Saturday, September 10, 2016

Yanks Celebrate LLWS Champs With Win Over Tampa, 5-1

Today, the Yankees honored the Little League World Series Championship team from New York in a special pregame ceremony before taking on the Tampa Bay Rays. Each member of the team trotted out to their respective positions, standing alongside the Yankee starters as the national anthem was being played and a video montage of their championship run scrolled across the Jumbotron in centerfield. After the anthem, the champs ran off the field and into the dugout where the rest of the Yankees were waiting for them with high-fives and congratulations, capping off an afternoon that they most definitely will never forget.

This is what makes baseball so great; a chance to see starry-eyed youngsters being celebrated for their baseball accomplishments by the diamond heroes they so long to emulate. Like Brad Pitt said as Billy Beane in the movie Moneyball, "How can you not be romantic about baseball."

The Pinstripers used that little league inspiration this afternoon as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the four game set. Masahiro Tanaka was absolutely brilliant in his outing, improving to 13-4 with his dominant performance today. Getting the ball and a loss for Tampa Bay was there ace Chris Archer, falling to 8-18 in another outing for the righty that started off really well but failed to get the job done in the end.

Both Archer and Tanaka cruised through the first five frames, with Tanaka out-dueling the AL strikeout leader by striking out nine as compared to Archer's five.

Chris Archer was the first to blink in this pitchers duel this afternoon, as the Yankees were finally able to put some runs on the board against the tough righty. Brett Gardner started off the inning with a line drive single to center and scored when the next batter Jacoby Ellsbury launched a two-run homerun into the seats in right field, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The very next batter Gary Sanchez followed suit by blasting a deep homerun to centerfield to widen the gap to three.

Tanaka didn't end up giving up his first run until the top of the eighth where Bobby Wilson smacked a  one-out solo shot to left that inched the Rays closer at 3-1. Tanaka followed the longball with an unintentional drilling of Logan Forsythe. The HBP prompted manager Joe Girardi to pull his ace in favor of right-hander Adam Warren. Tanaka's performance today was one of the best in his major league career, tossing 7.1 innings of one run ball, allowing just five hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Warren escaped the inning with no further damage as he got Evan Longoria to ground into an inning ending double-play.

The Yankees went on to add two more important runs in the bottom of the eighth as they close the door on any ideas of a Tampa come back. Brett Gardner again started off the frame with a line drive single to left, advancing to third on a ground rule double by Jacoby Ellsbury. In a play that I have never seen happen, the next batter Gary Sanchez was supposed to be intentionally walked but took the first pitch he saw that bled back over the plate and blasted it to centerfield for a very long sacrifice fly that scored Gardner and made it a 4-1 score. Didi Gregorius followed up with a sacrifice fly of his own, a high fly ball to centerfield that scored Ellsbury from third to extend their lead to four.

The insurance runs were especially important because Delin Betances was unavailable for this afternoon's game. A combination of Richard Bleier and Tyler Clippard went on to retire the Rays, sealing the series victory and pulling the Yankees to within a half game of the second Wild Card spot and 3.5 games of first place in the AL East.

The Bombers look to make it back to back series sweeps tomorrow in game four, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM/EST.

2 comments:

  1. Great start by Tanaka! I was worried facing archer.

    Unfortunately, we don't have an off day until 9/19. Today gave a rest to the BP, which was huge.

    The rest of the starters need to step up and go the distance. Hopefully tomorrow cessa and sevs can get it done themselves!

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    1. Tanaka has been an absolute beast lately. I think this is the best he's pitched since coming over to the States.

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