Sunday, April 9, 2017

Yanks Win Walkfest, Avoid Sweep In 7-3 Comeback Win

On another beautiful day in Baltimore, the Yankees avoided the sweep by the Baltimore Orioles in route to their second victory of the season. C.C. Sabathia took the ball for New York this afternoon in attempts of stopping their recent three-game losing streak. Sabathia has had success against these Orioles, going 19–10 in his career against Baltimore but was 1–3 against them a season ago. Taking the mound for the Orioles today was left-hander Wade Miley; who has really struggled since joining the O's at last year's trade deadline, going 2-5 with a 6.17 ERA over that stretch. Today's game really depicted how walks can really hurt you as a pitcher, which was a story told on both sides all day long.

Free passes were handed out like All-Star voting ballots by both starters throughout the first couple of innings. Wade Miley walked FOUR batters during his first trip through the lineup, including walking the bases loaded in the top of the second. But, Miley got an impatient Ronald Torreyes to strike out to end the bases-loaded threat and the inning. Sabathia, on the other hand, did not fare so well. The lefty walked Mark Trumbo to begin the second, advancing to third on a soft opposite-field single by Chris Davis. The next batter rookie Trey Mancini hit a ground ball to first base where Chris Carter recorded the out at second, allowing Trumbo to score to put the Orioles up 1-0. Sabathia then issued another walk, this time to Jonathan Schoop, which moved Mancini up to second base. And that walk came back to bite C.C. as he served up a single to J.J. Hardy that scored Mancini to open the O's lead up to two.

The Orioles kept the offensive pressure on, adding to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Adam Jones started the inning by lining a single off of Sabathia's leg, advancing to second on a passed ball during Manny Machado's at bat. Trumbo then stepped up to the plate and drove Jones in with a sharp single to left, extending their lead to 3-0.

Although he walked seven batters during his start, Miley was unscored upon and was lifted to begin the top of the sixth; and that's where the Yankees finally started to get their bats going. Right-handed youngster Tyler Wilson took over for Miley and immediately got two quick outs to begin the frame. Aaron Judge started the rally with a two-out base hit to left, advancing to second when the next batter Austin Romine singled to center. The New York Yankees' RBI leader Ronald Torreyes stepped up and came through in a massive way; smoking a triple into the right-center field gap, plating both runners to shrink their deficit to just one. Unfortunately, Brett Gardner left that tying run stranded on third base by striking out to end the sixth.

Sabathia did something today that no other Yankee starter has been able to achieve so far in 2017: make it through six innings. And if C.C. would have been able to field the comebacker cleanly and throw Jones out at first, Torreyes' triple would have been good enough to tie the game. But, it didn't play out that way and he left with a final line of six innings pitched, allowing three runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three.

The Bombers completed their comeback by tying the game in the top of the eighth. All-Star right-hander Michael Givins came on in relief of Wilson and coughed up a majestic solo blast to Aaron Judge that cleared the wall in left to pull the Yankees even at three apiece. And I got to tell you, it was so nice to see the tables turned completely and watch the Yankees come back and spoil the Orioles lead for a welcomed change.

As previously stated, the "Walkfest" continued and was a major contributing factor as to the Yankees taking a late-inning lead for the first time in this series. Darren O'Day came on to pitch the ninth and started the frame by walking Matt Holliday for his career-high fifth walk of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury came on to pinch run for Holliday and had an immediate impact by swiping second on the second pitch of Chris Carter's at bat. Carter was also walked and subsequently was pinch ran for by Pete Kozma. Starlin Castro then ripped a single up the middle that scored Ellsbury to put the Pinstripers up by one. Chase Headley also walked, loading the bases with Kozma at third and Castro at second. Aaron Judge grounded out to first base which scored Kozma to make it a two run game. And when Romine followed with a sacrifice fly to score Castro, the throw got away to also allow Headley to score to make it a 7-3 ballgame. Even though it wasn't a save situation, Aroldis Chapman came on to shut the door in the ninth and secure the Yankees' second victory of the young season.

The Bombers travel home for the first time in 2017 tonight to get ready for tomorrow's much-anticipated home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. With it being Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the game is scheduled to begin at a special Monday start time of 1:05 PM/EST.

