Game # 11 -- Cards (3-7) vs Yanks (6-4)

Today's Aaron is Hicks. Higgy gets another start. Yanks go for a second series win. 

Game on MLBN (out-of-market) and YES.

Cardinals

  1. CF: Dexter Fowler
  2. SS: Aledmys Diaz
  3. DH: Matt Carpenter
  4. RF: Stephen Piscotty
  5. C: Yadier Molina
  6. 1B: Jose Martinez
  7. 3B: Jhonny Peralta
  8. LF: Randal Grichuk
  9. 2B: Jedd Gyorko
  10. SP: Carlos Martinez

Yankees

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. RF: Aaron Hicks
  3. DH: Chris Carter
  4. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  5. 2B: Starlin Castro
  6. 3B: Chase Headley
  7. 1B: Greg Bird
  8. C: Kyle Higashioka
  9. SS: Ronald Torreyes
  10. SP: CC Sabathia

Game 10 Recap: Winning Streak Moves to Five

Another day, another win. Tonight's 4-3 triumph over the Cardinals was the Yankees' fifth consecutive win. Ever since the Yankees staved off a sweep at the hands of Baltimore and returned home to the Bronx, almost everything has been clicking.

After a quick St. Louis strike, Masahiro Tanaka settles in

Did anyone else think "here we go again..." after Matt Carpenter took Tanaka deep for a two-run homer in the first? I admittedly did. After falling behind Carpenter 3-1, the first baseman fouled off three straight pitches before driving a ball into the right field seats. After struggling to put away hitters in his first two starts, it appeared Tanaka would be at it again tonight.

Thereafter, Tanaka turned it around. He retired seven straight batters after the Carpenter home run and 17 of the next 19 opponents overall (including 10 in a row in that stretch). Tanaka ran in to some trouble in the seventh as he wore down, and was knocked out of the game after Randall Grichuk delivered an RBI double with one out in the inning.

Tanaka's final line wasn't outstanding, but it his performance was unquestionably an improvement from his first two turns. He left with the Yankees up 4-3, and his final line was as follows: 3 runs in 6.1 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, and five strikeouts. Tanaka's next chance to rebound from a slow start will be in Pittsburgh a week from today.

Playing longball

The Yankees didn't wait long to even up the game after falling behind in the top of the first. In fact, it only took two hitters in the bottom half of the frame. Brett Gardner led off with a walk against St. Louis' Michael Wacha. Starlin Castro, who has fared well against Wacha from his time in Chicago, touched off on an opposite field dinger to tie it up.

The level pegging wouldn't last for long, either. In the bottom of the second, fill-in catcher Austin Romine lifted a homer to right field to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. How about the job he's done since Sanchez went down last weekend? Including tonight, Romine's batting .313/.368/.563 (159 wRC+) in 19 plate appearances. I'm well aware that it's a small sample size, however, these are the types of mini streaks that are so helpful when a key player goes down for a spurt. We know the talent gap between Sanchez and Romine is stark, but a little bit of fortune can go a long way in filling the void.

In the fifth, the Yankees plated their fourth and final run of the game. It wasn't a longball, but it was an extra base hit. Slackers. All kidding aside, Chase Headley, who continues his hot start, ripped an RBI double to make it 4-2.

The bullpen formula does its thing

After the aforementioned Grichuk double in the seventh that cut the Yankees' lead to one, Joe Girardi summoned Tyler Clippard. T-Clip retired Kolten Wong on a fly ball to Jacoby Ellsbury for the second out of the frame. The next hitter was Dexter Fowler, who drove one to deep right center that looked troublesome off the bat. In a hold your breath moment, Aaron Judge tracked the ball down at the track in front of the auxiliary scoreboard in right field. Exhale.

The eighth inning was a bit easier. Dellin Betances recorded all three outs via strikeout with one four pitch walk to Stephen Piscotty mixed in. 

