Game 64: NYY vs. OAK — Another extra innings disappointment

Boy, this California trip is going like my last one did — not how I expected and more than slightly disappointing. Plus, it’s hard to adjust to the 3-hour time difference, and it ends up running longer than into the night than I can deal with. Yeah, the similarities are there, and we’re coming to the point where I can’t wait to get back home to New York.

Jordan Montgomery had a touch-and-go kind of start tonight in the series opener against the Athletics. He threw 83 pitched into the 6th inning, gave up 7 hits, a walk, 4 runs, and struck out just 5 Oakland batters. A 2-out solo home run in the 1st started things off for the A’s. Then in the 2nd with 2 outs, Montgomery gave up a walk and a ground-rule double to put runners in scoring position. A double then scored both runners. A 1-out solo home run in the 6th capped things off for Montgomery as he handed over the game to the bullpen.

Meanwhile, the Yankees did what they could to catch up to the lead the A’s kept taking all night. In fact, it seemed to be a pattern for them to load up the bases and then only get a run at most. As tough as the game was on Yankee pitchers, it seemed the Athletics had the same issues tonight.

Despite loading up the bases and putting runners into scoring position multiple times, the Yankees didn’t get on board until the 6th inning after (you guessed it!) loading up the bases. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Chase Headley’s single scored both Castro and Sanchez, and Chris Carter’s single scored Gregorius to tie up the game (get used to that phrase tonight). After the A’s retook the lead in the bottom of the 6th, the Yankees tied up the game in the top of the 7th. With 2 outs and a new reliever, Castro singled, stole 2nd, and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s double. Tied game.

The bullpen didn’t help the early struggles of Montgomery. Chad Green closed out the 6th but got into trouble in the 7th. A single led-off the inning, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on an RBI single. The A’s back in the lead again. But the Yankees faced a new reliever in the 8th and Chris Carter tied up the game again with a 1-out solo home run into the left field seats.

Tyler Clippard came on for the 8th and gave up a single and walk and just 1 out, so the Yankees went to Dellin Betances, who promptly loaded the bases with a walk. The next batter hit into a fielder’s choice (another failed double play, unfortunately), so the lead runner scored to put the A’s back in the lead. And in the 9th, Castro hit a 1-out double and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s single to tie up the game again. Sanchez stole 2nd and Headley was intentionally walked, and then Torreyes came in the game to pinch-run for an injured Sanchez. (more later)

And so into the 10th inning the game went. The Yankees leapt ahead to lead for the first time tonight. With 1 out, Gardner and Refsnyder singled, and Judge walked to (yep!) load the bases. Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner to give anyone still up on the East Coast watching the game a bit of hope. All they had to do was get 3 outs and the game would be filed in the win column.

Giovanni Gallegos was called on to do just that in the bottom of the 10th. But after 2 outs, Gallegos got into trouble because he loaded up the bases with a single, a double, and intentional walk. But then a single scored the tying and winning run for a walk-off win for the Athletics.

Bummer.

Final score: 8-7 Athletics, in 10 innings

Injury news: So, Gary Sanchez had a great offensive night, going 3-for-3, with 2 walks, 2 RBIs, and a run scored. But then on that stole base in the 9th, Sanchez felt a tightness in his abductor muscles around the groin. It could be something or nothing, which will depend on test results and how he feels tomorrow. Fortunately, Romine is a very strong back-up catcher, so if he needs a few days rest, it’s covered.

In less positive news, Greg Bird suffered a big set-back in rehab assignment. It doesn’t seem to be related to his initial ankle injury, but he’s been shut down for now with no timetable as of yet.

And in much better news: former 2015 HOPE Week honoree Chris Singleton was recently selected by the Cubs in the 19th round of the MLB draft (585th overall). Singleton, whose mother was one of 9 parishioners who were killed when a white supremacist gunned down a Bible study at a Charleston church in 2014. Singleton ended up playing baseball at Charleston Southern University and gained some notoriety as a great center fielder, making friends with Yankees outfielder (and Charleston native) Brett Gardner. And now, he has an option to go pro in the sport he loved, and filled with memories of his number one fan — his mother.

To close: two days ago, at an Alexandria (VA) sandlot, members of Congress and their aides were practicing for an upcoming charity match when a man opened fire and shot Representative Scott Scalise (Majority Whip and Republican of Louisiana), former aide and current lobbyist Matt Mika, Congressional aide Zach Barth, and two Capitol Police officers (Crystal Griner and David Bailey) before the officers on site fatally shot the shooter.

