Tag: Greg Bird

Yankees 7, Twins 2: Kraken Awakes in Series-Opening Win

The Yankee backstop collects three of the Yanks’ 11 hits in a big win.

MINNEAPOLIS, MI – Gary Sánchez‘s bat got going in a big way Monday night in Minnesota, as he collected three hits and scored two runs in a big 7-to-2 Yankee win.

The Oakland Athletics sat idle, so the Yankee lead in the Wild Card grew to three games. The game was a pitching duel through the sixth inning, with J.A. Happ and Kyle Gibson matching zeroes until El Gary stepped to the dish with two outs. Sánchez was robbed in his previous at-bat, thanks to a fantastic play by Twins third baseman Gregorio Petit.

Sánchez fouled off a few tough pitches down in the zone, and then crushed a 2-2 sinker that was out of the zone 460 feet into the third deck at Target Field. It was his second homer since returning from rehab September 1, and his 16th overall on the 2018 season.

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In a nightmare season, Sánchez’s bat showed a sign of life that could be crucial down the stretch. His three hits were the most he’d had in one game since he had four against the Royals on May 19. The Yankee lineup becomes so much stronger if he can maintain something like the .263/.333/.632 (156 wRC+) line of his past five games.

The Yankee offense got a big boost in the top of the seventh, where they scored six runs. That allowed Aaron Boone and Co. to lift Happ after just 91 pitches and six shutout innings. Luis Cessa allowed the two runs in two mop-up innings, and Jonathan Holder pitched a perfect ninth to nail down the win.

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Brett Gardner contributed a multi-hit game from the No. 9 slot, and he’s been a bit hotter of late – .280/.333/.320 (81 wRC+) since September 3. The Yankees worked 10 walks, with three going to Andrew McCutchen and two-a-piece for Aaron Hicks and Greg Bird. Bird was the only starter who did not record a hit. Miguel Andújar, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, and McCutchen each recorded RBIs as well.

What’s Next:

Sonny Gray, who owns a 1.83 ERA in 19⅔ innings (six games, one start) since his bullpen demotion, returns to the rotation for a spot-start. The Twins will employ the “opener” tactic, sending Tyler Duffey to the mound.

Game 144: Trio in the Twin Cities

The Yankees kick off a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins tonight, sending lefty J.A. Happ to the hill.

Happ got a no-decision his last time out, but pitched quite well. He allowed just one run on two hits Tuesday in Oakland. He’s the owner of a 5-0 record and 3.10 ERA since his trade from Toronto to the Yankees.

Happ’s opponent is Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Gibson has been the Twins’ best qualified starter this season in terms of ERA (3.74), though his 7-12 record is nowhere near as pretty. The righty gave up four runs (two earned) his last time out a week ago against Houston on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts.


Pregame Notes:

  • NOT A DRILL: Aaron Judge took five rounds of batting practice on the field today, “without the hint of pain,” per George A. King III of the New York Post. It’s a huge step to see the big fella taking live BP, and here’s to hoping he can sneak into the RailRiders lineup as they chase the Governor’s Cup.
  • Speaking of the Triple-A playoffs, ex-Yankees righty Giovanny Gallegos (traded to St. Louis) had a pinch-hit walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning after the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds ran out of position players. You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.
  • Luke Voit has some back stiffness, and will sit in favor of Greg Bird tonight. Aaron Boone said Voit’s issue is not serious and that he’ll be available off the bench.
  • Sonny Gray gets the spot-start tomorrow as the Yankees push everyone back a day. The October 3 Wild Card game looms large as the season starts to wrap up, and this is a move to have either Luis Severino or Masahiro Tanaka lined up for that evening.

