Game 104: DET vs. NYY — Yankees remain strong, last-minute trade grab

Today was the final day of the big MLB trade deadline, and even the Yankees benefited from some last-minute trade deals. But at the expense of some pretty great prospects. More after the game recap, as they still had to play a game in the Bronx.

The Yankees continued their home stand with this 3-game midweek series against the visiting Tigers. The Yankees are hoping to keep their winning momentum going with this new series, so it was only natural to look to Luis Severino to start tonight’s game. Severino threw 116 pitches in just 5 innings, gave up 4 hits, 3 walks, and a run, and still struck out 8 Detroit batters.

The still hashtag-less Severino had his toughest inning was the 4th. With 2 outs, he struggled to get that final out, giving up a single that scored on an RBI double. The Yankees’ defense also earned their 2 fielding errors that inning, though it ultimately didn’t affect the score. It just helped push up his pitch count, which was really the roughest part of his outing.

Tommy Kahnle came on in relief for the 6th inning and had a bit of his own struggles. His lead-off batter was hit by a pitch, moved to 2nd on a single, and then scored on a 2-out single to double the Tigers’ score.

Betances had better luck in the 7th, keeping the Tigers from adding to their score, and Jonathan Holder kept things smooth in the 8th. Holder’s 9th inning, however, wasn’t so smooth. With just 1 out on the board, Holder loaded up the bases with consecutive singles and a hit-by-pitch, before handing over the ball to Aroldis Chapman. A fielder’s choice (or rather a late effort at a double play) scored just one more run for the Tigers before a 3-pitch strikeout ended the Tigers’ last-minute rally.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took their opportunities when they found them. In the 4th, they loaded up the bases with a walk, a fielding error, and a walk. Chase Headley’s double scored 2 runs, and then Todd Frazier’s single scored 2 more. All before the Yankees got a single out that inning, and suddenly the Yankees leapt ahead of the Tigers.

Aaron Judge added an extra cushion to the lead with a 1-out solo home run in the 5th into the left field seats. In the 7th, lead-off batter Ellsbury was hit by a pitch, stole 2nd, and then scored on Clint Frazier’s giant triple. After Judge worked a walk, the Tigers pulled their starter and went to their bullpen. Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly scored Frazier for the final Yankees’ run of the night.

Final score: 7-3 Yankees.

Scranton Shuttle: before the game, for fresh arms in the bullpen, the Yankees optioned pitcher Luis Cessa to AAA Scranton and recalled Jonathan Holder, who ended up in tonight’s game.

Okay, the big trade of the day has the Yankees picking up a new pitcher for the starting rotation — Sonny Gray, a 27-year-old starter from the Athletics. In trade, the Yankees sent 3 of their prospects — outfielder Dustin Fowler, infielder Jorge Mateo, and pitcher James Kaprielian. Yes, Fowler and Kaprielian are on the DL recovering from surgeries, which should tell you how valuable both teams think of these players.

Sonny Gray was a first round draft pick in 2011 for the Athletics, after pitching at Vanderbilt. Gray came up in the A’s organization, making his MLB debut in 2013 and the 2015 All-Star team. He’s had a bit of a rough season last year on and off the DL, and another small one early this season. But he’s got the history of consistency and the youth that the Yankees really need for some potential long-term players.

The Yankees also picked up extra money for the international draft market (also called “Future Considerations”) on this trade. They picked up even more when they sent pitching prospect Yefry Ramirez to the Orioles. This is good for the Yankees as they continue to expand internationally and pick up more players in a broader market.

Go Yankees!

Games 89 & 90: NYY vs. BOS — Let’s split 2, #CCStrong, & finally shut out

The first game of today’s doubleheader was a make-up game from the rain out on April 25. But after last night’s marathon 16 innings, it was bound to be a long finish to this weekend’s rivalry series at Fenway.

Game 1:
For the afternoon game, the Yankees turned almost at the last-minute to veteran starter CC Sabathia who had a truly great outing this afternoon, coming off his recent stint on the DL. He threw 97 pitches in his 6 innings, gave up just 2 hits, 5 walks, and no runs, striking out 3 batters along the way. Plus, he set himself up for the win, his 8th of the season actually.

The Yankees needed the likes of veteran reliable starters like this vintage Sabathia to give the exhausted bullpen a chance to recoup some of its strength. And he did. Clippard and Green kept the scoreless streak alive through the 7th and 8th innings, and Chapman’s 9th was strong enough to earn him the save and continue the momentum of the game.