And in a great show of unity, the 108th charity game went on as planned tonight at Nationals Park. They sold a record number of tickets (nearly 25,000) and over $1 million was raised. After prayer at 2nd base (Scalise’s position) and a moment of silence, the game commenced, with Joe Torre giving the honor of the ceremonial first pitch to Officer Bailey (crutches and all). The Democrats won the game 11-2, but in the end, they opted to give the trophy to the Republicans to put in Scalise’s hospital room as he continues to recover from his wounds. Scalise has had 3 surgeries so far, dealing with the most damage and remains in serious condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he recovers.

There is something healing and uniting about baseball. It was the game that helped New York (and the country) heal after the 9/11 attacks. It was the game that supported Boston after the Marathon Bombing. And it will be the game after this tragic event that reminds us of the shared love for “America’s Game” can unite us all even in these highly divided times. In the end, we’re all just Americans with a shared love of a kids’ game we played in backyards, sandlots, or little leagues around the country.

Go Yankees!

Game 58: BAL vs. NYY — Home field advantage, home field dominance

It was Reggie Jackson bobblehead night in the Bronx, Mr. October himself having a bit of fun with it as he too bobbled his head in response to the recognition before the game. Also, it was basically a gorgeous Friday night for baseball, the weather quite a bit warmer and the sky streaked with colors of the coming sunset as the Yankees prepared to continue their home dominance in this new series against the visiting Orioles.

The rookie pitcher Jordan Montgomery got the start, and really had a fantastic outing. In his 7 innings, he threw 94 pitches, giving up just 5 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and struck out an impressive 8 Baltimore batters. After a near flawless 3 strikeout, 15-pitch 1st inning, Montgomery found his only real trouble of the game in the next inning. He gave up that lone walk to lead off the inning who promptly scored on a 2-run shot up the middle for the O’s only runs of the night. Then Montgomery dialed back in and fairly breezed through the rest of his outing.

Tyler Clippard then followed suit with a beautiful 10-pitch 8th inning, and birthday boy Jonathan Holder (Happy 24th!) closed out the game in the 9th to give the Yankees (and Montgomery) the win.

Technically, if the winning team is not the first ones to score, it is considered a comeback win. Which I think is ridiculous, as it should only be a “comeback” if there’s an incredible run difference and it’s late in the game. Like it truly matters. But it’s the way it is, so whatever.

So, despite being down 2-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Yankee staged their “comeback”. Starlin Castro led-off with a solo home run. Sanchez then doubled, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Chase Headley’s long (and just about 2 feet shy of a homer) sacrifice fly to tie up the game. Aaron Hicks smacked a lead-off solo home run in the 6th inning (into the new “Judge’s Chambers”) to push the Yankees into the lead.

In the 7th, with a new pitcher, Chase Headley reached 1st on a fielding error, moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, ended up at 3rd on a ground out, and then scored as part of Aaron Hicks’ 2nd home run of the game (and 10th homer of the season), this one off the 2nd deck in right field. Judge then worked a walk and made a nice slide to come in and score on Matt Holliday’s (just inches shy of a homer so it bounced off the back wall) double.

Another new reliever didn’t seem to help the Orioles as the Yankees loaded up the bases in the 8th with 2 singles and a walk. Austin Romine’s single scored Sanchez and Gregorius, but Headley ended up getting thrown out going to 3rd (also the 1st out of the 8th inning). The defense buckled down and got the final 2 outs of the inning on fielder’s choice ground outs.

But the dent had been made. And the Yankees racked up 11 hits tonight.

Final score: 8-2 Yankees.

Injury updates: Aroldis Chapman is on his way to Florida to begin his rehab after his shoulder injury. He will work his way back into baseball activities with a goal to rejoin the team in the Oakland series next weekend in California.

And HOPE Week continues around the Yankee farm system. The Single-A Charleston RiverDogs had their own HOPE week at the end of May honoring great organizations around the Charleston area.

And AA Trenton Thunder are in the middle of their HOPE Week. They are out this week serving the greater Trenton area (which often extends from Philadelphia to Princeton). The AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders will start their HOPE Week on Jun 19, and other affiliates are scheduled to join in the fun later this summer.

Basically, it’s good to see the Yankees all across Yankee Universe continue to give back in whatever community they’re planted. A good reminder for all their fans across the globe — you can make an impact wherever you are, but just reaching out to fill a need or taking the time to care about someone. You may not change the whole world in that moment, but you certainly can change someone’s world. And that’s really what matters.

