ALCS 2: NYY vs. HOU, NLDS 1: CHC vs. LAD — Home field advantage?

Another day where home field advantage meant both nothing and everything. Once again, the Yankees are playing like the postseason we all knew they were, only to be edged out at the very end by the Astros… again. And on the West Coast, the Cubs found out why the Dodgers have the best record in the league.

Game 1: ALCS — Yankees at Astros
Honestly, it was quite the pitching duel between the Yankees and Astros for a good portion of the game. Both starters gave up just 1 run each to tie up the game for most of it. Let me be perfectly frank, the Astros’ starter is a recent acquisition and former foe of the Yankees in previous postseasons. And I haven’t seen a postseason starter this strong since the Giants’ ace in the 2014 postseason. The Astros’ starter threw 124 pitches in the full 9 innings, striking out 13 Yankee batters, and only giving up 5 hits and a walk.

The Yankees got on the board in the 5th. With 2 outs, Aaron Hicks hit a solid double and then scored when Todd Frazier hit a ground-rule double. The best part about Frazier’s double was that the ball flew out of the stadium and then lodged itself in the chain-link fence by the Yankees bullpen in center field. Now, it was about 10 feet up from the ground and about 10 feet below that tell-tale yellow line that circles the stadium to signify how high a ball must travel to be counted as a home run. The center fielder tried throwing his glove up to dislodge it, and most long-term Astros’ associates and beat reporters have never seen a ball lodged there before.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were a little hurt when their starter was a little hurt. Luis Severino got the start and was very sharp again. He threw 62 pitches through his 4 innings, giving up just 2 hits and 2 walks, but not striking out any Houston batters. His lone allowed run came in the 4th when a long ball landed in a kid’s glove right at the top of the right field wall for a home run. Judge seeing the kid, slowed down and braced himself for impact against the wall. I believe that had that been an adult (like the kid’s dad) instead, Judge would have jumped and grabbed that ball back. An umpire review proved that the ball was definitely out, the kid’s glove was right at the top of the wall not over into the field. But Judge’s caution due to it being a kid was clearly evident.

But after 4 innings, Severino was having shoulder issues on his throwing arm. He said he felt fine, but the shoulder just wasn’t loosening up. And with Severino’s potential for some great outings in the future, the Yankees weren’t taking any chances and pulled him. Of course, Severino wanted to stay in and finish his job like a professional, but the bullpen was ready to do their job and do it well in such cases. And there didn’t seem to be anything obviously wrong upon some initial tests, but they will keep an eye on him over the next few days.

Tommy Kahnle breezed his way through the next 2 innings, and David Robertson got the next 2 innings. Both relievers kept the Astros from adding to their score and the game stayed tied, both waiting for the Yankees’ breakthrough that just never came. As once again, they just ran out of outs.

In the bottom of the 9th, the sold out crowd of hometown fans got what was clearly their wish, as Aroldis Chapman clearly did not. Their star player hit a solid 1-out single and then when the next guy doubled, the Astros’ star raced all the way from 1st to slide in home. Judge fielded the ball in right field and fired it to Gregorius at 2nd (who sort of stumbled over the runner sliding into 2nd for his double). Gregorius, unable to make the play at 2nd, fired the ball to Gary Sanchez at home, but either due to Gregorius’ stumble or Sanchez’s over-excitement. But Sanchez dropped the ball as he was trying to make the tag at home.

Final score: 2-1 Astros, Astros lead series 2-0

Game 2: NLCS — Cubs at Dodgers
Both starters in the first game of the NLCS were pretty evenly matched, going 5 innings each, throwing 87-89 pitches, giving up minimal hits (2-4) and walks (1-2), striking out 4 batters, and each giving up 2 runs. And that makes sense as the Cubs’ starters and power-hitters are pretty comparable to the Dodgers.

In the 4th, the Cubs got on the board first with a lead-off single and then scored as part of a 2-run home run. But the Dodgers tied it up in the bottom of the 5th. With 1 out, they worked 2 walks who then both scored on a double and sacrifice fly to tie up the game. So it would be down to the bullpen for the difference of the game. And that’s where the Dodgers clearly outshone the visiting Cubs, keeping the Cubs to those 2 runs.

