The New York Yankees started off the season at 1-4, but an undefeated week now finds them two games back of the Baltimore Orioles for the lead in the division.
Continuing at home, the Bombers battled against the Chicago White Sox. The team was currently riding on a 7 game win streak, dating back to the week before. Up against Derek Holland, everything seemed to be locked and loaded. Momentum was felt early, as a three run dinger in the third gave the Yankees an early lead. Starlin Castro finished the game with 3 hits, and Aaron Judge smacked a two-run home run as well as an infield single. The Yankees were up 7-0, when Yolmer Sanchez hit a three-run shot in the seventh. With the game getting closer at 7-4 the Sox got the tying run to the plate. However, Aroldis Chapman came in and did his duty. The Yankees won this one by a score of 7-4. Jordan Montgomery finished the day with 3 runs, 7 hits, and 4 strikeouts, over 6 innings of work.
Luis Severino was pitching in this one, against Miguel Gonzalez, in which felt like a pitcher’s duel. Each batter for both teams was retired on their first at bat, except for one. A home run from #9 hitter, Leury Garcia gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Gonzalez was still spectacular. Noted for having a career ERA over 5.00 against the Yankees, he took a perfect game into the bottom of the 5th where it was broken up by a single from Starlin Castro. Severino finished the game with three hits and ten strikeouts over 8 innings. In the eighth, after an error by Pete Kozma that would’ve been a double play, one of baseball’s hottest hitters, Avisail Garcia, cleared the bases with a three run homer into the Yankee bullpen. Gonzalez attempted to the close the game himself, but a Chase Headley single and a Brett Gardner walk ended his outing. Later in the inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, Aaron Judge at the plate; a groundout to shortstop was all that she wrote for this one. A wonderful start from Miguel Gonzalez ended the Yankees win streak at 8. The White Sox won this one by a score of 4-1.
The White Sox threw out 25 year old, Dylan Covey, for his second major league start. The former first round pick, looked good in his debut against the Kansas City Royals, going 5 strong innings and only allowing a run. However, when you play against the Bombers things are different. Chase Headley struck early with a two run shot to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. A hit and a fielder’s choice then found the Yankees up 4-0 after just two. In the fifth, Starlin Castro ended any hope for a comeback, taking one on a 3-0 pitch to get the Yankees up 7-1. But that’s not all, “Here Comes the Judge!” as quoted by John Sterling, a 451 foot bomb off the bat of Aaron Judge gave the Yankees slightly more insurance. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was excellent in this one, giving up one run over 7 innings, striking out 6. The Yankees were victorious in this one, finishing their first homestand at 8-1, the best since 1998.
After their rather successful time in the Bronx, the Yankees headed over to Pittsburgh to take on Francisco Cervelli and the Pirates. C.C. Sabathia on the bump, has been solid this entire season, currently holding an ERA of 2.70 and a WHIP of 1.20. However, the Pirates offense got to him. Two runs came across in the first on a home run from Jordy Mercer and an infield single by David Freese. Rookie, Josh Bell then took him deep in the second to give the Pirates a 4-0 lead. The Yankees did give C.C. some help though on an RBI double off the bat of Chase Headley. The defense got sloppy later on, as second baseman Josh Harrison lets a Greg Bird ground ball get under his glove, scoring two runs and closing the deficit to 1. But Starlin Castro would have one of his own, dropping a fly ball in shallow right field, giving the Pirates more leeway once again. The bullpen for both sides shut the game down until Pirates closer, Tony Watson, allowed the tying run to get the plate. Unfortunately like Tuesday night, Aaron Judge hits a groundball to shortstop, which ended the game. The Pirates won 6-3.
The tides would turn quickly for game two of this series. Things were not going well for the Yankees early on. Not only were the Pirates up 3-0, but just like against Miguel Gonzalez, the offense didn’t get a hit until the 5th inning. But, baseball is a long game for a reason. What started out as an infield single and a walk turned into a three run homer by red hot second baseman, Starlin Castro. Then with bases loaded, two outs, Ronald Torreyes hits a double to right to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Pittsburgh tied it up however, in the sixth from RBI singles by both Jordy Mercer and Adam Frazier. In the eighth though Chris Carter, the man who either hits a homerun or strikes out, takes one with two runners on into center to make the score 8-5. The Yankees didn’t look back from there, scoring two more runs in the 8th, and one in the 9th. Aroldis Chapman got some work in, and the Yankees were winners by a score of 11-5.
You guys remember Ivan Nova? Well, he took the mound for the first time against his former team, and was superb. His first inning was great, striking out the side. After a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning, the Pirates were up 1-0. In the third, Gregory Polanco would hit a double off the wall, increasing the lead to 2. Nova’s only blemish in this one came in the seventh, where he allowed a solo shot from Jacoby Ellsbury. Despite that, Nova’s final line was 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts over 7 innings. His closer on the contrary, struggled a bit, loading the bases with the help from another error by Josh Harrison. For the third time this week, the tying run was either at home or on base. And just like the other two times, the batter, in this case sadly being Pete Kozma, would ground out to end the ballgame. The Yankees road struggles continue, as they lose 2-1.
Batter of the Week: Starlin Castro
GM – 6
AB – 22
R – 4
H – 9
HR – 2
RBI – 7
BB – 3
AVG – .409
OPS – 1.253
Pitcher of the Week: Masahiro Tanaka
GM – 1
W – 1
IP – 7.0
H – 6
ER – 1
BB – 2
K – 6
The Yankees will head over to Fenway Park for a matchup against their arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox. After hearing their traditional “Yankees Suck” chants, they will head back home for a three game series versus the Baltimore Orioles.
Matchups at Boston
Luis Severino (1-1) vs. Rick Porcello (1-2)
Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) vs. Chris Sale (1-1)
C.C. Sabathia (2-1) vs. Drew Pomeranz (1-1)
Matchups vs. Baltimore
Jayson Aquino (1-0) vs. Michael Pineda (2-1)
Kevin Gausman (1-2) vs. Jordan Montgomery (1-1)
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) vs. Luis Severino (1-1)
– David Bieber is a contributing columnist to FingerLakes1.com covering the New York Yankees with a weekly report published on Monday throughout the season.