Go Yankees!

Game 45: OAK vs. NYY — #TanakaTime and it still falls short

So, can we blame Michelangelo? Not the Renaissance artist, but the Ninja Turtle. Masahiro Tanaka’s had a rough time this season after a near-flawless Spring, then he dresses up as a turtle yesterday for HOPE Week, and then he throws a near-flawless outing tonight in the opening game of the weekend series against the visiting Athletics.

Tanaka threw a beautiful 111 pitches into the 8th inning, giving up just 5 hits and no walks, and striking out 13 Oakland batters. That statistic alone is a huge feat, as the last Yankee to get 13 strikeouts with 5 or fewer hits was Mike Mussina (September 28, 2001) vs. the Orioles. But the biggest feature is no runs. His last allowed single was on base when he left the mound, thus making him responsible for that runner.

And unfortunately, Tyler Clippard had a rough time getting the final 2 outs of the 8th inning. A pick-off attempt went awry and that runner ended up all the way at 3rd. Defense came in handy on the first batter who hit into a fielder’s choice that had Headley charging the ball and getting the out at home.

But a walk put 2 runners on base to threaten again. A single scored the first run of the night, leaving runners at the corners. The next batter hit into another RBI single to double the A’s score. The Yankees challenged the play, believing the runner was actually out at 1st and thus the run didn’t score, but the call was upheld (but not confirmed). And Clippard was able to find that final out to get out without falling into the threat.

Reliever Jonathan Holder stumbled a bit out of the gate, giving up a single and a 2-run home run to kick off the 9th inning before buckling down and getting the needed 3 outs. But the damage was done.

And into the bottom of the 9th, the scoreless Yankees went, looking for a big comeback. Or at least to get on the board so they’re not shutout. With a new reliever, the Yankees made their move. Hicks worked a walk and ended up at 3rd on Castro’s 1-out single. Judge worked a walk to load up the bases, and with just 1 out, the Yankees were looking for something, anything to happen in this final inning. It would be Didi Gregorius to hit a long sacrifice fly to score Hicks and get the Yankees on the board. But it was also the 2nd out of the inning. But a pinch-hit pop out ended the game and the rally.

Final score: 4-1 Athletics

Injury update: Greg Bird has been tending to his bruised foot, getting some workouts in periodically. But now, he’s on his way to Tampa for further workouts before he will begin his rehab games soon after.

HOPE Week concludes with Day 5, and the Yankees honoring 14-year-old Tyler Cashman. Tyler started “Points for Pain” after his mother began suffering from chronic pain after a 2008 procedure. His idea was to organize local sports teams to partner with fans to donate money based on how many points the teams scored in a game. To date, he’s already raised over $25,000 for a pain foundation, and he’s inspired other kids to start their own programs to raise money.

So, Tyler and his family were hanging out at the Central Park Boathouse when Chris Carter, Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday, Bryan Mitchell, Austin Romine, and Chasen Shreve showed up for a fun afternoon. They took row boats out on the lake, raced RC sailboats (even donning sailor’s hats), and had a picnic on the grass, tossing a football around a bit.

The Yankees also presented the US Pain Foundation with a $10,000 donation, and Tyler was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.

And that’s it for the 2017 HOPE Week, a new legacy of some amazing kids making a difference in their world. I hope it inspired you to change a part of your world. Because you can make a difference. It is doesn’t have to be in a big way, but there’s always something you can do to change the lives of someone in some way. They say that you don’t have to do it all, but you can definitely do something. So, go and do something.

Go Yankees!

Lots of rain means tonight’s game postponed, but that doesn’t dampen the fun in the Bronx

Early this morning, the powers-that-be checked the weather radar (or simply opened their curtains) and figured out that it’s going to rain all day, with a possible minor break around game time before thunderstorms roll back in again. Basically, not exactly ideal weather for the Yankees and Royals to play their final game of this week’s series.

So, they called it postponed and rescheduled the finale for Monday, September 25 to squeeze in a game on a mutual off-day. The Yankees will be coming in from a short series in Toronto before their final homestand, and the Royals will make a brief trip eastward after a weekend series in Chicago before heading home for their final homestand.

Game information, start time, and rainout policy details are found here.

