Battling it out in this year’s postseason hunt, the Yankees headed over to Missouri to take on the red hot Kansas City Royals. A major factor to the Royals’ recent success has been their offense. It was no different here. Three runs off of Michael Pineda in the first, gave Kansas City complete control early on. Things got worse for the Yankees later, as a dinger off the bat of Alcides Escobar sparked to what ended up being five more runs in the seventh. The Bombers attempted a comeback, spotting four runs of their own, trimming their deficit to just three. However, it was all little too late. Kelvin Herrera was able to get the last four outs, notching his 11th save of the season. The Royals were victorious in this one, winning 8-5.
The next game ended up being a wild one. It all started when Aaron Judge took an Edinson Volquez fastball into the left center bleachers for an early lead. The Yankees rode onto this momentum, having a four run lead through the first three innings. Tides seemed to turn though, as Jarrod Dyson and company put the game back at 4-3. Then a Lorenzo Cain leadoff walk in the eighth, put closer Dellin Betances in the game a little earlier than usual. Despite, Betances doing what he usually does, a stolen base and a throwing error put Cain on third with nobody out. Two batters later, a sacrifice fly from Kendrys Morales tied the game up at 4. It all went into extras, but the Yankees made use early loading the bases. Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs and everything juiced, hit a hard grounder off of pitcher Joakim Soria for an infield single. Taking advantage of opportunities is something a playoff team does, and the Yankees did it right there, now having a 5-4 lead. It wasn’t over yet, as a hit batter, a single, and an intentional walk loaded the bases, this time for the Royals. All on the line, Joe Girardi sends in Chasen Shreve a young left hander who has struggled to get anything going this year. But Shreve got it done striking out the next batter and inducing a fly out for the final out of the game. Yankees won this one off the skin of their teeth by a score of 5-4.
Similar to the night before, a team was up 4-0 after just three innings. In this situation, a couple of home runs made it be the Royals. The Yankees, now playing catch up, ended up tying it, highlighted by a Starlin Castro two run bomb. Once again this went into extras, but this time it went for thirteen. Brian McCann was the hero in this one hitting a sacrifice fly to give the Yankees the lead. A 1-2-3 Dellin Betances inning later, and the Yankees found themselves winning 5-4, taking 2 out of 3 from a team just behind them in the Wild Card race.
After a much needed off day, the next series was against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards. The O’s headed over to New York just the week before and the Yankees were the better team. Now on the road, things were expected to change. The pitching matchup was Chad Green versus Dylan Bundy. Things looked bad almost immediately, as the Orioles put up six runs in the second inning. In the middle of the action, Chad Green had to leave the game with an apparent arm injury. It was revealed that Green sprained his right UCL and flexor tendon, ending his season. The Yankees offense was really non-existent against Oriole pitching. In fact the O’s retired the last thirteen Yankee batters in order once Dylan Bundy was pulled. It wasn’t a good day for the Yankees at all. Not only did they finish the game with a season low of 2 hits, but they lose yet another starting pitcher, making their options very thin. The Orioles won in blowout fashion, winning 8-0.
The Yankees went up against Kevin Gausman the next night. Gausman was the winning pitcher in the Orioles lone victory a week ago. He went for seven innings, not allowing a run, and striking out nine. This outing was just as good as the last one. Yankee batters looked absolutely clueless against his 96 mph fastball, as Gausman stuck out eight in six scoreless frames. The O’s power packed offense was still there also. Adam Jones ripped his 25th home run of the season off of C.C. Sabathia. The Orioles blanked out the Yankees winning 2-0.
Looking to right the ship, the Yankees offense knew that they needed to contribute. After being shut out the first two games, the Yankees finally got something on the board scoring three runs in the first. Michael Pineda on the mound, only pitched through four innings. After allowing an RBI double to Pedro Alvarez, Luis Severino entered the game and got out of trouble. As a reliever, Severino has been really good for the Yankees this year. But due to the injury to Chad Green, he is projected to start Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays. No one got anything going the rest of the game and the Yankees were able snag a 5-2 victory.
Batter of the Week: Chase Headley
GM – 6
AVG – .368
AB – 19
H – 7
HR – 0
RBI – 4
BB – 3
Pitcher of the Week: Dellin Betances
GM – 3
SV – 2
IP – 4.1
H – 0
ER – 0
BB – 1
K – 4
The Yankees will start a very important homestand against division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays. As always each game is important for the Yankees hopes for a playoff spot.
Matchups vs. Toronto
R.A. Dickey (9-13) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (11-4)
Aaron Sanchez (13-2) vs. Luis Cessa (4-0)
Marcus Stroman (9-6) vs. Luis Severino (2-8)
Matchups vs. Tampa Bay
Alex Cobb (0-0) vs. C.C. Sabathia (8-12)
Blake Snell (5-7) vs. Michael Pineda (6-11)
Chris Archer (8-17) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (11-4)
Matt Andriese (6-6) vs. Luis Cessa (4-0)
– The Weekly New York Yankees report by David Bieber for FingerLakes1.com