Games 131 & 132: CLE vs. NYY — Rain created a double-header steam roller

After yesterday’s rainy mess that was the entire tri-state area, the Yankees rescheduled their game to combine into a single-admission double-header — the make-up game starting a mere 30 minutes following the close of the first game. It was more than slightly disappointing.

Game 1: (The regularly scheduled Wednesday game)
Jaime Garcia got the start today and just had a rough start right out of the gate. He threw 87 pitches into the 6th inning, and despite not giving up many runs, every inning was just a struggle for the new-ish starter. He gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs (only 1 earned), striking out just 5 batters.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter singled, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a single, and then scored on a passed ball (the unearned run). Another single scored the other base runner to put the Indians up fast and first. But then they spent the rest of the game defending this super early lead.

Of course, the Yankees did their best to limit the Indians to those 2 runs as well. And they certainly succeeded. Despite Green’s struggles through each inning, he kept the Indians from cross the plate under the rest of his tenure. He passed the ball to the outstanding Chad Green, who just sailed through the end of the 6th, 7th, and most of the 8th inning, thanks to 7 stellar strikeouts (of his 8 outs). Tommy Kahnle closed out the 8th and threw a great 9th to keep the Indians from adding to their score through the end of the game.

In the mean time, the Yankees tried to ding into the Indians minor lead, and for the most part were unsuccessful. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Hicks worked a walk, moved to 2nd on a ground out, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Then despite getting Gregorius into scoring position with hopes to tie up the game, they left him stranded there. And that became the story of the game — leaving runners in scoring position without getting them home.

Final score: 2-1 Indians

Game 2: (the make-up game)
Thirty minutes later, the Yankees were ready to take the field, in all efforts to take one game of the series. Today’s 26th man Jordan Montgomery got the start for the make-up game today, and unfortunately, he didn’t have the greatest outing either.

Montgomery threw 92 pitches in just 4 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 5 Cleveland batters. His biggest weakness, following his predecessor today, was the 1st inning. A lead-off batter singled, moved to 2nd on a walk, and then scored on a 1-out single. A double then scored the next run, and a single scored 2 more to give the Indians another early lead. Then despite loading up the bases, Montgomery got out of the inning with a well-timed strikeout. (Actually, all 3 outs that inning were strikeouts.)

The Yankees offense answered back again rather softly. In the 2nd, Judge led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a 1-out single, and then scored on Greg Bird’s single. Once again, they played the get runners on base without getting them home. Which didn’t help Montgomery’s short start.

And it certainly didn’t help ease the relievers, who had their own struggles today. Chasen Shreve came on in the 5th and promptly gave up a lead-off solo home run. Two doubles in the 6th added one more run. Caleb Smith closed out the 6th, but then a 1-out walk in the 7th scored on a 2-out 2-run home run. He also gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 8th, but sailed his way through the next 6 outs.

That was quite the deficit to face as the Yankees were hoping for an 8-run rally in the bottom of the 9th (to tie up the game), as evidenced by the lingering small crowd in the stadium. With 1 out, Todd Frazier worked a walk, and Aaron Hicks singled (his 4th hit of the game, by the way) with hopes for a rally. It would be Greg Bird to the rescue again with a big 3-run home run to reduce the Indians’ lead. But 2 outs later, the rally hopes were dashed, and the Yankees were swept.

Final score: 9-4 Indians, Indians sweep the series 3-0.

Some trivia thanks to the online people who know these things: The last time the Indians swept the Yankees in a 3-game series was April 1989, and the last time the Yankees lost both games of a double-header to the Indians was 1995. Also, the Yankees are the only team in the league that hasn’t lost a game by at least 8 runs thanks to Bird’s last-minute big home run.

Roster move: as I mentioned before, the Yankees chose Jordan Montgomery as their 26th man on the roster, as allowed for all double-headers. I imagine he will be on his way back to Scranton tonight, but no worries, the September calls up is just 2 days away. He’ll be back.

