Game 35: CHW vs. NYY — Nova & Monster Bullpen FTW

It threatened to rain in part of the City today, but even an overcast sky couldn’t stop the Yankees from taking control of the game this afternoon. And all of it was about pitching.

Ivan Nova, making his 2nd start in Sabathia’s place, did another excellent job to kick things off for the Yankees. In just 74 pitches for just shy of 6 innings, Nova gave up just 4 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out just 2 batters. Though to be fair, Nova (like Pettitte was) is the kind of pitcher that gets batters to ground or fly out, rather than a strike out pitcher (like Tanaka or Eovaldi generally are). Nova’s lone run allowed was a 1-out solo shot by last year’s Home Run Derby champion (his 12th of the season so far) in the 4th inning.

The Yankees’ offense got an early lead in the 2nd inning. With 2 outs, Chase Headley worked a walk and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. Hicks then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single. Despite Romine’s super nice ground-rule double that put him and Gregorius in scoring position, a small ground out ended their run accumulation in that inning. And unfortunately, that would be all they would get.

Fortunately, however, that seemed to be enough.

When Nova started to tire some in the 6th with 2 outs on the board, the Yankees opted to unleash the power that is the back end of their bullpen — the “Three-Headed Monster”, as some have called them (though I make a case for something else below and will refer to them henceforth as my preference).

Dellin Betances came on for a 4-out outing, closing up the 6th and plowed his way through the White Sox line-up in the 7th with 4 straight beautiful strikeouts. Andrew Miller added 2 more strikeouts, getting through the 8th in just 13 pitches, and Aroldis Chapman (and his 101-102 mph fastball) added 2 more strikeouts and had the Chicago batters swinging away at the heat.

So, to catch you up with the math: the Betances-Miller-Chapman combination got 8 total strikeouts for 8 of the last 10 outs of the game. The Yankees’ pitchers put up a total of 10 strikeouts against the White Sox tonight, and that is part of the reason they won today.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees.

Major Roster moves: (try to keep up…)

  • Both Greg Bird and Mason Williams (both out after shoulder surgeries – Bird in February, Williams last fall) were moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, taking them off the 40-man roster.
  • Bryan Mitchell (toe injury during Spring Training) also followed suit and moved from the 15-day to 60-day DL, also now off the 40-man.
  • Luis Severino (tricep strain from yesterday) was placed on the 15-day DL.
  • Gary Sanchez was optioned back to AAA Scranton.
  • The Yankees acquired pitcher JR Graham from the Twins for a player to be named later or cash considerations, optioning Graham to AA Trenton.
  • The Yankees selected the contracts of Conor Mullee and Chad Green from AAA Scranton, promoting them and adding them to both the 25- and 40-man roster.

In other words, Cashman’s been on his phone a lot, moving everyone around to make all the pieces fit where they’re supposed to.

Nerd alert: Okay, so they’ve been calling the addition of Chapman to the end of the bullpen, now with the Dynamic Duo (Betances and Miller), the “three-headed monster”. This, of course, demands a name. And everyone is searching for an appropriate name for such a beast, which makes me question the education some people received. Let’s clarify something here. All multi-headed beasts in mythology — Hydra, Cerberus (the only one that actually has 3 heads), the Chimera, the Hecatonchires, and Hecate — are evil (and often feminine, by the way) and destined to be defeated by heroes. Let’s be honest, the last thing you want to promote is something whose entire existence in mythological stories was to serve as a heroic feat for legendary warriors (like Hercules) or bring terror to them (like Odysseus). {Disclosure: I minored in Classics in college; sorry for the tangent.}

Instead, let’s head down another nerd avenue and back into the comic books (like the “Dynamic Duo”) and deem them the “Warriors Three”. [For those who don’t know, the “Warriors Three” are Thor’s close group of friends who fight alongside him over the 9 realms and hang out with him in Asgard — Fandral (the dashing), Hogun (the grim), and Volstagg (the valiant). They are good, brave, loyal heroes. They are deserving of as much glory and respect as Thor and other popular avengers as they serve the people of the 9 realms faithfully.]

Our Warriors Three did their job well again today, collectively and individually. And the Yankees owe their gratitude for the win today.

Go Yankees!

{Title note: I’ve been asked to explain. “FTW” is text speech for “for the win”. You may have seen it online as #FTW. Sometimes it’s used sarcastically, but not always as it’s used here. Google is a magical place to catch up with all the slang that gets tossed around these days.}

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