The Yankees’ hitters managed to hit quite a bit off the Red Sox’s pitchers in the first game today, a total of 12 hits. However, they only managed to break through the defense in two innings. In the 4th, with 1 out, the Yankees loaded the bases with a single, an error, and another single. Ji-Man Choi’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorious to get a run on the board, and then Ronald Torreyes’ single scored Frazier to double the score. Despite the bases being loaded with a hit-by-pitch, they ended up grounding out to end the rally. Didi Gregorius added an insurance run in the 5th, a 2-out solo home run into the right field seats.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees

Game 2:
About 4 hours later, it was time for the regularly scheduled game, the rare late Sunday night game. And the Yankees called on another veteran starter to try to extend the life of the bullpen. Masahiro Tanaka definitely helped with the bullpen, and his outing was actually pretty good overall. He threw 112 pitches into the 8th inning, gave up 8 hits, no walks, and 3 runs, striking out 9 Boston batters.

In the 3rd, a 1-out single scored as part of a 2-out 2-run home run to give the Red Sox the lead. And then in the 6th, a lead-off single ended up at 2nd on a throwing error, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on an RBI single. But that would be it for the Red Sox. Even as Chasen Shreve closed out the 8th with a 5-pitch strikeout to make it an even 10 for the Yankee pitchers this game.

All that was needed was for the Yankee batters to do something. And normally, off this particular starter, they can and do. But while they got 8 total hits, they didn’t do much else with that. They also racked up 10 strikeouts, but they were unable to find a hole in the defense large enough to walk home.

And thus, the Yankees became the final team this season to be shut out of a game. It took 90 games, but someone had to do it. Somehow, it’s only fitting that it’s the Red Sox.

Final score: 3-0 Red Sox

Final series outcome: Red Sox and Yankees split the series 2-2.

In roster moves: before the doubleheader, the Yankees transferred Michael Pineda from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list due to the partial tear in his right UCL (elbow). The Yankees selected the contract of reliever Caleb Smith and recalled Domingo German and Bryan Mitchell (who was scheduled to be their 26th man) from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In their place, they optioned Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller back, due to their extensive work in last night’s game.

But I wouldn’t put down roots there just yet. Keep the “Scranton Shuttle” fired up and ready. They’ll be more roster moves before the Yankees start their series in Minnesota.

Also, our hearts go out to the family of legendary Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Bob Wolff. Wolff passed away Saturday at his home in New York at the age of 96. He is the voice that called the Don Larsen perfect game in 1956 and is still the current World Record holder for the longest broadcasting career, awarded in 2014. The passing of another iconic voice in the sports world is always a sad day, closing another chapter of the great past and legacy of this team.

Go Yankees!

Game 88: NYY vs. BOS — Dramatic rivalry in 16 innings

Well, the rivalry is nothing if not a show for the dramatic. Five hours and fifty minutes, 16 very long innings, a protested game, weird base running, 16 total pitchers, and 36,936 fans. So, it’s also apparently the longest game between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway since June 4, 1966 (which also went 16 innings). Fortunately for the Yankees, today’s (or rather tonight’s) game turned out much better.

Honestly, most of the regular part of today’s game was a pitching duel between Luis Severino and the Red Sox’s ace pitcher (who also started the All-Star Game just 4 days ago). They both kept things close, with their stats nearly parallel (except the Red Sox’s start had 13 whopping strikeouts, his true specialty on display). Severino threw 114 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, and a run, striking out just 6 Boston batters. That lone allowed run came in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Severino gave up 2 walks and a single to load up the bases. A sacrifice fly easily scored the lead runner.

But that would be it for the Red Sox all afternoon and into the night. Clippard and Betances closed out the rest of the regular 9 innings, breezing through the Red Sox lineup.

It looked like the Yankees were going to be shut out of tonight’s game right until that 9th inning. Lead-off hitter Matt Holliday planted the 3rd pitch of the at-bat into the Green Monster seats, a big solo home run to tie up the game. So, the game went into extra innings. Lots of extra innings.

In the 10th, Shreve got into a bit of trouble giving up 2 singles, but then Warren got him out of it with 3 great outs to get out of the jam. Then it would be reliever Jonathan Holder who would shoulder most of the extra innings load with 3 truly fantastic innings. His 41 pitches sailed through the Red Sox batters. And Chapman’s 14th was quite a bit better than his blown save last night. And once again, the Yankees threw their weight behind another reliable reliever in Ben Heller who took the final 2 innings and held the Red Sox to that lone run, adding 3 great strikeouts, earning the win.