In the 6th, the Dodgers led-off with a solo home run to break the tie. And then did it again in the 7th. With runners in the corners thanks to a double and single (and another new reliever), a single score another run. But initially, the run was declared out. The Dodgers challenged the call on a possible violation of the home plate collision rule, and it was overturned. Of course, that made the Cubs manager hopping mad, and he hopped right out of the game when he was ejected. Much to the delight of the home crowd in LA.

Final score: 5-2 Dodgers, Dodgers lead series 1-0

The Dodgers-Cubs continue tomorrow (Sunday) for Game 2 in their series. And the Yankees head back to the Bronx to hopefully redeem the series (starting Monday). The Yankees are still 4 wins or 2 losses away from either going to the World Series or watching it from their couches.

Go Yankees!

AL Wild Card: MIN vs. NYY — Rough start, solid finish thanks to big bats

The last time the Yankees won a postseason game was the 2012 ALDS, game 5, against the Orioles, Raul Ibanez was dubbed “King of New York” for his postseason heroics, and Derek Jeter would break his ankle diving for a ball in the 12th inning in the next game, game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers. In other words, things were very different five years ago.

Tonight, the Yankees moved onto the ALDS after defeating the Twins in the winner-take-all Wild Card Game. It took nearly four hours in front of a sold-out crowd in the Bronx, and it took all of the energy and emotions to electrify the fans during the game.

We are all human and thus have off-nights. But for Luis Severino, tonight was one of the worst possible times to experience an off-night. And Girardi continued his recent short-leash for the pitching staff. Severino threw just 29 pitches in the 1st inning, giving up 4 hits, a walk, and 3 runs. He didn’t make it out of that 1st inning.

Severino gave up a lead-off home run, a 1-out walk, a 2-run home run, a single, and a double before Girardi had enough. With runners firmly in scoring position and just 1 out, Severino’s outing was over. So Chad Green was called in early to do Chad Green things. He quickly got out of the 1st inning with 2 solid strikeouts to strand the Twins runners. He breezed his way through the 2nd inning, but found some trouble in the 3rd inning loading up the bases with a single and 2 walks (and just 1 out).

While Green was responsible for all the runners as he passed the torch to David Robertson. The first batter hit into a fielder’s choice (a late double play) that scored the lead runner, but then Robertson got the first of his 5 strikeouts (of his 10 total outs) in his outing tonight. And Robertson’s outing was easily the best thing from the mound today, throwing 52 pitches over 3.1 pitches. It was stellar and ended up being the perfect recipient for the eventual win.

Tommy Kahnle was called on to close out the 6th for Robertson and then breeze his way through the 7th and 8th innings in just 29 pitches. Aroldis Chapman’s 9th inning was pretty good too, hitting 103 mph pitches as if they were nothing, and getting all 3 outs as strikeouts. The final out came as a beautiful swing, the whole stadium on its feet, the place alive with energy and hope.

Now, beyond the great job of the bullpen, which had to start so very early tonight, the Yankees’ offense actually worked tonight too. The Twins’ starter had his own rough night, only lasting 2 innings and throwing a whopping 64 pitches over that short time span. In the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk, and Judge singled to put runners in the corners. With 1 out, it would fall to Didi Gregorius to his a big 3-run home run to tie up the game at that point, so very early on in the night.

Brett Gardner added a run in the 2nd with a 2-out solo home run that bounced off the front row barrier of the 2nd deck of the right field seats. With the starter out, the Yankees faced the Twins bullpen, which clearly isn’t nearly as good as the Yankees’, so the Yankees kept adding to their score.

In the 3rd, Sanchez led-off with a double and then scored on Greg Bird’s 2-out single. And Gardner hit a 1-out single in the 4th and then scored on Aaron Judge’s first postseason homer, a 2-run home run bouncing off the top of the left-field wall for a couple more insurance runs.

The Twins bullpen was able to focus in and keep the Yankees from adding more to their score. Until the 7th inning, that is. Judge led-off with a walk and then ended up at 3rd on Sanchez’s single and a throwing error. Gregorius was intentionally walked to load up the bases, and the Twins got their first out of the inning. A new reliever got a strikeout, and another new reliever promptly walked Aaron Hicks to walk in Judge to add just one more run to the score.

