Game 89: BOS vs. NYY — High hopes and fireballs

Yankee Stadium tonight was full of anticipation and hope as the crowd welcomed their team back to the Bronx for a three-game series with the rival Red Sox. The weather was a perfect summer evening. Clear skies and warm breezes. The players were fresh and ready to play ball after the All-Star break. The Bleacher Creatures were loud and proud as they wholeheartedly announced roll call as the game began, and the first pitch was thrown.

Yankee right hander Michael Pineda started strong in the first two innings, and backed up by some good defense by Teixeira and others, it was 6 up and 6 down. In the third, Pineda faltered, giving up a homer, but in the fourth, he managed another hitless inning. Struggling a bit more in the 5th, he gave up a walk and another dinger and the Yankees were down by 3. Top of the 6th, Pineda allowed a line drive single and yet another home run that resulted in a visit to the mound and a pitching change.

Chasen Shreve took over in the 6th but promptly loaded the bases, thus had a rather short night. Nick Goody then took charge of the mound and managed to get the last out of the inning on a pop fly. Former starter (and this Tuesday’s starting pitcher) Nathan Eovaldi replaced Goody in the 7th, making his third relief appearance of the year and eventually dismissed a veteran Boston player with a ground out to end the inning. Still in the game in the 8th, Eovaldi gave up 2 hits but, backed up by solid Yankee defense, got out of the inning without any further runs. For example, with one on for Boston in the top of the 8th, a flying grab by Didi Gregorius caught a line drive and stopped the advance. Then with the shift on, moving to the far right (or his left) for the next batter, Chase Headley grabbed the out at second, further declaring that no more runs would be allowed from Boston for the night.

Closer Aroldis Chapman took stellar command at the top of the ninth making his 27th appearance of the season, facing Boston for the first time. In 13 fireball pitches, most over 100 mph (topping out at 104 mph on most radar guns), he effectively shut down the batters, three up, three down.

The Yankees bats, however, were largely silent the first four innings until their first single by Rodriguez in the 5th. But New York ended the inning scoreless and still down by three. In the bottom of the 6th, New York loaded the bases on a single by Castro, a hit by pitch for Headley, and a walk for Ellsbury. The crowd was roaring encouragement as Carlos Beltran came to the plate and slammed a line drive deep to right, scoring both Castro and Headley and putting Ellsbury on third. Brian McCann hit a RBI grounder that forced out Beltran at second on a fielder’s choice but still allowed Ellsbury to score.

Bottom of the 8th, with the crowd cheering “Let’s Go Yankees!”, Headley obliged and hit a hard line drive single to center on a 93 mph pitch but was left stranded by the end of the inning. Boston’s closer is pretty well-known himself for being able to shut down opponents, and with the opportunity for more coming from the Yankees, he was a logical choice for Boston to end the game right there. They did. He did. Game over.

Final score: 5-3, Red Sox.

Congrats to Carlos Beltran on becoming the 4th switch-hitter to reach 1,500 RBIs. He has already joined the 400 home run club, and hit the record books recently with 500 doubles and 300 career stolen bases. Again, that conversation about a potential spot in Cooperstown just isn’t going away for the veteran outfielder.

Alex Rodriguez has been practicing at first base to get more comfortable playing at a different corner than he formerly manned. Joe Girardi is hoping Rodriguez will be able to be available to fill in for this corner spot, if needed, since Mark Teixeira is still recuperating from a knee injury and trying to get through the season without knee surgery.

I found a fun little promo here for the Yankees entitled “Pride Passion Pinstripes”. Enjoy!

On this day in baseball history, Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio continued his hitting streak, reaching 55 games with a hit on July 15, 1941. He would go on to hit in 56 straight games (just 1 more game to go then), a record that remains unbroken to this day.

Go Yankees!

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