For the ninth inning, Girardi called on Aroldis Chapman for his third straight day of work. After putting away Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta to start the inning, Chapman had a hard time putting the finishing touches on the game. He walked Grichuk with Kolten Wong on deck, who manager Mike Matheny pinch hit for. Up came Jose Martinez in Wong's place, and on a 1-2 pitch, Martinez drilled a double into the left field corner. Fortunately, Brett Gardner was there quickly which forced Grichuk to hold at third. Finally, Chapman held on to the save by inducing Dexter Fowler to ground out.

Other notes

  • Gardner returned to the starting lineup for the first time since his collision with Rickie on Wednesday, which is good news. He reached base twice in four chances, both on walks.
  • Ellsbury hit cleanup tonight for the first time in his career. I had to do a double take when I saw the lineup before tonight's game. He was 2 for 4 with a stolen base. 
  • RISPFail: The Yankees were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position tonight. That's not usually a recipe for winning, but hey, who cares tonight?

Next game

The second game of this three game weekend interleague set with the Cardinals is tomorrow at 1:05pm. Will it be six straight wins? CC Sabathia will have a chance to help make that happen. Carlos Martinez, the ace of the Cardinals, will be a tough beat.

Game # 10 -- Cards (3-6) vs Yanks (5-4)

The Yanks simply MUST get a better performance today out of Tanaka! Notice the Yanks clean-up hitter -- I almost fell out of my chair. Brett's back!!

Game on MLBN and YES

Cardinals

  1. CF: Dexter Fowler
  2. SS: Aledmys Diaz
  3. 1B: Matt Carpenter
  4. RF: Stephen Piscotty
  5. DH: Matt Adams
  6. C: Yadier Molina
  7. 3B: Jhonny Peralta
  8. LF: Randal Grichuk
  9. 2B: Kolten Wong
  10. SP: Michael Wacha

Yankees

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. 2B: Starlin Castro
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  5. 3B: Chase Headley
  6. RF: Aaron Judge
  7. 1B: Greg Bird
  8. C: Austin Romine
  9. SS: Ronald Torreyes
  10. SP: Masahiro Tanaka

Podcast Episode 83: Kaprielian Injury, Brockmire

Domenic and EJ discuss the James Kaprielian injury, Aaron Judge's great week, and the new IFC show Brockmire.

We're sponsored by seatswaptickets.com, a great new website where fans can trade their unused tickets with other fans. Use the promo code "SWAP" to get $20 off your next purchase on Swap Seat's partner website, Seat Geek.

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Game # 9 -- Rays (5-4) vs Yanks (4-4)

Yanks are responsible for 75% of the Rays losses and will try to make it 80% tonight. Hicks will play LF, Bird returns -- but to a lower spot. 

Rays

  1. DH: Corey Dickerson
  2. CF: Kevin Kiermaier
  3. 3B: Evan Longoria
  4. 2B: Brad Miller
  5. RF: Steven Souza Jr.
  6. 1B: Logan Morrison
  7. SS: Daniel Robertson
  8. LF: Mallex Smith
  9. C: Jesus Sucre
  10. SP: Matt Andriese

Yankees

  1. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF: Aaron Hicks
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. 3B: Chase Headley
  6. 1B: Greg Bird
  7. RF: Aaron Judge
  8. C: Austin Romine
  9. SS: Ronald Torreyes
  10. SP: Luis Severino

WOW! Two second basemen are batting cleanup! 

Game on MLBN and YES

James Kaprielian to undergo Tommy John Surgery

Welp. See you in late 2018, Kap? Perhaps 2019? Another year or two of lost development is not good. After being drafted in 2015, Kaprielian still hasn't notched 60 professional innings under his belt. It'll be a long road back to recover his prospect stardom. Sigh, pitching prospects are fickle.