Look, both teams started off really messy and shaky, but both teams pulled it together to show how matched they really were. And it ended Yankees-side up.

Final score: 8-4 Yankees

So, now the Yankees advance to the ALDS against Indians in Cleveland on Thursday, for the best-of-5 game series. Just a reminder, the format goes 2 games in Cleveland, 2 games in the Bronx, and 1 game back in Cleveland, if necessary. The first team to win 3 games advances to the ALCS. But first, tomorrow night, we shift to the National League to watch their Wild Card game between the Rockies and Diamondbacks.

Before tonight’s game, the Yankees held a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas tragedy. They asked reliever and Las Vegas native Chasen Shreve to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in their honor.

Go Yankees!

2017 Postseason Preview

Okay, here’s the annual blog post to wrap up the recent season and give a brief overview of what to expect in the postseason. And you’ll even get to hear my personal hopes (much more than predictions if I’m being honest) for how 2017 will turn out.

First up, the Wild Card games. Yes, the Yankees are back in the postseason again and will face the Twins tomorrow night. If you remember, the Yankees swept the Twins just 2 weeks ago, outscoring them 18-6 over 3 games. The most consistent starter Luis Severino will start for the Yankees. Severino had 14 wins and 6 losses in 31 games (and 193.1 innings), with an ERA of 2.98 and 230 recorded strikeouts just this season. If Severino and the Yankees’ offense work out like they’ve been known to work this season, the Yankees will be ready to face the Indians.

Okay, so here’s how the American League is set to play their Division Series. Boston, ending up 2 games over the Yankees, will face the Astros for their Division Series games. The Astros missed being the AL team with the most wins by a single game, falling short to the Indians who will face the winners of the Wild Card game.

The National League games will start just a day after the AL games. The Wild Card game will be played between the Diamondbacks and the Rockies, who ended up just a game ahead of the Brewers for that spot. Like with the Twins, the second spot for both Wild Card games went to teams that were exactly 6 games behind the first spot teams (Yankees and Diamondbacks).

The Cubs will play the Nationals in the NL Division Series, neither team coming close to the stellar season of 104 game wins the Dodgers had this season. So the Dodgers will face the winner of the NL Wild Card game.

And you know how the season proceeds from there. The winner of the best-of-5-game series of each set will face each other for the best-of-7 championship series to figure out the winner of each league. And those two winners will face each other in the Fall Classic, also known as the World Series.

Now, I don’t want to make my predictions too far in advance, so I’ll follow last year’s model and do a bit at a time. The AL Wild Card game is tomorrow night, and the NL Wild Card is Wednesday night. So we’ll start there.

  • AL Wild Card — Yankees over Twins
  • NL Wild Card — Diamondbacks over Rockies

Once we have winners from each of those categories, it will be easier (or let’s be honest, usually less humiliating) to predict the next set of games beginning Thursday with the ALDS games and Friday with the NLDS games. Those games are of the 2-2-1 layout, so 2 games played, a travel day, 2 games played (if necessary), a travel day, and 1 game played (if necessary). The team that wins 3 games advances to the next round (the ALCS/NLCS).

What’s your predictions? I try to remove my own bias (which is pretty much that the Yankees should be champions every single year), and be as objective as possible. However, this is my 5th year doing this blog, and honestly, this is the first year since 2012 that I’ve had any kind of hope that the Yankees could actually do something. Unfortunately, it’s all down to a game at a time, starting with tomorrow’s winner-take-all Wild Card Game.

Go Yankees!


As a postscript to this post tonight, I am saddened that I must once again express my sympathies after another tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and the families off all those affected by the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas last night.

The Mets’ AAA team plays in Las Vegas, the Vegas 51s, and several known current MLB players around the league grew up playing ball in its suburbs — Bryce Harper (Nationals), Kris Bryant (Cubs), Joey Gallo (Rangers), and the Yankees’ own Chasen Shreve. With three of those players heading into the postseason, I know their hometown isn’t far from their minds and hearts this October, as it won’t be from any of our own.

