Here is your open thread for the rest of the weekend. The ESPN Sunday night game is a real good one, the Angels at the Athletics (Weaver vs. Kazmir). They’re tied atop the AL West and the first two games of the series have been pretty exciting. There’s also a preseason NFL game on as well. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s walk-off win, or anything else right here.
That was fun! And unexpected! The Yankees finished off the sweep of the White Sox — in a game started by all-world lefty Chris Sale, no less — on Sunday afternoon thanks to Brian McCann‘s biggest hit in pinstripes, a three-run walk-off bomb in the bottom of the tenth. So awesome. Let’s recap the team’s fourth straight win:
- The Other Chris: Two pitches into the game, the Yankees were down 1-0 — Chris Capuano left a pitch up and Alexei Ramirez swatted it out to left for leadoff homer. With Sale pitching, it kinda felt like game over right there. It definitely felt like game over when Conor Gillaspie whacked a two-run homer to right in the top of sixth, extended Chicago’s lead to 3-0. Capuano was pretty damn good between homers, retiring 16 of 21 batters faced. His final line was those three runs on six hits and no walks in six innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone. The very definition of a quality start, three runs in six innings.
- Unearned Rally: It all started with an error. Dayan Viciedo dropped a Martin Prado fly ball with one out in the sixth — the sun probably played a role, but it was a play a big league outfielder has to make — opening the door for the Yankees’ go-ahead four-run rally. Mark Teixeira doubled in Prado, Carlos Beltran and Frankie Cervelli sandwiched walks around a Chase Headley strikeout, loading the bases with two outs. Pitching coach Don Cooper went out to talk to Sale, whose pitch count was at 96, but he remained in the game. His next pitch hit Zelous Wheeler in the leg to force in a run, and his next pitch after that dunked into right for Ichiro Suzuki‘s two-run single. The Yankees put nine men on base against Sale, including six in that inning. All four runs were unearned because of Viciedo’s error, but who cares? Only people who own Sale in fantasy, I guess.
- Makeshift Bullpen: Because of their recent workloads, neither Shawn Kelley nor Dellin Betances were available. That meant Esmil Rogers and Rich Hill got the seventh inning and Adam Warren got the eighth once the Yankees took their 4-3 lead. Rogers retired the two men he faced (grounder, strikeout), Hill retired the one lefty he faced (fly out), and Warren sat down the side in order (fly out, grounder, strikeout). Warren fell behind in the count 3-0 to Jose Abreu but rebounded to strike him out looking. Helluva job right there. Everything was all set up for David Robertson, and then …
- Blown Save: For the first time since June 1st, 22 consecutive saves ago, Robertson blew a save. Avisail Garcia hit a game-tying solo homer into the short porch on the very first pitch of the ninth inning. It was a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it still counts and the save was blown. Two of his three blown saves this year have come against the ChiSox. Robertson retired the next three batters with ease to end the inning. What’s Wrong With Robertson Week™?
- Extra Innings: The Yankees blew a first and second, one-out situation in the ninth thanks to Derek Jeter‘s double play. David Huff navigated the tenth — he struck out Abreu looking for the third out with two men on base — and set up the offense for the walk-off win in the bottom half. It all happened with two outs too. One-time Yankees draftee Jake Petricka struck out both Prado and Teixeira to start the inning, but Beltran fileted a double to left and Headley was intentionally walked to get the right-on-right matchup against Cervelli. Girardi went to McCann off the bench, and Petricka left a full count changeup out over the plate. McCann yanked it down the line, just fair for a cheap Yankee Stadium walk-off. Like I said before, it still counts. That’s exactly the type of homer the Yankees were expecting out of McCann when they signed him.
