Game 149: BAL vs. NYY — A rather “Gray Sonday”

It actually started off this afternoon as a bit cloudy over the stadium. I mean, it progressively got sunnier and the late afternoon shadows started creeping across the field as they always do on sunny matinee game days. The Yankees were hoping for a sweep of the Orioles in today’s finale of their 4-game series, but it was not to be. As sunny as it was today, it wasn’t so much for the Sonny on the mound today.

Sonny Gray got the start, throwing 80 pitches in just 4 innings. He gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs, striking out just 4 Orioles’ batters. In the 2nd, Gray gave up a 1-out double that moved to 3rd on a ground out and later scored on an RBI single to get the O’s on the board early. A 1-out single in the 3rd scored on a 2-out double to double their score. And in the 4th, the Orioles worked a lead-off walk and a 2-out single that moved up to scoring position on a wild pitch and then promptly scored on a big 3-run home run.

With that rather substantial lead, the Yankees turned to their bullpen in the form of Bryan Mitchell for the 5th inning. He gave up consecutive singles that put runners in the corners. A fielder’s choice ended up scoring the lead runner to cap off the Orioles’ runs today. But then Mitchell found his groove and settled into a nice pattern through the next 2 innings. Betances and Kahnle closed out the final 2 innings with flawless pitching, just 10 and 11 pitches (respectively) in each inning.

So, all the Yankees had to do was make up for it. And they were facing the one starter in the league with the highest ERA. Who, apparently, decided to have a pretty good day, unfortunately for the Yankees. In his 5 innings, he only gave up 3 hits and a walk and a 2nd inning lead-off solo home run to Didi Gregorius. (And by the way, the lady who got Gregorius’ home run ball couldn’t be happier!)

The Yankees found a few opportunities to advance once the Orioles got into their bullpen. In the 6th, Sanchez worked a 1-out walk and moved to 2nd on Castro’s 2-out single. Both then scored on Matt Holliday’s double. And Judge led-off the 8th with a double, moved to 3rd when Gregorius reached safely thanks to a throwing error, and then scored on Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly {No media link}. But the Yankees weren’t able to do much more than that. And it wasn’t enough.

Final score: 6-4 Orioles, Yankees win series 3-1.

Injury updates: there are a few Yankees who are stuck on the disabled list, but the Yankees. Adam Warren has been out since September 3 (officially) with back issues and is threw some long toss prior to yesterday’s game with no issues. Warren has been an effective part of the bullpen, usually solid for long-term relief, so his hole on the roster has definitely been felt. They are hopeful that he will be back in the ‘pen before the end of the season, however.

Aaron Hicks is still recovering from his oblique injury, doing some minor workouts to get back into the momentum of coming back soon. He was briefly sidelined from his recovery due to strep throat last week, but the Yankees are hopeful that successful batting practice in the next few days will open the door to his return to pinstripes shortly thereafter.

Roster moves: reliever Caleb Smith is currently battling a viral infection, so the Yankees placed him on the 10-day DL yesterday, retroactive to September 13 (the last time he pitched in a game). Reliever Domingo German was recalled AAA Scranton to fill in Smith’s spot in the bullpen.

Postseason Prep: Okay, so despite the Yankees’ loss today, there is some good news. The Red Sox also lost their game today (thanks, Rays!), so the standings remain the same. Not that the steady spot in the standings is what you want, but it’s better than the Red Sox gaining in their lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

If the standings remain the same, the Yankees will face the Twins for the one-off Wild Card game following the regular season. The Twins are on their way to New York for a 3-game mid-week series, so people are watching how this series pans out. The Yankees are hoping to gain ground on the Red Sox and push the Twins further down the standings. But the Twins are hoping to gain ground on the Yankees and close the gap between the potential Wild Card teams. Now, as of posting, the Twins are dominating the Blue Jays, and their assumed win will mean they are just 4 games behind the Yankees. It’s going to be a rather tight final 2 weeks of this season.