The Yankees’ bullpen rose to the occasion and became the ‘pen they’ve been earlier this year, the one that helped the team reach 1st in the division (a spot they no longer occupy). So, it’s only fitting the current 1st place holder also had a pretty good bullpen and held off the Yankees bats for most of the game. It wasn’t until the top of the 16th the Yankees found their opportunity.

Ellsbury led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on Headley’s single, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single to break the tie. Austin Romine’s single scored Headley, and Torreyes’ sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to scoring position before Gardner was intentionally walked. Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly scored Gregorius to ensure the extra insurance run for the Yankees’ eventual victory.

Final score: 4-1 Yankees, in 16 innings.

I know I wasn’t the only one that was glad this was an East Coast-based game (that started at 4pm EST), and not a West Coast night game (that started at 10pm EST). Been there, done that. Those aren’t fun nights, even when the Yankees do end up winning.

There was a bit of a weird play in the top of the 11th inning. So, Holliday worked a walk, and the Red Sox changed relievers. The new pitcher got Ellsbury to hit into a ground out of sorts. The fielder tagged 2nd as he threw back to the 1st baseman hoping for a double play. However, it wasn’t a good throw and bounced off Ellsbury’s leg as he tagged 1st base. To complicate things, Holliday decided to head back to 1st base for some weird reason, causing a bit of a clog-up and confusion as the 1st baseman tried to catch the errant throw (as it rolled past them all into foul territory beyond 1st) and figure out why Holliday came back to 1st. Holliday jumped up and ran to 2nd thinking he was safe there.

After nearly 10 minutes of replay, review, and manager arguments, it was ruled that Holliday was out at 2nd and Ellsbury safe at 1st, no interference (despite what the silly Red Sox-leaning broadcasters seemed bent on arguing) or anything beyond bad base-running by Holliday. And the Red Sox decided to play the rest of the game under protest. Seeing as nothing came of Ellsbury still being safe on base, I doubt the protest will amount to much. In fact, in the decades such an option was available, only one game has picked up and resumed after review (the infamous “Pine Tar Game” in 1983).

But here’s what I’m thinking: I think Holliday didn’t see the infielder tag 2nd, assumed it was a line drive, and headed back to 1st thinking he’d be doubled off the base. Or something to that extent. In other words, the call was right, and Holliday misread the scenario. It caused some confusion, but nothing came out of it. So in the end, does it matter? No, because they still had to play 5 more innings beyond this to figure out the winner of the game.

With a double-header scheduled for tomorrow, I imagine there’s going to be quite a few roster moves tomorrow. Especially as the only bullpen pitcher not used was Chad Green. I would think a lot of “fresh arms” will be pulled up from Scranton in lieu of the doubleheader, and I suppose the 26th player (allowed for doubleheader days) would be an extra bench player. But I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. So we’ll see how it all plays out, and pray for a couple of easy regular games.

Go Yankees!

Game 85: MIL vs. NYY — A new rookie walk-off champion leads offense

Last year, thanks mostly to the wonder that was/is Gary Sanchez, the world was talking about the “Baby Bombers”. The appellation was appropriate then, but it’s even more relevant this season. With the constant stream of young farm talent making their MLB debuts (or at least their Yankee debuts) this year, the chances for a new Baby Bomber to earn the designation continues to rise.

And today, another one earned the title. (And Didi Gregorius revealed a new emoji nickname! If you have Twitter and you’re not following him, click the follow button to get in on the fun.)

Anyway, one of the stars of last year’s Baby Bomber introduction and this year’s All-Star, Luis Severino got the start in the middle game of this weekend’s series against the Brewers. He threw 102 pitches in his 7 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out an impressive 10 batters. Actually, Severino’s weakest spot was his 1st inning, though all 3 of those outs were strikeouts. He gave up a double, hit-by-pitch (though not really, despite what they said on the replay, it totally didn’t hit him), and then a 3-run home run to get the Brewers on the board early.

They would also be the only runs the Brewers scored all day. Dellin Betances threw an 11-pitch flawless 8th inning, adding 2 more strikeouts. And Aroldis Chapman just slammed through the 9th with 3 consecutive strikeouts, topping out at (just) 102 mph today. So with those 15 total strikeouts from the Yankees pitching staff (including two 2017 All-Stars), the Yankees seemed to be back on track.