Twins Lineup:

(italics denotes ex-Yankees)
  1. Joe Mauer – 1B
  2. Jorge Polanco – SS
  3. Logan Forsythe – 2B
  4. Robbie Grossman – RF
  5. Mitch Garver – C
  6. Willians Astudillo – DH
  7. Jake Cave – CF
  8. Johnny Field – LF
  9. Gregorio Petit – 3B

Game 126: Mini-Sweep in Miami

Lance Lynn makes his fourth start as a Yankee as he looks to pitch his new team to a two-game sweep in Miami.

Lynn has been a revelation since coming over from the Minnesota Twins. He has a 2.61 ERA in his five appearances, with a 3.31 mark in his last three outings. He got a no-decision his last time out August 17 against the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on six hits and throwing 99 pitches in just four innings of work. He has made eight appearances (six starts) against the Marlins in his career, with a 4-1 record and 3.75 ERA.

The Marlins send Trevor Richards to the hill to face the Yanks. The 25-year-old debuted April 2, and has a 4.28 ERA in 18 starts for Miami. He got knocked around in his last outing, allowing five runs on 10 hits August 14 in a start against the Atlanta Braves. He threw 95 pitches in 4⅓ innings in an eventual 10-to-6 loss.

Aaron Boone sends out a lineup virtually identical to last night, with a flipping of Greg Bird and Neil Walker.


Pre-Game Notes:

  • Prior to the game, the Yankees placed Aroldis Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis and recalled Chance Adams from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In a separate move, they claimed catcher Chris Rabago from the Colorado Rockies and optioned him to Double-A Trenton.
  • Gary Sánchez should get into a Gulf Coast League game either tomorrow or Friday.
  • Aaron Judge did conditioning work in the outfield at Marlins Park this afternoon but still has yet to pickup a bat.
  • Miguel Andújar worked pregame at third base with Alex Rodriguez, who was seen chatting with Andújar and Gleyber Torres around the batting cage.

Marlins Lineup:

  1. Rafael Ortega – RF
  2. J.T. Realmuto – C
  3. Brian Anderson – 3B
  4. Starlin Castro – 2B
  5. Derek Dietrich – 1B
  6. Austin Dean – LF
  7. Miguel Rojas – SS
  8. Magneuris Sierra – CF
  9. Austin Richards – RHP

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 10: Yanks Secure Sweep, Shift Concern to Didi

Bird’s second slam of 2018 powers Yanks to sweep.

THE BRONX – For the second consecutive day, the Yankees put 10 runs on the board as they swept the Toronto Blue Jays with a win Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of people contributing, and really, I felt like our hunger was good coming in,” Aaron Boone said. “Really pleased with how the guys came out today from a focus, energy standpoint, to finish this homestand that was kind of up-and-down on a really good note.”

The Yankees got their runs in two bunches, with a six-run first inning and four-run sixth inning. The Blue Jays actually scored first since J.A. Happ allowed a solo home run with two outs in the top of the first inning to Randal Grichuk on a 3-0 fastball.

But, the offense backed their starter in the bottom of the frame, thanks to some shoddy command from Jays starter Ryan Borucki. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton each walked to lead off the game, then moved up a base on a double steal. Miguel Andújar followed with a single to left that scored Hicks.

Didi Gregorius came to the plate next, and he hit a ground ball to second base that ate up Devon Travis. Travis’s throw to first was late, and pulled first baseman Kendrys Morales into the baseline. Gregorius and Morales collided, leaving Gregorius worse for the wear. It was scored an RBI single as Stanton scored. Gregorius would stay in the game to run the bases, moving to second on an infield single hit by Gleyber Torres.

Greg Bird came to the plate next, entering fresh off a garbage-time solo shot in the eighth inning the day before but hitting just .140/.222/.246 in August. With the bases loaded, he crushed a 2-1 sinker on the inside corner into the second deck in right field for his second career grand slam.

“It’s a product of keeping your head up,” Bird said. “I felt like I did a better job of using my legs today … I just keep playing. I keep going. The biggest thing is not getting caught up and chasing results, and just doing what you can when you get the opportunity.”