But that’s what makes it rather fun!

Go Yankees!

Game 142: NYY vs. TEX — Baby Bombers show off in Texas finale

I wish I could say that this afternoon’s game was a great game. At first glance, it might look great because the outcome was in the Yankees’ favor. But a second look, and one has to wonder how either team was lucky enough to keep the game under 4 hours with the pitching being a bit less than stellar.

With today’s finale in Texas, the Yankees were looking to continue their march towards that postseason with some kind of power, looking to their offense to carry them into October. Usually, the pitching is there to give them some back up, but today, there was a rather mixed bag in that case.

Jordan Montgomery got the start today and once again had some struggles through his abbreviated outing. He threw 79 pitches into the 4th inning, giving up 3 hits, 4 walks, and 3 runs, and striking out just 3 Texas batters. In the 2nd, a 1-out solo home run got the Rangers on the board, but with 2 outs and 2 runners in scoring position, Montgomery relied on his defense to get the final out of the inning and out of the jam. In the 4th, he gave up consecutive walks before a 1-out double would score another run.

The Yankees called on Chad Green to do what Chad Green does, and give the Yankees some long-term relief so early in the game. He gave up a sacrifice fly that scored Montgomery’s lingering runner before Green got a well-placed strikeout. Even Green had a spot of trouble in the 5th inning when his lead-off batter doubled and then promptly scored on an RBI single. But then Green zeroed in and breezed his way through his next 5 outs (and in doing so, set himself up for the win).

Tommy Kahnle closed out Green’s 6th inning and basically breezed his way through the 7th before handing the ball over to Dellin Betances. Betances found his own sticky spot in the 8th inning, despite getting 3 strikeouts for his 3 outs this inning. With just 1 out, Betances gave up consecutive walks that both scored on a double. Caleb Smith got 2 quick outs in the 9th and then gave up a walk that scored on a double before getting that 3rd out to close out the game.

And all those statistics would not spell good news for the Yankees if the Rangers had a better pitching staff. But really, they are just not good, or at least they weren’t so good tonight. The Rangers’ starter only throwing into the 4th inning. In the 1st inning, Gary Sanchez kicked things off with a solo home run into the left field seats, his 29th of the season.

Gardner singled to lead off the 3rd, moved to 2nd when Sanchez was hit by a pitch, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. This broke the early tie, but the Yankees weren’t done yet. Castro reached safely on a fielder’s choice, and due to the slowness of the Rangers’ defense, all runners were safe on all 3 bases. Aaron Judge’s long sacrifice fly scored Sanchez.

In the 4th, Ellsbury was hit by a pitch (yes, this happened a lot tonight) and Romine singled, and that would be it for the Rangers’ starter. Not that they could depend on the bullpen to halt the Yankees’ charge. Brett Gardner smacked a nice triple that scored both runners. A fairly routine single by Chase Headley scored Gardner. After Sanchez’s double, Didi Gregorius’ single scored Headley. (All of this before an out was scored this inning.) Then on a double play, Sanchez still scored to keep the momentum alive. Only to be followed up by Aaron Judge’s 40th home run of the season.

And the Rangers finally went to their bullpen to get out of this inning. But that reliever found his troubles in the next inning loading up the bases with consecutive doubles and a fielding error. Didi Gregorius singled and scored the 2 lead runners before being thrown out trying for 2nd base.

To show off a bit, Aaron Judge hit a 1-out solo home run in the 6th, and Gary Sanchez followed that with a solo home run to lead off the 8th. (More on this after the recap.) And in the 9th inning, the Yankees proved they weren’t done yet. Ellsbury led-off with a walk, and Romine singled. Tyler Wade singled home Ellsbury, and pinch-hitter Erik Kratz had his first Yankee hit, a double, that scored both Romine and Wade to cap off the Yankee runs scored today.

