned his 2nd win due mostly to the outstanding defense behind him and the slim lead the Yankees gave him early. But I cannot fault the Braves’ starter for much as he certainly gave his all and did a pretty good, and if he had the team that would give him an offensive lead, this could have been a very different kind of game.

The Yankees started things off right with Ellsbury’s double to lead-off the game. He moved to 3rd on a groundout, and then with 2 outs on the board and bases loaded with consecutive walks to McCann and Bird, Ellsbury would score a run on a wild pitch before the inning ended on a strikeout. That was the slim lead the Yankees rode through most of the game.

In the 7th inning, Headley led-off with a double and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ nice double. This forced the Braves’ starter out of the game and into the Braves’ bullpen. After 1 out, the Braves intentionally walked pinch-hitting Rodriguez, much to the chagrin of the Atlanta crowd, before getting the other 2 outs to get out of the inning without any further Yankee runs.

Remember in National League parks, the pitcher has to hit, so later in the game when they hit up the bullpen, they rotate in bench players for a single at-bat, which is why Rodriguez (who isn’t getting much play-time this weekend for this very reason) saw an intentional walk in his lone at-bat tonight. Reliever Justin Wilson would be Rodriguez’s replacement on the roster before another bench player would come in to bat or a reliever would take the mound. Playing the rotating game in the NL is rather exhausting to follow for those of us used to AL DH rules. Maybe I’m not entirely a “baseball purist” because I’m all for things that can improve the game. (I’m still not a big fan of the between-inning clock though.)

So, in the bottom of the 7th inning, Justin Wilson came on in relief and promptly gave up 2 singles. The next batter ground into what should have been a double play but ended up being a force ground out. The lead runner scored, the runner going to 2nd was easily put out, but Wilson didn’t catch the ball properly at 1st for the second have of the double play so that runner was safe. After another out, it was Dellin Betances to the mound to walk one batter and then close out the inning.

The Yankees got back that run they allowed in the 7th in the top of the 8th inning. Beltran led-off with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Chris Young. Young then scored on Brian McCann’s big double. And that would be it for the offense. Betances finished out the 8th inning without allowing the Braves to score anything more. Then it was Andrew Miller for the 9th inning with a very Miller-esque kind of 9th inning — just 8 pitches, including 2 strikeouts for his 28th save this season. It was a really pretty outing for Miller.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees.

There was a rather tragic incident at Turner Field tonight. As Alex Rodriguez walked up to his at-bat in the 7th inning, a fan in the top section of the stadium (section 401), right above the Press Box and directly behind home plate, got caught up the excitement and fell over the edge, landing head-first onto the concrete steps below (between sections 201 and 202), about 30 rows behind home plate. Paramedics, EMTs, and security immediately flooded the area. Medical crew rushed to care for the man, including administering CPR, strapping him to a board, and carrying him out of the stadium to the hospital. Security cleared the sections, cordoning off the area for investigators. The majority of the stadium, including the on-field players, coaches, and umpires, were unaware of the incident until after the game.

About an hour after the conclusion of the game, the Atlanta Police and the Braves organization confirmed that the man, said to be in his 60s, has died of his injuries upon arrival at the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this man.

This is the third similar incident at Turner Field in recent years. So please let this serve as a reminder to be safe at games. We hear all the time about people injured by flying balls and bats (and the occasional player) into the stands, but a seemingly preventable loss like this is just tragic. If you sit in one of the tiers in the stadium, please be careful of yourself and of others. I realize that alcohol also plays a role sometimes in the carelessness of people when they get caught up in the energy and passion of the game, so please drink responsibly. And here’s a general rule: if you start to feel unsafe, tell somebody like an usher or security person; that’s their job — to keep you safe so you can enjoy the game you came to watch and get home alive.

Let’s take care of ourselves and each other people. Hug your family tonight (or at least text them if they don’t live with you). Because there are people in the Atlanta area that can’t do that tonight and wish they could just one last time.

Go Yankees!

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