2017 All-Star Game: Millennial take-over

For a city so synonymous with aging Boomers and the height of a young Gen-X, it seems like it got a bit of a makeover, filled with Millennial who weren’t even born while iconic Miami-based shows like Miami Vice (1984-1990) were still on the air. Well, maybe a few during the run of Golden Girls (1985-1992), but that would be generally less than ideal comparison for a group of competitive 20-something young ball players. They would probably prefer shows like the more recent action spy show Burn Notice (2007-2013) which was sometimes referred to by fans as the 21st century version of Miami Vice (but without Don Johnson’s floppy hair and those hideous pastel suits on the lead heroes).

So it was the National League (and their reserves) against the American League (and their reserves) to face off for the 88th All-Star Game. And despite the ridiculous show of power 8 key players put on last night, tonight’s game was a pitcher’s game from the start to finish. Each team put up 9 pitchers who each threw about 15 pitches per inning and struck out a total of 22 batters overall.

But it wasn’t like the batters weren’t hitting, as they racked up 17 total hits (and 6 walks) over the game, but they just weren’t exactly given much chance to do much with those hits thanks to the defense. Again, it was an All-Star Game, and for the first time in a really long time, it felt like both teams were fairly evenly matched in every aspect of the game — pitching, batting, base-running, and defense. And tonight’s game proved that.

No one got close to scoring until the 5th inning with the AL up at bat. With 2 outs, Schoop (Orioles) doubled and then scored on Sano’s (Twins) single. A nice bit of redemption for the power-hitter after falling short to Judge last night, responsible for the first run scored of the night. The National League answered back in the 6th when their veteran catcher Molina (Cardinals) hit a long home run into the corner of the AL bullpen to tie up the game.

And the game ended up being played into extra innings thanks to all those aptly named all-star players. So when NL manager Joe Maddon sent in his lone Cubs pitcher and closer Davis, he unfortunately didn’t count on Cano (Mariners) liking the third pitch, sending it into the AL bullpen for the winning home run.

Only fittingly so, AL interim manager Brad Mills (filling in for a recovering Terry Francona, who made an “appearance” in the AL clubhouse) sent in his own closer Miller (Indians) who got out of the 10th inning and saved the game for the AL with a final strikeout.

Final score: 2-1 in 10 innings, American League over National League

Robinson Cano, of course, got the All-Star Game MVP award thanks to that 10th inning, game-winning homer. And after accepting the glass bat trophy, he was asked to choose between a red Chevy Colorado pickup truck and a special Transformers edition blue Chevy Corvette. Cano wisely chose the Corvette.

Okay, Yankee Universe, you’re wondering how our 5 All-Stars did. Aaron Judge started the game in right field and batted third in the lineup, but he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Judge later admitted he was a bit tired after last night’s Derby and nervous and excited about the game tonight. Gary Sanchez came on for the second half of the game as the back-up catcher and ended up batting 8th, and he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Starlin Castro was present but unable to play due to his lingering wrist injury, so he spent time in the dugout cheering on his teammates and the American League.

In pitching, Dellin Betances showed the world what it felt like when he wanted to throw in some drama in the 3rd. He gave up a lead-off single, then struck out 2 batters, a wild pitch moved the runner to 2nd before he walked the batter, another wild pitch moved runners to scoring position, another walk loaded up the bases (and had everyone but Yankee Universe biting their nails), and a dribbling ground out ended the threat and the inning, getting Betances out of the jam… as usual.

Luis Severino would have pitched in the 11th inning had the NL tied up the game, and while he was disappointed not to see any play time in Miami, he really just wanted to see the AL win the game. Wish granted.

It is worth noting that the All-Star Game no longer counts for much of anything in the long-run more than bragging rights. As of this year, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and the league, the home field advantage goes to the team that has the best record between the AL and NL champions (which was always a much better idea). Full disclosure: the players of the winning ASG team do get a $20,000 bonus check; so I guess it’s a bit more personal than bragging rights.

Okay, the millennial invasion of Miami was never more apparent than at what became one of the most talked about moments in the game. Mariner’s designated hitter (and one of the oldest guys, on either roster) Nelson Cruz came up to bat in the 6th innings and walked over to the home plate umpire Joe West and asked for a picture with him as he pulled out his phone from his back pocket. NL (and Cardinals) catcher Yadier Molina (also one of the older players) took the picture for Cruz as West seemed both confused and amused at the concept. While not technically a selfie, it went around the internet quickly that Cruz wanted a selfie with West (who is just called his 5000th game last week and is often one of the least liked umpires in the business, which may explain Cruz calling him a “legend”).