Now, back to what I started with is a bit of why I have a hard time calling this a great game. A “great game” is one where the pitching, hitting, defense, base running, and bullpen are all really good, even more so if both teams do so. But statistics show a different story. In total, pitchers gave up 28 hits, 10 walks, and 23 runs (5 of them homers). And here’s the biggest difference in pitching staffs — the Yankees got the Rangers’ batters swinging at 13 strikeouts, while the Rangers entire staff only got the Yankees to strikeout twice. Again, it’s hard to call this a “good game”, let alone a great one. But it’s nice to win it anyway they can.

Final score: 16-7 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

Now, those “Baby Bombers” Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Both young stars hit two home runs each in today’s game, showing off the Yankee offense in the best possible way. For Aaron Judge, he hit is 40th and 41st home runs of the season, officially becoming the 2nd rookie in MLB history to hit over 40 home runs in a single season. And he’s got 20 games to at least tie up the record holder (Mark McGwire) at 49. Judge is also in some very vaunted company as the 5th Yankee to hit at least 40 home runs age 25 and under — Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, and Ruth.

Now, Gary Sanchez isn’t exactly a footnote here. He has hit 50 home runs in his first 162 games (over the last 2 seasons). This season alone, Sanchez leads all catchers in the league with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs after today, and this is despite missing an entire month of baseball earlier this year. And speaking of catchers, Sanchez’s 30 home runs this season tied other legendary Yankee catchers in most home runs in a season — Posada in 2003 and Berra in 1952 and 1956.

And remember, folks, there’s still 20 games left in this season. Both Sanchez and Judge have about 20 more games to just surge ahead and show off some more. And don’t think they won’t try. We are watching the next Berra-Mantle anchored dynasty, like my grandfather used to talk about. My grandkids will hear my stories of the Sanchez-Judge era of greatness. And just maybe they’ll get their own dynasty of legends in the making.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: having a bit of trouble with the links, so I included the recap, but it only covers Judge and Sanchez’s home runs. Will link the rest as soon as I can.}

Game 140: NYY vs. TEX — Dropping an easy lead doesn’t help postseason hopes

Both the Rangers and Yankees are battling for the postseason, so this weekend’s series is extremely important for both teams for very different reasons. The Yankees are hoping to breathe down the Red Sox’s neck and possibly snag that lead spot from them in the AL East and force them to be the first Wild Card spot. The Rangers are just a few games out of the second Wild Card spot and hoping to up their game wins to finagle a chance for the postseason. It’s that time of year where anything can happen, and it usually does.

The Yankees struck first against the Rangers in tonight’s opener at Arlington, giving themselves a nice lead early in the game. Perhaps a bit too early. In the 2nd, they quickly loaded up the bases thanks to 2 singles and a throwing error and no outs. Jacoby Ellsbury singled home one, and Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch to walk in another run. Two outs later, Gary Sanchez singled and scored 2 more runs, but Frazier was out on his way to 3rd base to end the inning. And with 2 outs in the 3rd, Didi Gregorius followed up that big inning with a nice solo home run to cap off the Yankees’ run tonight. {Media note: for some reason, the only clip for Gregorius’ home run in the Espanol version.}

So with that nice, hefty lead, the Yankees looked to their starter, Masahiro Tanaka, who just needed to maintain a semblance of order from the mound. But instead, he left far too many pitches up and not enough in Sanchez’s catcher’s mitt. Pitching into the 5th inning, Tanaka threw 81 pitches, gave up 8 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 7 Texas batters. A solo home run led off the 2nd to put the Rangers on the board. And they chipped away at the lead in the 3rd. A 1-out single scored on a nice double, and then that runner scored on another double.

In the 5th, a lead-off single promptly scored on a double, and a single put runners in the corners, who then moved up a base on a wild pitch scoring the tying run. After another allowed double, and still no outs in the inning, Tanaka was done for the night, still responsible for the 2 runners on base. Tommy Kahnle came in and gave up a single that scored both those runners to give the Rangers the lead. Chasen Shreve came on for the final out of the inning before throwing a scoreless 6th.