And in a fun story, the stadium had food delivered to each dugout so that the players and staff could munch on stuff during their long stint on the field. One rather brave employee balanced a rather large trays of food, including a rather precariously placed plate of cookies. Just as he was stepping down close to the dugout, the plate was tilting and slipping ever so slightly, but another employee reached up a hand to grab the plate before it fell and the tray was safely delivered. (Hope someone gave the “Cookie Hero” a nice tip!) A fun, positive spin on a rather disappointing day.

Next up: the Red Sox… which is the ultimate series to win this weekend.

Go Yankees!

Game 130: CLE vs. NYY — Uphill battle against the ace, #ForHouston

There was nothing inherently wrong with how Luis Severino pitched today. I mean, it wasn’t ideal in that he ended up with a loss, but overall, had there been enough run-support, we’d be having a different conversation in this blog post. Of course, a wonky strike zone didn’t help either.

To kick off the first game of this mid-week series against the Indians, the Yankees turned to Severino. Again, he actually had a pretty great game, throwing 108 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (3 earned), and striking out 9 Cleveland batters. His biggest flaw was giving up 2 different 2-out solo home runs to the same batter in the 1st and 6th innings. He then gave up a 1-out solo shot in the 7th, a single, and then a strikeout before getting the hook.

Adam Warren came on in relief, but left that runner to Severino’s record. The runner made a dash for 2nd, but a missed catch error allowed him to make it all the way to 3rd where a wild pitch would score him (hence the unearned run on the starter’s stats). Warren finally got a ground out to end the 7th inning, and ended up giving up a 1-out solo home run in the 8th that caused a bit of a ruckus. A fan did the stupid thing and reached for it. It bounced off his hands and onto the field.

Now, fan interference generally is ruled as an automatic double, but if the video can show the ball would’ve been out, it’s ruled a home run. The trajectory had the ball bouncing off the top of the left field wall, and thus a home run which was upheld by the umpire review. {Media note: the attached video link doesn’t show it so clearly, but it was going to be a home run despite the poor fan.} The right call, but a bummer for the run scoring and the guy who could have been escorted from the stadium for interfering with the state of play. At the very least, the fans in his section would make the rest of the game rather uncomfortable.

Chasen Shreve’s 9th didn’t really go much smoother. A 1-out walk scored on an RBI double. And with a runner lingering at 3rd on a wild pitch Shreve got the last 2 outs (all 3 of his outs were strikeouts, by the way) to keep the Indians from adding much more to their lead.

The Yankees, on the other hand, seemed to be waiting for a rally they just never had. To be perfectly fair, the Indians’ starter tonight is an easy nominee for the Cy Young Award this season, continuing his stellar breakout season that helped his team make it all the way to the World Series. The Yankees didn’t hit much off him — just 3 hits and a walk in his 8 innings.

One of those hits was Chase Headley’s lead-off solo home run in the 3rd. The other 2 hits came in the 5th with 2 outs. Ellsbury doubled and then scored on Todd Frazier’s single. But that would be it for the Yankees against the Indians’ starter.

While the Yankee pitching staff certainly got more strikeouts (12 overall), the only stat that matters is runs scored. And tonight, the Yankees fell a bit short.

Final score: 6-2 Indians

In other news around the league (a rare feature in this blog): Due to the increasing destruction that Hurricane Harvey is inflicting on the Texas and northwestern Gulf area, the Astros-Rangers series that is scheduled to begin tomorrow will be played at the Rays’ home in Tropicana Field. The Rays are on the road, currently in Kansas City, which might see the outer bands of the storm later this week. It’s a logical and kind thing to do for the teams, so that they can finish out their season (especially Houston as it continues to dominate the AL).

If you’re in the Tampa area and want to catch the game, tickets are $10 general admission. They’re using the hashtag #ForHouston as part of the promotion, so even if you can’t go, you can use the hashtag on your social media account to remind people to be proactive and get involved in relief efforts in some way.

