Game 111: NYY vs. TOR — Falling short North of the Border

The Yankees are north of the border for their mid-week series against the Blue Jays. And with the season beginning to wind down, the Yankees are looking for every game to put them in line for the postseason. Unfortunately, the last place in the AL East Blue Jays aren’t willing to go down easily.

CC Sabathia go the start and, thanks to a single batter who seemed to have his number, he threw a less-than-stellar outing. He threw 57 pitches in just 3 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, striking out just 3 batters. In the 1st, Sabathia gave up a lead-off double, who moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored as part of a big 2-run home run to get Toronto on the board early. And a lead-off single in the 3rd scored as part of another 2-run home run (by the same player in the 1st inning) to double the Blue Jays’ score.

From there, the Yankees called on Bryan Mitchell for long-term relief, and he promptly threw a beautiful scoreless 4 innings. Mitchell kept the Blue Jays to their early lead in anticipation of the Yankees’ offense to catch-up and take-over. David Robertson’s 8th inning continued that momentum, again lying in wait for the Yankees’ fabled offense.

Fabled would be the right word tonight, as it seemed quite a bit stilted against the Toronto’s pitching staff. They had just two minor opportunities to play some small ball. In the 2nd, Headley led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single, ended up at 3rd on a double play, and then scored on Garrett Cooper’s single.

Then in the 8th, consecutive Yankees (Sanchez and Headley) were hit by pitches and Todd Frazier worked a 1-out walk to load up the bases. It would be Cooper again for the RBI, this time a sacrifice fly {NOTE: no media link, sorry} to double the Yankees’ score and halve the Blue Jays’ lead.

But the Yankees didn’t have a last-minute rally in them, so dropped this first game in Toronto.

Final score: 4-2 Blue Jays

The Advanced-A Tampa Yankees are hosting their version of HOPE Week this week, starting today and running through Saturday. On the schedule are many amazing Tampa area organizations: the Lighthouse Center for Creative Learning, a school for children with autism; A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, a foster or transitional home for displaced children; Trinity Cafe, a proper restaurant that specifically serves the area’s homeless and hungry; the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation; and Tampa Yankees’ players, staff, and fans will participate in the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s “Cut for a Cure”, a fundraiser where kids (who also are cancer survivors) shave participants’ heads.

And in sad news, former ball player and manager Don Baylor passed away yesterday after a long struggle with multiple myeloma, a nasty blood cancer. He was just 68 years old. Baylor had a 19-year professional career with the Orioles, Athletics, Angels, Red Sox, Twins, and Yankees (1983-1985), an All-Star who also won an MVP Award and a World Series. He went on to manage the Rockies and Cubs, winning 1995 NL Manager of the Year, before retiring from baseball entirely 15 years ago around the time of his diagnosis. He was close to many in the game, even being a groomsman in Yankee teammate Dave Winfield’s 1988 wedding. Our hearts go out to his family, including his wife Rebecca. He will be missed.

Go Yankees!

Home Run Derby 2016: Miles of power

Petco Park is still buzzing with the results of tonight’s Home Run Derby. And rightly so, it was certainly something to be honored and remembered. Yesterday, all the selected All-Star Game players invaded San Diego, met with the press, talked to fans, and generally prepared themselves for the next few days.

Today, the players donned the ugly (sorry, but they are) special retro-style mustard, orange, and brown uniforms designed for the batting practice day — or Monday before the ASG. According to a local news source: “The jerseys worn by the Home Run Derby participants are patterned after the brown and yellow color combination worn by the Padres from 1969-84. The National League participants will wear primarily brown jerseys, with yellow lettering, highlighted by orange, and yellow sleeves. The American League participants will wear primarily yellow jerseys, with brown lettering, highlighted by orange, and brown sleeves.” Nice thought. It just wasn’t up there on my list of great ASG jerseys.