Oh, but the damage was done yet. Caleb Smith had a rather rough going when he came on in the 7th. He quickly loaded up the bases with a single, wild pitch, walk, and another single before getting the hook himself. Ben Heller then tried to keep things under control but struggled himself. A sacrifice fly scored one run, and a single another. But it would be the 2-run triple to cap off the night for the Rangers and finalize their now solid lead over the Yankees. Bryan Mitchell came on to close out that inning before finding a scoreless 8th.

The Yankee batters after that 3rd inning struggled to do much more with their offense. The Rangers’ pitchers effectively shut them down for the final third of the game, including a 3-strikeout 9th inning that made the home crowd very happy. Yankee pitchers gave up 15 hits, despite their 11 total strikeouts, while the Yankee batter managed just 8 hits (all off the Rangers’ starter and all far too early in the game).

Final score: 11-5 Rangers

Austin Romine sat out tonight’s game as a result of his suspension appeal after the melee in Detroit a few weeks ago. Romine was the one who the upset Tigers’ batter initially felt compelled to take out his aggressions on that started the whole benches-clearing incident. Originally issued a 2-game suspension, upon appeal, it was reduced to a single game, which he took tonight. Fortunately, the Yankees missed no solid catching time, as Sanchez just came off his own sentence from the same incident to catch tonight’s game.

And looking ahead, with yet another hurricane barreling down on the southeast, safety is always a priority. The Yankees were originally scheduled to play the Rays in St. Petersburg right after this series in Texas, but it looks like Hurricane Irma may cause some problems for the state of Florida and most of its upcoming sporting events are being rescheduled or relocated. Out of consideration, the Mets have opened their home field to the teams for the games as they will be hitting the road themselves after this weekend. Tampa area fans with tickets can find out information about refunds and exchanges, while New York area fans can get tickets to the series at Citi Field beginning tomorrow (Sept. 9) at 10 am.

Go Yankees!

Game 138: NYY vs. BAL — Almost win ends with a walk-off disappointment

The game started off on the wrong foot anyway, as rain poured into the Baltimore area for most of the evening and ended up causing a rain delay over 2 hours. Of course, the weather put a damper on the attendance, with only 14,377 fans braving the rain to hang out at the ballpark on a Tuesday night, the middle game of this mid-week series at Camden Yards.

CC Sabathia got the start tonight against the Orioles, throwing 94 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 8 hits, a walk, and 5 runs, and striking out just 3 Baltimore batters. In the 1st, with 2 outs, Sabathia gave up a walk that moved to 2nd on a single, then to 3rd on a wild pitch, before scoring on another single to get the O’s on the board.

Solo home runs in the 3rd and 5th added a few more runs for the Orioles. Then in the 6th, a lead-off single scored as part of a 2-run home run in the 6th. After getting an out in the 6th, Tommy Kahnle came on for the Yankees to close out the inning without giving up any further runs. Robertson and Chapman kept the momentum strong with 11 pitches in each of their 7th and 8th scoreless innings.

The Yankees just pummeled the Orioles in a single inning, unable to do much more in the other 8. In the 3rd inning, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded the bases with Romine’s single, Judge’s walk, and Castro’s hit-by-pitch. Didi Gregorius’ single scored both Romine and Judge before Holliday worked a walk to load up the bases again. That would be all the O’s starter had for tonight’s game.

With a new pitcher, the Yankees continued their tallying of the runs in the 3rd. Greg Bird hit into what should have been a very easy sacrifice fly, but the center fielder missed the catch (closing his glove before actually catching the ball), Bird made it to 1st safely, keeping the bases loaded and scoring Castro. After another out, Todd Frazier hit into a soft grounder that still scored Gregorius {Media note: no media link, sorry} and moved all the runners into scoring position. Then Jacoby Ellsbury’s nice single scored both Holliday and Bird before the O’s finally got out of the inning.

