Okay, so the Yankees are currently on quite the win streak (currently at 6). So much so that the Yankees are currently the best team in MLB. To be fair, it’s a bit tenuous because several teams are right behind them. But for now, it’s all Yankee at the top of the list. And I’m going to take it for as long as that’s true.
Masahiro Tanaka flew to Cincinnati before the Yankees even entered into extra innings at last night’s marathon game in Chicago. So, tonight’s starter was well-rested and ready to go. He may be the only one that’s well-rested, but the whole team was ready to go. Tanaka threw 112 pitches in his 7 innings, getting hit hard by the Reds, who are just a 1/2 game behind in the NL Central. He gave up 10 hits, a walk, and 4 runs (3 earned), and struck out just 6 batters.
In the 1st, Tanaka gave up 3 consecutive singles that scored the Reds’ first run. With 2 outs and a runner at 1st in the 5th, a batter reached 1st on a fielding error that put runners on the corners. A single scored the lead runner (the unearned run). And in the 7th, with 2 outs and a runner on base with a walk, Tanaka gave up a big 2-run home run to double the Reds’ score.
Then it was up to Clippard and Layne to breeze through the roster in the 8th and 9th innings. Clippard, still fresh from last night’s outing, and Layne, unused and ready to join the fray. Both continued to prove just how good the Yankees’ bullpen can be, and part of the reason they’re in 1st place and on a great winning streak.
The Yankees meanwhile dinged into the Reds’ pitching staff, going through them like hotcakes. The Reds used 6 pitchers in tonight’s game, as their starter didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. In the 1st, Gardner led-off the game by reaching on a missed catch error. Then Hicks singled and Ellsbury worked a 1-out walk to load up the bases. Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner and Hicks, and Gregorius’ single scored Ellsbury.
Then in the 2nd, Torreyes led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ 2-out single. With the bases loaded with consecutive singles in the 5th, Gregorius’ sacrifice fly scored just 1 of the runners.
Things got dangerous in the 7th. Hicks was hit by a pitch and Holliday worked a walk. Then an out later, Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Another out, and the reliever hit Chase Headley to score Hicks and load the bases again. It’s a wonder none of these guys were hurt more than a few bruises. Ronald Torreyes singled home Holliday before Sanchez was thrown out trying to make it home as well.
In the 8th, pinch-hitting Castro got on base with a single and then scored as part of Brett Gardner’s monster 2-run home run. One out later, Matt Holliday joined the fun with a solo home run to tack on one more run for the Yankees tonight. Despite the bases loaded a bit later in the inning, they weren’t able to get another run across the plate.
Final score: 10-4 Yankees.
The Yankees are gearing up for Derek Jeter Day, coming this Sunday in the Bronx. They will retire his number in Monument Park before the game against the Astros. It’s also Mother’s Day, so expect a lot of pink touches everywhere that night. In preparation for Sunday’s special pre-game ceremony, the Yankees are relying on recent nostalgia to gear up the hype, remembering Jeter’s famous plays (“The Dive”, “The Flip”, “DJ3K”, and more).
After Sunday, it will be like the final door to the past is closed and the Yankees can move forward and focus on that elusive #28, with which each win is looking more and more possible this year. It’s amazing to think of this new generation of legends and greatness. Not to compare them to any previous legends, but to allow them the freedom to create their own paths in their own way. Who cares about the “next Jeter” or “new Mariano”! Let’s have the “Judge Bombs” and the “El Gary” and “Bird Power” and everyone else carving their own piece of this cake.