Saturday, July 29, 2017

Can't Say Yanks Are Toothless: Back in 1st Place!

So Brett Gardner hit a walkoff home run in the 11th inning on Thursday night, and in the celebration, somebody jumped up, and his helmet smacked Aaron Judge in the mouth, breaking one of his teeth.

The tooth was fixed yesterday morning, and Judge was in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium last night. Good thing, too: He hit a home run in the 4th inning. Gardner hit one in the 1st. And rookie sensation Clint Frazier hit one in the 5th, going a Judgelike 455 feet, driving in 3 runs.

That's 4 home runs on the season for Frazier (remember, he's a recent callup), 19 for Gardner (remember, he's meant to be the speed guy on this team), and 33 for Judge (which is more home runs than a person has teeth, even to start out with)! Say what you want about the Yankees, but they are not toothless!

(Okay, Clint is no longer a prospect, or even a "prospect." He's a rookie sensation. But he could still turn out to be the next Kevin Maas, Dan Pasqua or Steve Balboni. But I would definitely settle for him being the next Shane Spencer, or even the next Brian Doyle!)

Masahiro Tanaka pitched his best game of the season, mainly because Joe Girardi let him: 8 innings, 109 pitches, 1 run, 2 hits, no walks, and a career-high 14 strikeouts.

The 1 run was a home run by Lucas Duda, whom the Rays just picked up from the Mets. This time, though, the home run that Tanaka allowed wasn't an early gopher ball that opened the floodgates. Instead, it was in the 7th inning, an inning that Girardi usually doesn't even let him pitch.

A Didi Gregorius single brought home another run in the 8th, to finish it off. Yankees 6, Rays 1. WP: Tanaka (8-9). No save. LP: Austin Pruitt (5-2).

And the Boston Red Sox lost to the Kansas City Royals 4-2, hours after acquiring former Yankee Eduardo "NunE6" Nunez. The Yankees are now in 1st place in the American League Eastern Division by half a game -- 2 games in the all-important loss column! First time alone in 1st place since June 21.

The series continues this afternoon. Caleb Smith starts against Blake Snell.

Don't look now, but Adrian Beltre, now with the Texas Rangers, has 2,998 career hits, 454 home runs, and a .307 lifetime batting average. His ticket to the Hall of Fame is being printed. And I will have to do that "3,000 Hit Club In Perspective" post again.

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