Game of Moans...

Credit:  Patrick McDermott, USA TODAY Sports

I am not sure what’s worse.  Losing yet another game that we should have won to the Baltimore Orioles or losing perhaps the Team’s MVP, Gary Sanchez, to a biceps strain.  Most likely, it’s the latter.  Even though Sanchez is on the 10-day DL, he’ll need more time to recover considering this is his throwing arm.  After the team’s struggles out of the gate, the timing for the injury could not have been worse.

The Yankees called up Kyle Higashioka to replace Sanchez and back up interim starter Austin Romine.  This is a tough loss considering that the Yankees are already playing with a utility player at short.  

Where is the offense going to come from for a team that can’t make its pitches?  Hopefully this question answers itself very quickly.

The Yankees should have won yesterday’s game.  But again, they let Manny Machado and Company take the game.  This time the hero was Hyun Soo Kim with a single in the bottom of the 7th to drive in Mark Trumbo with the go-ahead and eventual winning run.

With a LOOGY and the thought that you ‘have just one job’, lefty Tommy Layne failed by allowing a double to Chris Davis, the only batter he faced.  The Yankees then brought in Dellin Betances.  I didn’t feel good about the situation (Betances and base runners are never a good thing).  He promptly gave up a single to Mark Trumbo to score Davis, tying the game.  He would subsequently allow the game-winning hit by Kim.

If the Yankees team goal is to prevent the Boston Red Sox from winning the AL East, five games into the new season, they’re winning by allowing the Orioles to remain undefeated.  

CC Sabathia takes the mound today.  As the owner of the only quality start so far this season, Sabathia will now take the added role of the hopeful stopper as a victory is sorely needed.  

The Yankees were also missing Greg Bird yesterday after his foot swelled during Friday night’s loss.  Bird had fouled a pitch off his foot during a March 30th exhibition game and hasn’t fully recovered from it yet.  He’ll miss today’s game too.  Chris Carter didn’t exactly instill confidence as the first base replacement (he was 0-for-5, with 2 strikeouts, leaving 5 men on base).  

Orioles manager Buck Showalter must be loving this.  He’s the bully who keeps taking candy from a baby with these consecutive losses that should have been wins.  You know that he must get more satisfaction out of beating the Yankees than any other AL East team.  

Even though the Yankees are 1-4, they can turn this around quickly with a win today and subsequently taking their first series of the year when the Tampa Bay Rays come to New York on Monday.  But they’ll need timely hits and some quality pitches.  

Saturday’s game represented a milestone for Matt Holliday as he collected his 2,000th career hit (a first inning single off Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman).  Considering that he had 1,995 hits coming into the season, there were only 5 Yankee hits mixed in but he did do it as Yankee (even if he has not yet stepped on Yankee Stadium turf wearing pinstripes).  He is the 7th active Major Leaguer to reach the milestone and the 20th player to collect his 2,000th hit while playing for the Yankees.  

Yesterday was a day for losses as it was announced that former Yankees part-time left fielder/pinch hitter Bob Cerv had passed away on Thursday at age 91.  Cerv’s greatest year came in 1958 with the Kansas City A’s when he hit 38 home runs and drove in 104 runs.  By 1961, he was back in New York and shared a Queens apartment that year with the M&M Boys, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, during their historic home run battle.  Rest in peace.  God, it's your Cerv...  

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/9: Joe Torre Re-Signs w/ Yankees

On this day in 2004 the New York Yankees and manager Joe Torre agreed on a new three year deal, a three year pact that would be his last in Yankees pinstripes. The deal also included an additional six year deal in which the 62 year old manager would become a team adviser through the 2013 season.

Also on this day in 1965 the Houston Astros opened the first domed stadium when they hosted the New York Yankees at the Astrodome. During the opening ceremonies 24 astronauts threw 24 ceremonial first pitches in the "Eight Wonder of the World" as the Colt .45's became the Astros.

Finally on this day in 1963 Yogi Berra made an appearance on the television soap opera General Hospital as Dr. Lawrence Berra, a brain surgeon. Yogi did this as a favor to former Indians infielder Johnny Berardino, now known as Johnny Beradino who played Dr. Steve Hardy on the soap.