Last night, the first pitch of the game had Jacoby Ellsbury ran hard tracking down a long fly ball, slamming into the back wall with his head and right arm. He made the out, of course, probably saving a double or even a triple from the speedy Royals lead-off runner. But it also landed him on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion and sprained neck. There is no timetable for his projected recovery.

Aaron Hicks, who came on at the top of the 2nd inning to replace Ellsbury, will likely see more time on the playing field. So to fill his spot as the utility outfielder, the Yankees recalled Rob Refsnyder from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Day 4 of HOPE Week continued on as planned. Today, the Yankees recognized A Moment of Magic Foundation, a non-profit organization that began as “The Princess Project” in which college-age students dress up as popular fairy tale princess to visit children’s hospitals and schools. Now nationwide, A Moment of Magic sends out “The Fairytale Force” (the princesses) or “Mission Super Hero” (popular comic book superheroes), college students from around the US, dressed as princesses and heroes to visit children at local hospitals and schools.

In a fun twist, A Magic Moment’s local Fairytale Force paired with certain Yankees dressed as superheroes to surprise participants from another great organization called Friends of Jaclyn, an organization the Yankees honored in 2014. Friends of Jaclyn is a foundation in honor of Jaclyn Murphy, who, after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, was paired with a local college lacrosse team. Her lasting legacy is now to pair sick children with local high school and college athletic teams “to show them love, support, and friendship”.

It would be the starting rotation that showed up to surprise lucky Friends of Jaclyn at a party held at Yankee Stadium — Superman (CC Sabathia), Supergirl (CC’s wife, Amber Sabathia), Iron Man (Luis Severino), Wolverine (Michael Pineda), the coolest ninja turtle Michelangelo (Masahiro Tanaka), Captain America (Jordan Montgomery) and Spider-man (GM Brian Cashman).

What a great way to put a smile on children’s faces, giving them the amazing gift of joy and wonder! Genuine love, support, compassion, and encouragement can go a long way in recovery and healing for both the kids and their parents. It’s good to see foundations like A Moment of Magic and Friends of Jaclyn continue this legacy of compassion and joy.

One more day of HOPE Week tomorrow before the Yankees take on the Athletics as they begin their weekend series. With hopefully, a bit less precipitation.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 43: KC vs. NYY — Consistency & perseverance, and also some home runs

Consistency is really the key to any major accomplishment or achievement. Anyone can be good at something for a moment or two, but it takes commitment and training and excellence to be consistently good at something. And when you’re consistent, you will games and championships. Of course, being human means that you’re going to have an off-night every now and then. (To the other extreme, it also means that there are things you will be consistently terrible at — like me with fishing or geometry proofs back in school or having patience with tourists who walk slowly 4-across on narrow city sidewalks and don’t understand why you’d possibly want to pass them at a quicker pace.)

But I digress… once again, it was like home run city at Yankee Stadium. Though with a different outcome. Jordan Montgomery got a chance to show off his young pitching arm through the most of his outing tonight against the visiting Royals. He only gave up 1 hit in his first 19 outs (6.1 innings). His 2nd hit was a solo home run in the 7th to get the Royals on the board. Another out later, Montgomery called it a night after 98 pitches, overall a good outing, with 6 total strikeouts and no walks allowed.

But the usually sharp bullpen, well, wasn’t so much tonight. Adam Warren came on to finish the 7th inning, but promptly gave up a single and then a 2-run home run before getting the 3rd out. Jonathan Holder is normally a sure thing and came out in the 8th only to give up a solo home run, a strikeout, and a hit-by-pitch. It was on to Chasen Shreve, and even he wasn’t helping with a 2-run home run to the first batter before getting the 2 outs to finally get out of the 8th inning.

Bryan Mitchell finally got things back on track with an 11-pitch, flawless 9th inning, but it was really too late to do much to dampen the Royals’ solid lead over the Yankees at that point. Especially as the Royals’ pitching staff kept things stifled for the Yankee hitters, allowing base runners at times but with minimal scoring, which held their offense jump ahead and stay ahead.

The Yankees had 12 base runners tonight, but only 2 runs scored — a 1-out solo home run by Aaron Hicks in the 4th and a 2-out solo home run in the 5th by Chris Carter. But they had opportunities, like the bases loaded in the 5th, but they never seemed to capitalize on any “small-ball” chances (scoring made on hits, walks, and sacrifice flies, usually).

Final score: 6-2 Royals.