We will continue to pray for healing, comfort, and peace for all those injured or affected by last night’s events as both the city and the nation recovers from this latest horror.

And may I never have to write another condolence message like this one for as long as I live.

Game 158: TB vs. NYY — #SevySharp, offense upswing continues, community matters

For much of tonight’s game, the Rays and Yankees were pretty much locked into a pitching duel, with both starters giving up minimal base runners for the first 4 innings. In fact, both teams didn’t score until the 5th inning. From there, it was back to being a Yankees-dominated game once again.

Luis Severino got the start for this middle game of the Rays’ series. He threw 91 pitches through his 6 innings, gave up 4 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out 9 Rays batters (because he’s Severino). That lone run was a lead-off solo shot in the 5th inning. It would be the lone allowed run by the Yankee pitching staff all night.

Shreve came on for the 7th, but with just 2 outs and 2 baserunners, the Yankees turned to one of their best middle relievers in recent history (let alone this season) — Chad Green, who only needed 3 pitches to get the final out of the 7th inning. Betances and Chapman closed out the game, with an inning and a strikeout a piece. Basically, being the Betances-Chapman duo we’ve come to expect for the backend of the bullpen.

Now, going into the 5th inning, the Yankees only had minimal offense in the game, just 2 hits and a walk for the first 4 innings. So, the Yankees found their opportunity in the 5th to advance. Ellsbury led-off with a walk and moved to 3rd on Hicks’ single. With 1 out, Aaron Judge’s double scored both runners to get the Yankees on the board and in the lead with one swing.

Then in the 6th, Starlin Castro led-off with a solo home run. That would be the end of the Rays’ starter’s night, despite a pretty good outing overall. Of course, their bullpen hasn’t exactly been in the best shape, so the Yankees continued pouncing. Greg Bird followed up that with his own solo home run into the right field seats. Headley then singled, and after 1 out, Aaron Hicks got in on the fun and hit a 2-run home run to solidify the Yankees’ win.

With another new reliever, the Yankees gave up a double and walk before getting shut down with the 2 outs needed to close out the inning. The final 2 relievers were infinitely better against the Yankees tonight (including a former Yankee, by the way), and shut down any further attempts by the home team to advance their lead.

Final score: 6-1 Yankees

Postseason Prep: More of an FYI… the Red Sox won tonight, so they remain 3 games ahead of the Yankees in the standings. And there’s only 4 games left of the series. They begin their 4-game closing series against the practically unbeatable Astros tomorrow, and the Yankees wrap up their series against the Rays tomorrow afternoon before welcoming the Blue Jays to close out the season. (Go Astros!)

Okay, I know you’re probably already doing your part to help those affected by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. The most recent one, Hurricane Maria certainly devastated many of the Caribbean Islands, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which really took the brunt of the storm. In response, many fundraisers are currently underway to help the devastated people, especially those basically trapped in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican MLB players, alumni, and associates have provided several options for you to get involved, including former Yankees Carlos Beltran and Jorge Posada and EPSN broadcaster Marly Rivera.

Our prayers continue to be with those still recovering from this summer’s storms. However, the outpouring from people all over has been amazing to see such kindness, generosity, and love in action. Keep it up, as community still matters even when we’ve recovered from the storms!

Go Yankees!

Game 152: MIN vs. NYY — Sweep dreams of postseason potential this afternoon

In today’s afternoon finale against the Twins, the Yankees went in with every intention to sweep their potential Wild Card opponents and press on to closing that gap between them and the AL East leaders. The Yankees did both. Hopefully, but more on that later.

Luis Severino is technically being set up for the first game in the postseason, potentially the one-off Wild Card game. But fingers crossed he’s more #SevySharp and less whatever he was today. Yes, Severino was certainly less than sharp today, throwing 71 pitches in just 3 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs, and striking out just 3 Minnesota batters. To borrow a popular phrase the Yankees skipper often says in press conferences: “it’s not what you want”.