In a touching tribute before the game tonight, the league honored Latin-American baseball legends and Hall of Famers in an on-field ceremony — Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Tony Perez, Ivan Rodriguez (who was part of the 2003 Marlins’ championship team), and the late Roberto Clemente (who was represented by his wife Vera). Then, they all threw out the ceremonial first pitch to current All-Star players of Latin-American birth. It was a great way to “pass the torch”, as it were.

We’re back after a couple of days rest in Fenway to restart the season with the rivalry series in Boston on Friday. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 33: NYY vs. MIA — And it’s off to the Bronx

The Yankees played their final Spring Game in Miami this afternoon. And all I can say is I’m glad the pre-season is over. (I’ll be doing a Spring wrap-up tomorrow night in preparation for the start of the regular season this Monday.)

In their final game, the Yankees started things off with Jacoby Ellsbury’s lead-off solo home run to right field for an easy run to start the game. Unfortunately, that is the extent of the Yankees’ run-scoring today. Not that the Marlins were any better in actuality.

Luis Severino got the start, a rather rocky start. Well, a rocky start for Severino, and he still manages to strike out 6 Marlin’s batters in 5 innings. Anyway, he gave up 3 hits, a walk, and 2 runs (though just 1 was earned). In the 1st, a single, a walk, and a ground out put runners in scoring position, and a sacrifice fly scored a run to tie up the game. In the 3rd, a batter reached on a throwing error and wound up scoring on a 2-out single a little later.

And that was the grand total of scoring from either team today. The Marlins rotated through their bullpen keeping the Yankees from doing much — just 4 allowed hits and a walk, striking out 6 Yankee batters. And the Yankees were about even with their bullpen display — 3 allowed hits, 4 walks, and a solid 10 total strikeouts. Chapman, Miller, Yates, and Barbato threw the last 4 innings for the Yankees, keeping the Marlins off the bases (save a few stragglers) and keeping the Yankees within 1-run and anticipating the Yankees offense would pick up at some point. It did not.

Final score: 2-1 Marlins.

Roster update: the Yankees traded Carlos Corporan to the Rays for cash considerations. Of course, the general consensus was a groan because he got traded to a division rival and not say San Diego where the Yankees won’t have to face his solid defense on a semi-regular basis. Which is a really great compliment to the catcher. Best of luck!

And that was Andrew Miller who got some pitching work in today, despite the chipped bone in his catching hand. People have dubbed him quite the “gamer” for playing through, but really, what else could he do? He can still pitch. (Clearly.) So game on, gamer.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: once again, no broadcast = no video highlights. Wasn’t really a highlight-worthy game, so no worries! Enjoy your weekend!}

Spring Game 32: NYY vs. MIA — No foolin’… Is it April 4th yet?

The Yankees are in Miami for a weekend of final games before the season officially begins on Monday. They played a game tonight and then will face the Marlins again tomorrow afternoon.

Nathan Eovaldi got his last start of the Spring tonight against Miami, and despite getting fairly roughed up by the Marlins’ batters, he managed to keep them to a single run scored. Not exactly “Nasty Nate” stuff, but depending on that trusty defense certainly worked in his favor tonight. He gave up 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out just 3 batters into the 6th inning. A bit of a rough adieu to this Spring for him.

Actually, Eovaldi kept the Marlins scoreless until his last inning, the 6th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, then to 3rd on a single, and then scored on yet another single. A 4th allowed walk in his outing called an end to Eovaldi’s night, with the bases loaded and just 1 out on the board. So who do you call? Dellin Betances, of course. Betances promptly got the next batter to fly out to left field to a waiting Hicks who fired the ball home to a waiting Romine who got the guy trying to score. See, there’s that trusty defense.

Ever reliable Chasen Shreve threw his worst inning of the Spring (a hit and a walk allowed) in the 7th and still got out of the inning without a Marlin scoring or doing any further damage. Then Luis Cessa likewise threw his worst inning this Spring and wound up (by luck of statistics) earning the win for tonight’s game. Cessa’s 8th inning  started by him loading the bases with a walk and 2 singles. A sacrifice fly scored the lead runner, but then Shreve buckled down and got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning. Nick Goody’s 9th was a quick 3 outs, keeping the Marlins to those 2 pesky runs scored.