Before the game tonight, the Yankees held a moment of silence for victims and families of last night’s tragic explosion in Manchester. The stadium then played “God Save the Queen” in their honor. Many Yankee fans abroad, especially those in the UK and its territories applauded the Yankees’ tribute and were touched by the gesture of global solidarity.

HOPE Week continues. For Day 2, the Yankees chose to recognize Amy Palmiero-Winters and her foundation, “Amy’s One Step Ahead Foundation”. Despite losing much of her left leg in a motorcycle accident years ago, Palmiero-Winters became a world-class distance runner, winning a national award for being the top amateur athlete. She also turned her experience into an inspirational message and foundation to help others with disabilities, giving them opportunities to show off their athleticism in unique ways.

Today, Joe Girardi, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Gary Sanchez, Ronald Torreyes, and Adam Warren showed up at the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame at the Armory in Washington Heights to meet some of the kids that benefit from Palmiero-Winter’s foundation. They even ran racing drills together and showed the Yankee volunteers a thing or two about true athleticism, you know, one athlete to another.

Palmiero-Winter and her daughter also threw out the ceremonial 1st pitches. Palmiero-Winter also received a 10,000 donation from the Yankees to the foundation to continue their great work in the community, specifically to help one of the kids in her foundation get a new prosthetic leg tomorrow (literally!). Amy’s perseverance is now helping others excel and is living proof of the message of HOPE Week.

Go Yankees!

Game 42: KC vs. NYY — It’s good to be home again.

Back home again, with a few cosmetic changes to the stadium. Jeter’s retired number joined the others on the big wall in left field. And out in the right field seats, they added a special section called “The Judges Chambers” after several avid fans have showed up in robes and powdered wigs last week. Tonight, fans got special robes and foam gavels to the lucky guests in that section.

The umpires seemed in a jovial mood before tonight’s game. They specifically called manager Joe Girardi out from the dugout while they gathered at the plate to exchange lineup cards. They specifically asked Girardi to clean up home plate they covered with dirt, as an amusing nod to this weekend’s dramatic ejection. Everyone seemed to find amusement with it. And it’s a nice way to close the chapter on the crazy weekend.

Tonight, the Yankees hosted the Royals for the first game of their 4-game series this week, behind Michael Pineda. Pineda did a pretty good job of keeping the Royals in line for his outing. He threw 98 pitches into the 7th innings, gave up 6 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, striking out 6 Royals’ batters. A lead-off solo home run kicked off the 3rd inning, and 1 out later, a batter singled and then scored on an RBI double.

Adam Warren came on in the 7th to get out of Pineda’s jam, including a close call for the final out of the inning. The batter hit a grounder up the middle and Castro fired to get the out at 1st, but when the umpire there called it safe, the runner made a run for home. But seeing as the Yankees rely on an observer with a near-perfect record, the Yankees opted for a challenge, which was quickly overturned and negated the run scored, keeping the Royals to those 2 runs.

Clippard breezed his way through the 8th inning in just 15 pitches, before Dellin Betances came on for the save in the 9th. Despite giving up a single, Betances closed out the game quickly and earned his 3rd save of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees faced the Royals’ starter, with mixed results. He certainly held them off for most of the game, but they also racked up his pitch count (102 pitches in just 6 innings). But they made good use of the limited options. Brett Gardner continues his power-surge with a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd inning.

Then in the 4th, with 1 out, Judge worked a walk, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored as part of Didi Gregorius’ bit 2-run home run to leap the Yankees ahead. And after the starter left the game, in the 7th, Chris Carter hit a 1-out solo home run to get that insurance run.

And, yes, if you were paying close attention, the Yankees scored every run tonight on home runs.

Final score: 4-2 Yankees

And today kicked off the 9th Annual HOPE Week. Helping Others Persevere and Excel is an initiative the Yankees began to recognize and honor local community organizations. Today, Dellin Betances, Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman, and Didi Gregorius surprised siblings Victor and Nayyelyn Garcia at the world-famous Bronx Zoo.

11-year-old Victor was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia 2 years ago, needing a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He found one close to home — his sister Nayyelyn, now 7-years-old.  The Icla da Silva Foundation, the largest organizer of the US’s Be the Match Registry of bone marrow donors, helped the Garcia family with their entire ordeal — arranging for the flight from their home in the Dominican Republic to New York this last August for the surgery and paying for all travel and medical expenses.

