It was just less than a week ago that I wrote a post stating that the 1998 Yankees began the year slowly, and hoping, as I wrote, that this Yankees team would also turn it around. Well, they sure have! The Yankees have won five games in a row! It’s been a great week. Now, the hope is that the Yankees continue this trend and keep on keeping on.
It’s Jackie Robinson Day today. My bold predictions for the game will be that Greg Bird snaps his slump with two hits, including a home run, and that CC Sabathia pitches 6 strong innings to pave the way for the Yankees win. (By the time this is posted, we will know if my predictions came through.)
Here now is the recap:
With CC Sabathia on the mound, the Yankees sent out the following lineup:
Brett Gardner, LF, #42
Aaron Hicks, RF, #42
Chris Carter, DH, #42
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, #42
Starlin Castro, 2b, #42
Chase Headley, 3b, #42
Greg Bird, 1b, #42
Kyle Higashioka, c, #42
Ronald Torreyes, ss, #42
Sabathia had a great first inning, retiring the Cardinals in order with two groundouts and a strikeout.
In the bottom of the first, the Yankees scored a run on four walks and two wild pitches. Seven players came to bat that inning against Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez. Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, and Chase Headley all walked. The other three batters, Chris Carter, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Greg Bird all struck out. It’s never a good sign when you have a pitcher so obviously on the ropes, and fail to produce a big inning. To get only one run on four walks, along with the wild pitches, is disappointing.
CC Sabathia retired the first two batters in the top of the second before giving up a single and walk. Randal Grichuk then hit a rocket to left field on which Brett Gardner made a leaping run-saving grab. That might have been the play of the game.
In the bottom of the second, the Yankees got two runners on (Gardner and Hicks) – with walks, but the other three batters, Higashioka, Torreyes, and Carter all struck out. The Yankees sent 12 batters to the plate in the first two innings. 6 walked, the other 6 struck out. I’ve never seen anything like it.
The top of the third went well for the Yankees. Sabathia retired the side in order. Starlin Castro made an excellent play on a sharply hit ground ball and Sabathia picked up his second strike out of the game.
The bottom of the third proved to give this Yankees fan more frustration. Jacoby Ellsbury became the first Yankee to put a ball in play when he singled. He later stole second. Starlin Castro struck out. Chase Headley then reached on an error by Jose Martinez, the Cardinals’ first baseman. This gave the Yankees runners on first and third with only one out. Chase Headley even stole second, but it was all for naught. Greg Bird struck out again and Ronald Torreyes became the first Yankee to be retired in a way other than a strike out when he popped out to end the inning.
The fourth inning was uneventful for both teams. Sabathia did have a strikeout of Martinez that got past Higashioka, but the ball hit the wall behind home plate and gave a true bounce so he was able to recover and throw the runner out at first. In the Yankees’ half of the inning, they went down in order, with Carlos Martinez recording two more strikeouts.
Sabathia retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the fifth. The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs (including a walk by Greg Bird) but failed to score again. Through five innings, the Yankees left 10 runners on base. That is not a winning formula.
CC Sabathia had another solid inning in the sixth, retiring the side in order. The last out, a strikeout of Matt Carpenter, was the ninth consecutive out recorded by CC.
Good fortune visited the Yankees in the bottom of the sixth. Ronald Torreyes hit a pop-up to left that none of the fielders saw, it fell for a bloop double. Brett Gardener then hit a ground out to first that moved Torreyes to third. Next, Aaron Hicks hit a ground ball right back to the pitcher, but Carlos Martinez threw home without even looking (or so it seemed). The ball sailed far away from Yadier Molina, allowing Torreyes to score and Hicks, hustling all the way, to reach second base safely. Chris Carter followed this with an RBI single that knocked Carlos Martinez from the game. Martinez threw 118 pitches, striking out 11 batters, walking 8, and giving up only 4 hits. What a unique pitching line to say the least.
The new Cardinals pitcher, Brett Cecil, then struck out Ellsbury and Castro to end the inning.
Neither team had an eventful seventh inning which brought us to the 8th.
Sabathia began the 8th by striking out Randal Grichuk. Jedd Gyorko followed this by hitting a home run to right field. At 97 pitches, CC Sabathia’s day was over. He scattered 3 hits and 1 walk (with a hit batter), and struck out five in 7 1/3 innings. This was a brilliant performance by Sabathia!
The big question for the Yankees now became would who get the final five outs to preserve the 3-1 lead? Both Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman were unavailable for the game because they have pitched a great deal recently. Could the rest of the bullpen save the game?
Adam Warren finished the eighth inning by retiring the two batters he faced, Dexter Fowler and Aledmys Diaz. Fowler struck out and Diaz lined to third. Warren has retired all twenty batters he has faced in 2017.
Against Jonathan Broxton, the Yankees did not score in the bottom of the 8th inning. Gardner singled, there was yet another wild pitch, but Hicks and Carter struck out. In the game, Chris Carter struck out four times. The Yankees, as a team, struck out 17 times.
Tyler Clippard came in for the 9th to finish the game. He struck out Matt Carpenter. Stephen Piscotty then homered on an 0-2 pitch to make the score 3-2. Yadier Molina then struck out. Matt Adams was brought in as a pinch-hitter and singled to the left side against the shift. Greg Garcia then came up as a pinch hitter and walked, but Tyler Clippard reached back and struck out Randal Grichuk to end the game.
Yankees win… The Yankees WIN!
· I have always loved the Cardinals’ uniform. It’s a classic design.
· Matt Holiday was taken out of the lineup at the last minute due to back stiffness. Chris Carter was put in to replace him.
· For such a strong man, it seems that Chris Cater swings softly. I am waiting to see the ball jump off his bat. It hasn’t happened yet. I so want him to have a huge year, but I just don’t see it.
· The Yankees’ bullpen’s ERA during the five game winning streak had been 0.00. The run scored off Clippard was the first, and only run off the bullpen since this winning streak began.
· It’s great to see the Yankees leading the league in stolen bases, thus far, with 10. Brett Gardner has five of those steals which is a great sign. This is a team that must be aggressive in order to win.
· The Yankees defense has been excellent. It a pleasure seeing a team play so well defensively. I especially feel confident in the outfielders. They have seemingly run everything down all season.
· CC Sabathia made me seem like a sage. Greg Bird (0-for 3), not so much. Sabathia pitched better than I could have hoped. It was an amazing performance especially considering the fact that the Yankees were without their top two relief pitchers.
· The Yankees have now won six games in a row. This is FUN!