If you’re looking for a way to donate or help, the Astros’ Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach will be accepting donations starting tomorrow that will be later taken to the relief centers in Houston. The Astros Foundation and ownership will be donating $4 million to relief efforts, including the American Red Cross. This follows MLB and the MLB Players Association’s announcement of its own donation of $1 million for relief efforts. And for the rest of the season, the Astros will use their 50/50 raffle during games to raise money for the American Red Cross’ relief efforts in the Houston area.

Our hearts and prayers are with those in the path of the storm, who are still watching flood waters rise around them. New York knows what it means to survive and ride out the worst disasters, so we stand with you in the midst of the storm and by your side once recovery begins. Stay safe.

Go Yankees!

Game 110: NYY vs. CLE — Series split & #SeverinoNeedsAHashtag

Luis Severino is really becoming the go-to guy for the Yankees when they need that crucial starter to get them the win. In other words, Severino is clearly the Yankees’ ace, and each game he pitches he further proves this.

Severino got the start in this afternoon’s game, the finale of this 4-game weekend series in Cleveland. He threw 107 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up just 2 hits, a walk, and a single run, striking out 9 Cleveland batters. The lone allowed run was a 2-out solo homer in the 1st, and then nothing else for the entire game.

After Severino set the pace for staying strong and keeping things close, Kahnle closed out the 7th inning in just 5 pitches. And then Warren and Shreve threw a pair of amazing innings to close out the game, both only throwing 14 pitches each.

Meanwhile, the Yankees didn’t get many chances for most of the starter’s outing until his final inning — the 6th. Gardner led-off with a single and moved to 3rd on Clint Frazier’s double. With 1 out, the Indians’ starter intentionally walked Judge to load up the bases. Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner to tie up the game. But once the bases were loaded up again after a walk to Todd Frazier, it would be Jacoby Ellsbury’s monster triple to clear the bases and put the Yankees nicely into the lead.

That would be it for the Indians’ starter, so they opened their bullpen. It didn’t stop the Yankees, as Ronald Torreyes promptly singled home Ellsbury. Then in the 7th, with a new reliever and 1 out, Clint Frazier walked and then moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single. So Aaron Judge hit his 35th home run, a 3-run power blast to ensure the Yankees’ lead. The Yankees hit 12 hits off the Indians’ pitchers today, by far the highest offense day for the Yankees this series.

Final: 8-1 Yankees, Yankees split series 2-2.

Roster moves: The Yankees officially placed Matt Holliday on the 10-day DL due to “left lumbar strain” and recalled Garrett Cooper from AAA Scranton. Headed to Scranton is odd-man-out Jordan Montgomery. Despite his good outing yesterday, with the two new starters, someone had to leave the rotation, and it was going to be “the kid”, the rookie, who has plenty of time to work his way back into a starting spot again. The corresponding roster move has yet to be announced.

For all the talk we’ve had this series on the nicknames of Cleveland, I’m going to leave you with a personal note. The most time I’ve ever spent in Cleveland collectively has to be the airport. I’ve never lived in Ohio, but so much of my family has (up until recently). So I’ve traveled there quite often. I used to know the airport almost better than any other airport I’ve flown into/out of.

And while airports have always fascinated me, the CLE will always hold a special place for me because it meant I was going to see or had just seen my grandparents, who are no longer with us. Like many in my family, my grandparents were huge baseball fans — my grandmother was a diehard Indians’ fan, and my grandfather nearly played ball himself taught us all how to love the game in general. While he was certainly a long-time Indians’ fan, he also appreciated great players, with a special fondness for Mickey Mantle.

So, while this particular series is special and personal for me, it always serves to remind me of two people who made the “CLE”, the “Mistake on the Lake”, “Plum City”, “Forest City”, or “Believeland” something more than just another city, another team, another nickname. It was where my family lived, where they were from. And that is what made it something special.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 109: NYY vs. CLE — “Cleveland’s a Plum”, at least tonight

Okay, my apologies to the city of Cleveland yesterday seemed to work. Of course, it could very well be the fact that the Yankees just played way better than they have the last two games at Progressive Field.

