Saturday, August 26, 2017

Yonder Alonzo & The Trade Never Made...

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

Mariners 2, Yankees 1...

I was surprised when the Sonny Grade trade last month did not include first baseman Yonder Alonzo.  The Yankees had been so closely connected to both players, but Chase Headley's play after the switch to first had softened the need for a first baseman.  I've never trusted Headley to sustain his production and felt that the Yankees should have made the deal for Alonzo, especially after losing out on Lucas Duda.  The Yankees didn't make the deal and the Seattle Mariners swooped in and grabbed him from the Oakland A's.  The move paid dividends for the Mariners when Alonzo provided the game-winning home run off Aroldis Chapman last night as the M's sent the Yankees to their second consecutive loss.

For the Yankees, the old problem of missing scoring opportunities re-surfaced.  They loaded the bases a few times yet had no runs to show for it.

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

The Mariners threatened to score in the 2nd and 3rd innings against Yankees starter CC Sabathia, but he was able to emerge unscathed both times.  In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees loaded the bases on three walks with only one out.  Aaron Hicks flied out to left but it wasn't deep enough to score a run.  Gary Sanchez came up and blasted a high fly that sounded like a home run but left fielder Ben Gamel caught it on the warning track.  Oh, if it could have only traveled a few feet further.  It was a huge missed opportunity.

In the top of the 4th, the Mariners scored the game's first run when Mike Zunino blasted a home run to left, a solo shot.  It's where I wish that El Gary's shot could have landed the previous inning. The Yankees re-loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning.  Didi Gregorius was hit by a pitch in his back as he attempted to turn away so he took first base.  Starlin Castro doubled to right with the ball bouncing to the wall.  Didi Gregorius was held at third. With two outs, Chase Headley walked to fill the bases, but Todd Frazier went down swinging to end the inning.  Sad face for me.

The game progressed into the latter innings with the Yankees unable to scratch out any runs M's starter Ariel Miranda and the Seattle bullpen until the 8th inning.  Former Yankee reliever David Phelps took the mound in the 8th and walked Aaron Judge with one out.  Didi Gregorius followed with a double to left center. Guillermo Heredia bobbled the stop and it gave Judge the time to score.  The game was tied.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press
A base running gaffe cost the Yankees for potentially more runs.  Starlin Castro hit a grounder to short and Didi aggressively broke for third.  A great play if he had been safe, but third baseman Kyle Seager was able to apply the tag for the out.  Two subsequent walks loaded the bases, but like the 4th inning, Todd Frazier struck out...again.  

Dellin Betances took over in the 9th and the Mariners almost blew the game open.  Kyle Seager walked, and Mike Zunino doubled to left down the line to the corner.  Seager was given the stop sign at third.  Yonder Alonzo, pinch-hitting for Guillermo Heredia, drew a walk to load the bases.  There was only one out.  Following a visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Betances got Ben Gamel to pop up in foul territory for the second out.  Robinson Cano entered the game as pinch-hitter for Taylor Motter but he struck out on three pitches.  Betances had worked his way out of trouble. 

David Robertson held the M's in the top of the 10th, allowing only a meaningless single.  Aroldis Chapman took over in the 11th inning and it looked good for two batters.  Both Mitch Haniger and Mike Zunino grounded out so Chapman only needed one more out.  Yonder Alonzo, with a swing that would have looked great in pinstripes or at least these funkly little league looking uniforms, destroyed a Chapman pitch over the center field wall into Monument Park.  The M's had taken a one run lead.

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz took over for reliever James Pazos in the bottom of the 11th.  After two quick outs (the second a deep fly to the warning track in left by Todd Frazier), Brett Gardner worked a walk.  He attempted to steal second and was called out on the field, with the Mariners thinking they won the game, but the Yankees challenged.  Upon further review, Gardy was ruled safe as his hands reached the bag before the tag.  There was brief hope but Aaron Hicks struck out to end the game.  Not A-A-Ron's finest moment...

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

This was yet another very disappointing loss.  The Yankees could have shaved two games off the AL East deficit the last two days but they've failed to take advantage of Red Sox losses.  The Yankees (68-59) remain 4 1/2 games behind Boston.  The Baltimore Orioles beat, or should I say crushed, the Red Sox, 16-3.  The Tampa Bay Rays beat the St Louis Cardinals, 7-3, so the Rays and O's remain tied for third place, trailing the Yankees by 5 1/2 games.  The Mariners were able to close the Wild Card gap with the Yankees to three games.  The Yankees still lead the Wild Card chase, but the Minnesota Twins picked up a game with their 6-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  They trail the Yanks by 2 1/2 games.  

It was a very strong game for CC Sabathia.  He pitched seven innings for the no-decision, giving up only five hits, a walk, and one run.  He struck out six.  Aroldis Chapman (4-3) took the loss.  His season ERA is now 4.23.  

Hopefully the Yankees can shake out of the RISP doldrums today but they never seem to give Sonny Gray any run support.  Today is as good as any to change that.  

Odds & Ends...

Prior to yesterday's game, the Yankees reinstated 2B Starlin Castro from the DL and optioned little used 2B/SS Tyler Wade to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Although Wade looked starstruck early on, his lack of play had more to do with the terrific performance of Ronald Torreyes. But for everything that Toe's done, I am glad to have Castro back on the field.  Too bad for Wade that his last MLB memory (at least for now) is the fight-marred game in Detroit.  

Today, the Yankees activated first baseman Greg Bird.  He's in the lineup and will bat sixth.  Tyler Austin is the unlucky odd man out as he heads for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Major League Baseball issued a release yesterday regarding the suspensions and fines as a result of Thursday's brawl in Detroit:

I've heard screams about no suspensions for Michael Fulmer, Dellin Betances or Tommy Kahnle, but honestly, I felt there was reasonable doubt about the intentions of both Fulmer and Betances.  Perhaps Kahnle should have been suspended for not hitting Miguel Cabrera!

The suspensions are currently being appealed by all (hoping for reduced penalties).

Joe Girardi has indicated the Yankees will attempt to stagger the suspensions since they do not currently have any other catchers on the MLB active roster and the only other catcher on the 40-man roster (Kyle Higashioka) is on the DL. It's unfortunate that someone will lose their 40-man roster spot out of the need for a temporary catcher.

Have a great Saturday!  Let's All Rise for Victory!  Go Yankees!

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