Before tonight’s game, now doing well in remission 9 months post-surgery, Victor and his kid sister Nayyelyn threw out the first pitch. The Yankees also donated $10,000 to the Icla da Silva Foundation and encouraged people to sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

I know we’re just getting started with HOPE Week, but every day, every recipient is so special and so worth the celebrating. It reminds everyone to do something for someone else. Even something as simple as registering to be a donor to save someone’s life one day.

Go Yankees!

{Also, our thoughts and prayers are with those injured in the attack in Manchester, England tonight and with the families of those who never made it home.}

Spring Game 20: PHI vs. NYY — Chilly night of strong pitching

After two consecutive and very disheartening losses, the Yankees needed a win tonight, especially a well-fought, well-executed one. Tonight’s game was played under clear skies and freezing cold (for Florida in March) temperatures. Which was still better than where either team’s regular season home was dealing with tonight — 6 inches deep in snow in Philadelphia, and 7.3 inches recorded at New York’s Central Park. (Of course, some parts of New York State saw 42 inches of snow, so a night of 54° chill isn’t that bad in that perspective.)

Michael Pineda was just amazing tonight for the Yankees against the visiting Phillies. He threw 5 perfect innings, putting a ton of zeroes up on the scoreboard and keeping those Phillies scoreless and hitless. Meanwhile, he showed off his command and power with 8 stellar strikeouts, setting himself up for the win, rightly so.

Aroldis Chapman came on for an inning of relief in the 6th and continued the scoreless momentum, despite giving up a walk (and the Phillies’ first base runner of the evening) during his time on the mound.

In the 7th, the Yankees went to reliever Chad Green. Green got into a spot of trouble with his lead-off single. A wild pitch clipped catcher Austin Romine on the hand; he was in too much pain to continue (more below), so he was replaced by Higashioka. Green powered through a couple of ground outs that ended up scoring the runner before getting out of the inning. Green continued that streak by throwing clean 8th and 9th innings.

Now, with strong pitching by Pineda, Chapman, and Green, the Yankees needed just a handful of well-played offensive moments to win the day. Greg Bird started things off with a lead-off solo home run in the 2nd inning, continuing his amazing offensive Spring. Brett Gardner hit a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on a pick-off error, and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s single. And in the 7th, Torres hit a solid 1-out double, moved to 3rd on another pick-off error, and then scored on Dustin Fowler’s sacrifice fly.

The basic reality is that the Yankees clearly out-pitched the Phillies tonight. Yankee pitchers allowed just 1 hit and 1 walk, while the Yankee batters got 7 hits and 3 walks. And the biggest tell is the 2 strikeouts by Phillies’ pitchers compared to the 13 strikeouts by Yankee pitchers.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees

Okay, as I said above, Austin Romine took a bad bounce on a wild pitch off his throwing hand, specifically his thumb. They pulled him from the game when he was still in some pain for further tests, mainly x-rays. Those came back negative, but I’m guessing he will need a few days of rest and some treatment before he’s ready to play again.

And the Players of the Game go to the boys in the corners tonight. In the second half of the game, many of the key plays were made from, by, and between the 3rd and 1st basemen, tonight being Pete Kozma (at 3rd) and Ji-Man Choi (at 1st). Kozma’s strong, quick throws across the diamond were on-target and precise enough for Choi’s fast reflexes (and flexibility) to get the outs needed to continue the dominant pitching momentum. They were quite the team to watch tonight.

Some roster moves today: pitchers Johnny Barbato, Dietrich Enns, and Giovanny Gallegos were optioned AAA Scranton, infielder Miguel Andujar was optioned to AA Trenton, and pitcher Chance Adams was reassigned to minor league camp.

In World Baseball Classic news: last night, Puerto Rico won a rather heated, exciting game over the team from the Dominican Republic 3-1, and the Netherlands continued their dominance, trouncing Cuba 14-1. Early this morning, Israel lost to Japan 8-3 and ended its fairy tale journey in this tournament. (And messed up my bracket in the process.) Tonight, the teams representing Venezuela and the USA will face off in what should be a pretty tight race.

Before tonight’s game in Tampa, the Yankees honored a local organization, Blanket Tampa Bay as a promo for this season’s HOPE Week. Providing blankets and other basic needs to homeless and poor in the area, Blanket Tampa Bay serves over a thousand people year-round. The Yankees honored founders Beth and Ray Ross (Beth also threw out the ceremonial first pitch) and donated $10,000 to Blanket Tampa Bay. The Yankees will celebrate HOPE Week in New York May 22-26.

Go Yankees!