The ironic part about the Yankees’ win tonight is how terrible their offense really was in light of the statistics end of things. It was just 2 well-capitalized pitches that made all the difference in this game. Brett Gardner led-off the 4th inning with a solo home run to right field to get a run on the board; it was only the 2nd hit allowed by the Marlin’s ace starter (who also single-handedly struck out 7 Yankee batters in his 4 short innings).

In fact, the Yankees were down 2-1 heading into the 9th inning, with the Marlins looking for another of their super quick 3-out innings (which honestly was most of them for their pitching staff tonight). But then Hicks led-off with a walk, and Lane Adams was called in to pinch-hit for DH Rodriguez. Adams sent that ball flying over the center field fence and pushed the Yankees up and over the Marlins in a single swing. Of course, the same pitcher promptly got his 3 necessary outs in rather quick succession after that (2 were nasty strikeouts).

Let me explain tonight’s odd statistics: the Yankee pitchers gave up 10 total hits and a whopping 6 walks to Marlins’ batters, striking out just 4 of them. But on the other side of things, the Marlins’ pitching staff only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks to Yankee batters and struck out 11 of them. The Marlins clearly pitched better than the Yankees, and yet because that’s not how this game works, the Yankees still take game one of this weekend series.

Not that I’m complaining about that…

Final score: 3-2 Yankees.

Roster & injury updates: Okay, so apparently, Andrew Miller‘s insistence of playing through the fracture of his non-throwing hand now has the backing of the medical powers-that-be and thus will be on call for any closing duties come the first week of the season. (Still wishing a quick healing regardless!)

CC Sabathia was announced as the official 5th starter, with Nova to be throwing long-term relief out of the bullpen. Not really a surprise here, but Nova certainly put up a very convincing case. I have no doubt that he will be in the starting rotation at some point this year because that’s just how things work during the very long regular season.

And Kirby Yates (as almost everyone predicted) got the final bullpen spot on the 25-man roster, to fill in for Mitchell recovering with that unfortunate broken toe injury. This means there is a set 25 for Opening Day this Monday barring any other unforeseen issues. Fingers crossed, folks.

Today’s game invited a bit of a reunion of sorts for a few former Yankee players, posing for a quick picture for memory’s sake. Don Mattingly now manages the Marlins, Joe Girardi of course manages the Yankees, and Paul O’Neill covers the Yankees with YES Network. Below is O’Neill’s tweet about the mini-reunion.

One more Spring Game until the season starts… you ready for it?

Go Yankees!

{Media update: the game wasn’t broadcast, so no highlights. And while I probably should’ve done something for April Fools, I’m not really that kind of person… so hope you guys had a fun day anyway.}

Spring Game 7: NYY vs. MIA — CC starts the almost no-hitter loss

The Yankees were running a collective no-hitter for the majority of the 2-hour and 13-minute game in Miami against the Marlins. And then everyone talked about that, so the jinx kicked in (if you believe in that stuff) and broke the no-hitter. Bummer. For a lot of reasons, but we’ll get there.

However, CC Sabathia made his Spring debut today, and he did really good. I’d say it wasn’t a bad way to start 2016 after knee issues and rehab last year, but it was a good start regardless of the battles he fought in 2015. It’s nice to see him back on the mound for a couple of innings, giving up a walk and striking out 2 Marlins’ batters. (If you missed yesterday’s post, I included a link to Sabathia’s personal story about his offseason rehab and recovery. It’s definitely worth the read and encouragement.)

Backing up Sabathia on the mound came prospects Cessa, Olson, and Yates for the next four innings, striking out 3 batters (1 each) and only giving up 1 walk. And it was smooth sailing for the Yankees until the 7th inning. After 2 quick outs, reliever Nick Rumbelow felt the pressure and struggled just a bit through his inning — a walk allowed a runner on base, and a single broke the no-hitter and put runners on the corners. Another single scored the lone run of the game before the Yankees got a lucky break with ground out to the force at 2nd to close out the inning.

An inning too late, Chasen Shreve got the Yankees’ pitching back into no-hitter territory. But the spell was broken and the Marlins had a bit of a leg-up on the Yankee offense.

Now, the Yankees were hitting and getting on base, right from the start too. But they weren’t scoring runs. And in the end, you can hit all you want, but unless you cross home plate, it doesn’t matter how many guys you get on base.

In total, the Yankees got 8 base runners, with 5 hits and 3 walks, compared to the Marlins’ 2 hits (and 3 walks), but the Marlins’ lone little run is what swung the game their way.