Competing for that fifth rotation spot, assumed odd man out Jordan Montgomery certainly worked very hard at trying to prove he deserved to at least remain in consideration for that spot. Montgomery threw just 65 pitches in his 5 innings, gave up 3 hits and just 1 run, striking out 7 Cleveland batters. That lone run was a 1-out solo home run in the 2nd inning.

But between Montgomery and the rest of the bullpen, the Yankees held the strong Indians’ lineup from doing much of anything else. David Robertson came on for 2 innings, the 6th and 7th, and kept that momentum strong. Dellin Betances had a flawless 8th inning, turning the game over to Aroldis Chapman, who earned his 14th save of the season.

Not that the Yankees’ offense was blowing the Indians’ pitching staff out of the water or anything. In the 1st inning, Gardner led-off with a walk, moved to 2nd on Judge’s 1-out single, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ (just-inches-shy-of-a-home-run) RBI double to get the Yankees on the board early.

Once the Indians tied the game up in the next inning, the battle was on for who would break the tie, and as the Indians’ pitching is certainly one of their strongest elements, it was quite the feat. It wouldn’t be until the 8th inning, and it would be Chase Headley to break the stalemate. Headley hit a nice 1-out solo home run into the right field seats.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees

Injury news: Matt Holliday was out of tonight’s lineup due to a sore back. Apparently, he tweaked it last night during one of his at-bats, and it didn’t get better with rest and treatment. So, it looks like he might be headed back to the DL again. He has been struggling since he came off the DL last time (due to a virus), so maybe this could be a reset as well as a time to rest and recover.

Okay, since you all enjoyed my nickname exploration (and if you didn’t, sorry), I decided to do more research. I found sites that list many other nicknames for Cleveland, some I believe, some I question. Again, to recap, the most common I’ve heard (and this is primarily from family that lives or lived in the area) are the “Mistake on the Lake”, “Rock & Roll Capital of the World”, and “Believeland”.

One nickname was attached to the city around the early days of statehood for Ohio — “Forest City” — due to its heavily forested areas. More recently, the city has tried to market itself for urbanites seeking gentrified city living as the “North Coast“. But my absolute favorite (and one that absolutely no one I know ever heard of) is “Plum City” — supposedly on a 1970s marketing campaign to attract tourists a la the “Big Apple”.

Small note here: I’m not sure why the fruit thing works for New York, but it falls terribly flat when literally any other city tries to use a local fruit and apply it as their nickname or slogan. Here’s a few clearly failed attempts — Big Orange (LA), Big Peach (Atlanta), Big Strawberry (Garden Grove, CA), Big Tomato (Sacramento), Big Guava (Tampa), and the Big Pineapple (Honolulu). Stop with the fruit, people! (I’m looking at you Atlanta and your decidedly weird peach obsession…)

Alright, pop culture reference alert: even my family would probably prefer to be more like Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock and refer to the city as “The Cleve”. For reference, the direct quote is regarding what he believes is the vacation wishes of every red-blooded American: “We’d all like to flee to the Cleve and club-hop down at the Flats and have lunch with Little Richard…” (And if you have no idea who Jack, 30 Rock, or why that’s a funny scene, you are due for a good binge-watching session; it’s on Netflix.)

Well, that’s all from “The Cleve” tonight. Fingers crossed to split the series tonight or “Plum City” might feel a little more like a prune.

Go Yankees!

Game 108: NYY vs. CLE — Bumpy start ends in continued slump (but the Lake & rivers are clean…er)

Based on how tonight’s game panned out, I think the city of Cleveland is seeking revenge for calling them the “Mistake on the Lake” in yesterday’s post. (More below after the game recap.) To be perfectly fair and reveal some full disclosure, my mom’s family grew up in Northeast Ohio, and they always called the city that. (Literally, I only here that phrase in my mother’s voice. Thanks, Mom!)

They also grew up diehard Indians’ fans, still waiting for their next World Series win, most of them not even alive the last time Cleveland won (1948). This makes this series a whole lot more interesting personally, making the one thing both sides of this have in common is that we both root against the Red Sox. (Though I’m still a little murky as to why the Indians think of the Red Sox as a valid rivalry.)

