Well, this was as good as it gets - a nice crisp baseball game. The Yankees set the tone early with great defense. They had just enough hits, scored a few runs, and had outstanding pitching. The game never seemed all that close. There was just a sense that the Yankees were going to win tonight.
And they did.
The Big Story: Luis Severino pitched one of the best games of his career. On this night, all of Severino’s pitches seemed to be working. He pitched quickly and efficiently. His command was excellent. Severino retired the first nine batters he faced. Then, after Alcides Escobar led off the fourth inning with a single, Severino immediately retired the next three batters to retire the side. Severino allowed a lone hit in the fifth inning and one hit in the sixth inning. Usually lead-off walks are a killer, but Severino pitched around a lead-off walk in the seventh inning, ending that frame with a rare 1-4-3 double play. In the eighth inning, Severino, still sailing, again allowed only one hit.
The final line for Severino was fantastic. 8 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts.
Defense: Luis Severino was helped out with some defensive gems. Jacoby Ellsbury ranged all the way back to the center field wall to make a spectacular catch on an Escobar blast to begin the game. Ellsbury then crashed into the wall. He remained in the game for that half inning but was then removed with a concussion and neck sprain.
In the fifth inning, Chase Headley made a diving catch on a Jorge Bonifacio line drive.
Severino also helped himself out by making a quick grab on a ball hit back through the box in the seventh inning to start the 1-4-3 double play mentioned above.
Solid (and spectacular) defense makes watching the game extra enjoyable!
Three Runs: The Yankees scored their runs one at a time in three different innings.
The scoring began in the bottom of the third when Didi Gregorius led off the inning with a home run. The game stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the 6th inning.
Gary Sanchez began the 6th inning with a single. Sanchez then stole second, and when the throw bounded into center field, Sanchez popped up from his slide and hustled to third base. He then scored on Matt Holliday’s long sacrifice fly to right field.
The Yankees’ final run came in the 7th inning. Gregorius led off with a long double that bounced on the warning track in deep right-center field and ended up in the stands for a ground-rule double. One batter later, Brett Gardner singled after the home plate umpire may have missed a called strike three to punch out Gardner.
In total, the Yankees managed only seven hits, but they came at the right times to slowly put the game away.
Who Needs Fielders?: Dellin Betances came in to close the game out in the ninth inning. He faced three batters (Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Eric Hosmer) and struck them all out. Three batters, three strikeouts. Betances made it look easy.
· The Yankees lead the American League in home runs with 69. Only the Washington Nationals have more homers than the Yankees in all of baseball.
· The Reggie Jackson BobbleHead Give Away looks very cool. I can’t attend the game that night, but that looks like a keeper.
· This might just be my perception, but in the last few games, it seems that Aaron Judge isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt on some close pitches and possible checked swings. They all seem to be called strikes. It could be just part of baseball’s learning curve. Or, this writer might just be letting his hopes and dreams for more Judge homers cloud his judgment.
Jason Hammel, who pitched for Kansas City, is a slow worker. The television coverage of the fielders looking extremely bored between the pitches was great TV.