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Yankees fall 4 games back of AL wild card

After a terrific 6-1 record the week before, the Yankees found themselves right in pursuit for a potential Wild Card spot. However, a reason skid as of late, now drops the Yankees back to four games out.

The Yankees opened up a three game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bryan Mitchell was back on the mound for another go, but things seemed different. After going five innings, not allowing a run against the Blue Jays, Mitchell let the Dodgers run over him, allowing the offense to put up nine hits in under three innings. You can argue that his stats, may have looked a bit better if the defense was able to give him a little more help, but either way, it still wouldn’t have been enough to make a ridiculous impact. Dodgers’ rookie, starting pitcher Jose De Leon, was able to limit the Yankees to just three hits, two of which being home runs from Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge. However, it was all Dodgers in this one, as they took this game by a score of 8-2.

After losing two in a row the Yankees needed to get back on track. C.C. Sabathia wanted it in this one. Looking like his former self, he allowed no runs, on just three hits, striking out seven. There wasn’t much run production in this one, both teams were stuck at 0 for most of the game. But Jacoby Ellsbury who entered the game for an injured Aaron Judge, took a breaking ball into the right field bleachers to break up the tie ball game. Next batter, pinch hitting, Didi Gregorius, did exactly what Ellsbury did. Back-to-Back solo shots gave the Yankees a two run lead in the seventh. One more for good measure, Gary Sanchez sent one out as well, his 14th of the year, gave the Yankees a nice cushion to win this game. Dellin Betances came in for the four out save, and the Yankees were victorious by a score of 3-0.

It was reported after the game that Aaron Judge would miss the season with a grade 2 right oblique strain. The Yankees called up outfielder, Mason Williams to replace him.

Looking to take the rubber match, the Yankees had to go through the very imposing figure of Clayton Kershaw. In just his second game back from injury, Kershaw certainly wasn’t messing around, as he threw four perfect innings on a pitch count in the low 50s. Mother nature was on our side in this one, though. Two rain delays played a key factor to what was a short day for Kershaw. Both starters were taken out in just five innings, making this a bullpen battle. Like the game before, each team’s offense couldn’t get anything to come across. But in the ninth, a ground ball from Corey Seager was mishandled by the second baseman, Starlin Castro putting him on base with nobody out. Seager immediately stole second soon after, and a double off the bat of Justin Turner sent him home. Later in the inning, Turner on third with one gone, Dellin Betances overthrows the catcher on a ground ball, giving the Dodgers a two run lead. The Yankees got Starlin Castro to second base on a single and a fielder’s indifference, but Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen still shows why he’s one of the best in the business, striking out the next two batters to win the game. The Dodgers’ took the series, winning this one by a score of 2-0.

The Yankees began a long road trip against their archrival the Boston Red Sox. But before all of that, the Yankees signed veteran Billy Butler to use against left handed pitching. In his debut, Butler looked really good finishing the game with two RBI’s. Him and Starlin Castro played a huge part to the team’s offense early on, as both of them combined for four of their five total runs. After a strong game from Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees were up 5-1 heading into the eighth inning. However, the game is not over till it’s over and the Red Sox showed why they’re the leaders of the AL East division. A David Ortiz homer in the 8th sparked what ended up being game changing momentum. In the 9th, two runners on, down to their final strike, Ortiz once again came through, hitting a two run single notting the lead to just two. Then MVP candidate Mookie Betts, grounds one through the hole on the left side, making it a one run game. Next batter, Hanley Ramirez puts the icing on the comeback cake taking a 3-1 fastball over the center field wall, for a walk off homerun. The Yankees truly chocked this one, turning a 5-1 lead into a 7-5 defeat.

Moving on from that disaster, Luis Cessa was on the mound for the Yankees, and he struggled once again. Coming off of his walkoff, Hanley Ramirez was on fire hitting an RBI single in the first, and homering again in the fourth. Cessa finished the day with three runs and six hits allowed through five. A two run double from Gary Sanchez gave the Yankees some life in the fifth, only being down by one. The Red Sox retaliated though scoring five more runs, including a solo shot from Jackie Bradley Jr, off of Yankee relievers. Billy Butler at least showed that he can contribute, hitting a two run shot off of Fernando Abad in the ninth. In spite of that, the Red Sox called in Craig Kimbrel to finish up the job, in which he did, striking out Gary Sanchez to give the Yankees their third straight loss. The final score for this one was 7-4 Bosox.

The Yankees went up against David Price, a pitcher they’ve had much recent success on, and it was shown here. After a triple from Brett Gardner that brought in the game’s first run, Gary Sanchez once again shows what he’s worth, hitting a two-run homer to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead. Austin Romine even had a little fun hitting a two run double the next inning to make the game 5-2. However, the tides again seemed to turn. Xander Bogaerts made the game 5-4 after a shot over the green monster. Mookie Betts, then came through with an RBI single in the seventh, tying the game up at 5. Later in that inning, Travis Shaw up at the dish, pitcher Adam Warren throws one that gets away from Gary Sanchez, giving enough time to bring in Betts home from third, giving the Sox the lead. The team didn’t look back, as a 1-2-3 inning from Craig Kimbrel gave the Yankees another tough pill to swallow. The Red Sox were victorious in this one, winning 6-5.

Trying to not get swept, the Yankees once again did work against Red Sox starting pitching. Drew Pomeranz only lasted 3 ⅔ innings allowing four runs and seven hits. Most notably came from, a Didi Gregorius RBI single and another home run from the man Gary Sanchez. The Yankees had a 4 run lead through four innings, but once again just as this whole series has been the Red Sox found some sort of way to fight back. Hanley Ramirez continued to ride on his momentum hitting a three run shot to make it a one run game. The Red Sox soon tied it off of a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single in the sixth. The Sox then took the lead off a solo homerun by you guessed it Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez was a monster in this series, he would soon be rewarded with the AL Player of the Week award. The Red Sox didn’t pitch Craig Kimbrel in the 9th instead they went with Koji Uehara. Nonetheless, it didn’t matter, as he ended up earning the save to a 5-4 Sox victory.

It’s a real shame to see the Yankees as far back as they are considering how well they played a week before. But between the pitching and not being able to hold late leads, it’s only so much that the team can cover. They will need to address these errors and fast if they don’t want to miss the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons.

Batter of the Week: Starlin Castro
GM – 6
AVG – .500
R – 2
AB – 24
H – 12
HR – 1
RBI – 3

Pitcher of the Week: Masahiro Tanaka
GM – 1
IP – 7.0
H – 4
ER – 1

The Yankees will hope to bounce back from their five game losing streak facing division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. Both series will be held on the road and depending on how the Yankees do could show if they are a real playoff team this year or not.

Matchups at Tampa Bay
Game #1:
Michael Pineda (6-11) vs. Drew Smyly (7-11)
Game #2:
Masahiro Tanaka (13-4) vs. Alex Cobb (1-0)
Game #3:
Luis Cessa (4-2) vs. Blake Snell (5-8)

Matchups at Toronto
Game #1:
Bryan Mitchell (1-1) vs. Francisco Liriano (7-13)
Game #2:
C.C. Sabathia (8-12) vs. Marcus Stroman (9-9)
Game #3:
Michael Pineda (6-11) vs. Marco Estrada (8-9)
Game #4:
Masahiro Tanaka (13-4) vs. J.A. Happ (19-4)
Weekly New York Yankees Report by David Bieber for FingerLakes1.com
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