Morales homered off Happ for the Blue Jays in the sixth, but the Yankees more than made up for it in the bottom of the inning. Brett Gardner singled, Hicks worked another walk and Stanton smacked an RBI single through the right side of the infield to score Gardner. Andújar followed by juuuuust beating out a double play ball hit up the middle. The Blue Jays challenged, and lost.

Ronald Torreyes* doubled, and Torres was intentionally walked to face Bird. Bird grounded into a 3-2 force at home plate, but the return throw to first was late, according to first base umpire Jansen Visconti. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was out of challenges (having already lost one), and wanted a crew chief review of the play at first. Visconti wanted no part of that, and handed Gibbons his sixth ejection of the season.

With runners on second and third, Kyle Higashioka ripped a two-run single to score Torreyes and Torres. That capped the scoring for both teams. Happ pitched 5⅓ innings, giving up the solo homers to Grichuk and Morales. Jonathan Holder pitched 1⅔ and Sonny Gray got the final six outs to lockdown the sweep.

“It was strange, I can admit that,” Happ said. “I think I’d probably prefer not knowing the opposition the way I know those guys. But we got through it, had a big first inning and got a good win.”

The only Yankee without a hit was Shane Robinson. Torreyes managed to go 3-for-4 with two singles and a double despite not starting the game.

* I put an asterisk next to Torreyes’s name because he entered as a defensive replacement for Gregorius after the latter played an inning after the collision. The Yankees announced later that Didi had a “bruised left heel” and was headed to a local hospital for further testing. After the game, Aaron Boone said that the injury was “pretty significant” and that he could spend some time on the disabled list.


What’s Next:

The first off-day since July 30. Then, the team heads south to Miami to take on the Marlins in a short two-game series. Masahiro Tanaka starts game one and Lance Lynn starts game two.

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 7: Walker, Stanton Homer in Rain-Shortened Win

The rain finally gives the Yanks a break.

THE BRONX – Last night’s game ended 11 outs earlier than usual, which benefitted the Yankees as they grabbed a 7-to-5 win over Toronto in Friday’s series opener.

Just seconds after Aaron Hicks struck out in the bottom of the seventh, the grounds crew rushed to get the tarp to cover the infield. That was the last bit of baseball we’d see, as the game was called after a delay of one hour and 25 minutes.

“We got a heads-up from the umpires right before it was coming that it was going to get real windy and nasty,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It finally started to blow in, you could see it coming, obviously. The original thought was the delay would be about an hour and a half, but there was some uncertainty there, so we just didn’t really know.”

The first inning saw six runs scored collectively as neither Lance Lynn nor Marcus Stroman had their best stuff. Lynn walked Curtis Granderson and Justin Smoak in the first, then RBI singles from Kendrys Morales and Kevin Pillar scored them both. After a walk to Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Díaz singled to score both Morales and Pillar.

In the bottom of the frame, Aaron Hicks walked with two outs and then scored on Didi Gregorius‘ fourth triple of the 2018 campaign. Three pitches later, Miguel Andújar ripped a double into the right-center field gap to score Didi. It was Andújar’s 35th double of the season, which leads all MLB rookies and is nine ahead of second place (Brian Anderson, Marlins; Niko Goodrum, Tigers).

The Yanks took a short-lived lead in the fourth inning as Stroman made some costly mistakes. Gleyber Torres, who is working through a tough slump since returning from the disabled list, doubled with one out. Greg Bird battled through a 10-pitch plate appearance to walk. Two pitches later, Neil Walker cranked a three-run homer on a 90-mph cutter that sat over the middle of the plate.

With a 5-to-4 lead, Aaron Boone tried to squeeze another inning from Lynn. He lasted just two more batters, as Granderson doubled to lead off the inning and Devon Travis singled to right to tie the game. Chad Green entered and cleaned things up, allowing a harmless two-out single to Russell Martin.

The Yanks took the lead for good in the bottom of that frame, with Joe Biagini relieving Stroman. Hicks walked, and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Andújar. Two pitches later, Torres beat out a 6-4-almost-3 double play ball for an RBI fielder’s choice. The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, as Giancarlo Stanton deposited a pitch from Luis Santos 431 feet out to right field.

