Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sonny Wins Despite Gray Skies...

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Yankees 5, Mets 4...

Sonny Gray finally won his first game as a Yankee, blanking the Mets until rookie first baseman Dominic Smith blasted his first Major League home run.  All was good up until the 9th when Aroldis Chapman gave up a two-run homer to Amed Rosario, showing he is not over whatever this funk is, to bring the Mets within a run.  Fortunately, the Yanks prevailed but it was a disappointing end to what should have been an exciting win.

The Yankees scored first with a run in the bottom of the 3rd.  Ronald Torreyes led off with a double to left off Mets starter Jacob DeGrom.  The third baseman, Wilmer Flores, was playing in and was unable to reach the ball which went past third base.  Toe fell down at first base but was able to get up and slide into second ahead of the throw. It was a nice recovery by Toe who had alertly slapped first base with his hand as he got up to run.  Brett Gardner executed a sacrifice bunt to move Toe to third.  Aaron Hicks rapped a fly ball to right that dropped in ahead of Curtis Granderson to score Toe and the Yankees led 1-0.

They added two more runs in the bottom of the 4th.  Chase Headley worked a two-out walk.  He was followed by Jacoby Ellsbury who parked one in the right center stands on a line drive to increase the score to 3-0.  As the Mets announcers said, "It's a double in every other park except this one".  

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
With Sonny Gray still going strong, Gary Sanchez led off the bottom of the 6th inning and unloaded on a DeGrom pitch for a tremendous home run to left center.  The homer, Gary's 21st of the year, increased the lead to 4-0.

Credit:  Rich Schultz-The Associated Press
Wilmer Flores led off the 7th and he battled Gray for 8 pitches before walking to reach first.  He didn't stay there long as Dominic Smith followed with a home run to center.  End of day for Gray, but it was a great performance despite the two-run homer.  Manager Joe Girardi brought in Tommy Kahnle who retired the next three Mets to halt the Mets' momentum.  

Dellin Betances pitched the 8th.  He did walk a batter (Yoenis Cespedes) with two outs.  Cespedes moved into a scoring position after a wild pitch off Gary Sanchez's glove but was left stranded when Betances struck out Michael Conforto.

The Yankees added an insurance run (which would prove to be huge) in the bottom of the 8th.  Aaron Judge led off with a double to the left field corner wall, sliding into second with his left hand just under the perfect throw from Yoenis Cespedes.  Didi Gregorius singled on a fly to shallow left that fell just beyond Wilmer Flores, the third baseman, to put runners on the corners.  A sacrifice fly to center by Gary Sanchez was deep enough (warning track) to score Judge to give the Yankees a 5-2 advantage.  The Mets replaced DeGrom with lefty Jerry Blevins.  Chase Headley singled to left, moving Gregorius to second.  Blevins then struck out Jacoby Ellsbury.  The Mets pulled Blevins and replaced him with reliever Chasen Bradford (there's another reliever in MLB from Las Vegas, Nevada named Chasen besides Shreve? Was it something in the Clark County water 27-28 years ago?).  Bradford got Todd Frazier to pop out to first to end the inning.  In retrospect, we could have used those additional runs to help prevent an agonizing 9th.

I started to get nervous when I saw Aroldis Chapman warming up.  I was thankful the Yankees weren't nursing a one-run lead.  Wilmer Flores was first up.  He worked the count full which had me fearing that Chapman would walk the lead-off batter.  Fortunately, he struck out Flores on a foul tip to get the first out.  The Mets then inserted Jose Reyes as a pinch-hitter for Dominic Smith which seemed odd given that Smith had homered in his last at-bat and Chapman had been beaten by a young slugger the night before.  Nevertheless, Reyes hit a grounder to first that Chase Headley could not corral.  Reyes was awarded a single but Headley could have cleanly handled the play for an out.  Rookie Amed Rosario came to the plate and hit a long fly ball to center that Aaron Judge and Jacoby Ellsbury could only watch as it sailed over the fence.  The Yankees' lead had been cut to 5-4 and there was still only one out.  

