Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another Gardner Walkoff Keeps Yanks in 1st

The Yankees head toward the trading deadline, and into the heart of the season, on fire, with wins galore, some of the walkoff variety.

This is in spite of the starting pitching difficulties that forced Joe Girardi to go the musical chairs route on the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. He gave rookie Caleb Smith his 2nd major league start, and allowed him to go only 3 1/3rd innings, 71 pitches. He was shaky: 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks.

Then it was Adam Warren to pitch the rest of the 4th inning and all of the 5th, Dellin Betances the 6th, Tommy Kahnle the 7th, David Robertson the 8th, and Aroldis Chapman the 9th.

Gary Sanchez hit his 16th home run of the season in the 4th, and Chase Headley hit his 5th of the year in the 6th. It was 4-3 Yankees in the 8th, but David Robertson did the one thing we most needed him to do: Not pitch like Tyler Clippard. He allowed a game-tying home run.

For the 2nd straight game, Lucas Duda, whom the Rays acquired from the Mets, hit a home run in the 8th inning. It didn't matter the day before, because the Yankees had a big lead. This time, the game was tied.

And tied it remained into the bottom of the 9th. Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Brad Boxberger, and he had a meltdown. Cliche alert: Walks can kill you. He issued a leadoff walk to Headley. Girardi sent the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury in to pinch-run for the slow-as-molasses Headley. Ellsbury did what we needed: He stole 2nd. This turned out not to be necessary, as Todd Frazier was hit with a pitch. Then Ronald Torreyes bunted to move the runners over, and beat the throw at 1st base, and now the bases were loaded with nobody out.

Cash had seen enough of Boxberger, and brought in Dan Jennings to evit the apparently inevitable. But, as he was on Thursday night, the walkoff hero was Brett Gardner. No home run this time, just a single to center field, but that was enough to bring Ellsbury home. Yankees 5, Rays 4. WP: Chapman (4-1). No save. LP: Boxberger (2-3).

The Boston Red Sox won last night, so the Yankees remain a half-game up on them in the American League East.

The series concludes this afternoon. Jordan Montgomery starts for us, Jacob Faria for them. Then, the Detroit Tigers come into Yankee Stadium.

Tomorrow is the trading deadline. Rumors about bringing in pitcher Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics are all over the place. At this point, I'm less concerned about what he can do for us than I am about what we'll have to give up. Because, as you know, I don't trust Brian Cashman any further than I can throw him.

Cliche alert: And with my bad knee, Ed, I shouldn't be throwing anybody.

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