Game 96: NYY vs. SEA — 3rd & 10th inning woes

Before a sell-out crowd in Seattle, the Yankees were looking for a third win in a row, but the Mariners weren’t about to be swayed by their bad record recently and certainly gave the Yankees a rather hard time in the process. Well, actually, save one inning early in the game, it was a Yankee-dominated game in most respects.

Masahiro Tanaka started tonight’s game and outside of that one aforementioned inning, he had a pretty great outing. Outside of that inning, he gave up just 2 hits in 5 innings, throwing just 58 pitches. But in the 3rd, he threw 39 pitches and gave up 5 hits and 4 runs.

A lead-off home run got the Mariners on the board, followed by another solo home run just an out later. Tanaka got another out, but then struggled to find that third out. A single and hit-by-pitch put a threat on base before the Mariners came in and got consecutive singles to score consecutive runs to double their score.

Other than that, Tanaka powered through and kept the Mariners at bay (sea-faring metaphoric pun intended). Green plowed through the 7th and kept the score as-is, but David Robertson’s 1st pitch in the 8th inning became a solo home run into the left field seats to add to the Mariners’ score. But then Robertson breezed through the next 3 batters, followed up by Kahnle in the 9th doing the same in 3 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees did dominate quite a bit of the game. They even struck first in the 2nd. Gary Sanchez led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on a double play. In the 5th, Garrett hit a big 1-out triple and then scored on Ronald Torreyes’ sacrifice fly.

With 1 out and a new pitcher in the 6th, Aaron Judge hit his 32nd home run of the season into the right field seats. In the 8th, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded up the bases (including an intentional walk to Judge), but the only thing the Yankees could make happen in this scenario was a Matt Holliday sacrifice fly. In the 9th, Gregorious led-off with a walk and, 2 outs later, was pinch-run by Ellsbury. Ellsbury promptly stole 2nd and then scored on Torreyes’ single to tie up the game.

And into the 10th they went. The Yankees were shut down in order at the top of the inning, turning to Adam Warren to push things into the 11th. But Warren immediately struggled. Warren gave up a lead-off double and then intentionally walked the next batter. A single then scored the winning walk-off run to hand the victory to the Mariners.

Final score: 6-5 Mariners, in 10 innings

Roster moves: before the game, the Yankees announced that Starlin Castro would be headed to the 10-day disabled list due to a lingering hamstring issue, suffered initially in Minnesota on Wednesday. In his place, they recalled Tyler Wade.

The Yankees have one more game tomorrow in Seattle, their last game on the West Coast this season (at least during the regular season). Fingers crossed for a game win which means the first series win since early June.

Go Yankees!

Game 91: NYY vs. MIN — A case of the Mondays

I did the math. We’re looking at a team that’s on track for 85 wins this season, quite a few less than the last time I did that math on my mirror. But looking at the standings and how the Yankees are playing right now, none of that really surprises me in the slightest.

Bryan Mitchell got the start tonight in the opening game against the Twins. He threw 90 pitches in his 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs (only 1 earned), striking out just 2 batters. In the 2nd, a 1-out walk scored on an RBI double to get the Twins on the board.

And after loading up the bases in the 3rd, the Yankees’ defense jumped into action getting the first 2 outs in a solid double play, first by a line drive to Judge in right field and then firing it home to get the runner trying to score there. But then a missed catch error by Mitchell led to the next batter scoring.

The Yankees’ offense caught up in the middle of the game, in the 5th. With 2 outs, Garrett Cooper doubled and then scored on Austin Romine’s double. And in the 7th, Headley hit a 1-out double and then scored on Cooper’s double to tie up the game.

So, the Yankees looked at rookie Caleb Smith (the 12th Yankees making his debut this season) to give some long-term relief and ultimately close out the game. He was fine until the 8th inning. He gave up consecutive singles to lead-off the inning. A pinch-hit single scored the winning run, and a double scored the insurance run. But then Smith got things under control, intentionally walking one batter and loading up the bases before getting his 5th strikeout of his outing.

The Yankees’ offense got a few chances to do something, like in the 8th inning, but they didn’t do anything except leave base runners stranded (yeah, that old song!).

Final score: 4-2 Twins

Injury updates: tomorrow, both Greg Bird and Michael Pineda will undergo surgery to repair their respective injuries. Bird chose surgery to deal with his lingering ankle issue, now diagnosed as an excess bone growth on his right ankle. His surgery will occur in New York and about 6 weeks of rehab is scheduled to follow. This means Bird could potentially resume baseball activities in early September.

