This afternoon’s rubber match between the Giants and Yankees faced off with MLB fans for attention with the Hall of Fame weekend culmination, inducting in its two newest members. Both served up some interesting viewing, and both ended happily for New York and nostalgic fans.
In the Bronx, Nathan “NastyNate” Eovaldi was at it again, starting today’s game and staying rather strong throughout. He threw a season-high 118 pitches just shy of 7 full innings, getting a warm cheer by the 34,000 fans as he walked back to the dugout. He gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, striking out 6 batters. Eovaldi kept the Giants scoreless until his final inning. He allowed a lead-off single before getting a couple of outs, and then a double put runners in scoring position. And that was it for Eovaldi.
Chasen Shreve came in to help shut things down, but after working up a full count, he walked the batter to load the bases. Time for a new reliever to stop the rally. And it was Chad Green in. But a single scored the first two runners (Eovaldi’s runners) to get the Giants on the scoreboard before getting the final out of the inning.
But the Yankees got on the board first in the 1st with Carlos Beltran’s 21st home run — a 2-out solo shot to the right field seats. Then the Yankees repeated that in the 2nd with Mark Teixeira’s 200th home run in pinstripes with a 2-out solo shot. (People want to blame his new bright white cleats.
And then in the 6th, Hicks led-off with a walk and Gardner’s single put them on the corners. Then as Jacoby Ellsbury hit into a double play, Aaron Hicks made his way home to add to the Yankees’ lead. And then they did it again — Beltran and McCann on the corners with singles. Starlin Castro’s single scored Beltran, and Didi Gregorius’ ground-rule double into Monument Park scored McCann. The Giants’ starter was done after just 87 pitches. And that reliever did what the starter couldn’t do — kept the Yankees from getting on the bases and scoring further runs.
The coolest play by the Yankees, however, was in the 8th inning. With 1 out and a runner on base with a single, the next batter hit into a non-standard double play — a grounder hit to Castro (at 2nd), thrown to Green (the pitcher), and then to Headley (at 3rd). Now, in standard scoring, that becomes a 4-1-5 double play. 415 also happens to be an area code for San Francisco (including where AT&T Park sits). But it was a great play, and some really smart thinking and action on behalf of Green to throw across the diamond to the diving Headley for the 2nd part of the out.
Final score: 5-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.
Hall of Fame: Congratulations to the Cooperstown Class of 2016 — Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. There is much covered all over MLB which dives into their history, their legacy, and their legend as they step into the new chapter of their baseball careers. Honestly, both Piazza and Griffey deserve this honor, and both players hold special moments and memories in my own memory of baseball history in the 1990s and early 2000s. So, it’s not hard to imagine why Cooperstown was packed this weekend for all the fun and festivities.
The next few years should be interesting as some of the key players who used to wear pinstripes come up for eligibility to the Hall of Fame. Who knows how the voters pick or select. Sometimes, they’ll surprise you, and sometimes, it’s super predictable. And Piazza and Griffey are predictable, yet deserved. But then this seems to be a similar story in the last few years. We’re just now getting to the height of the legends who peaked in the late 1990s and turn of the millennium. There’s going to be a lot of nostalgia over the next few Cooperstown election cycles. And I kind of don’t mind.