The New York Yankees are continuing to surprise many as they are at the top of the MLB with a 20-9 record (.690 wPCT). This week was just another one to add to their stellar season. They are currently second in runs scored with 167, just trailing the Washington Nationals. With the help of some bats contributing such as Brett Gardner, Starlin Castro, and of course Aaron Judge, the Yankees continue to rock and roll.
The team squared off against division rival, Toronto Blue Jays for the first time this year. Marco Estrada would open up the series with a solid performance. A 7 hit, 1 run outing was too much for the Yankees to overcome. Starting pitcher, Luis Severino surrendered 5 runs through 5 ⅔ innings. Second baseman, Ryan Goins had 4 RBI’s including a two run homerun and a sacrifice fly. Long time Yankee killer, Jose Bautista, even got in on the action with a solo shot off of Luis Cessa. It was a rather off night for the Bombers as they lost 7-1.
Facing off against veteran right hander Mat Latos, the Yankees knew it may not be hard to win this one. Latos has had his fair share of struggles in the past, holding a combined 4.92 ERA the last two seasons. Things were no different in this one. Brett Gardner, who has been struggling to keep his average up all season, sparked some momentum. He was able to take a few over the wall, finishing with two homers on the day. Rookie sensation Aaron Judge was no different, hitting one oppo in the third and later a three run shot. The Yankees were able to notch 5 home runs this game for the second time this season; they had two all of last year. Nothing much else needs to be said besides the Yankees were victorious by a score of 11-5.
The Blue Jays knew they needed to take the rubber match of the series. They were able to tack on 4 runs in the first inning but a three run shot from Matt Holliday put the Yankees in striking distance. The Blue Jays were back up 6-3 however, after Kendrys Morales grounded into a fielder choice to score their second run of the inning. The Bombers have heart though, and it showed here. Aaron Judge’s 13th homer of the year made the score 6-5. The score stayed the same until the 7th, where Chris Carter blooped one over the shortstop’s head to tie the game. Didi Gregorius pinch hit soon afterwards and he would give the Yankees the lead on an infield single, after Joe Biagini hesitated a throw to first. Up 8-6 with Betances and Chapman waiting, this one was in the books. The Yankees were able to take the series.
It was time to go against the Chicago Cubs. The defending champs aren’t having the start as they did last year, currently a game back of the NL Central division at 16-15.
After Aroldis Chapman, was awarded his World Series ring, the Yankees were ready to play some baseball in the “Windy City.” Big Mike on the mound for game one, was really good this time around, only allowing 3 hits. However, his team was down for most of the matchup, as two of them were dingers off the bats of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Pineda lasted for 6 innings, striking out 6 and walking only 1. On the other side, Cubs starter, Kyle Hendricks was able to keep the Yankees off the board in his time of work. In the 9th, down 2-0, was where things got interesting, though. Hector Rondon closing, with one out gave up a single to Chase Headley into left field. Two batters later, he then walked Jacoby Ellsbury to put runners on first and second. Next batter, Brett Gardner, with two outs, down to the final strike… BOOM! he would take one deep over the left field wall to give the Yankees the lead! Chapman against his former team, soon closed the doors to complete the victory. Remember kids, as Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” baseball is not a timed game for reasons like this
While late inning heroics are cool and all, we still want to see the team ahead for as long as possible. The Bombers did not take long here off of Brett Anderson. A 5 run first inning, featuring an Aaron Hicks bunt single, as well as doubles from Starlin Castro and Chase Headley, put the game out of reach. It was an outing Anderson will never want to think about again, just lasting ⅓ of a frame. In the 4th, Starlin Castro decided to hit one out against his former team, increasing the lead to 8-0. Just for good measure, Aaron Hicks later on hit a three run shot into left center. The offense was at its full force here, as we even got their catcher, Miguel Montero to pitch. The team demolished throughout, winning 11-6.
Looking for the sweep, it was certainly challenging to watch this game throughout. The Yankees were up 2-1 in the eighth. Luis Severino just had a nice bounceback start, giving a run, on 4 hits, and striking out 9. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a 2 run shot, down the right field line, to make the score 4-1. Unfortunately, for the Yanks if you have been following Aroldis Chapman this year, he’s had his troubles locating his 100 mph fastball this year. Long story short, the Cubs defied all odds, getting hit after hit after hit. It wasn’t until Chapman plunked Anthony Rizzo with base loaded until our nice little lead was no more. Tyler Clippard replace Chapman right after and got out of the inning. Since then it was the battle of the bullpens. Clippard would pitch the 10th, Adam Warren the 11th and 12th, Jonathan Holder the 13th, 14th, and 15th and Chasen Shreve the 16th, 17th, and 18th. The game just went on and on and on. The teams combined set a record for most strikeouts in a MLB game with 48. Starlin Castro, however, made every Yankee fan awake pump their fist, with a fielder’s choice hit to shortstop. Addison Russell’s throw was wide and the Yankees took the lead. In the bottom half, with, runners on first and second, Chasen Shreve sent everybody home striking out Kyle Hendricks. It was a rather wild game down in Wrigley, lasting 6 hours and 5 minutes. The Yankees thankfully won 5-4.
Batter of the Week: Brett Gardner
GM – 6
AB – 26
R – 8
H – 11
HR – 3
RBI – 6
BB – 3
AVG – .423
OPS – 1.329
Pitcher of the Week: Michael Pineda
GM – 1
IP – 6.0
H – 3
ER – 2
BB – 1
K – 6
After, arriving in Cincinnati at approximately 6:00 A.M, the Yankees will play against the Reds for a two game series. They will then head back home to take on the Houston Astros.
Matchups at Cincinnati:
Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) vs. Rookie Davis (1-1)
C.C. Sabathia (2-1) vs. Tim Adleman (1-1)
Matchups vs. Houston:
Dallas Keuchel (5-0) vs. Michael Pineda (3-1)
Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1) vs. Jordan Montgomery (2-1)
Mike Fiers (1-1) vs. Luis Severino (2-2)
Charlie Morton (3-2) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (4-1)
– David Bieber is a contributing columnist to FingerLakes1.com covering the New York Yankees with a weekly report published on Monday throughout the season.