Final score: 1-0 Marlins.

I wish I could say there was “one to watch” today, but the truth is as it was a pitcher’s game, and the key pitchers (Sabathia and Shreve) are on the 40-man roster, there isn’t one to watch today. Better luck tomorrow, boys!

Before yesterday’s game against the Astros, the Yankees met with an amazing young man named Landis Sims. Landis is a 10-year-old kid with a rare condition — he was born with no hands or lower legs. But he certainly doesn’t let that stop him — he’s an active member of his local Little League (a small Indiana town near Louisville, KY) and an avid Yankees fan. Two years ago, he visited the Yankees at Spring Training, meeting his favorite Yankee (Jeter), and when the Yankees got word that Landis was coming back they decided to make a big splash for their #1 fan.

So, they signed him to a 1-day contract yesterday, allowed him to hang out with the players, wear his own Yankees’ uniform, and take batting practice as part of the team (in Teixeira and Rodriguez’s BP group too). Apparently, he “made solid contact” in his BP and nearly hit the pitcher with a line drive. Then he helped bring the lineup card out to the umpires before the game yesterday.

Landis is a great kid and a solid ball player. I think we’ll see more from this kid in the future. And with technological advancements these days, who knows that there won’t be a place for him in pinstripes one day. Or perhaps in a form of pinstripes. Some thing tells me this kid won’t give up making that happen any time soon.

Go Yankees!

{Media Note: Yet again, another media-less game. Sorry. Not much I can do about that, and fortunately again, not much to see anyway.}

 

Game 66: MIA vs. NYY — An almost milestone, a definite win

It was a rather beautiful night in the Bronx tonight, cloudy skies keeping the recent higher temperatures at bay, as the Yankees hosted the final game of the 4-game split series against the Marlins. The Yankees needed to win tonight to tie the series, so they did.

Despite some pretty decent pitching, starter CC Sabathia threw a 92-pitch no-decision. His 6 innings kept the Marlins on their toes — running a no-hitter through the first third of the game, but overall giving up 5 hits, 3 runs, no walks, and 7 strikeouts. (And I apologize for previously saying he wasn’t much of “strikeout pitcher” anymore, as clearly I was wrong as he proved tonight.) The Marlins scored a run in each of the middle 3 innings. In the 4th, the lead-off batter hit a really nice triple and then scored on a groundout. In the 5th, the lead-off batter singled, moved to 2nd on a hit-by-pitch, then to 3rd on a fly out, and scored on a sacrifice fly. And in the 6th, a 1-out solo home run gave the Marlins 3 runs.

But, like I said, it was a no-decision outing for Sabathia. Meaning that the Yankees had already hit that 3-run mark under him, or at least by the end of the 6th inning. In the 1st, the Yankees got things started with some nice hitting — Gardner led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Headley’s single, and the scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single (his 2,998th career hit). And despite loading the bases a little later in the inning (with just 1 out), the Marlins somehow pulled the rabbit out of their proverbial hats and got out of the 1st inning without further damage. But in the 6th inning, after 2 quick outs, Williams doubled, and then Brett Gardner’s 6th home run of the season, a big 2-run homer into Yankees’ bullpen, tied up the game and switched Sabathia’s responsibility from “loss” to “no-decision”.

It also forced Miami’s starter out of the game and pried open the bullpen, which hasn’t really been Miami’s strength this series. In the bottom of the 7th, with 1 out, McCann singled and then scored on Carlos Beltran’s 2-run home run to left field. And the Yankees took the lead back, and never let go.

This meant the win would be technically earned by the 7th inning reliever, Chasen Shreve, whose 13-pitch, 1-hit outing was quite pretty. Justin Wilson (the assumed new set-up man for new closer Betances) threw a great 8th inning, keeping the Yankee lead solidly intact.

With a new Miami reliever to face in the 8th inning, and the potential for a major Yankee milestone, the air was electric in the Bronx. The pitcher walked Headley to lead-off the inning. And then Alex Rodriguez stepped up to the plate. After hitting 2 hits in tonight’s game, Rodriguez’s career hits total stood at 2,999, just a hit away from the coveted 3,000 hit club. Nearly 40,000 fans (and all the players) were on their feet and cheering, and the umpires switched balls in case this was going to be the hit for the milestone. And then the Marlins pitcher proceeded to throw 4 consecutive inside pitches to walk him. Fans booed the pitcher, chanting and jeering. Brian McCann’s 1-out single scored Headley, and a wild pitch scored Rodriguez. Chris Young’s double scored McCann, and that pitcher was finally relieved from duty. A single put runners on the corners, and then Stephen Drew’s sacrifice fly scored Young. A 4-run inning isn’t bad for a huge missed opportunity.