Of course, the offense continued to be a bit stymied by the Brewers’ pitching. Only getting 2 hits and a walk off the starter in the first 6 innings, the first hit breaking up his no-hitter, a single by rookie Clint Frazier. But then in the 7th, the Yankees found their opportunity. With 1 out, Chase Headley hit a ground-rule double and moved to 3rd on Ellsbury’s single. A bad pick-off attempt and error scored Headley, and then Ellsbury scored when Clint Frazier hit a really solid triple. This is Frazier’s second triple in as many days, and the Brewer’s starter was done for the day.

Two outs later, and the Yankees were still a run shy of the Brewers. So with Betances and Chapman proving to be the force the Yankees hired them to be, it was up to the offense to see if they could pull of a last-chance rally. With a new reliever hoping to close out the game for the Brewers, the Yankees pounced on his bad outing. In 4 pitches, he walked Gregorius. After a strikeout, in another 4 pitches, he walked Ellsbury. And then “Red Thunder” Clint Frazier stepped up to the plate. The second pitch of the at-bat was a 97 mph perfect fastball that Frazier sent into the left field seats for a walk-off 3-run home run, his first homer in Yankee Stadium and his first career walk-off.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Roster moves: Scranton Shuttle Alert! Before today’s game the Yankees recalled Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder, optioning Luis Cessa and Jordan Montgomery back to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Now, before you Montgomery fans (hello, Gumby Nation!) get all concerned, remember that his next start wouldn’t be until next Sunday (July 16) in Fenway. In the meantime, the Yankees’ bullpen has just been struggling lately. So, if they can play a little strategy to get through the weekend and maybe into next weekend after the All-Star Break, maybe they can right the ship in time for Montgomery to be recalled for his schedule start on that Sunday.

Today’s strong outing certainly helped! Fingers crossed for more of this. And more Baby Bombers!

Go Yankees!

Game 75: NYY vs. CHW — Last-second loss in Second City

The Yankees are now 37-1 when leading in the 9th inning, thanks to tonight’s game. And up until then things were looking rather hopeful in this second game (of four) of this series on the south side of Chicago.

Honestly, Luis Severino threw a beautiful game tonight — 105 pitches in 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, no walks, and a single run, and striking out a whopping 12 White Sox batters. Easily one of his more dominant starts. In the 3rd, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a 1-out single and then scored on a 2-out double to get the first run on the board.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense was a bit stymied by the White Sox’s starter, only getting 2 hits but 4 walks off him, so they weren’t exactly advancing much. In fact, they didn’t do much until the second reliever they faced in the 8th inning.

With 1 out, the Yankees called on pinch-hitter (and recent call-up) Tyler Wade (making his MLB debut). Wade ended up working a walk and moved to 2nd on Ellsbury’s single. After another out, Aaron Judge broke the stalemate with a single and scored Wade to tie up the game. Then it would be Gary Sanchez’s solid double to score both Ellsbury and Judge for a little cushion. But that would be all the Yankees would get all game.

Domingo German came on for the Yankees in the 8th, now that Severino was on the hook for the win. All he had to do was breeze through 3 outs. But that seemed to be a bit difficult as he threw just 10 pitches to 2 batters, 8 of which were balls to walk both batters. So, with no outs, the Yankees called on Tyler Clippard.

Clippard needed an opportunity to get back on track, and tonight seemed to be the night. Despite loading the bases with a walk, he got a great strikeout and a fly out to get the Yankees’ hopes up. Another walk scored the lead runner, putting the White Sox within 1 run of the Yankees’ lead before getting a much-needed strikeout to end the rally right there (and excite Girardi, which almost never happens during a regular game).

And had this been the 9th inning, this would have been a great game. But it wasn’t, so it wasn’t.

The Yankees turned to Dellin Betances, who seemed to follow the suit of the bullpen recently. With 1 out, Betances loaded up the bases with 2 walks and a hit-by-pitch. After a fly out put both teams on the edge of their seats, Betances gave a single that scored 2 runners — the tying run and the winning one. A walk-off single to hand the White Sox the win.

Final score: 4-3 White Sox

Roster moves: After yesterday’s game and tests, the Yankees placed Starlin Castro on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. So they selected the contract of Tyler Wade from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and called him up to make his debut with the Yankees tonight. They also optioned reliever Jonathan Holder to Scranton and recalled Tyler Webb for a fresh bullpen arm.