“Not an ideal start, but to fight back and get this win was really huge for us,” said Stanton. “A good test for us. Get punched, and punch right back.”

The rain hasn’t been kind to the Yankees for most of 2018, but it allowed them to save Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman for another day. And, most importantly, they got win No. 76.

Rays 1, Yankees 4: Happ Dominates in Third Pinstriped Win

Happ delivers another gem.

THE BRONX – J.A. Happ pitched like an ace Tuesday night, allowing just one hit (but four walks) over seven stellar innings to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Those four walks came in the first four innings of work for Happ, who did not allow a hit until C.J. Cron singled in the fourth. Happ struckout four Rays hitters, and got that many both of groundouts and flyouts. He has a 1.89 ERA since joining the Yankees.

In the first inning, the Yanks were able to post a run on opener Hunter Wood. Giancarlo Stanton flipped a double into the right-field gap, then moved to third when shortstop Willy Adames could not handle a pickoff throw from Jesús Sucre. Sucre tried to catch Stanton napping but only caught Adames in that state. After the E6, Aaron Hicks blooped a single between Adames, Joey Wendle and Carlos Gómez for an RBI single.

The Yankees were then flummoxed by Jalen Beeks, whom the Rays acquired from the Red Sox for Nathan Eovaldi, until the fifth inning. Neil Walker led off with a walk, then Austin Romine ambushed a first-pitch fastball for a two-run home run that just stayed fair inside the right-field line. It was the eighth homer of the year for Romine, whose 111 wRC+ makes him a top-5 catcher in the American League (minimum 150 plate appearances).

The Rays got their one run on the first pitch by a Yankee reliever, as Happ exited in favor of Dellin Betances to begin the eighth inning. Adames atoned for his error by ambushing a first-pitch fastball for the first homered allowed by Betances since May 10.

That run was won back by the Yanks in their next set of at-bats. Miguel Andújar doubled with two outs, and Greg Bird doubled next to score pinch-runner Shane Robinson. Aroldis Chapman pitched a nine-pitch ninth for his 31st save, working around a two-out single by Wendle for a simple save.

Rangers 3, Yankees 5: Andújar Saves the Day

THE BRONX – Miguel Andújar‘s clutch two-run home run in the seventh inning off Chris Martin proved to be an important differencemaker Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

The 23-year-old cracked his 17th homer on the first pitch he saw from Martin, sending a 94-mph fastball into the right field seats. That proved to be the difference as the Yankees claimed a 5-to-3 victory. Giancarlo Stanton singled ahead of Andújar before the rookie connected.

Stanton got the scoring going for the Yankees in the first inning, driving a 3-0 fastball from Drew Hutchison into the left field seats for his 29th homer of the year. Andújar singled one batter later, and Greg Bird lined a double that scored him from first base.

Lance Lynn allowed his first (and only) run as a Yankee in the third inning. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a double to center field, then moved to third on a Rougned Odor ground out to the over-shifted shortstop Didi Gregorius. Elvis Andrus then lined a single to right field that allowed Choo to score.

That lead held until the seventh, when Zach Britton entered. With two outs, Choo and Odor singled, then Andrus walked. Next batter Adrián Beltré worked a walk with the bases loaded, and another run came into score when new reliever Dellin Betances balked in the tying run.

That set the stage for Andújar’s homer, and the rookie came into the game batting .293/.348/.483 in high-leverage situations (per Baseball-Reference). David Robertson and Betances each did not allow a run, and Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless (yet eventful) top of the ninth.


What’s Next:

The series finishes off with a battle of lefties. CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.49 ERA) will look to reprise his 12-strikeout performance from August 7 against the White Sox. Martin Pérez (2-4, 6.15 ERA) is coming off a no-decision where he allowed three runs in seven innings August 6 against Seattle.