Game 49: Bombers Hit The Beltway

After winning yesterday’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics, the New York Yankees take their show on the road to face the Baltimore Orioles. It is still early in the season, but the series has extra importance for both teams. Baltimore has slid into third place behind the Boston Red Sox by 1½ games, while the Yankees maintain a 3-game lead over their rivals. Baltimore is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, and the team has only won two of their last 10 games. Tasked with being the stopper is right-hander Dylan Bundy. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bundy has pitched well this season to the tune of a 2.92 ERA.

The Yankees counter with lefty Jordan Montgomery, who is fresh off of the best start of his young career. The 24-year-old held the Kansas City Royals to just one run over 6⅔ innings, ultimately resulting in a no-decision after the bullpen blew the lead. In that start, Montgomery walked none and struck out six, and looks to build off of that progress.

After sitting both weekend games against the Athletics, Chase Headley returns to the Yankee lineup hoping to bust out of his slump. He is 1-for-3 in his career against Dylan Bundy. It’s worth noting that outfielder Aaron Judge is currently tied with the Angels’ Mike Trout for the major league lead in home runs with 16.

The Orioles originally had regular center fielder Adam Jones batting second, but he was scratched with hip and ankle injuries.

Starting Lineups

New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Gary Sánchez – C
  3. Matt Holliday – DH
  4. Starlin Castro – 2B
  5. Aaron Judge – RF
  6. Didi Gregorius – SS
  7. Aaron Hicks – CF
  8. Chase Headley – 3B
  9. Chris Carter – 1B
Baltimore Orioles
  1. Joey Rickard – CF
  2. Chris Davis – 1B
  3. Manny Machado – 3B
  4. Mark Trumbo – RF
  5. Welington Castillo – DH
  6. Trey Mancini – LF
  7. Jonathan Schoop – 2B
  8. J.J. Hardy – SS
  9. Caleb Joseph – C

Pitching Matchup

Jordan Montgomery (2-3, 4.30) vs. Dylan Bundy (5-3, 2.92)

Judge’s Grand Day Powers Yankees

Aaron Judge powered the Yankees to a 9-5 victory yesterday with his first career grand slam.

The towering right fielder continues to impress this season, as he collected two hits to carry his .321 average so far this season. Michael Pineda held up his end of the bargain by allowing just three runs through six effective innings of work. The Yankees bullpen certainly made it interesting, but eventually locked it down with a four out save from Adam Warren.

Andrew Triggs was a victim of shoddy defense. Of the six runs he gave up, only one was earned. That run scored on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Hicks in the bottom of the second to pull the Yankees to within a 2-1 deficit. Everything changed in the third inning. Singles for Ronald Torreyes and Gary Sánchez set the table, then Matt Holliday reached on a fielding error by Matt Joyce in right field. Aaron Judge worked himself into a hitter’s count before belting an opposite field grand slam.

A Chris Carter sacrifice fly then expanded the lead to 6-2. Later in the game, Khris Davis of the A’s proved dangerous as he reached on an error to score a run and hit a two-run home run. But, the Yankees kept hitting. Gary Sánchez doubled into the left field corner to score a run, and Brett Gardner iced the game with a two-run double off John Axford to make it 9-5.

Joe Girardi was able to rest both Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances ahead of today’s series opener with division rival Baltimore Orioles. That opportunity came on the backs of Chad Green and Tommy Layne, who soaked up 1⅔ innings before handing the ball over to Adam Warren.

Game 48: Pineda Looks to Maintain Momentum

If you told a Yankee fan who only watched Michael Pineda pitch last year that he would have the second best ERA on the starting rotation, they probably would not believe you. The new year has brought new effectiveness to the tall right-hander. Batters hit .337 against his fastball last year, but they now just hit .266 against it. Pineda also has thrown only 50 more fastballs than sliders, which allows him to keep hitters guessing. His biggest challenge today will be to keep the ball down and induce ground outs from an A’s lineup that loves to hit home runs.