And in a brief follow-up from the draft earlier this month, the Yankees have signed 22 of their 40 draftees (numbers 1-17, 19-22, and 27), including their top 2 picks — Clarke Schmidt and Matt Sauer. Schmidt is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is looking forward to getting back into baseball, this time as part of the Yankees organization.

The future continues to look bright for the Yankees, even if the present is somewhat a bit disappointing at times. And that’s what carries us through the disappointing moments in life — hope. A belief that it certainly can’t stay bad. That the future is still filled with unlimited possibilities, the best option being another championship run, even a new dynasty. And with the Yankees, it’s never a matter of “if”, but “when”.

Go Yankees!

Game 74: NYY vs. CHW — Not always a guaranteed win at Guaranteed Rate Field

I’ve been calling the White Sox home field, on the south side of Chicago, US Cellular Field pretty much since they changed the name in 2003, including since last August, when they apparently changed their name to “Guaranteed Rate Field“. Despite “the Cell” having naming rights until 2023, the mortgage company bought a 13-year naming deal that overrode the old one, and it went into effect late August 2016.

I should make the caveat that I haven’t been to Chicago since the name change, and I don’t live in the Chicago area where apparently it was such a big deal that they started a hashtag on social media: #BetterSoxStadiumNames. And believe me that is a hashtag, I can get behind, as I have issues with a Spring Training stadium the Yankees visit every year named after a local used car lot — the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

I do get teams selling the naming rights to make up for a sluggish ad budget, but I suppose I’m a little old school and prefer my stadiums (and fields) named after the teams or a person (like, I don’t know, Yankee Stadium and Steinbrenner Field). Though I suppose the Yankees make up for the lack of naming rights because they make more money than almost any other team in the MLB from other ad buys, being one of the largest markets and a team people actually want to watch play regularly.

Anyway, all that to say that I’m with the majority of Chicagoans, who now have to suffer Guaranteed Rate Field through the next 13 years (or however long until the next company buys out the naming rights). Except I only have to endure such a sentiment for a short series each year and then I’ll forget it until a brief thought will flit through my head during Spring Training when the Yankees will play the Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Anyway, there was a game at this newly dubbed stadium, and the rookie pitcher threw a great outing. Jordan Montgomery threw 100 pitches through his 7 innings, giving up just 5 hits, a walk, and a run (a lead-off solo home run in the 2nd), and striking out 8 White Sox batters. He set the Yankees up for a strong start to this 4-game series in Chicago they desperately need after the disappointing home stand.

The Yankees didn’t break through the White Sox starter in any real way until the 4th inning. Judge led-off with a walk and moved to 3rd when Sanchez hit into a force attempt fielding error. Tyler Austin’s sacrifice fly scored Judge to tie up the game. After Ellsbury singled, Chase Headley’s single scored Sanchez, and Romine’s walk loaded up the bases. Then Ronald Torreyes hit into a weird play — he hit a long ball out to center field for a sacrifice fly to score Ellsbury, but then the White Sox played a little defense to get Headley out in a bit of a rundown to become a sacrifice double play.

In the 6th, Tyler Austin hit his 1st home run of the season, a 1-out solo shot to the White Sox bullpen in left field. Ellsbury reached safely on a fielding error moving to 3rd on Headley’s double. That ended the White Sox’s starter night. Ellsbury then scored on Austin Romine’s sacrifice fly, and a passed ball moved Headley to 3rd before he then scored on a bad missed catch error on Torreyes’ at-bat.

This gave the Yankees a healthy lead to take them all the way through the game. And they’d need it because their bullpen made things interesting. Jonathan Holder came on in the 8th for a couple of outs, a walk, and a single. With runners in the corners, Dellin Betances came on to loaded up the bases with a walk and then get out of the jam with a great strikeout to end the White Sox rally.

But that certainly wasn’t it for the White Sox who took advantage of Chasen Shreve’s bad night in the 9th inning. In just 12 pitches, Shreve got an out, 2 singles, and a 3-run home run to put the White Sox within viable striking distance of the Yankees. At this point, this became a save opportunity, so they brought in Aroldis Chapman. Chapman continued the struggle, giving up a single that scored on an RBI double to put the Sox within a run of the Yankees lead. Fortunately, a ground out held the runner at 2nd and put the Yankees in need of a lone out, which would be a fly out to left field to preserve the Yankees’ lead and get another save.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Starlin Castro was pulled from tonight’s game due to a hamstring injury he got running out a ground ball in the 3rd inning. This after he missed Sunday’s game due to a sore wrist and now this. It’s got to be frustrating. Nothing definite yet about a DL stint or possible replacement or anything else.

