Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yanks Sweep, Eliminated From Playoff Race With O's Victory

Even though the Yankees completed the three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox tonight, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Toronto Blue Jays and officially eliminated New York from playoff contention. After their extremely rough road trip a week ago, you had to see this coming, but it didn't make it any easier to stomach. C.C. Sabathia took the mound for the final time this season and pitched his butt off, improving to a 13-13 career record against the Red Sox with his win tonight. Taking the bump and the loss for Boston was left-hander Henry Owens. Falling to a meager 0-2 this season with his less than stellar performance on a chilly night in the Bronx.

After Sabathia impressively struck out the side in order to begin the ballgame, the Yankees were first to hit the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame. Jacoby Ellsbury worked a one-out walk and scored on a ringing two-out double to left-center by Starlin Castro, giving the Bombers a first inning one run lead.

It took a few innings, but the Red Sox came back to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Xander Bogarts launched his 21st homerun of the season, a one-out solo shot to left that knotted the game up at one apiece. After the longball, David Ortiz walked in his final at-bat ever at Yankee Stadium. Big Papi was then pinch-ran for, heading to the dugout amidst a very respectable ovation from the mixed crowd of Yankees and Red Sox fans. Ortiz's final series at the Stadium was not very kind to him, going 0-10 over the three-game set in the Bronx.

The Yankees kept the offensive pressure on in the bottom of the fifth, re-taking the lead and knocking Owens out of the game. Aaron Hicks started the inning with a bunt single that was popped up just passed the outstretched arms of Owens. With two outs, Hicks took off for second and came around to score as Jacoby Ellsbury perfectly executed the hit-and-run, lacing the ball into the right-centerfield to score Hicks and put the Yankees back on top by one. Owens was then lifted for right-hander Heath Hembree, who proceeded to get Gary Sanchez to pop out to end the frame.

New York would go on to extend their lead in the bottom of the sixth, although the two runs were more of the "given" variety as opposed to  being "produced". Castro started the rally with a single to lead off the frame, advancing to second on a Chase Headley walk. Hembree was then lifted for rookie call-up Robbie Scott, who proceeded to give up a line drive single to Brian McCann that loaded the bases with one out. After an Aaron Hicks pop out, Tyler Austin drew a two-out walk which forced Castro in from third to make it a 3-1 game. One pitch after the walk, Scott chucked a breaking ball into the dirt and passed catcher Ryan Hannigan, scoring Headley from third and extending their lead to three.

Sabathia was simply excellent tonight in his final start of the 2016 season; tossing 7.1 innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Sabathia has pitched to the tune of a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts and will finish the season with a sub-four(3.91) ERA, which is pretty damn good considering the Yankees were unsure if he was even going to make the rotation at the end of spring training this year.

The Yankees would go on to add one more run, an RBI double by Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the eighth, leading to a final score of 5-1. And with Baltimore's win tonight, the wildcard race is now tied and both the Yankees and the Red Sox will play the role of spoiler as Baltimore heads to the Bronx and Toronto heads up to Boston.

Tomorrow night. the Yankees play the first of three games against Baltimore, which is the final series of 2016, and is scheduled for 7:05 PM/EST P



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