Gleyber Torres hit 2 HR, and Mike Tauchman got the game winning hit as the Yanks (71-39) won the nightcap of the day/night DH yesterday, 6-4.
But the injury bug hit again, and hard.
In the previous post on the first game of the DH, I mentioned that Edwin Encarnacion was HBP, and that it was “scary.” While Encarnacion stayed in the game at the time, tests done after the game revealed a fractured wrist. He’ll be out a while. Remember last year that Aaron Judge missed 48 games because of it. There is just 52 games left this season. Terrible timing.
That timing becomes even worse if Luke Voit requires surgery for his sports hernia.
D.J. LeMahieu now becomes the full-time 1B instead of switching around. Gio Urshela gets more regular time at 3B. Torres and Didi Gregorius are backed up for now by Breyvic Valera. Next man up.
Backing up LeMahieu for now is Mike Ford, called up when Encarnacion’s situation became known. Ford, a lefty hitter, has been up briefly before. He is 6 for 30, 1 HR, 2 RBI with the Yanks this year (OPS+ 101). At SWB, .303-23-60 in just 79 games.
It looks like Ford will be here a while, unless the Yanks want to turn in another direction. That direction could be in the form of ex-Yankee Tyler Austin, who was DFA’d by the Giants yesterday. Austin has power, but doesn’t hit for average, and has a poor walk/strikeout ratio. But he is someone, of course, the Yanks are familiar with.
Ford, a lefty bat, projects as a better fit than Austin, the righty bat. Austin will be 28 next month, and when he was with the Yankees from 2016-2018, hit .230-15-43 in 85 games. (OPS+ 98) with just 19 walks but 106 strikeouts. This season between the Twins and Giants, he has hit .187-8-20, OPS+ 81. 18 walks, 60 strikeouts in 72 games. He can play corner OF as well as 1B.
We’ll see if the Yanks take a flyer on him. One thing that may not help is some uncomplimentary (but maybe correct?) things Austin’s dad said when the Yanks dealt Austin way last summer for the now also-departed Lance Lynn.
As if Encarnacion’s injury didn’t hurt enough, Aaron Hicks hurt his elbow making a throw in from the outfield in last night’s game. Hopefully it is not major, but we remember that Didi Gregorius injured his elbow making a throw in last year’s postseason series against Boston, required TJ surgery and missed half of this season. If Hicks needs that, he’s done for the year. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. But if he has to go on the IL, the Yanks then have Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin who all could play CF. We will have to see if Clint Frazier or someone else (Tyler Wade?) gets called up. Frazier’s bat may be needed what with the Encarnacion injury, but his defensive problems may mean he replaces Encarnacion at DH (until Giancarlo Stanton is ready, and the word on that is not until September). The Yankees, I think, would be much more comfortable with Tauchman and/or Maybin in the OF alongside Gardner and Judge. Let Frazier DH then.
We will see what the prognosis is on Hicks. But the way this season has gone, I am not expecting good news.
As of now, Sanchez, Voit, Stanton, Encarnacion, Andujar, now Hicks. That’s not even mentioning guys we really can’t count on because we rarely if ever see them, like Bird or Ellsbury, or the pitchers like Severino, Betances, Montgomery, Hale, CC and Loaisiga.
But the Yanks keep on trucking along. The DH sweep of Boston means that the Yanks (71-39) have an 8 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East, and a whopping 13 1/2 game lead over Boston. It sure appears as if Boston’s hopes of winning the division are over, and they have to worry about just making it as a wild card. As of now, the Indians would host the Rays in the wild card game, the A’s are just 1/2 game behind the Rays, and Boston is 5 1/2 behind the Rays just for a playoff spot.
The Yanks could help bury Boston with a win tonight that would sweep the weekend series. J.A. Happ is expected back from paternity leave to start the game for the Yanks.
Time now also, to put more distance between the Yanks and Rays, as well.
Now for the game. Sorry, but the injury report, I felt, took precedence.
The Yanks remained undefeated (9-0) when Chad Green serves as the opener. He pitched a scoreless first inning before passing the baton to Nestor Cortes, Jr., who gave up a massive HR to Rafael Devers in the top of the third inning that put Boston up 2-0.
The Yanks came right back with three runs in the bottom of the third. Gleyber Torres hit a solo HR (22) to cut it to 2-1. Hicks and Gio Urshela singled, then Maybin doubled both home to make it 3-2 Yanks. Maybin pulled a rock later however, in getting doubled off of second because he forgot how many outs there were when Mike Tauchman lined out to CF.
Chance Adams, up for the day as the DH’s 26th man, relieved Cortes and gave up two runs to put Boston up 4-3. Adams, so good in the minors in 2016 and 2017 (a combined record of 28-6, ERA about 2.40) hasn’t taken it further the last two seasons. 2018 and this year have been a struggle.
Torres tied the game at 4 with his second HR of the game. HR #23 of the season meant (per Replacement Level Yankees) that he has joined Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankees with five multi-HR games in one season before turning 23. Some company. I wouldn’t trade Torres for anyone. He could turn out to be our next Jeter. A middle infielder who would be here a long time, a multi-time All-Star, many hits, more power than Jeter, and even though he is not 23 yet, the kid already is a leader. Like Jeter, the kid has icewater in his veins. Cool under pressure. What’s not to love?
In the bottom of the seventh, Torres just missed hitting his THIRD HR of the game by doubling off of the right field wall. Hicks and Urshela each walked to load the bases. Maybin struck out, but Tauchman singled in two runs to put the Yanks up 6-4. Austin Romine walked to reload the bases but the Yanks didn’t score anymore. The 6-4 score turned out to be the final score.
Not without a scare, however. Zack Britton had Boston load the bases on him in the eighth, but he got out of it.
Judge 2 hits
Torres 3 hits, 2 HR (23), 2 RBI.
Hicks 2 hits. We’ll see about that elbow injury.
Maybin 2 RBI
Tauchman 2 hits, 2 RBI. He’s really grown on me the last month or so.
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 4.95
Cortes, Jr. 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 2 K. 4.60 Gave up 1 HR.
Adams (BS, 1) 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K. 7.07
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1.50
Kahnle (W, 3-0, 2.56) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Britton (H, 22) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.35
Chapman (S, 29) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.68