So many roster moves before the game: Aaron Hicks was officially sent to the disabled list with his oblique strain, and the Yankees activated Jacoby Ellsbury from the DL after his concussion finally healed. And for some relief in the outfield and in the bullpen, they sent Mason Williams and Tyler Webb back to AAA Scranton and recalled Rob Refsnyder and Ronald Herrera.

And Aaron Judge still leads the American League in All-Star Game fan votes. He has been asked to do the Home Run Derby during the festivities, but he’s not made his decision on that front yet, despite his batting practice home runs making a splash all over social media for hitting televisions, almost hitting vendors and stadium crew, and delighting young fans all over the country by shooting these balls in far off places they shouldn’t really be traveling around the stadium (very Mantle-esque, if you ask me). (Also, please say “yes!” to the HRD!)

But other Yankees are hoping for a last-minute surge in fan voting to get to the game next month in Miami. (You can vote until Thursday, June 29 at 11:59 pm EST.) At least one representative from each team will be at the game in Miami, and the Yankees almost always get a representative in the AL bullpen (selected by the AL coaching staff leading up to the game).

Go Yankees!

Game 72: TEX vs. NYY — It still only counts as one…

It was a beautiful afternoon for baseball. A little warm after the morning showers sped through the City, but a clear blue sky and a bit windy at times. And the Yankees were looking to restart a winning streak after last night’s late, extra-inning win. But great circumstances and hopes can be nothing if you don’t deliver.

Luis Cessa got the start today against the visiting Rangers, and overall had a pretty good outing. He threw 86 pitches in 5 innings, gave up just 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, striking out 8 batters. In the 1st, a lead-off walk stole 2nd and then scored on a 1-out single to get the Rangers on the board, eventually getting out of a jam and the inning. Then with a runner on base in the 4th and 1 out, a 2-run homer gave them a nice lead.

Jonathan Holder got through the 6th inning cleanly, but got into a bit of trouble in the 7th thanks to a lead-off home run. After 2 outs, the Yankees turned to Tyler Webb who breezed his way through the next 4 outs (through the 8th) in just 17 pitches, easily the cleanest outing of the Yankees tonight.

But the weak spot was easily Tyler Clippard’s 9th inning. Clippard continued his struggles today, though it didn’t matter as much in the scope of things (more on that later). It was still disappointing to watch a reliever that is normally much better have such recent troubles. Today, a lead-off walk stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on a wild pitch. After another walk and single (and another out), a double scored 2 more runs for the Rangers before Clippard got out of the inning with a strikeout.

The Yankees got a few hits, but nothing truly impactful in the long-run except Aaron Judge’s 1-out solo home run in the 6th. So the Yankees were stuck with a less-than-memorable game this afternoon.

Final score: 8-1 Rangers

Like I said, the amount of runs Clippard gave up in the 9th ultimately didn’t matter because the Yankees clearly weren’t going to win this one. And unlike some other sports, it doesn’t matter the run differential in the standings. You could win by one run or one hundred, and it still only counts as one win. In the same way, you can lose to a team that scores 7 more runs or just 1 more run, and it’s still going to be a loss. So as the Yankees were going to lose anyway, why not let Clippard work out his struggles, even if he does allow the Rangers’ lead to grow exponentially?

Roster moves: There were some changes made to the infield today. The Yankees decided to designate Chris Carter for assignment and recall Tyler Austin. Austin has been doing good in his rehab assignment and extended Spring Training with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders recently, and with Carter just never finding his stride with the Yankees, the move makes sense. Austin will be the Yankees everyday first baseman now. (Especially as Bird’s injury still lingers and his return has yet to be determined with any kind of certainly beyond a few “hopes”.)

Also, Jacoby Ellsbury will play in tonight’s game with the RailRiders against the Red Sox’s AAA affiliate, beginning his rehab assignment there after passing all the required tests for a concussion recovery. I don’t foresee him lingering there for long.

And tomorrow is the Old Timers’ Day game at the stadium. The festivities start at 11:30 am, with the regular game (the rubber match now) against the Rangers starting at 2pm. According to the weather people, it’s supposed to be another beautiful day. Great circumstances sometimes don’t indicate outcome, but maybe tomorrow they could. Of course, that means more than just Judge climbing the home run charts as far as offense goes. (Though that’s a whole lot of fun in the middle of all this!)

Go Yankees!