It was an uncharacteristic 2-4 homestand for the New York Yankees. While their lineup remained resilient against the Texas Rangers, the spotty starting pitching, bullpen and mounting injuries were too much to overcome. Perhaps getting away from AL West opponents will help alter the Yankees’ fortunes as they venture to the Windy City next.
Following some tough losses, it was nice to see the guys in pinstripes “steal” a game. Pitching and defense and a never say die lineup helped the Yanks edge the Rangers 2-1 in extras.
Perhaps one could chalk it up to a duel between countrymen but Masahiro Tanaka was excellent. The Yanks Japanese starter recorded 22 swings and misses on the evening. Tanaka was aggressive in getting ahead of hitters. Across eight scoreless frames, Tanaka whiffed nine and only yielded three hits.
YIPS AND YIKES
Not even Aroldis Chapman could erase the recent bullpen woes, although he wasn’t entirely at fault in the top half of the ninth. With one down Elvis Andrus singled to right. After Nomar Mazara was hit by a pitch, it was first and second for Texas. Andrus stole third and for the time being Ronald Torreyes saved a run on a wide throw by Gary Sanchez. On a Chapman strikeout of Adrian Beltre, Sanchez turned his glove the wrong way and a passed ball allowed Andrus to score.
While the New York lineup endured a rough go of it against Yu Darvish with 10 strikeouts, they battled to the final frame. Facing reliever Matt Bush, Brett Gardner clocked a solo homer to right, squaring the contest at one. The homer extended the game and enabled the Yankees to avoid the shutout.
Brett Gardner’s no stranger to a CLUTCH homer in the 9th! pic.twitter.com/P4LiRvekiu
Torreyes was incredibly clutch in the field and at the dish. In addition to the aforementioned play at third, “Toe” started a slick inning-ending double play in the third. Plus, he made a beautiful backhand stab to rob Andrus in the seventh.
The hot corner’s not too hot for Ronald Torreyes. pic.twitter.com/MOtHknDr6h
In the tenth with two down and runners at the corners, Torreyes fittingly lined a walk-off winner to center.
Proving momentum is as good as your next day’s starting pitcher, it was Aaron Judge and not much else for the Yankees in their 8-1 loss to the Rangers.
Luis Cessa wasn’t bad, wasn’t great, better than he was in his outing in Oakland but still spotty. Cessa mustered five frames and struck out a career-high eight hitters, with six K’s in the first two innings. Yet, a two-run homer to left by Carlos Gomez, made it 3-0 in the fourth. In his defense, Cessa is essentially a seventh starter at this juncture, so you’re going to have to score big when he’s on the bump.
Judge provided the offensive excitement on the afternoon. Where the rest of the lineup was flummoxed by Austin Bibens-Dirkx, the rookie right fielder slammed home run No. 26 to the bullpen in left during the sixth inning. Judge would be right on pace with Roger Maris‘ 61 homers in 1961 but is one off because of instant replay.
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
Any momentum the Yankees gained from the Judge homer was given right back when Jonathan Holder let up a homer to Robinson Chirinos in the seventh. Aside from the 1.1 scoreless frames in the major-league debut of Ty Webb, it only got uglier. The team tried to straighten out Tyler Clippard again in the ninth but he was rocked for another four runs.
On Old Timers’ Day, the Bronx Bombers battled to the bitter end but a touchdown and an extra point were too much to overcome in a 7-6 defeat.
Never gets old with these guys!! pic.twitter.com/bOrwcPRfZ2
So much for those solid home splits. Michael Pineda, normally good at home and especially good during the afternoon, was brutal. Pineda yielded a season-high three home runs and was touched up for seven runs in four frames. Granted he has been susceptible to the long ball all season but not typically with men on base.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF FIRST BASE
Despite collecting a hit, it was another rough afternoon for Austin at first. During the first with a Delino DeShields on second, Austin jumped and muffed a liner by Shin-Soo Choo, nonchalantly jogged to first to record the out but an alert DeShields aggressively went to third on the play.
Poor Torreyes had to essentially take over on pop ups behind second and first for both Austin and when Austin Romine took over at first after Aaron Hicks departed with an oblique injury and Austin was moved to right field. Is James Loney still out there?
Is James Loney still out there?
Keeping Yankees fans tuned in were the dynamic duo of Judge and Sanchez. With an RBI-single in the fifth, Judge got the Yankees on the board and took over the AL RBI lead with 59.
Later during in the inning, Sanchez unloaded a three-run bomb to Monument Park on Old Timers’ Day no less. El Gary tied Rudy York for the second most home runs through 100 career games with 33. The home run cut the Texas lead to 7-4.
El Gary's 33 HR in his first 100 games ties him for 2nd-most HR in 1st 100 career games in MLB history. ? pic.twitter.com/TG8rMFtzWe
Too often when the Yankees have cobbled together a rally, the bullpen had been giving those runs right back. Yet, Chad Green bucked the trend with two frames of scoreless relief, allowing the offense a chance to chip away some more.
TOE-HEY, TOE-HEY, TOE-HEY!
Another solid day in the field was accompanied by a big swing from the little guy at the plate. Facing Jose Leclerc in the seventh, Torreyes, who hit the first Yankees’ home run of the season, notched his second of the year to left.
Later on in the seventh, the pinstripes would continue to chip away. Judge and Sanchez coaxed a pair of two-out walks. After Didi Gregorius missed a home run by a foot, he ripped a clutch RBI-single to right against Alex Claudio. Yet, Sanchez was thrown out at third to end the threat.
At 40-33 on the campaign, the Yankees travel to Chicago to face the Chicago White Sox in a four-game series starting Monday night.