But to be fair, it wasn’t really bad until Severino’s final inning. Outside of that, he allowed just 1 hit, no runs, and no walks. He just wasn’t quite finding it today. All of those allowed runs came in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Severino gave up 2 singles and a walk to load up the bases. Another single scored the Twins’ first run, and one more single scored 2 more runs. Severino then focused in and got those other 2 outs of the inning, but he was just not having a good day. And as we’re down to just 10 games of the season, every single game matters. Every pitch, every out, every strike, every hit, every run matters. There’s no more leash allowed.

So that was it for Severino. But the game was in good hands. Chasen Shreve came on and just breezed his way through the middle third of the game. Shreve pitches just 33 pitches through 3 innings, setting himself up for the eventual win. Heller came on in the 7th and kept things scoreless, German’s final 2 innings were near perfect, adding 4 more strikeouts and holding the Twins to those 3 early runs scored.

Technically, any team that scores second and then takes the lead becomes a “come-from-behind” win, even when they come from behind to dominate. I’m not a fan of this terminology, as it puts home teams at a weird language disadvantage (though not a physical one). The Yankees weren’t the underdogs today, in any sense of the word. Not that the Twins were, but the Yankees just played better. They played better the entire series, so it is a deserved win overall.

Anyway, with the Twins leading, getting onto the board first in the top of the 3rd inning, the Yankees saw their opportunity against the Twins’ starter, who was having a less-than-stellar day today as well. Bird led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double and then scored as part of Aaron Judge’s 45th homer of the season, a big 1-out 2-run home run into the right field corner seats. Gary Sanchez backed that up with his own home run, a solo shot up the middle, his 32nd of the season, to tie up the game right then and there.

Then in the 4th, Ellsbury hit a 1-out triple, watched Frazier work a walk, and then scored on Greg Bird’s double. That was it for the Twins’ veteran starter, but their bullpen didn’t have good luck out the gate, which was great for the Yankees’ momentum. Brett Gardner singled to score Frazier for that insurance run. After another out, Sanchez singled to score Bird. So with 2 runners on base, Didi Gregorius smacked a 3-run home run into the right field seats to ensure the Yankees victory today.

And into the 5th, with a new reliever on the mound, Holliday singled, Ellsbury walked, and a fly out moved Holliday to 3rd. A wild pitch then scored Holliday. Then the Yankees loaded the bases with Bird’s single and Gardner’s hit-by-pitch. And the Twins knew they needed to stop this free-for-all and called in a new reliever again. First, Aaron Judge’s sacrifice fly easily scored Ellsbury, and then Sanchez’s single loaded up the bases again. But a strikeout on a foul tip stranded all on the bases looking to add more runs to the Yankees’ big lead.

But they didn’t need to. And they really wouldn’t get much more chances. A few more hits (15 total today), but nothing collectively to add more.

But again, they really didn’t need to pad their lead any more.

Final score: 11-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep series 3-0.

PSP: Sometimes, I try to stall posting this blog a few extra minutes so that I can add information about upcoming opponents or waiting on a milestone or injury news. But I won’t do that today. The opponent the Yankees are watching constantly is the Red Sox, and they don’t play until tonight. So for now, that means the Yankees are just 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. (Go Orioles tonight!)

In other numbers, the Yankees are floating around the “magic number” that means they are officially in the postseason. Currently, that number is 4. Yes, that means, the Yankees need 4 games to clinch postseason, and there are only 10 games left of the season. We shall see how that all pans out in the next coming weeks.

Also, in the 5th inning today, Todd Frazier hit a foul ball line drive into the seats and it directly hit a young girl. She was treated on the scene and taken to a local hospital for further treatment. Due to HIPPA medical privacy laws, there isn’t much more information at this time. But our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family right now as she recovers.

Go Yankees!

Game 147: BAL vs. NYY — Didi’s RBI gem backs #SevySharp

It took just 2 hours and 38 minutes for the Yankees to close the book on tonight’s game against the visiting Orioles. And that is primarily due to a dominant show by tonight’s starter, and the Yankees’ offense sparking at all the right times once again.

Luis Severino was once again showing why he’s become the most reliable starter of the 2017 season. He threw 95 pitches in his 8 innings, gave up 3 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and struck out just 7 Baltimore batters. I realize that using “just” there seems a little weird there, but Severino is a strikeout machine. So anything less than one per inning seems low for a pitcher like Severino. The only allowed runs for the Orioles came in the 2nd inning, when a 2-out walk scored as part of a solid 2-run home run into the right field seats.