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound. Maybe he told Chapman to stop trying to be cute with the flat sliders.  Whatever he told Chapman, it must have worked.  Travis d'Arnaud grounded out to short on a great stop and throw to first by Didi Gregorius (despite losing his footing).  Chapman had Juan Lagares down to two strikes but he hit a grounder to first that Chase Headley successfully handled.  Chapman was moving toward first and took the toss from Headley just ahead of Lagares, but he must have pulled something in his leg as he was running toward first.  Chapman got the save, his 16th, but it was far from an exciting win.  I'll take the win, don't get me wrong.  But Chapman's struggles took away some of the euphoria that normally accompanies the excitement of victory.  

The Yankees (63-55) still trail the Boston Red Sox by 4 1/2 games.  The Red Sox pounded the St Louis Cardinals, 10-4, in a game that saw the Sox turn an easy triple play to go with an eight-run inning.  The Toronto Blue Jays moved back into third place with their 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  They trail the Yankees by 4 1/2 games.  The Baltimore Orioles, sliding back to fourth place, lost to the Seattle Mariners, 3-1.  They are 5 games behind the Yanks.  The Yankees increased their lead in the Wild Card standings by 3 games over the Los Angeles Angels.  It's amazing to think that 8 AL teams are within 5 games of each other.  In the National League, the two WC leaders (Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks) hold a five-game cushion.  

Aaron Judge struck out in the first inning against Jacob DeGrom to extend his consecutive game streak with a strikeout to 32 games.  He tied Adam Dunn's 2012 record for non-pitchers.  If he strikes out tonight, he'll hold the dubious record by himself.  

As great as the Yankees bullpen has been this year, it seems like there is an ugly stick that is passed from reliever to reliever.  Former Yankee reliever Tyler Clippard was awful for a stretch prior to his trade to the Chicago White Sox.  By the time he was traded to the Houston Astros, he was once again being touted as a two-time All-Star.  He passed his awfulness before his departure to Dellin Betances, who rebounded, but must have given the baton to Chapman.  The Yankees were downplaying Chapman's hamstring tightness after the game but there's reason for concern (in my opinion).  If it were my decision, I'd pull Chapman from the closer's role until he can right the ship.  My choice for closer would be David Robertson.  Betances tends to have more problems with base runners and I'd prefer to keep him in his effective set-up role.  

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-The Associated Press
For Sonny Gray (7-7), it was great to see him get the win in his Yankee Stadium debut.  Pitching six innings, he held the Mets to 5 hits and only gave  up the 2 runs on the Dominic Smith homer in the 7th.  He walked two batters and struck out 5.  This is why Gray was worth the cost of Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian.

Odds & Ends...

The latest Subway Series moves to Citi Field tonight.  Jaime Garcia gets to pitch in familiar National League digs.  Have Bat--Will Travel.  Hopefully the Yankees will back Garcia with a few runs this time or maybe he just takes matters into his own hands...

Credit:  FOX Sports
The New York Mets have made a pitching change for tonight's game.  The scheduled starter, Seth Lugo, has been placed on the DL with an impingement in his right shoulder. Robert Gsellman, a 24-year-old righty, will start in his place.  Gsellman is 5-5 with 6.16 ERA for the Mets this season. 

Credit:  Kathy Willens-The Associated Press
It's hard for me to get overly excited about Greg Bird after a series of disappointments this year since Spring Training.  Nevertheless, he is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre today.  Bird is hoping to join the Yankees next week but for me, he needs to show that he can hit again before Garrett Cooper loses his spot as the backup first baseman for the big league club.  I am very skeptical that we'll have any significant productivity from Bird in 2017.  I hope he proves me wrong.

As expected, the Yankees placed RHP Luis Cessa on the 10-day DL with his ribcage injury. LHP Caleb Smith, demoted yesterday, was recalled to take Cessa's place.  The lovely Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Shuttle...

Have a great Wednesday!  Let's show Queens how Bronxites like to party!  Go Yankees!

No comments:

Post a Comment