Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Yanks Take 2 of 3 from Cleveland, Head Into Boston

The Yankees played a home series against the Cleveland Indians this past weekend. On Friday, Michael Pineda allowed 4 runs in 6+ innings, but the Yankees gave him a cushion, including a grand slam by Starlin Castro in the 3rd inning, his 12th home run of the season. Aaron Hicks added a homer in the 7th, his 4th of the year.

Joe Girardi sent rookie righthander Johnny Barbato out to pitch the top of the 8th inning, and he nearly blew it, turning an 11-4 Yankee lead into 11-7. Somehow, it was the much-maligned (by me) Adam Warren who put out the fire. (Maybe it wasn't a totally wasted trade after all.)

The Yankees tacked on insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th, to make the final score 13-7. WP: Pineda (6-10). No save. LP: Josh Tomlin (11-4).


The Yankees got the runs to overcome not-so-good pitching on Friday. On Saturday, they didn't. They scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning, but that was it. CC Sabathia allowed single runs in the 4th, the 5th and the 6th, Anthony Swarzak 1 in the 7th, and Nick Goody 1 in the 9th.

And who came on to nail the game down for the Indians in the 9th inning? Why, it was Andrew Miller, who was a Yankee just 9 days ago. Although we can't jump on general manager Brian Cashman for that trade, since Miller isn't the reason the Yankees lost the game. A lack of offense was... and Cashman trading away Carlos Beltran may have had something to do with that.

Indians 5, Yankees 2. WP: Corey Kluber. SV: Miller (10). LP: Sabathia (6-9).


The Yankees didn't get much offense on Sunday, either. But this time, they didn't need it, because they got a really good start from Masahiro Tanaka: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, no walks, 8 strikeouts. And Girardi didn't mess it up by removing Tanaka after just 6 innings, either: Warren pitched a scoreless 7th.

The Yankees scored single runs in the 1st inning, the 4th and the 5th. The run in the 4th came on the 13th home run of the season by Didi Gregorius. To put that in perspective: In 20 seasons, Derek Jeter reached 13 or more home runs 10 times. Then again, Derek was a righthanded hitter, hitting into the Death Valley of left-center at Yankee Stadiums old and new; Didi is a lefty, aiming for the short porch.

The reacquired Tyler Clippard came in for the 8th. With 1 out, he walked Jose Ramirez, who tried to steal 2nd, and catcher Austin Romine made a bad throw, letting him get to 3rd. Then Girardi brought in Dellin Betances, who got off to an inauspicious beginning. (I can't really say, "start," can I?) He walked Rajai Davis (not intentionally), then threw a wild pitch that got Ramirez home and Davis, the tying run, to 2nd.

But Betances struck Tyler Naquin out to end the threat. In the 9th, Chris Gimenez touched him for a leadoff single, but he got Carlos Santana (not the legendary guitarist) to ground into a double play, which Indians (and former Red Sox) manager Terry Francona unsuccessfully challenged. Betances then fanned Jason Kipnis to end a tense game.

Yankees 3, Indians 2. WP: Tanaka (8-4). SV: Betances (2). LP: Hector Carrasco (7-6).


There are 51 games left over the season's remaining 8 weeks. The Yankees are 56-55. The Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays are technically tied for 1st place in the American League Eastern Division, but the O's are ahead on percentage points, 1 game in the all-important loss column ahead of the Jays. The Boston Red Sox are 2 1/2 behind the O's, 2 in the loss column. The Yankees trail the O's by 7 games, regularly and loss-columnly.

In the race for the AL Wild Card, the Yankees are 4 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, 5 in the loss column.

And guess where the Yankees are now? That's right, Boston, for 3 games against the Sox. Here are the projected pitching matchups:

* Tonight: Luis Severino vs. Rick Porcello.

* Tomorrow: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Drew Pomeranz.

* Thursday: Pineda vs. Steven Wright. (The Sox pitcher, not the "existentialist comedian," although he is a Massachusetts native and a huge Sox fan.)

All 3 games are set for a start time of 7:10 PM. It is unlikely that Alex Rodriguez will play in any of them. Chances are, he will only appear, as scheduled, in the next game, the series opener at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Until then... Come on you Bombers! Beat The Scum!

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