And despite the Orioles chipping away at the Yankees’ lead periodically, the Yankees held strong, thanks to the strength of their bullpen. That is, until Dellin Betances’ 9th inning. After 2 outs, Betances had a hard time finding that third out to get the save and deliver the win to the Yankees. He gave up a walk and then a solid 2-run home run so that the O’s scored a walk-off home run to win the game, now early this Wednesday morning.

Final score: 7-6 Orioles

Roster moves: in case you missed some recent player shifts around the organization, on Sunday, Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day DL for his left oblique strain, and the Yankees recalled reliever Caleb Smith from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Then on Monday, Gary Sanchez’ status was changed so that he could serve his 3-game suspension, and the Yankees also recalled infielders Tyler Wade and Tyler Austin from Scranton to fill out their roster.

And today, the Yankees announced that their Roberto Clemente Award nominee this year — Brett Gardner, a well-deserved honor. Every year, each team nominates the player on their team that is both professional on the field and philanthropic off the field, in the spirit of the late Pirates Clemente’s character and achievements. Tomorrow is the 16th annual Roberto Clemente Day, and a special logo will appear on the bases and other parts of the park.

All 30 teams nominate their candidate, from which a winner will be selected by a panel that includes Clemente’s widow Vera and a special fan vote (coming October 2-6). Past final winners of the award from the Yankees include Derek Jeter (2009), Don Baylor (1985), and Ron Guidry (1984). Closer to voting, I’ll include links so that you can help me vote for Gardner this year.

Go Yankees!

Game 129: SEA vs. NYY — #TanakaTime, and an offense aided by a quintet of errors

We come to the end of Players Weekend, which means tomorrow, all things go back to the normal that is a bunch of elite athletes play a children’s game while everyday people eat thousands of calories and pay hundreds of dollars to watch them do their work and critique their performances. But I digress…

Masahiro “Masa” Tanaka got the start in this afternoon’s finale against the visiting Mariners. He threw 99 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and the Mariners’ lone run, striking out 10 Seattle batters. He clearly set himself for the win, his 10th of the season (making him break even at 10 wins and 10 losses for 2017).

In the 1st, with 1 out, a Seattle batter singled and ended up on 2nd on an early fielding error. He moved to 3rd on another single and then scored on a double to get the visitors on the board. But then with runners sitting tight in scoring position, Tanaka got a well-placed strikeout and then a fly out to end the jam and keep the Mariners to that lone run.

Tanaka then would cruise through the next six innings, giving up just 3 more hits that would amount to nothing for the Mariners. Reaching his peak in the 7th, he handed the ball over to Caleb “Smith” Smith, who sailed his way through the 8th and 9th innings in just 20 total pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees capitalized on the fact that the Mariners’ defense just didn’t show up today. After the Mariners’ got on the board in the top of the 1st, the Yankees pounced right away in the bottom of the 1st. With 1 out, “All-Starlin” Castro double and then scored on Gary “Kraken” Sanchez’s single. A missed catch error allowed Sanchez to end up at 2nd. Then they loaded up the bases with Judge’s walk and a fielding error on a hit by “Sir Didi” Gregorius. {No media link, sorry!}

Then Chase “Head” Headley followed that up by reaching on another fielding error, where all runners were safe and advanced as Sanchez scored the next run. With another out, Jacoby “Chief” Ellsbury hit a bases-clearing double and ended up at 3rd due to a missed catch error by an infielder. He then scored on Ronald “Toe” Torreyes’ single.

So, with the Yankees now firmly in the lead, they continued their advance. In the 3rd, with 2 outs, Torreyes singled, moved to 2nd on “A-A-Ron” Hicks’ single, and then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

Castro led-off the 6th with a single and moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s walk. That was the end of the Mariners’ starter’s afternoon. A wild pitch by the new reliever moved both runners up to scoring position before they were joined by “All Rise” Judge on the bases. Then with 1 out, Headley hit a long fly ball, a sacrifice fly that scored Castro, but the cut-off man noticed a lingering Sanchez in the base paths and tagged him out instead for the final out of the inning and to complete the double play.

