Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sweepless in Seattle...

Credit:  Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
Mariners 6, Yankees 5…

So much for a potential sweep in Seattle as the Mariners prevailed over the Yankees in extra innings on Saturday night.  Ex-Yankees Ben Gamel and Robinson Cano made themselves heard in this game.  The Yankees can still take three of four with a victory today so they can still end this road trip on a high note.

Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have his best stuff (in a statement that we have made far too often this season).  The Yankees scored first in the second inning when Gary Sanchez doubled to right, a one-hopper off the wall. After Sanchez was nearly picked off at second, Didi Gregorius hit a single to right which moved Sanchez to third.  Todd Frazier hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Sanchez scored on the play.  After allowing a meaningless single in each of the two first innings, Tanaka lost the lead in the third.  Mike Zunino opened with a blast to left center and the game was tied.  Following a strikeout of Jean Segura, former Yankee Ben Gamel homered on the first pitch to right center.  It was the 26th home run allowed by Tanaka this season, tying him for the  dubious AL lead with Ricky Nolasco. Robinson Cano went down swinging for the second out.  Nelson Cruz singled on an infield grounder to third (Tood Frazier’s long throw was up the line which took Garrett Cooper off first) and Kyle Seager was hit by a pitch on the back toe to put runners at first and second.  Following a coaching visit to the mound by pitching coach Larry Rothschild (it didn’t work), Danny Valencia ripped a single to left to score Cruz and Mitch Haniger singled through the hole to left to score Seager.  It was 4-1 Mariners.  Jarrod Dyson grounded out to end the inning.

Credit:  Ted S Warren/AP
Garrett Cooper tripled to center in the fifth with a near home run which sent center fielder Jarrod Dyson into the wall.  Dyson stayed but you could tell that he was still affected by the collision.  He would depart the game after the inning was over.  Ronald Torreyes lofted a fly ball to Dyson in center as Cooper tagged and scored.  In the sixth, Clint Frazier started the inning with a 10-pitch at-bat against M’s starter Ariel Miranda but chased an upstairs fastball to strike out. The Mariners pulled Miranda and replaced him with Steve Cishek.  Aaron Judge greeted Cishek with a high fly to right center for his 32nd home run of the season.  The Yankees had closed the gap to 4-3.

Credit:  Ted S Warren/AP
The Yankees tied the game in the 8th inning.  With one out, Brett Gardner beat out a grounder to short for a single.  Clint Frazier doubled to center off the top of the wall (if only it had been just a few more inches), Gardner moved to third.  The Mariners intentionally walked Aaron Judge to face Matt Holliday.  Holliday hit a deep sacrifice fly to right, easily scoring Gardner.  The game was tied at 4.  Gary Sanchez lined out to right so the Yankees were unable to push any more runs across the plate.  In retrospect, this was a very big missed opportunity.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Mariners recaptured the lead when Robinson Cano led off with a home run to left off David Robertson. Bummer, but you couldn’t blame D-Rob as it was an excellent pitch. He was able to retire the next three batters to get out of the inning without any further damage. 

The Yankees had life again in the top of the 9th with Mariners closer Edwin Diaz on the mound.  Didi Gregorius walked to start the inning.  Diaz was able to retire the next two batters, Todd Frazier and Chase Headley who pinch-hit for Garrett Cooper.  With Ronald Torreyes at the plate, Jacoby Ellsbury was brought in to pinch run for Gregorius and promptly stole second.  Torreyes singled to left on a line drive, bringing Ellsbury around to score and the game was tied again.  After Tommy Kahnle finished the M’s in the bottom of the 9th, it was off to extra innings.

Credit:  Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
M’s reliever Tony Zych replaced Diaz in the 10th and easily retired the Yankees, including strikeouts of both Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge.  In the bottom of the 10th, Adam Warren was on the mound.  Warren gave up a lead-off double by Ben Gamel (rapidly becoming a Yankee killer).  Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to open the possibility for a double play, but unfortunately, Nelson Cruz hit a line drive to left and Clint Frazier’s throw to the plate was off the mark as Gamel scored the winning run.  The Mariners win, 6-5.  

Credit:  Ted S Warren/AP
The Yankees (50-46) didn’t lose any ground in the AL East despite the loss.  The Boston Red Sox fell to the Los Angeles Angels, 7-3, while the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3.  It would have been a great opportunity to pick up ground in the division but it was not meant to be.  The Yankees and Rays remain 3 1/2 games behind Boston.  

Somehow, the Yankees need to get Todd Frazier going.  His 0-for-4 night dropped his season batting average to .201.  Anything from him last night could have been a difference-maker.  Among the starting position players, he was the only one without a hit for the second game in a row.

Odds & Ends…

Second baseman Starlin Castro has been placed on the 10-Day DL after re-aggravating his hamstring.  Tyler Wade, who was seen in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre locker room before the RailRiders’ game yesterday, was recalled and didn’t get to Seattle until late last night.  Presumably, he’ll share time at second with Ronald Torreyes.  Wade had a tremendous game on Thursday when the RailRiders defeated the Charlotte Knights, 13-2.  He tripled and homered, driving in 4 RBI’s.  


Caleb Smith (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will start today’s getaway game against the Mariners in place of Luis Cessa.  I am very glad to see this move.  I’d rather see what Smith is capable of doing with his first Major League start versus another uneven performance by Luis Cessa.  I am sure that Cessa will be the first call to the pen if Smith gets into trouble early but hopefully he is able to show the great success he has enjoyed in Triple A this year.  Yovanni Gallardo (4-7, 5.59 ERA) will oppose Smith.  

Jacoby Ellsbury, at least temporarily, has lost his starting gig.  With over $68 million still owed Ellsbury after this year, there’s probably not much chance he’ll be exiting anytime soon.  Manager Joe Girardi has said that he wants to go with the hot hand which means keeping Clint Frazier in the lineup.  The threat of Frazier being demoted to Triple A when Aaron Hicks returns still looms as the Yankees are not going to cut Ellsbury.  This goes against the premise of putting your best players on the field but obviously there are more factors at play.  


The Yankees get a much needed day off on Monday following their cross-country flight home.  Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox, flying up from Orange County, will replace the Yankees at Safeco Field for a three-game series against the Mariners.

Have a great Sunday!  Let’s make this a fun day with a much-needed win!  Go Yankees!

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