That all set up Severino for his 13th win of the season. David Robertson came on for the 9th inning and certainly worked hard to get those 3 outs, despite giving up a walk, keeping the O’s from adding to their score.

Meanwhile, the Yankees got on the board first. Gardner led-off the 1st inning with a double, moved to 3rd on Sanchez’s 1-out single, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ sacrifice fly. Headley led-off the 2nd with a single, moved to 2nd on Holliday’s 1-out single, and then scored when Bird hit into a failed force attempt and fielding error.

And the game was tied. So, they found their next opening in the 5th, when Judge worked a 1-out walk. Then with the Orioles’ starter out of the game and a new reliever in, Judge stole 2nd. After another out, Didi Gregorius hit a big 2-run home run to double the Yankees’ score.

But the Yankees weren’t done yet. In the 7th, Bird led-off with a walk, and Gardner reached on a force attempt and fielding error. After a new reliever came into the game, Judge worked a walk to load up the bases. Gary Sanchez singled to score Bird, keeping the bases loaded.

And the Orioles went back to their bullpen for a new reliever, who gave up another sacrifice fly (the first out of the inning) to Gregorius (his 4th RBI of the night) to score Gardner. After a second out, Chase Headley singled to score Judge, but the Orioles remembered how to defend and got Sanchez out running for 3rd. Greg Bird capped off the Yankees’ offense tonight with a big 2-out solo home run into the 2nd deck of right field in the 8th.

Final score: 8-2 Yankees

Before tonight’s game, the Yankees honored the memory of Gene “Stick” Michael. They took a moment of silence, played a nice commemorative video, and former Yankees placed flowers at home plate. The Yankee grounds crew also put a #17 in the infield grass; 17 was Stick’s jersey number when he coached for the team. Currently, its legacy continues on today on the back of Matt Holliday.

Injury news: Todd Frazier was out of tonight’s line-up due to some back stiffness. But it wasn’t so terrible as he was still available off the bench and is expected to be back at 3rd base sometime for the rest of this weekend series.

In other news, recently, the Yankees filed a complaint with the league citing that the Red Sox had been stealing signs during recent games. The Red Sox countered a complaint saying that the Yankees were doing the same thing. What made the Red Sox’s cheating different was that they were using technology like Apple watches to communicate the information. The Red Sox’s complaint was that the Yankees were using the YES Network feed to do something similar.

Okay, first of all, “stealing signs” is not new, nor is it outright banned in the league. It is certainly “frowned upon”, but it’s not illegal or novel in any sense. But using technology to do so takes it from something you probably shouldn’t do to feeling like outright cheating. Like accidentally seeing a friend’s test answers isn’t great, but it isn’t like using your phone to Google “what year was the Battle of Bunker Hill?” (FYI: 1775.)

Commissioner Rob Manfred concluded his investigation today and released his findings and discipline for both teams. The Red Sox have been fined an undisclosed amount for their use of technology to steal signs in August. The Yankees also received what was considered a lesser fine due to violating a rule about use of a dugout phone in a prior season. Both fines will be sent to relief efforts in Florida as the clean-up begins following the devastation of Hurricane Irma. MLB also warned that any team with similar violations will risk more serious disciplines than simple fines.

Also, the Yankees announced they will be donating $500,000 to help victims of Hurricane Irma — half will go to the American Red Cross, half to the Salvation Army. You can join the efforts by donating to a number of great recognized organizations like those or by donating online via MLB’s campaigns for both recent hurricanes.

Postseason Prep: the Indians snapped their “Windians” streak tonight, losing to the Royals at home 4-3. The 1916 NY Giants still hold the record for most consecutive wins at 26. Hey, it was bound to happen someday, and the Indians certainly have the AL Central sewn up.