Anyway, the Yankees called on their other newly acquired starter Jaime Garcia. This ended up being Garcia’s third straight start with three different teams — July 21 with the Braves, July 28 with the Twins, and tonight with the Yankees. But Garcia got roughed up in this particular team debut. He threw 87 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 5 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs (only 5 earned), and struck out just 4 Cleveland batters.

In the 2nd, with 2 outs, Garcia gave up a walk and then scored on a double. The runner ended up at 3rd on the throw and then scored on a passed ball. Despite giving up a walk and a single to load up the bases, Garcia got out of the inning with a line out to Gregorius. In the 3rd, a lead-off single scored on another single and throwing error. The base runner ended up at 2nd on that play, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a sacrifice fly.

Garcia just couldn’t find the momentum to get through these innings. In the 5th, a 1-out walk stole 2nd and then scored on a single. Then that runner moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and ended up at 3rd on a ground out. That would be it for Garcia.

It was on to Chad Green, whose wild pitch scored one more run for the Indians that inning before getting that 3rd out of the 5th. Green then breezed through the next 2 innings, tallying up 5 strikeouts himself. He then handed the game over to Tommy Kahnle for the 8th inning, who found his own trouble — a lead-off double scored on an RBI double to add the Indians’ final run of the night.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were hitting off the Indians’ pitchers tonight — racking up 11 total hits (more than the Indians’ offense got tonight), 7 off the starter alone. Those hits (and the 2 walks) just weren’t adding up to runs-scored. In fact, for most of the game, it felt like the Indians’ pitcher and defense were much more dominant tonight.

Then in the 5th, Todd Frazier hit a 1-out solo home run into the right field seats to get the Yankees on the board. The Yankees then loaded up the bases later in the inning, but a swinging strikeout ended that potential rally and stopped them in their tracks.

The Yankees got one more chance in the 9th inning. Despite a lead-off single that got erased in a double play, it would be Ronald Torreyes to kick off a potential moment of hope. He hit a solid single, moved to 2nd on defensive indifference, and then scored on Brett Gardner’s single. But a fielder’s choice ground out ended the inning and the game. Too little, too late.

Final score: 7-2 Indians

Okay, more on the nicknames… “The Mistake on the Lake.” Look, a lot of this points back to the late 1960s before much of current clean water restrictions were enacted and Lake Erie was so polluted and that fed into its major rivers. At one point, it was so bad that the Cuyahoga River (the main river through Cleveland) actually caught on fire in 1969. Fortunately, with the passing of the Clean Water Act three years later, the city was forced to clean up its waterways and the big lake on its north shore. But the reputation for being the city whose river once caught on fire stuck, especially with those from the area (or rather the suburbs around the area).

In its place, the city has tried to refocus attention on its biggest attraction — the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Thanks to the rise of the genre, and how many of its biggest stars were from the area, the natural connection to the city evolved over time only to be cemented by the Hall when they built it in 1983. Since then, I think most people think of this (or Drew Carey) when they think of Cleveland.

That is until last year. When Cleveland became “Believe-land” as both their biggest sports were the Cavaliers (basketball) and Indians (side burn: even my Cleveland-area family aren’t Browns fans, but that’s a completely different story). Both the Cavs and Indians went to their respective championships, all the way to Game 7. Only the Cavs came up as winners in the end, but it still made last year something for Clevelanders everywhere to be proud of that wasn’t music or pollution-related history.

On a personal note, due to family connections, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Cleveland, and I’ve never been to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or a Cavaliers game. No, growing up, we explored less nickname-worthy places. Like finding out their art museum has an Armor Court. And their historical society has an extensive antique car and aviation exhibit. And there’s a village stuck in the early 1800s, much like Colonial Williamsburg but 1820s rural Ohio.

Despite the deep roots here, this may actually explain why I’m a Yankees fan.

Go Yankees!