In the 7th, the Yankees loaded up the bases again with a walk and 2 singles. Then with 1 out, pinch-hitter Greg “Bird” Bird singled home “The Toddfather” Frazier and Ellsbury to add 2 more runs to the Yankees massive lead.

It is worth noting that the Yankees collected 15 total hits off the Mariners’ pitchers. And of their 10 runs, only half of them were earned thanks to the 5 errors in that 1st inning by the Mariners’ defense.

Final score: 10-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1

On a bit of a side note, Joe Girardi received his 40th career ejection today, his 35th as the Yankee manager, his 5th of the year, and his 2nd of the week. In the 3rd inning, with a runner on 1st, the Mariners hit a short grounder to 1st base where Headley fielded it and threw it to 2nd for the first part of what should be a double play. But it bounced oddly, as Gregorius tagged 2nd for the first out, and the runner at 1st ended up safely reaching base.

However, a sharp-eyed Girardi noticed that the runner from 1st left the standard base path (an automatic out) and cut inside and onto the infield grass, which could interfere with the standard flow of play. Like any other interference calls, you can’t interfere with other players trying to do their job during a play. So he called for the umpires to review the play as the runner was clearly out of line. But they reviewed the play and upheld the call. Girardi was less than pleased and had no problem showing that, including a hat toss, some heated words, and a few head wags. So, yeah, ejection was bound to happen.

But Girardi certainly wasn’t wrong. It’s just fortunate the Yankees outplayed the Mariners today. I hate it when plays that get miscalled like that affect the outcome of the game. It’s especially crucial in these last few weeks of the regular season as both teams are really in the middle of a playoff race. (The Mariners are now a game and a half out of the second Wild Card spot, while the Yankees are comfortably still the first Wild Card.)

The most comprehensive list I could find on the Yankees’ Players Weekend nicknames was this:

Tyler Austin — Austin
Dellin Betances — D-Dawg
Greg Bird — Bird
Starlin Castro — All-Starlin
Luis Cessa — Quique
Aroldis Chapman — The Missile
Jacoby Ellsbury — Chief
Todd Frazier — Toddfather
Clint Frazier — Red Thunder
Jaime Garcia — J-Gar
Brett Gardner — Gardner
Sonny Gray — Pickles
Chad Green — Greeny
Didi Gregorius — Sir Didi
Chase Headley — Head
Aaron Hicks — A-A Ron
Matt Holliday — Holliday
Aaron Judge — All Rise
Tommy Kahnle — The Kahn
Bryan Mitchell — Mitch
Jordan Montgomery — Monty
Michael Pineda — Big Mike
David Robertson — D-Rob
Austin Romine — Ro
CC Sabathia — Dub
Gary Sanchez — Kraken
Luis Severino — Sevy
Chasen Shreve — Shrever
Caleb Smith — Smith
Masahiro Tanaka — Masa
Ronald Torreyes — Toe
Tyler Wade — T-Wade
Adam Warren — Rocket

Which name did you like best? Or like least? Which one surprised you most? What would you get on the back of your jersey?

And can the Yankees continue their hot streak as they face division leaders Indians and Red Sox this coming week?

Go Yankees!

Game 126: NYY vs. DET — Hitsville USA lives up to its name, in the worst way

Wow, that was a mess. Not exactly the way you want to close out a series, a lovely afternoon in Detroit. Basically, it was a rather complicated series of brawls in between playing a few innings of baseball.

So let’s talk about the baseball part first. Jaime Garcia got the start today, throwing 75 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (just 2 earned runs), and striking out just 2 Detroit batters. In the 1st inning, Garcia gave up a 2-out solo home run to get the Tigers on the board.