- Leftovers: Beltran (double, walk), Headley (double, two walks) and Ichiro (two singles) were the only Yankees to reach base twice … everyone in the starting lineup reached base at least once except for the leadoff man (Jeter) and number nine hitter (Brendan Ryan) … Robertson pitched in back-to-back-to-back games for the second time this month and only the fifth time in his career … the Yankees scored 5+ runs in back-to-back games for the first time since August 2nd and 3rd and only the second time since early-July.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. As of right now, the Yankees are 6.5 games back in the AL East and three games back of the second wildcard spot. Those numbers will change pending the outcomes of the other games today. The Yankees are now off the Kansas City to play a makeup game against the red hot Royals. (They were rained out on June 9th.) Michael Pineda and James Shields will be the pitching matchup Monday night. After that, the Yankees head to Detroit for three important games against the Tigers.
The share a first name and they both throw with their left arm, but otherwise this afternoon’s starting pitchers could not be any more different. Yankees starter Chris Capuano is a classic veteran finesse lefty, mixing speeds and using an array of soft stuff to keep hitters off balance. White Sox starter Chris Sale is a pure power pitcher who will make hitters look foolish by both throwing fastballs by them and getting silly hacks at filthy offspeed pitches. Sale really is outstanding. One of the two or three best pitchers in the world on a rate basis.
The Yankees have won their last three games and five of their last seven overall, climbing to within 3.5 games of the second wildcard spot. Every time I’m ready to count them out, they go on a run and reel me back in. They head out on an important road trip that will pit them against the Royals and wildcard competitors Tigers this week, and it sure would be nice to go out on the trip following a sweep. Find a way to beat Sale today and move on to the super important games this coming week. Here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- SS Derek Jeter
- LF Martin Prado
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Carlos Beltran
- 3B Chase Headley
- C Frankie Cervelli
- RF Zelous Wheeler
- CF Ichiro Suzuki
- 2B Brendan Ryan
LHP Chris Capuano
Just a few clouds in New York on an otherwise perfect afternoon for baseball. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to start a bit after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.
Injury Updates: Brett Gardner has a sore ankle and Jacoby Ellsbury is “pretty beat up,” so Joe Girardi is giving them both the day off against the tough lefty … Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) will throw his next simulated game on Thursday.
Via Dan Martin: Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda has not yet thought about whether he will retire or continue playing after the season. He hasn’t made the decision until well into the offseason the last two years. “I have not thought about next year,” he said. “Since I’ve signed one-year contracts, I always wait until the completion of the season before I decide what to do.”
Kuroda, 39, has a 3.94 ERA (3.83 FIP) in 26 starts and 160 innings this year, so while hasn’t been the same guy we saw from 2012-13, he has been solid overall. I’ve been assuming this would be Kuroda’s last year in New York one way or the other, but I don’t think that’s completely set in stone. The Yankees need pitching, so if he wants to continue playing and is willing to sign for something like $10M to $12M instead of $16M, he could be back in 2015.
Got some notes:
- Both RHP Preston Claiborne (shoulder) and OF Ramon Flores (ankle) have been activated off the Triple-A Scranton DL, according to Chad Jennings and Donnie Collins. Claiborne will certainly be up when rosters expand in nine days.
- RHP Branden Pinder was placed on the Triple-A DL with an unknown injury, reports Jennings. He missed a bunch of time with a groin problem earlier this year. Also, RHP Jim Miller has been released.
Triple-A Scranton Game One (3-2 loss to Rochester in seven innings) makeup of the July 13th rainout
- SS Jose Pirela: 2-4, 2 SB
- RF Ramon Flores: 0-3, 1 BB, 2 K
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-1, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K — five walks and two strikeouts in his last three games
- 1B Kyle Roller: 0-3, 2 K
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – fifth homer in 72 games
- DH Zoilo Almonte: 1-2, 1 2B, 1 RBI
- C John Ryan Murphy: 0-3
- LHP Manny Banuelos: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 5/1 GB/FB — 39 of 72 pitches were strikes (54%) … 32/19 K/BB in his last 37.1 innings
- SwP Pat Venditte: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GB/FB — 34 of 50 pitches were strikes (68%)