Chris Martin closed out the game for the Yankees, with some of his continuing struggles — 26 pitches, 3 hits and a run (an RBI single), but 2 strikeouts. In total, the Yankees gave up 10 hits, 4 runs, and no walks, while striking 12 strikeouts. (In comparison, the Yankees got 15 hits, 9 runs, 6 walks, and 8 strikeouts.)

Final score from the Bronx: 9-4 Yankees. The Yankees and Marlins split their 4-game series down geographic lines 2-2.

If you’re wondering, Alex Rodriguez will hit that 3,000th hit this weekend (barring any injuries or sitting out games) against the Tigers. As if the Yankees could pack anything else into this weekend. Stay tuned… so much happening this weekend! And if you’re in the New York area, get yourself to the stadium. It’s a “don’t miss” kind of weekend.

And while HOPE Week won’t start for the Yankees until August, their AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will begin their HOPE Week festivities on Saturday. HOPE Week is an annual tradition for the Yankees, in which the entire organization finds ways to partner with local charities and outreach organizations to give back to their community in unique ways. The RailRiders this year are partnering with Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Parkinson’s Foundation, the Scranton Fire Department, as well as participating in food drives and other special projects close to their heart.

HOPE Week is my favorite week of the year, and I can’t wait to see how every branch of the Yankees honors it in their own way. You don’t have to do some big fancy, extravagant to-do to help out or only give when they get some celebrities to ask for money on a TV special. Give in the way that matters to you, the issues that touch your heart — the hungry, homeless, education, inner city, clean water, poverty, global AIDS crisis, human trafficking, cancer research, infectious diseases, religious ministries, whatever. You have something to give, even if it’s your time or those shirts you never wear anymore or the cans of peas in your pantry. So, go, make a difference because you can.

Go Yankees!

 

 

 

Game 65: MIA vs. NYY — 12 Ks can stop the Marlins

130 years ago today, France gifted the city of New York with a beautiful copper statue as a symbol of our alliance forged less than a half-century prior in both countries’ struggles to break free of a monarchy. After New Yorkers raised the money (after a delay due to a recession and then loss of interest) and plunked that beautiful copper statue in the middle of New York Harbor about a year later where it slowly turned green due to the salt water and extreme weather and became a symbol of freedom for the millions of immigrants sailing to the “New World” for a new life. (Actually, the entire story is really fascinating, so look it up if you’re interested.)

Not that any of that has to do with the game, but it’s a fun random trivia fact. And it does have to do with New York, and I’m always looking for a good opening.

After a rather disappointing trip to Miami, the Yankees were back home to face Miami in the second half of this oddly split series. And they needed this win.

Michael Pineda was sent in to start tonight’s game. And he really showed his stuff off for the over 40,000 fans under the beautiful crisp early summer evening sky. 100 pitches thrown over his 6.2 innings, Pineda didn’t allow a single runner until a walk in the 4th and then another in the 5th. But then the lead-off batter in the 7th hit a big solo home run for the Marlins’ lone run this game. But what was rather impressive about Pineda’s outing tonight was the 9 strike outs. And they were really good.

Once Pineda hit that triple-digit mark, Chasen Shreve was called on to finished the 7th for Pineda, getting the final out. Then, in was onto Justin Wilson for the first out of the 8th before calling on Dellin Betances for a 5-out save. In total, the Yankees’ pitchers struck out the Marlins’ batters 12 times tonight.

Now, the Yankees did some hitting, not a lot but some — 7 total hits. In the 1st inning, with 1 out, Headley was hit by a pitch, went to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single. Then in the 5th, with 1 out (sound familiar?), Headley singled and moved to 2nd on Rodriguez’s 2-out single. Jones walked, which loaded the bases, and then Carlos Beltran singled home Headley just before Rodriguez was tagged out trying to score the 3rd run.

Yes, Chase Headley scored both Yankee runs.

Of course, the most interesting moment of the game came in the 8th inning. With 2 runners on base, a batter hit the ball to the shallow infield and Jones (at 1st) threw the ball home to catch the runner trying to tie up the game for the Marlins. McCann tagged the sliding runner, which was initially called safe. The Yankees challenged it, they reviewed the play just a few blocks away at MLB HQ in Manhattan, and the play was overturned. Out! No run scored. Everyone in Yankees Universe breathed a bit easier.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees.