Game 107: NYY vs. CLE — Not-so-Sonny Yankees’ soggy, sloppy debut

It was actually quite a soggy and stormy day in Cleveland right up until about an hour before game time. And then suddenly, the hometown fans in the “Mistake on the Lake” were ready to watch their ace pitcher throw a complete game in this first game of the 4-game weekend series in Cleveland.

Newly acquired starter Sonny Gray certainly had a rough debut tonight, thanks in part to some costly fielding errors, 3 in the sloppy 1st inning. Gray threw 98 pitches in 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (only 2 earned), striking out 6 Cleveland batters.

That 1st inning was just not good for the Yankees in any way. The lead-off batter reached 1st on a bobbled fielding error to kick off the game. That runner moved to 2nd on a ground out and then to 3rd on another hit into a fielding error to put runners on the corners. A single then easily scored those 2 runners, and the play ended with the runner standing on 3rd thanks to a throwing error.

But then Gray (and the Yankees’ defense) got back into gear and played better baseball. So to bookend Gray’s outing, his 6th inning was a more legitimate show of small-ball for the Indians as Gray searched for that hard-fought 3rd out. With 2 outs, Gray gave up a walk and single that both scored on a solid double.

Chasen Shreve came on in relief of Gray for 2 innings, only giving up a single hit. It was unfortunate that it would be a 1-out solo shot in the 7th, but at that point, the Indians were already safely in the lead. So it didn’t make much of a difference.

Now, the Indians’ starter is really good. And tonight was no exception, going so far as to throw a complete game — 106 pitches in 9 innings, giving up just 3 hits, a walk, and a run, and striking out 11 Yankees’ batters along the way. It’s hard not to appreciate that kind of show, even if it clearly wasn’t in the Yankees’ favor. The only run he allowed was a 1-out solo home run by Gary Sanchez into the first row of the seats out over left-center field.

It just wasn’t going to happen for the Yankees tonight. Not with the sloppy start. And not against this pitcher in this mode.

Final score: 5-1 Indians

Tomorrow the new men in pinstripes continue. (Or “away greys”, I should say.) Jaime Garcia will make his Yankee debut, hopefully with a bit more success than Sonny Gray today. A bit more storms tomorrow afternoon in the area, but should be clear once again by game time.

And Clint Frazier had a bit of a homecoming of sorts today. This is the first time Frazier has been able to connect with his former teammates since the trade last year (part of the exchange that sent star reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians) that made his a major Yankee prospect late last season. Frazier greeted former teammates with his usual gusto, admitting he followed last year’s World Series closely and felt part of the reason the Indians went so far was making sure a great pitcher like Miller was on the team.

Okay, I guess that makes sense to me. Let’s blame Frazier for the reason the Indians got so far. But if they also beat the Yankees this year to get to or during the postseason again, the same rule applies… just saying… (Don’t open that can of worms with Yankee fans, “Red Thunder”!)

Go Yankees!

2017 All-Star Game: Millennial take-over

For a city so synonymous with aging Boomers and the height of a young Gen-X, it seems like it got a bit of a makeover, filled with Millennial who weren’t even born while iconic Miami-based shows like Miami Vice (1984-1990) were still on the air. Well, maybe a few during the run of Golden Girls (1985-1992), but that would be generally less than ideal comparison for a group of competitive 20-something young ball players. They would probably prefer shows like the more recent action spy show Burn Notice (2007-2013) which was sometimes referred to by fans as the 21st century version of Miami Vice (but without Don Johnson’s floppy hair and those hideous pastel suits on the lead heroes).

So it was the National League (and their reserves) against the American League (and their reserves) to face off for the 88th All-Star Game. And despite the ridiculous show of power 8 key players put on last night, tonight’s game was a pitcher’s game from the start to finish. Each team put up 9 pitchers who each threw about 15 pitches per inning and struck out a total of 22 batters overall.

