Monday, August 7, 2017

The Ace, The Judge, and The Split...

Credit:  Associated Press
Yankees 8, Indians 1…

For three games, it was the Cleveland Indians rolling out an ace.  Although Sunday’s game looked to be another pitching duel, the Yankees’ ace persevered and prospered as the Yankee bats woke up to power the Bombers to a series split.  The outburst of late runs were capped by Aaron Judge’s 35th home run of the season.  

Luis Severino started strong with two strikeouts to open the game, but then Michael Brantley got a hold of one and put it over the center field wall just beyond Jacoby Ellsbury’s reach.  Ells probably could have made a spectacular catch with a better timed leap but it was not meant to be and the Indians had the early 1-0 lead.  Sevy struck out Jose Ramirez to finish striking out the side, and recorded the first five outs of the game by strikeout.  

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer
With Sevy and Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco locked into a pitcher’s duel, the Yankees had a potential scoring opportunity in the top of the 5th when Todd Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury both singled.  Ronald Torreyes grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out which erased Ellsbury at second but Frazier moved to third on the play.  The speed of Torreyes prevented a double play.  Frazier was left stranded, like so many Yankee base runners before him, when Austin Romine struck out.  But it may not have been for naught as it showed signs that Carrasco was weakening.

With the pump primed in the 5th, the Yankees finally broke through against Carraso in the 6th inning.  Brett Gardner led off with a single to center.  Clint Frazier doubled to left, moving Gardy to third.  After Didi Gregorius popped out to third, Carrasco intentionally walked Aaron Judge after two balls below the strike zone to load the bases.  Chase Headley tied the game at one with a deep sacrifice fly to center which scored Gardner.  Todd Frazier walked on a full count to re-load the bases.  The $153 million man stepped to the plate and tripled to the base of the center field wall when Abraham Almonte lost sight of the ball, clearing the bases. It spelled the end of Carrasco’s day and Bryan Shaw was brought into the game.  Shaw was met with a single to left by Ronald Torreyes, which scored Ellsbury, and the Yankees had a 5-1 lead.

Credit:  Getty Images
With Mike Clevinger pitching the top of the 7th and one out, Clint Frazier walked on four pitches.  Didi Gregorius singled to center (a fly ball that fell in) as Frazier raced around to third.  Aaron Judge, who lost the MLB Home Run Lead over the weekend to Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, hit a line drive homer to center to score three more runs.

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer
In the bottom of the 7th, Luis Severino got the first two outs before giving up only his second hit of the game, a single up the middle to center by Edwin Encarnacion.  Manager Joe Girardi used it as an opportunity to pull Sevy and replaced him with Tommy Kahnle who recorded the out to end the inning. It was a brilliant performance by Severino (9-4). For 6 2/3 innings of work, he only allowed two hits and the one run off the first inning home run.  He walked a batter and struck out nine while lowering his season ERA to 2.91.

Credit:  Chuck Crow-The Plain Dealer
From there, the Yankee bullpen kept the two-hitter intact.  Both Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve pitched an inning of hitless relief to give the Yankees the win and a split of the four game series.  

The Yankees (59-51) stayed 3 games behind the Boston Red Sox with the win.  The Sox, winners of six consecutive games, beat the Chicago White Sox, 6-3, on Sunday.  The Tampa Bay Rays stayed 2.5 games behind the Yankees with a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Baltimore Orioles were also winners, 12-3 over the Detroit Tigers, so they remain 4.5 games in back of the Pinstripers.

Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Ronald Torreyes had two hits in the 12-hit Yankees attack.  Didi Gregorius was 3-for-5, raising his season batting average to .308.  With his home run, Aaron Judge became the 11th rookie to hit 35 homers in MLB history, although he did strike out three times in the game.  

After the game, Indians manager Terry Francona, one of my favorite managers, said “We got the one run early on Brant’s home run.  And the way Severino was pitching, we might have to make that hold up.  That’s as impressive of stuff as you’re going to see.  The fastball, everybody sees that, but he’s gaining confidence in an offspeed.  That’s a tough day at the plate.  That’s a tough guy to face.”  Nice job, Sevy!  Very nice job!

Odds & Ends…

After Sunday’s game, Manager Joe Girardi made his rotation decision when the Yankees optioned lefty Jordan Montgomery to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre which gave the fifth starter’s role to Jaime Garcia.  If the pitchers were auditioning over the weekend, Monty would have won in the head-to-head matchup with Garcia.  But the decision was based on experience, track record, and inevitably a potential innings limit on Montgomery.  It will probably be tough for Monty to go down to Triple A but he’ll be back in a few weeks when the rosters expand.  And of course he’ll be a prime candidate for the rotation entering 2018.  I think he’ll be a great influence on other young arms in Scranton, most notably Chance Adams.  

Credit:  Andrew Schwartz-NY Daily News
Speaking of Chance Adams, he picked up a win yesterday in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 7-5 victory over the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Adams went six innings for the win, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs.  He struck out 5 and allowed one home run (a solo shot by Matt Dominguez in the 6th inning).  I was glad to see that he walked only one batter.  Both Aaron Hicks and Tyler Austin were 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, while Miguel Andujar and Billy McKinney both had two-run homers.  Ji-Man Choi added a solo shot.  With the victory, the RailRiders swept the weekend series with the Red Sox.  

The Seattle Mariners acquired a Yankees rumored July trade target on Sunday when they traded minor league outfielder Boog Powell to the Oakland A’s for first baseman Yonder Alonso.  It’s probably the play of third baseman-turned-first baseman Chase Headley since the All-Star Break that prevented Alonso from donning the pinstripes.  Now Alonso gets to rub shoulders with Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel in the Mariners drive for a Wild Card spot. 

It was sad to wake up today to news that former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton has passed away after a four-year struggle with brain cancer.  Daulton, 55, was one of baseball's toughest catchers during his time, and although he was a long-time Phillie, he won the World Series in his final season with the then-Florida Marlins in 1997 (as a trading deadline rental).  


Have a great Monday!  It may be a day off the Yankees as they make their way to Canada, but for us, it probably means back to work day.  Make the most of it.  Go Yankees!

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