Roster Moves: Before the game, the Yankees called up LHP Jose DePaula for a fresh arm in the bullpen and optioned Jose Ramirez to AAA in his place.

One more game against the Marlins tomorrow night before a big weekend in the Bronx facing the Tigers, hosting Willie Randolph Day, and the annual Old Timers’ Day. Oh, and honor dad across the league and America on Sunday.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 64: NYY vs. MIA — Um, ouch… can we get a redo?

So basically, if you came into the game late, you missed it. And if you watched the 1st inning, chances are that you missed the rest of the game because you found something else more encouraging on TV — like the news about the tropical storm hitting Texas or who else threw their hat in the 2016 Presidential race or the latest update on the hacking scandal in the MLB world (more on that one at a later date).

The biggest news story (other than the aforementioned scandal) leading into tonight’s game was that the two pitchers that were keys to the off-season trade between the Yankees and the Marlins. The Yankees gave the Marlins reliever/starter David Phelps for Nathan Eovaldi. Phelps has been really good for the Marlins, as Nasty Nate has been for the Yankees. In other words, it’s been a good trade for both teams.

Until tonight. Phelps continued to prove why the Marlins are thankful for the trade, but Eovaldi faltered early and big. Nasty Nate couldn’t pitch his way out of anything tonight, not even making it out of the 1st inning. He threw 36 pitches, got just 2 outs, and gave up 9 hits and 8 runs. (Not a typo.) After a great groundout to lead-off the inning, Eovaldi’s missteps began — 3 singles loaded the bases, a 2-RBI single, then 3 consecutive RBI singles, a 2-RBI triple, a groundout (to his opposing pitcher), an RBI single, and an RBI double.

That was it for Eovaldi. And it was on to Chris Capuano for the long-haul tonight. Capuano got that elusive final out of that terrible 1st inning. Capuano would throw 77 total pitches into the 5th inning, keeping the Marlins from really doing much of anything under his watch.

In the 5th, with 2 (of his 5 total) strikeouts and 2 runners on base, Capuano turned the ball over to Chris Martin to finish the inning. And had Martin not thrown a perfect ball to Miami’s best hitter, things would’ve been just a bit nicer. Instead, that beautiful strike found the bat, that sent the ball over the center field wall for a big 3-run home run (2 of those runs charged to Capuano, unfortunately). A ground out closed out the 5th.

Martin didn’t give up anything else to the Marlins in the 6th and was able to hand over the game to Jose Ramirez for the final 2 innings. His 8th inning had some bumpy patches — a lead-off single and walk put runners on base, a 1-out wild pitch advanced them into scoring position, and then a 2-out single scored the lead runner.

And while the Marlins racked up a whopping 16 hits and 12 runs, the Yankees’ offense fell a bit short — 7 hits and 2 runs. In fact, the Yankees were chasing that big zero around the scoreboard well into the game.

It was the 6th inning that finally there was a breakthrough — with 2 outs, Gregorius singled, Teixeira walked, and then Brian McCann’s single scored Gregorius. “Finally, a run!” (Basically, what Yankees’ fans were saying everywhere, well those who were actually still watching the game.)  And, in the 7th, the Yankees found a hole again. Two strikeouts and Drew and Jones on the corners with a walk and a single, Mason Williams hit a big double and scored Drew.

Phelps was given a bit of a gift of some big hits in that 1st inning and finding his stride (a familiar sight to Yankee fans who remember the young pitcher from recent seasons), throwing 108 pitches over his 7 full innings against his former teammates. Look, I’ve always been big on giving credit where credit is due, and Phelps was really good tonight.

And while he lucked out with the run support, he certainly didn’t get it from his defense. Something, I’ve learned over the last couple of days — the Marlins have decent hitting, great pitching, and terrible defense.

Final score in Miami: 12-2 Marlins. (Series shifts to the Bronx for the split.)

Now before you feel too bad about that score, let me reassure you that this wasn’t the worst loss tonight. The Rays lost to the Nationals (at home) 16-4 — a 12-run loss. A 10-run loss doesn’t feel that bad now.

Nope, still stings. Losing always bites. Nevermind.

I sat for a long time trying to find some way to spin this positively on here. Um… it’s time to go home, Yankees. Reclaim your turf and your wins.

Go Yankees!