As a team, the Yankees look to be more effective with the bat today against Andrew Triggs. The A’s right-hander has not faced the Yankees much, but Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes each have recorded hits against him. Triggs started the season going 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA, but has regressed to a 3.97 ERA so far in the month of May. He has only walked 15 batters all year, so the Yankees need to jump on his mistakes in order to put runs on the board.

Chase Headley remains out of the lineup today as his nightmare slump continues. Headley told reporters he was disappointed in his own production on the field, but respected the manager’s decision to pinch hit for him in a high-leverage situation Friday night. Torreyes, who went 0-for-3 yesterday but put the ball in play in each at-bat, once again will start at the hot corner.

The A’s get a little extra offense into their lineup with the return of Yonder Alonso. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported that the lefty swinging Alonso had been taking batting practice at Yankee Stadium yesterday in hopes to be available off the bench. Alonso reportedly had been cleared to return to the lineup, was listed as out of the lineup, but now is back in. He had been dealing with a sore wrist after getting drilled by Miami Marlins’ Jarlin GarcíaBob Melvin adds an extra left-handed bat to his order today by giving regular catcher Stephen Vogt a half-day-off as the designated hitter.

Starting Lineups

Oakland Athletics
  1. Mark Canha – CF
  2. Stephen Vogt – DH
  3. Jed Lowrie – 2B
  4. Khris Davis – LF
  5. Yonder Alonso – 1B
  6. Ryon Healy – 3B
  7. Josh Phegley – C
  8. Matt Joyce – RF
  9. Adam Rosales – SS
New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Gary Sánchez – C
  3. Matt Holliday – DH
  4. Starlin Castro – 2B
  5. Aaron Judge – RF
  6. Didi Gregorius – SS
  7. Aaron Hicks – CF
  8. Chris Carter – 1B
  9. Ronald Torreyes – 3B

Pitching Matchup

Andrew Triggs (5-3, 2.77) vs. Michael Pineda (5-2, 3.35)

Two Hits Enough to Beat Oakland

In just about any Major League Baseball game, two hits will get you just about nowhere. That is, unless you’re the 2017 New York Yankees. After being blanked by call-up Jharel Cotton through 5⅔ innings, Matt Holliday hit a hanging slider into the visiting bullpen to put the Yankees up for good against the Oakland Athletics. A very well-rested Dellin Betances used 24 pitches to record a five out save. Betances saved his fifth game of the year in place of the injured Aroldis Chapman.

The Yankee offense was limited to one run in the first inning on a Starlin Castro sacrifice fly. Jharel Cotton then held the Yankees hitless until the sixth inning, when Gary Sánchez walked before Holliday’s towering home run.

It became interesting after that when Sabathia served up a solo home run to Josh Phegley to pull the Athletics within one. But, a bullpen combination of Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances teamed up to only allow one hit and one walk to close out a well-deserved win.

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It’s not often that two hits result in a win, but you know the Yankees will take it. Betances’ five out save allows the Yankees to maintain a two game lead over the Baltimore Orioles as we head into the rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:05 p.m.

Game 47: Yankees Need a Spark

Masahiro Tanaka did just about everything in his power last night the Yankees to victory. But, of course, that was not enough as the Yankees anemic offense only pushed across one run. It proved to be a game of missed opportunities as the Yankees left six men on base, and were an ineffective 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees look to pounce on Jharel Cotton, a right-handed pitcher who had been optioned to AAA on May 11 as a result of poor pitching. The A’s injury situation necessitated his call-up, though the seven shutout innings in his last start for AAA Nashville show his talent. The Yankees send Bay Area-native CC Sabathia to the hill to counter Cotton. Sabathia has pitched very well of late, winning his last two starts. The big lefty held the Tampa Bay Rays to just two runs (one earned) on four hits over five innings. He struck out six batters, and walked only one. He seems to have figured out how to pitch as a finesse pitcher in the powerful American League. Today, he goes for his first personal three game winning streak since 2013.

