The Yankees run to the postseason is taking an interleague turn this week as the Dodgers come to Yankee Stadium for a three game set. These three games are the only non-divisional opponents the team will face in the month of September. Having lost the finale of a four game series to the Rays, it is imperative that the Yankees get right back on the horse and win games to stay within striking distance of the Orioles and Tigers.
No pitching, no defense, no good
Bryan Mitchell took to the mound on Monday night looking to build on his fine start against the Blue Jays. The Dodgers made plenty of contact against Mitchell, but his defense really let him down. A couple of miscues and another play or two that probably normally get made led to 4 unearned runs for the Dodgers. Mitchell would only complete 2.1 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 runs total for the night. He became the third starting pitcher in the last five games not to complete five innings. Heavy is the bullpen burden. Mitchell was not pitching well enough to go very deep as it was, but the tough luck error on Aaron Judge in the second inning really had the Dodgers on their way. Richard Bleier saved the bullpen with 4.0 innings of no-hit baseball.
The Yankee offense was minimal outside of solo home runs from Starlin Castro and Judge. Judge hit an absolute bomb to left field that had an exit velocity of 115.2 MPH. But solo homers rarely get it done by themselves and the Yankees only had five hits on the evening and three at-bats with runners in scoring position. It all led to a 6-2 defeat and a two game losing streak that needs to come to an end on Tuesday. The Orioles won and the Tigers lost, so the Bombers are still two games back in the wildcard. With 19 games left on the schedule, every game will become more and more crucial. The starting pitching is thin right now, but they are going to have to make due down the stretch with no real options to turn to.
Different day, opposite results
With starters outside of Masahiro Tanaka failing to give the Yankees much length in the past week, the time for a quality from their big left hander, C.C. Sabathia, couldn’t come at a more important time. Sabathia did not look good at all in his last outing, failing to have command of his pitches and seemed totally out of sync. Tuesday, he used command and movement to stymie the Dodgers for 6.1 shutout innings. Only allowing 3 hits and striking out 7, his arm looked rejuvenated in this start and was just what the doctor ordered.
The Yankee offense really made Dodger rookie Julio Urias work for every out that he got as he needed 78 pitches to get through 3.2 innings of work. But, the rookie came through unscathed as the Yankees failed to plate a run in that stretch. Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius finally broke through against the Dodger bullpen with back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning to give the team a 2-0 lead. Gary Sanchez would add his 14th home run, a solo shot, one inning later. Warren, Clippard, and Betances would finish the shutout with 2.2 innings of work as the Yankees would take the middle game by a score of 3-0.
The Yankees had eight hits, four walks, and a hit batsman but had to settle for three solo home runs. Lots of runners on base, but none were really ever moved into scoring position. But, they still managed to give the pitchers enough support to get the job done. The Orioles won and the Tigers lost, so the Yankees are still in the middle of the wildcard chase as they still sit two games back in a tie with Detroit. An afternoon contest will finish the series as the Yankees will face Clayton Kershaw while seeking a series win.
A tough one to lose
The Yankees had the battle not only Kershaw on Wednesday afternoon, but the elements as well. Kershaw would work around two delays to pitch 5 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball. He only needed an efficient 64 pitches to complete the outing. His counterpart, Michael Pineda, would need 82 pitches in his four innings of work. Pineda would not return to the game after the first rain delay.
The Yankees would not have many chances offensively to produce runs and when they did were quickly dispatched as they went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position with 6 left on base. The storyline of this game was not only the lack of offense, but poor defense as well. They would end up with as many errors as hits, three. Two of the errors would lead to their undoing in the bottom of the ninth as the Dodgers would plate two as a direct result of shoddy defense to win 2-0.
Not much to like in this one. No offense and miscues all around will not win you very many games against a division leader. They certainly missed a golden opportunity to not only win the series, but gain ground in the postseason race. The team heads to Boston for a four-game set that could prove to be the biggest September series against Boston in recent memory. The Yankees are four back in the division, three back of the first wildcard, and two back of the second wildcard. 3 out of 4 against the Sox and things would be set up for a wild finish to the season over the next two weeks. Just gotta win games and everything else will take care of itself.