Pineda opted for Tommy John surgery to repair his partially torn UCL in his right elbow. After his initial diagnosis and recommendation, he sought a second opinion with the Reds’ medical director in Cincinnati. That physician will perform the surgery tomorrow, and then Pineda is looking about about 15-ish months before he’s back on the mound.

With the looming trade deadline (July 31), these two surgeries, and the current slump of the team, I expect the Yankees might be in the market for a few new faces in pinstripes. No one saw the likes of Ichiro Suzuki or Chase Headley in such instances, but both veteran players were (and are) key to the team’s upswing for the rest of the season they jumped into.

In other words, new faces do work, even at the loss of some familiar ones, because the ultimate goal is #28. Every single season until it happens. And then it’s on to #29… #30… #31…

Go Yankees!

Game 87: NYY vs. BOS — We’re back and giving wins away…

The Yankees had quite the All-Star Break. The five representatives from the team were part of the winning American League team, and two Yankees had a pretty good Home Run Derby with one just dominating (can anyone say 513 feet?) and taking home the crossed bats trophy. Plus, there was a few roster shake-ups (see below).

So going into the weekend series at Fenway, the Yankees were hoping for a continued rise to their positive spin of the week. But fielding errors and some sloppy pitching didn’t help some of the better parts of tonight’s game.

Jordan Montgomery got the start and got a bit roughed up, throwing 96 pitches in his 4 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs, striking out just 3 Boston batters. In the 3rd, with 1 out and a runner on 1st with a single, a big 2-run home run into the center field corner of the Green Monster scored the Red Sox’s first runs. And then Montgomery loaded up the bases in the 4th with a walk, a single, and a missed catch error. A 1-out single scored another run, but Montgomery got out of the inning without further damage thanks to a beautiful double play.

Chad Green had a beautiful outing, throwing 30 pitches in his 2 innings, striking out 5 of his 6 batters. Adam Warren kept the momentum going, but still gave up a couple of hits before getting out of the 7th scoreless. And then Dellin Betances‘ 8th inning was near flawless (save a hit-by-pitch) thanks to his 3 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees actually got on the board first in the 3rd inning. Headley and Torreyes were on the corners with singles and an out when Gary Sanchez’s single scored Headley. After Judge’s walk loaded the bases, the Red Sox’s defense kicked it into gear for a double play to end the Yankees’ threat. Headley led-off the 5th with a double and then scored on Brett Gardner’s 1-out single. Then he scored as part of Sanchez’s huge 2-run home run (hit over the Green Monster) to put the Yankees back in the lead.

So, going into the bottom of the 9th inning, the Yankees just needed 3 outs to finish the game in the win column. Of course, they turned to their flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, who just couldn’t find the strike zone to save tonight’s game for anything. He gave up consecutive singles to kick things off, who promptly pulled off a double steal to put them in scoring position. A fielding error then allowed the lead runner to score and tie up the game before the next batter was intentionally walk to load the bases. With no outs. And then Chapman walked the next batter, which walked in the winning run. Again, with no outs.

Final score: 5-4 Red Sox

Roster news: Matt Holliday was reinstated from the DL stint for his viral infection, Starlin Castro was sent to join AA Trenton for his rehab assignment, and they optioned Rob Refsnyder to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

In announcing the starting rotation for the weekend’s pitchers, two names were noticeably absent (Sabathia, who will miss Fenway just out of rotation order, and Pineda). It was then that the Yankees announced that Michael Pineda was out of the rotation because he was diagnosed with a partial tear in his UCL (elbow). The initial recommendation is Tommy John surgery to repair it, but he wants a second opinion. Surgery is likely at this point, which is a shame because Pineda was having a pretty good season so far. More news will come as Pineda decides his next step.

And in fresh faces news, the Yankees orchestrated a trade with the Brewers — sending reliever Tyler Webb for infielder Garrett Cooper. Cooper then made his MLB debut at 1st base in Fenway tonight. His defense was on-point, but his offense was lacking (thanks mostly to the usual first-day jitters). Cooper just played in the AAA All-Star Game (which also featured Yankees outfielder Dustin Fowler and pitcher Caleb Smith) two days ago in Tacoma for the Brewers’ AAA team from Colorado Springs. Cooper is the 8th person to start at 1st this season. We’ll see how this works out.

Go Yankees!