And the Yankees are still awaiting word of what happens at the Trop tonight, where the Red Sox and Rays are (at the time of this posting) all tied up and in extra innings. A loss to the Red Sox (what I’m rooting for) means the Yankees are only 2 games behind them in the standings. A win means the Yankees are still 3 games back. So… Go, Rays! Go Rays all weekend long… like I said, I’m rooting for teams that will ultimately help the Yankees with a better shot in the postseason. And basically, that sums up to any team that plays the Red Sox over the next couple of weeks.

Because really, it’s always…

Go Yankees!

Game 141: NYY vs. TEX — #SevySharp, his 1-hitter, & a 9th inning rally

Now, that’s how you reverse whatever happened yesterday. Of course, it certainly helps that the Yankees have a starter like Luis Severino who threw a 1-hitter this afternoon in the middle game this weekend in Texas. Severino threw 100 pitches in his 7 innings, giving up a lone hit, a lone run, and walking 3, all while striking out 10 Texas batters. That lone run and hit actually were part of the same play in the 5th. With 2 outs and a runner on 1st (after a walk), a double scored that runner to get the Rangers on the board.

Actually, both starters were able to hold off both teams for most of the game. After the Rangers got on the board first with that RBI double in the 5th, the Yankees had some catching up to do. They got their opportunity in the 8th inning. After Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch, the Rangers turned to their bullpen. Pinch-hitter Holliday singled, moved Frazier to 3rd, and then was pinch-run by Wade. Then with 1 out, Chase Headley hit a nice sacrifice fly to score Frazier and tie up the game.

So, with a solid chance, the Yankees called on David Robertson, who just sailed through the bottom of the 8th in just 8 pitches. And almost in response, the Yankee offense made yet another move in the 9th inning. With 1 out and Judge on 1st, Ellsbury singled to put runners on the corners. A new reliever promptly plunked Frazier to load up the bases, so the Yankees called in pinch-hitter Tyler Austin for a chance. He delivered with a nice single to score Judge, the go-ahead run. After another out, Chase Headley worked a walk to walk in Ellsbury for the insurance run the Yankees wouldn’t really need.

Aroldis Chapman fell back into the closing role as he commanded and dominated the bottom of the 9th in just 13 pitches (2 strikeouts) for his 17th save opportunity of the season. Yankee pitchers today racked up 13 strikeouts, keeping the Rangers to that lone hit and lone run given up by Severino.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees

Okay, so here’s the postseason standings with just 21 games left of the regular season for the Yankees. {Note: at time of publishing, not all games have completed for this day and thus some stats will alter by a half or whole game by the end of the day.} The Yankees are now 4 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, with the Orioles trailing behind the Yankees another 5.5 games (or 9.5 games behind the Red Sox). The Rays are just behind them another game, and the Blue Jays are scraping the bottom at 16 games behind the Red Sox.

Now, in the AL divisions, the Indians are 11.5 games ahead of their next division rivals thanks mostly to their 17-game winning streak (my family likes promoting that stat and their newest hashtag #windians around lately). The Astros are also in a similar situation in the AL West, currently sitting at 14.5 games ahead of their next rival.

And similarly, the NL is having nearly the same issue. The Nationals and Dodgers are dominating their divisions, sitting at 19 and 10 games ahead, respectively. Meanwhile, the Cubs are just 4 games ahead of the Brewers and Cardinals, making this a division still very much in flux.

Meanwhile, the Wild Card is much less secure. In the NL, the Diamondbacks are doing really well this year, but being in the same division as the dominant Dodgers forces the Arizona team into the first Wild Card spot, 6 games ahead of their geographic rival — the Rockies. (This also makes the NL West one of the strongest divisions in the league right now, by the way.) But the NL Central 2nd place teams (the Brewers and Cardinals) are just 3 games behind them. So if the Cubs slip, they could still be looking at the postseason, but from the Wild Card spot instead.

And over here in the AL, things are much less certain. Yes, the Yankees currently lead the Wild Card race, but they are only 2 games ahead of the surging Twins. And then it’s super tight with the next few teams just half-games a part from each other — Angels (behind 2 games from the Twins), Rangers (3), Orioles (3.5), Mariners (4), and Rays and Royals (4.5).

In other words, the postseason is still basically a giant crap shoot. Which makes September baseball all that more interesting because now every little detail counts for everything!

Go Yankees!