But it wasn’t like the batters weren’t hitting, as they racked up 17 total hits (and 6 walks) over the game, but they just weren’t exactly given much chance to do much with those hits thanks to the defense. Again, it was an All-Star Game, and for the first time in a really long time, it felt like both teams were fairly evenly matched in every aspect of the game — pitching, batting, base-running, and defense. And tonight’s game proved that.

No one got close to scoring until the 5th inning with the AL up at bat. With 2 outs, Schoop (Orioles) doubled and then scored on Sano’s (Twins) single. A nice bit of redemption for the power-hitter after falling short to Judge last night, responsible for the first run scored of the night. The National League answered back in the 6th when their veteran catcher Molina (Cardinals) hit a long home run into the corner of the AL bullpen to tie up the game.

And the game ended up being played into extra innings thanks to all those aptly named all-star players. So when NL manager Joe Maddon sent in his lone Cubs pitcher and closer Davis, he unfortunately didn’t count on Cano (Mariners) liking the third pitch, sending it into the AL bullpen for the winning home run.

Only fittingly so, AL interim manager Brad Mills (filling in for a recovering Terry Francona, who made an “appearance” in the AL clubhouse) sent in his own closer Miller (Indians) who got out of the 10th inning and saved the game for the AL with a final strikeout.

Final score: 2-1 in 10 innings, American League over National League

Robinson Cano, of course, got the All-Star Game MVP award thanks to that 10th inning, game-winning homer. And after accepting the glass bat trophy, he was asked to choose between a red Chevy Colorado pickup truck and a special Transformers edition blue Chevy Corvette. Cano wisely chose the Corvette.

Okay, Yankee Universe, you’re wondering how our 5 All-Stars did. Aaron Judge started the game in right field and batted third in the lineup, but he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Judge later admitted he was a bit tired after last night’s Derby and nervous and excited about the game tonight. Gary Sanchez came on for the second half of the game as the back-up catcher and ended up batting 8th, and he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Starlin Castro was present but unable to play due to his lingering wrist injury, so he spent time in the dugout cheering on his teammates and the American League.

In pitching, Dellin Betances showed the world what it felt like when he wanted to throw in some drama in the 3rd. He gave up a lead-off single, then struck out 2 batters, a wild pitch moved the runner to 2nd before he walked the batter, another wild pitch moved runners to scoring position, another walk loaded up the bases (and had everyone but Yankee Universe biting their nails), and a dribbling ground out ended the threat and the inning, getting Betances out of the jam… as usual.

Luis Severino would have pitched in the 11th inning had the NL tied up the game, and while he was disappointed not to see any play time in Miami, he really just wanted to see the AL win the game. Wish granted.

It is worth noting that the All-Star Game no longer counts for much of anything in the long-run more than bragging rights. As of this year, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and the league, the home field advantage goes to the team that has the best record between the AL and NL champions (which was always a much better idea). Full disclosure: the players of the winning ASG team do get a $20,000 bonus check; so I guess it’s a bit more personal than bragging rights.

Okay, the millennial invasion of Miami was never more apparent than at what became one of the most talked about moments in the game. Mariner’s designated hitter (and one of the oldest guys, on either roster) Nelson Cruz came up to bat in the 6th innings and walked over to the home plate umpire Joe West and asked for a picture with him as he pulled out his phone from his back pocket. NL (and Cardinals) catcher Yadier Molina (also one of the older players) took the picture for Cruz as West seemed both confused and amused at the concept. While not technically a selfie, it went around the internet quickly that Cruz wanted a selfie with West (who is just called his 5000th game last week and is often one of the least liked umpires in the business, which may explain Cruz calling him a “legend”).

In a touching tribute before the game tonight, the league honored Latin-American baseball legends and Hall of Famers in an on-field ceremony — Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Tony Perez, Ivan Rodriguez (who was part of the 2003 Marlins’ championship team), and the late Roberto Clemente (who was represented by his wife Vera). Then, they all threw out the ceremonial first pitch to current All-Star players of Latin-American birth. It was a great way to “pass the torch”, as it were.

We’re back after a couple of days rest in Fenway to restart the season with the rivalry series in Boston on Friday. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Go Yankees!