In the 4th, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a line out, and then scored on a single. The lead-off batter in the 5th reached on a fielding error and moved to 3rd on a double. That would be the end of Garcia’s outing, with both runners in scoring position.

And it was on to Adam Warren, who struck out his first batter and then got himself into trouble. After a sacrifice fly scored the lead run and moved the other guy to 3rd, he loaded up the bases with consecutive walks. A single scored yet another run, and a ground-rule double scored one more.

So it was on to Tommy Kahnle to find that elusive 3rd out of the 5th inning with a nice strikeout.

Backing up a moment, the Yankees weren’t exactly being bowled over by the Tigers today. In the 2nd, Judge led-off with a single, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Chase Headley’s single to tie up the game. Gary Sanchez’s big lead-off home run in the 4th moved the Yankees into the lead.

In the 5th, Torreyes led-off the inning by reaching base on a fielding error. He then moved to 2nd on a ground out and ended up at 3rd on Gardner’s single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly. The next batter was Gary Sanchez who was hit by a pitch quite inside, which was a tad scary for a moment, but he was okay in the end.

And that brings us to the 6th inning.

So, Kahnle is on the mound and throws behind the batter, a certain star from the Tigers, who promptly started chattering with catcher Austin Romine. Until suddenly, he shoved Romine and started swinging punches at the Yankees’ catcher. Benches cleared, people were literally pinned to the ground to keep them from fighting, it was just an absolute mess all over the field.

Now, leading up to this, manager Joe Girardi actually came up to argue with the home plate umpire that Sanchez could have been seriously hurt, and the umpires didn’t give a warning or anything, as per the usual procedure. Now, had a warning been issued after Sanchez was hit or even after Kahnle threw behind (though I’m not 100% sure it was intentional, and I will absolutely admit when a pitcher does something stupid like that). But no warnings, so it escalated and just got worse from there.

Anyway, so Girardi was the first to get tossed from the game for sticking up for his catcher (or DH today), but then after the melee at the plate, the Yankees also lost Kahnle and Romine. Romine’s ejection I thought was particularly stupid, as Romine didn’t do anything except get the brunt of the anger from the Tigers’ designated hitter, who also saw the exit at that point.

Aroldis Chapman came on to close out the 6th inning once tempers cooled a bit, and baseball was back on the program. Back to the top of the 7th, Torreyes and Ellsbury worked consecutive walks, and the Tigers’ starter was done for his outing. Brett Gardner’s single scored Torreyes and moved Ellsbury to 3rd. Ellsbury then scored on Hicks’ sacrifice fly, and the Tigers went back to their bullpen again. Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner to tie up the game again.

So, after a little 7th inning stretch, Dellin Betances came on. And promptly hit the batter with a wild pitch to the helmet. While that can certainly be jarring and scary, it was in no way intentional. Seriously, the game is tied, the last thing the Yankees want is a base runner to give the Tigers any chance to retake the lead.

And with tempers simmering just below the surface, brawl #2 was on. And that was followed by more ejections — Dellin Betances and bench coach (and acting manager) Rob Thomson, neither of whom agreed with the ejections. Seriously, Betances is sometimes just sloppy. He’s not that kind of pitcher to “get revenge” or whatever old-school belief that excuses hot-headed players when they “go after” or intentionally harm another player.

So it would be David Robertson to pitch for the Yankees. And despite hitting the first batter, the benches stayed filled. He loaded the bases with a walk and then gave up a 3-run double to give the Tigers the lead. Two strikeouts and an intentional walk later, Robertson got out of the inning with a ground out to 2nd.

In the top of the 8th, the Yankees were back up at bat, and the new Tigers’ reliever decided it would be fun to plunk Todd Frazier. So the reliever was ejected as was the Tigers’ manager who tried arguing his case against the ejection. (On a side note, that reliever ended up being on track for the win due to when all the Tigers’ winning runs were scored, which doesn’t seem right. If you get disciplined, you shouldn’t be rewarded in a statistic. Sometimes, the ethical side of the rules don’t line up with the technicalities of the game.)

