In order to give some starters more rest, and to set up a playoff rotation, manager Aaron Boone went to a “bullpen” game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, using 8 pitchers who two-hit the Rays in a 4-1 Yankees’ victory. They walked six but struck out 13.
The win improved the Yanks’ record to 96-60 and kept them 1 1/2 games ahead of the A’s for the top wild card spot. The Yanks’ magic # for getting that wild card game against Oakland at home is 4.
One reason Boone did this is that it appears more and more likely that the games in Boston this upcoming weekend will mean a lot to the Yankees as far as holding off Oakland to secure home field advantage for the wild card game. It could come down to the final game.
Boone will have a lot of decisions to make, and one that has been made is controversial. He has said that Gary Sanchez will be the catcher in the wild card game, despite Sanchez committing two more passed balls yesterday and hitting .180. He might be hoping for lightning in a bottle, since a normal Sanchez could give you a 2-HR, 5 RBI game. But the Sanchez of this season has many thinking that Boone should start Austin Romine instead.
Didi Gregorius felt better but it remains to be seen whether that torn cartillage in his wrist will allow Didi to play anymore this season. Meanwhile a tight hamstring forced Aaron Hicks out of last night’s game. His replacement, Brett Gardner, got an RBI and made a game-saving catch.
The Yanks scored first when Andrew McCutchen homered in the third inning. It was his 20th of the season, and fifth as a Yankee.
Tampa Bay, who was eliminated from the playoffs with the loss, scored in the fourth to tie the game. They were helped by one of the two passed balls Sanchez had on the night.
In the fifth, Aaron Judge walked, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on Gardner’s single. 2-1 Yanks. Giancarlo Stanton doubled Gardner home, 3-1, but was thrown out at third on the play.
The Yanks got the final run of the game in the seventh when McCutchen and Judge hit back-to-back doubles.
There has been a considerable number of likes on the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club Facebook page recently, and a lot are from people outside of the Lehigh Valley. I don’t know how you heard of us, but welcome. Check out the website, http://lvyankeefanclub.org/ for information about our 2019 bus trips.
McCutchen 2 hits, HR.
Now for the pitching, this is going to look like a spring training game.
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.92
Tarpley 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.50
Gray (W, 11-9, 4.98) 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Green (H, 13) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 2.57
Robertson (H, 21) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.88
Chapman (H, 1 ) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.54
Betances (H, 20) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.60
Britton (S, 7) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 3.18 (Balt/NYY)