Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Holliday Weekend...

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Yankees 5, Red Sox 1...


Matt Holliday gets great credit for the win with his three-run homer, but admittedly, this game was about Masahiro Tanaka as the Yankees took down the Sox in the third game of their four game series. Luis Severino may be the trendy new choice as staff ace but Tanaka is showing that he is still the master.  From the first pitch (a called strike), you could tell that Tanaka had his pitches working. I was listening to the NESN broadcasters during the game and they marveled all game at how Tanaka was keeping his pitches down.  

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

The Yankees got on the board first when Chase Headley hit a high fly to left for solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd off Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz. After the Headley home run, the Yankees loaded the bases but they were left stranded when Aaron Hicks grounded out to second on a bullet that was stopped by second baseman Tzu-Wei Lin. His throw to first easily beat Hicks.

Meanwhile, Tanaka was dealing. The Red Sox didn't pick up their first hit until the top of the 4th when Andrew Benintendi led off with a single to right center.  

The Red Sox briefly tied the game in the top of the 6th. The pesky Eduardo Nunez led off with a beautiful swing that drove the ball to left field.  Brett Gardner played the ball of the wall but Nunez slid into second ahead of the throw for a double. Andrew Benintendi hit a grounder to second and was thrown out at first, but Nunez moved to third.  With Mookie Betts at the plate, a Tanaka pitch hit the dirt and ricocheted off Gary Sanchez's glove. Nunez came flying home ahead of Tanaka who was covering. Game tied, 1-1. The Yankees prevented any further damage when Didi Gregorius made a great diving catch for the second out and Aaron Hicks tracked down a fly ball running to the wall for the final out.  

In the bottom of the 6th, Drew Pomeranz walked Didi Gregorius on a full count. Chase Headley lined a single to center and Didi slid headfirst into third ahead of the throw from Jackie Bradley, Jr. Runners safe at the corners.  Matt Holliday came up and crushed a Pomeranz pitch with a high fly into the left field stands.  Andrew Benintendi just stood and watched the ball sail into the crowd for the three-run bomb.  4-1, Yankees.  

Credit:  Robert Sabo

The Yankees added an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th against Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had replaced Aaron Hicks at the top of the inning, roped a shot into left center field. Andrew Benintendi retrieved the ball but overthrew his first cut-off man.  It allowed the couple seconds that Ellsbury needed to safely slide into third for a triple.  Gary Sanchez followed with a grounder between second and third. Eduardo Nunez was going to his right and Rafael Devers went in front of him, moving to his left.  The ball glanced off Devers' glove and rolled into left field. Ellsbury scored on the play.

Masahiro Tanaka came back out for the top of the 8th, but he was pulled by Joe Girardi after the lead-off hitter, Tzu-Wei Lin, singled through the hole into right field.  David Robertson replaced Masa and recorded two quick outs.  Lin moved into scoring position when Didi Gregorius made a bare-handed grab  on a grounder by Mookie Betts but held the ball knowing he couldn't beat Betts to first. Fortunately, Mitch Moreland grounded to Gregorius for a force out at second to end the threat.

Dellin Betances took over for D-Rob in the 9th.  Unlike his last outing, there was no drama this time. After it appeared that Gary Sanchez had caught a pop up  by Hanley Ramirez behind the backstop for the first out, the call was overruled when it was determined the ball had hit the netting.  It didn't matter...Betances struck out Ramirez and the next two batters to end the game.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (72-63) pulled back to within 4 1/2 games of the Red Sox with the win. They maintained their one-game edge over the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Standings.  The Twins absolutely destroyed the Kansas City Royals, 17-0.  The Yankees did increase their lead over the third place Baltimore Orioles to 3 1/2 games.  The O's fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2.  

Masahiro Tanaka (11-10) got the win with his seven innings of work.  He held the Red Sox to five hits, two walks and one run.  He only struck out three, but the most important stat...he didn't allow any home runs. Nice job by Dellin Betances to strike out the side in the 9th.  Matt Holliday was clearly the hitting star with the massive home run but both Chase Headley and Gary Sanchez were 3-for-4 in the game. Plus, Headley had the homer that gave the Yankees an early lead. 

Credit:  Jim McIsaac-Getty Images

Ronald Torreyes, subbing for Starlin Castro, was hitless in three at-bats for his 25th birthday. Castro missed Saturday's game after undergoing a root canal in the morning following the loss of an artificial front tooth sometime Friday night. Despite the lack of hits, Toe made his plays in the field, including his tag of Rafael Devers who had attempted to steal second in the 5th inning.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-Associated Press

Aaron Hicks left the game after the sixth inning due to tightness in his left oblique (the opposite side of prior injury that landed him on the DL earlier in the season). He'll undergo a MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Hicks apparently felt the tightness while making the running catch of the high fly to center by Hanley Ramirez  to end the top of the 6th. The injury will most likely reinsert Jacoby Ellsbury as a prominent part of the starting lineup. Clint Frazier was in Trenton doing some light work with the Thunder but he has yet to begin a rehab assignment so he's not an immediate option.

Odds & Ends...

The suspension appeals have been heard for both Miguel Cabrera and Alex Wilson for their part in the recent Yankees-Tigers brawl. Both players saw a game shaved off their respective penalties. Cabrera will sit out six games instead of seven, while Wilson takes a 3-day rest (instead of four). Hopefully, it is a sign that Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will receive the benefit of a one-game reduction when the results of their appeals are announced. Cabrera may have gotten the longest penalty but there's no doubt the cost is much greater for the Yankees given they have something to play for this month.

Have a great Sunday! The Yanks can take the series win today against AL Cy Young frontrunner Chris Sale. They'll need to bring their "A" game.  Go Yankees!

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