In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees called on Caleb Smith to close out their game. He gave up a 1-out solo home run to add an extra run to the Tigers’ lead at that point. And after another out, a single tried to stretch it into a double and got tagged out at 2nd because of the sharp arm of Gardner and quick reflexes of Torreyes at 2nd. A Tigers’ challenge was denied as the call was upheld on review.

A fairly quick 9th inning closed out the rather messy 4+hour game in Hitsville USA (or Detroit for the rest of America). And I can’t say many people were sad to see the game over and done and in the books. Not really one for the memory pages.

Final score: 10-6 Tigers, Yankees win series 2-1

Also, it was Brett Gardner’s birthday. Happy birthday, Gardner! Congrats on not being one of the eight people ejected from today’s game.

The Yankees head back to the Bronx to host the Mariners for Players’ Weekend. Yeah, I’m ready to move on from today.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: had some internet issues that would not fully load the videos, thus allowing me to link them correctly. I will try again when I clear up the issues. Not that anyone should be in a rush to watch the mess that was today’s game… I’d certainly rather forget it.}

Game 123: NYY vs. BOS — Rubber match dropped

Sonny Gray actually had a pretty decent outing in this afternoon’s finale against the Red Sox, but there was almost nothing on the Yankees offensive side that could help overcome even the smallest moments of strength for the Red Sox today. Gray threw 106 pitches in his 5 innings and gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs without striking out a single batter. In the 2nd, a 1-out single and 2-out single scored on a big triple to get the Red Sox on the board and in the lead early.

Adam Warren came on in the 6th. He gave up a 1-out single that advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a single. Then the Yankees called on their new middle reliever — Aroldis Chapman — to finish the inning with a solid strikeout. He basically sailed his way through 4 outs, 2 of which were great strikeouts. Not a bad way to “reset” his pitching after his struggles.

Tommy Kahnle came on in the 8th inning and struggled his way through 3 batters, giving up a walk, a double, and 2-RBI double to ensure the Red Sox’s lead. Caleb Smith continued the struggle a bit, giving up a walk and single to load the bases before getting a quick 3 outs to escape the jam, thanks in part to the stellar defense on show this week from the Yankees.

But unfortunately, like I said at the top of the post, the offense for the Yankees was basically non-existent this afternoon at Fenway, only collecting 3 hits and 3 walks, and only from the Red Sox’s starter. Their lone run came as Brett Gardner’s 5th inning 1-out solo home run, his 20th of the season.

It was simply not enough.

Final score: 5-1

The Yankees are off tomorrow before beginning their mid-week series against the Tigers. Then they’ll head back to the Bronx for a long homestand, which will include (you guessed it!) the Red Sox again (in 2 weekends). But on a positive note, it will be the last time the Yankees and Red Sox face off in the regular season.

Anyway, the Yankee are back to being 5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, but still solidly in the Wild Card race, leading it actually. But there’s still 39 games left in the season, so everything is still up for grabs, at least for those in the running for postseason like the Yankees and Red Sox.

Next weekend is the first annual “Players Weekend“. So while the Yankees will host the visiting Mariners, all the players will wear specially made jerseys, hats, socks, and gear. For the first time ever, the Yankees players will wear names on the backs of their jerseys. Well, specially selected nicknames actually. And game-worn jerseys will be sold at a special auction to support a charity close to the players’ heart — youth baseball. But in the mean time, you can buy your own replicas if you’d like.

So, Yankee Universe will be cheering on “All Rise”, “D-Dawg”, “Kraken”, “Chief”, and “Pickles“. Here’s a list of other players’ chosen nicknames around the league. It should be a fascinating series against the Mariners for the sake of enjoying “Players Weekend” alone.

Go Yankees!