After the New York Yankees traded away Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman in this year’s trade deadline, it seemed like this was a season for loss. However, with new young players, including two time player of the week, Gary Sanchez, to go along with what already is a solid core of teammates, the team is proving doubters wrong as they find themselves just two games out of an AL Wild Card spot. Heading into the third week of September, the Yankees are coming off their best winning streak of the season.
Coming off a previous win against the Orioles, the Yankees traveled back home to take on the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays threw out knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, a pitcher the Yankees have beaten twice this year. Dickey came into the game hoping that fixed grip and movement would finally make him beat this ball club. But Jacoby Ellsbury had something to say about that, hitting a two run dinger to give the Yankees an early lead. He wasn’t done though, as later in the game, he brought in another one on a single for his third RBI of the day. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka looked pretty solid in this one going for 6 ⅓ only allowing two runs. He got the run support he wanted. A two run double off the bat of Tyler Austin gave the team well needed insurance runs. These were especially helpful later on when the Blue Jays found themselves with the tying runner on base. The opportunity was blown when Russell Martin flew out to Starlin Castro to end the inning. All in all, a great game for the Yankees. The final score was 5-3.
Looking for their third win in a row, the Yankees ran into quite a scare. In what seemed to be just your average game, the Yankees found themselves down 4-3 in the 8th. Though a Didi Gregorius triple, a sacrifice fly, and a Chase Headley homer into right, turned the tables around. With how great their bullpen has been, fans can expect that any three run lead for the Yankees will most likely result into an easy path to victory. Dellin Betances took the mound on what was his third game in a row. He didn’t look good in this one. On three walks and two singles, Betances was pulled out of his save opportunity to give way to Blake Parker. Parker, acquired a month ago off of waivers, was no doubt in the biggest game of his career. Bases loaded, one out, score 7-6, everyone in the stadium was biting their nails. On a 79 mph breaking ball, Parker struck out Kevin Pillar to make it two outs. It was then all centered around Justin Smoak. On the first pitch of the at bat, Smoak drove one deep into left field. But Brett the Jet Gardner, on a perfectly timed leap ended the game with a catch on the wall. The Yankees were winners by a score of 7-6. This game was great fun to watch.
Moving on from that wild night, the Yankees started Bryan Mitchell to replace the injured Chad Green. Mitchell, coming off of surgery, was playing in his first major league game of 2016. He finished the day with a statline totaling no runs and four hits in five innings pitched. The offense behind him, continued to do work, as Starlin Castro took Marcus Stroman deep in the third. Brian McCann followed right behind him beating the shift on a RBI single. With a 2-0 lead, the Yankees decided to let Tyler Clippard close this out, after Dellin Betances threw exactly 40 pitches the night before. Clippard retired the side in order giving the Yankees the win. This marks the first time the Yankees have successfully swept a team since June when they did it against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Yankees welcomed over the Tampa Bay Rays for a four game set. The longball was a plenty, as both teams combined for seven shots, all in which were solo. Some notably, Brian McCann smacked one into almost the third deck to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. He wasn’t done yet after Kevin Kiermaier tied the game with a shot of his own, another home run from McCann gave the Yankees the lead back. Although Jonathan Holder’s balk was overturned, Steven Souza eventually made the score 4-4. But Tyler Austin in the ninth off of Erasmo Ramirez, took a fastball into deep right center field for a walk-off home run. Just his third of the year, resulted in the Yankees winning their fifth straight.
Up against Blake Snell, the offense jumped out early. The team scored three runs including a bomb into center field by the man Gary Sanchez. The Rays bounced with two of their own in the fourth, but Mark Teixeira had to send a text message real quick with bases loaded. A grand slam gave the Yankees a 7-2 lead. What felt like more the enemy in this game was the weather. Three rains delays lasted for an hour and half, delaying a game the Yankees had the control of. Or did they? A couple two run singles in the sixth made it a safe situation. Dellin Betances back on the mound, was still was bit shaky. He allowed three singles and one run to come across. Nevertheless, the Yankees bad luck in the rain didn’t fully ruin their day. Betances struck Steven Souza to give the Yankees the 7-5 victory.
Starting pitching has not been its best this series until here. It was a battle of the aces, Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Archer. Both pitchers looked great early on, allowing no runs through five. Tanaka in particular was dealing. He finished the day with ten strikeouts and no walks. Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth finally put something on the board, hitting a two run shot putting the Yankees up top. Gary Sanchez took one into center soon after, his fourteenth of the year. Later in the game, off an actual intentional walk, Gary Sanchez brought Brett Gardner home on a sacrifice fly. It was a rare sight, to see as Enny Romero did not throw the ball far enough off the plate, leaving Sanchez space on the bat for contact. The Yankees came out of this with their seventh consecutive win. The score was 5-1.
Going for another sweep, Luis Cessa was on the bump. Cessa, who was inconsistent his last start, was no different here. He was quickly down 2-0 after Corey Dickerson hit one out in the second. Logan Forsythe, and the Yankee killer Brad Miller followed suit in the sixth making the game 4-1. Brett Gardner and company attempted a comeback getting man in scoring position in the 7th, but a Jacoby Ellsbury fly out ended all that hope. The Yankees winning streak sadly came to an end. Tampa Bay was victorious 4-2.
Batter of The Week: Jacoby Ellsbury
GM – 7
AVG – .360
R – 6
AB – 25
H – 9
HR – 2
RBI – 5
BB – 4
Pitcher of the Week: Masahiro Tanaka
GM – 2
W – 2
IP – 13.2
ER – 3
BB – 3
K – 14
The Yankees hope to ride their hot momentum into this week as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Soon after the team will start a long road trip, first against the Boston Red Sox.
Matchups vs. Los Angeles
Jose De Leon (1-0) vs. Bryan Mitchell (1-0)
Julio Urias (5-2) vs. C.C. Sabathia (8-12)
Clayton Kershaw (11-3) vs. Michael Pineda (6-11)
Matchups at Boston
Masahiro Tanaka (13-4) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7)
Luis Cessa (4-1) vs. Clay Buchholz (6-10)
Bryan Mitchell (1-0) vs. Drew Pomeranz (10-11)
C.C. Sabathia (8-12) vs. David Price (15-8)
The weekly New York Yankee Report by David Bieber for FingerLakes1.com