During this supposed “batting practice” is the designated time for the Home Run Derby. We return to the bracket formula introduced last year with a few familiar faces and past HR Derby winners. Of course, the biggest plus of this contest of power is that MLB partners with mobile company T-Mobile to raise money for charity. Yankee infielder Didi Gregorius spent the HR Derby in Times Square to help T-Mobile’s promotion of their VR experience of the Derby. T-Mobile promised $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of America and local youth baseball initiatives to be selected by the winner. Plus, all Derby participants will donate $10,000 to a charity of their choice.

Legend, Hall of Famer, and former Yankee (and Padre, to be fair) Dave Winfield threw out the ceremonial first pitch to kick things off for tonight’s festivities. And the first bracket round began. Mark Trumbo (Orioles) bested Corey Seager (Dodgers) out of the gate with 16 to 15 homers; Robinson Cano (Mariners) fell far short of Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) at 7 to 24; Adam Duvall (Reds) narrowly beat hometown representative Wil Myers (Padres) 11-10; and last year’s HR Derby champ Todd Frazier (representing the White Sox this year) edged out Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies) 13-12.

A special honor every year is the great kids on the field who get to catch the ball that don’t make it over the walls of the stadium for the coveted home runs. This year’s boys and girls were part of the Pitch Hit Run Competition. Fun fact: PHR can boast a couple of current players as part of its alumni (Royals’ 1st baseman Eric Hosmer and one of the Yankees’ 1st basemen on the DL Chris Parmelee).

So they reset the brackets for Round 2. First up, the power-hitting duo of Trumbo vs. Stanton. And Stanton still came out stronger at 17-14. Stanton continued to prove he was not just in his element tonight, but that he literally was made to do this all night. Frazier continued his surge to defend his title edging out Duvall 16-15.

It was a power-match made in heaven for that final round. Frazier vs. Stanton. And it was just one of those things to watch these sluggers power out some of the most amazing hits ever powered out of Petco Park. And still Stanton dominated, shutting down Frazier’s final round attempt with his 20 monster homers to Frazier’s still rather impressive 13.

Some links for your viewing pleasure: participant introduction, Stanton’s 2nd round featured 6 runs hit over 480 feet, Cano’s 6th home run (452 feet) being caught by a fan, Myer’s brother Beau on pitching to him tonight, and the one that won Stanton his honor.

So because, let’s face it, the entire night was all about Giancarlo Stanton. So here’s some random facts about tonight and his power. He hit a total of 61 home runs, his average homer was hit 446ft, he hit 20 of the hardest hit home runs tonight, and he had the 10 longest hit one and 18 of the 19 longest home runs. Can we safely say that Petco Park is no longer a “pitcher’s park”? At least when Miami is in town…

Also, random nerd post…

This means Stanton literally hit over 5 miles worth of home runs. To be fair, Frazier hit over 3, and Trumbo and Duvall over 2. But still that’s a long collection of hits.

Also, as part of All-Star Week activities, the inaugural T-Mobile Jr. Home Run Derby national finals took place this past Saturday. Eight kids in each of the under-12 and under-14 age division participated in the event to showcase the future talent. Who knows? Maybe one of these kids will be in the HR Derby in a decade or so.

Checking in with the Yankees in San Diego: Carlos Beltran’s 9th ASG appearace this year further lends credence to all the Hall of Fame murmuring that seems to be surrounding his outstanding year so far this season. First, it’s well-deserved — both the ASG honor and the HoF chatter. He has the numbers for both, but sometimes 5 years between changed sympathies. Beltran began his legacy by being a good guy and a great player. I don’t see any reason it won’t be the same when the BBWAA vote with his name on the ballot.

Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller are taking their Dynamic Duo, enjoying their time in San Diego. This is Betances 3rd ASG appearance (his 3rd in 3 consecutive years, by the way) and Miller’s 1st. Both are connecting with family and friends to enjoy the experience.

The starting rosters are set for tomorrow night’s game. All three Yankees are in the reserves, which means they may or may not get playing time. To be fair, most players do make it at least a partial inning. So I would expect to see some Yankee away grays at some point tomorrow night, especially on the mound.

Go Yankees!