Game 8 Recap: Yankees come back to topple Rays, 8-4

The winning streak continues! Make it three straight wins, bringing the Yankees back to .500 early in the season. The highlights of this afternoon’s victory:

Jordan Montgomery’s debut

A little more length would have been nice, but it’s hard to complain about Jordan Montgomery’s debut. His only real blemish in his 4.2 innings pitched was a two-run homer surrendered to Rickie Weeks in the first inning. Overall, the tall lefty allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while fanning seven. One of the three runs allowed was unearned: it was an inherited runner that Bryan Mitchell - really, Starlin Castro - allowed on a fielding error after Montgomery exited.

Cheap runs to commence the come back

Behind 3-0, the Yankees scratched across two runs in the bottom of the fifth in ugly fashion. To load the bases, Chase Headley singled, Aaron Judge walked, and Kyle Higashioka reached on error all with nobody out. Promising! Except Pete Kozma was coming up. Seemed like a pinch hit situation even though the lefty Blake Snell was on the mound (with Brett Gardner and Greg Bird on the bench), but Girardi stuck with his starter. Kozma popped out and Jacoby Ellsbury did the same right after. Looked like the Rays were about to escape a major jam. Then, they decided to hand the Yankees a couple of cheap runs.

Aaron Hicks walked on a full count to put the Yankees on board, and that would be all for Snell. In came Jumbo Diaz to face Matt Holliday with the bases still full. Diaz uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Judge to score and make it 3-2. Diaz would escape after walking Holliday by inducing Chris Carter to pop out.

The Aaron Judge Show

After a strange two runs the inning before, the Yankees scored in a more traditional fashion in the sixth. Starlin Castro and Headley hit back-to-back singles to open the frame, and up came Aaron Judge. How good has he been lately? On a 1-0 pitch, Judge ripped a liner inches away from Diaz’ head and into center field for an RBI single to level the game at 3 a piece. Look at this thing:

That is scary. The Yanks tacked on three more runs in the same inning. More on how the go ahead run scored in a moment.

Judge’s day was far from over after his game tying hit. In the seventh, with the Yankees up 6-3, he did this:

Just a casual bomb to dead center. No big deal. 

Gardner hurt

Pinch-hitting for Kozma in the sixth, Gardner drove in the go ahead run but paid the price. On a chopper back to the mound, Xavier Cedeno hesitated and threw low to first baseman Rickie Weeks, resulting in a collision at the bag. Gardner appeared to take the brunt of the hit, flailing hard to the ground. He was removed from the game after remaining on the ground for a few minutes, but fortunately came off the field on his own strength. After the game, the Yankees announced that Gardner sustained a bruised jaw and strained neck. Fortunately, no concussion tests are necessary yet. That being said, we don’t know if or how many games Gardner will need to miss, or if this will require a stint on the disabled list.

Other notes

Aroldis Chapman recorded his first save of the season. It was a two-out save, as Jonathan Holder started the ninth with a four-run cushion. After two runners reached safely, Girardi decided to hand the ball to his closer.

After the game, the Yankees provided some news regarding James Kaprielian’s health. Though no injury diagnosis or treatment plan was announced, it's evident that Kaprielian will need to decide between surgery or rest and rehab. Either way, it sounds like we won't be seeing him for a very long time. Tough to lose another year of development for Kaprielian.

Next game

Tomorrow, the Yankees (4-4) can finish a sweep of Tampa Bay (5-4) and win a fourth straight game. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm in the Bronx. The pitchers: Matt Andriese for Tampa Bay and Luis Severino for the Bombers.

Game # 8 -- Rays (5-3) vs Yanks (3-4)

Yanks will try to get back to .500 for the second time this year behind Jordan Montgomery, who is making his MLB debut!

RAYS                                    YANKS

Souza, Jr, RF                         Ellsbury. CF

Keirmaier, CF                        Hicks, LF

Longoria, 3B                        Holliday, DH

Weeks, 1B                             Carter, 1B

Dickerson, DH                      Castro, 2B

Norris, C                               Headley, 3B

Roberston, 2B                      Judge, RF

Beckham, SS                        Higashioka, C

Bourjos, LF                           Kozma, SS

Snell, P                                  Montgomery, P

TV on MLBN and YES