Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yankees Beat Mariners as Scott Servais Pulls a Girardi

The Yankees took the 1st 2 of their 4-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, but Joe Girardi threw away the 3rd with his pitching musical chairs.

On Sunday afternoon, he sent rookie Caleb Smith out to start, and it was nearly a disaster: He allowed 4 runs and didn't get out of the 4th inning.

But Chad Green took over, and pitched through the 6th. Dellin Betances pitched the 7th, and David Robertson the 8th. None of them allowed so much as a baserunner.

The Yankees got single runs on solo home runs by Brett Gardner in the 1st (his 17th homer of the season), Didi Gregorius in the 2nd (his 13th), and Didi again in the 4th (his 14th). But it was 4-3 Mariners when Smith left.

The key inning turned out to be the top of the 6th. Mariners manager Scott Servais "pulled a Girardi," and took his starter, Yovani Gallardo, out after just 5 innings. And, unlike Girardi, it wasn't because of a "magic number" of pitches: He'd thrown only 78.

He brought in James Pazos. Big mistake: With 1 out, he walked Chase Headley and Todd Frazier. Cliche alert: Walks can kill you. Or, in the Yankees' case, save you. Ronald Torreyes hit an infield single to load the bases. Gardner singled home Headley to tie the game.

Servais pulled Pazos for Tony Zych. Big mistake: Clint Frazier continued his best efforts to redeem the stupid trade of Andrew Miller by cracking a double to left, scoring Todd Frazier and Torreyes.

Aroldis Chapman once again made things more interesting in the 9th inning than they should have been, allowing 2 hits. But he finally slammed the door. Yankees 6, Mariners 4. WP: Green (1-0). SV: Chapman (11). LP: James Pazos (2-3).

For nearly the entirety of the Mariners' 40-year existence, whether they've been good or bad, in either the Kingdome or Safeco, they have not been kind hosts to the Yankees. We've always had trouble there. This time, we took 3 out of 4, and probably should have swept.


So here's how things stand, 16 weeks into the 26-week Major League Baseball regular season:

* The Yankees are 51-46, a pace for 85 wins. Not good enough. They are 29-18 at home, but 26-28, under .500, on the road.

* The Yankees are 2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division, but even with them in the all-important loss column, with 65 games to play. (We have a whopping 4 games in hand.) The Tampa Bay Rays are 3 1/2 back, the Baltimore Orioles 6, and the Toronto Blue Jays 9; in the loss column, it's the Rays 3 behind the Sox, the O's 5 and the Jays 8. It's too soon to say that any of the 5 teams is out of it.

* As for the American League Wild Card race, if the current standings turn out to be the final standings, the Yankees would host the Wild Card Game, against the Kansas City Royals. The Cleveland Indians lead the AL Central by 1 1/2 over the Royals, and 3 1/2 over the Minnesota Twins. The Houston Astros have all but wrapped up the AL West, leading the Mariners by 17 games.
The Rays, Twins, Mariners, Orioles, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers are all within 3 1/2 games of the 2nd Wild Card spot; the Tigers, Jays, and A's within 7 1/2. Only the Chicago White Sox, 11 games out, seem well and truly out of the AL Playoff hunt.

* The Yankees' remaining schedule is as follows: 10 games vs. the BoSox, 7 at home, 3 away; 10 games vs. the Rays, 4 at home, 6 away; 9 games vs. the Jays, 3 at home, 6 away; 7 games vs. the O's, 4 at home, 3 away; 7 games vs. the Indians, 3 at home, 4 away; 6 games vs. the Tigers, 3 at home, 3 away; 3 home games vs. the Twins; 3 home games vs. the Mariners; 3 away games vs. the Rangers; the 4-game split home-and-away series with the Mets; 2 home Interleague games against the Cincinnati Reds; and a home makeup of a rainout against the Royals.

The home Interleague series with the Reds starts tonight. Jordan Montgomery starts against Luis Castillo. No, not that Luis Castillo. Tomorrow's game is a matinee, and Luis Severino will start against Homer Bailey.

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