The Yankees get an infusion of extra offense into their lineup today after Girardi opted to have Austin Romine catch Tanaka last night. Romine did collect the double to right field, but is nowhere near the offensive threat that Gary Sanchez is. So far this season, it appears that Tanaka is much more comfortable pitching to Romine, and it would not be surprising to see that battery become a permanent fixture for the Yankees.

It’s worth noting that Joe Girardi decided to give Chase Headley a day off after going 0-for-3 last night with two strikeouts and a rally-killing double play ground ball. Headley was then lifted for a pinch-hitter, Gary Sánchez, in a high leverage at-bat in the ninth inning last night. Ronald Torreyes, who filled in so admirably at shortstop during Gregorius’s absence, gets the call at the hot corner today.

Starting Lineups:

Oakland Athletics
  1. Rajai Davis – CF
  2. Mark Canha – RF
  3. Jed Lowrie – 2B
  4. Khris Davis – LF
  5. Ryon Healy – 1B
  6. Trevor Plouffe – 3B
  7. Chad Pinder – DH
  8. Josh Phegley – C
  9. Adam Rosales – SS
New York Yankees
  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Gary Sánchez – C
  3. Matt Holliday – DH
  4. Starlin Castro – 2B
  5. Aaron Judge – RF
  6. Didi Gregorius – SS
  7. Aaron Hicks – CF
  8. Chris Carter – 1B
  9. Ronald Torreyes – 3B

Pitching Matchup:

Jharel Cotton (3-4, 5.68) vs. CC Sabathia (4-2, 4.62)

Greg Bird Takes His Rehab to Tampa; Austin Rakes for Trenton

As the Yankees are currently stuck with Chris Carter getting the bulk of playing time at first base, good news appears to be on the horizon. MLB.com’s Matthew Martell reported yesterday that Greg Bird would be taking off for Tampa on Sunday to prepare for rehab games.

Bird was placed on the 10-day disabled list back on May 2 with a bruised right ankle. That injury originally occurred at the end of Bird’s red-hot Spring Training, but continued to plague him into the regular season. The young first baseman was just 6-for-60 to start the year; a far cry from his torrid .451 in the Grapefruit League.

Bird had added running to his rehab regiment in New York, after starting with simple tee and soft-toss work. He eventually started to take ground balls as well.


Another Yankee working his way back from a foot injury is fellow first baseman, Tyler Austin. The Georgia-native suffered a fracture of the navicular area of his left foot back in February, and started the season on the 60-day disabled list. His rehab is in a much more advanced stage than Bird’s. Austin is currently slashing a gaudy .429/.529/.786 for the AA Trenton Thunder, and recently was promoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to continue his return. Austin is eligible to be activated from the disabled list in early June.

Tanaka Steps Up, Offense Disappears in 4-1 Loss

Yankees’ ace Masahiro Tanaka was up the challenge, but was ultimately handed a loss after poor defense and a quirky official scoring rule squandered his impressive performance.

Tanaka set a career high by striking out 13 batters over 7.1 innings, but left after allowing a single in the eighth inning. Tyler Clippard then allowed that runner to get to third after an errant pickoff throw. He then induced Rajai Davis to ground into a fielders choice to Chase Headley, who threw Adam Rosales out at the plate on a throw to Austin Romine. A strange quirk in official scoring rules then made Davis Tanaka’s responsibility, and he came around to score on a Jed Lowrie. Khris Davis then reached on an infield single after Clippard’s wild pitch moved runners to second and third.

That 2-0 score held until Jonathan Holder took over to pitch the top of the ninth. A leadoff single by Trevor Plouffe was followed up by a long home run by Stephen Vogt. The Yankees were able to get the bases loaded against A’s closer Santiago Casilla in the bottom of the ninth, but only managed to push across one run on a Didi Gregorius sacrifice fly.

The Yankees get their first shot at revenge tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. CC Sabathia starts tomorrow against A’s righty Jharel Cotton.

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