The Yanks may be heading to England soon to face the Red Sox, but Britton wasn’t “great” as the Yanks held off Houston last night for a 7-5 win. He made us squirm a bit.
With the win, the Yankees (49-27) won their eighth game in a row, and the lead in the AL East is now 5 1/2 over Tampa Bay and 8 over Boston.
By hitting two homers, the Yanks tied their team record, set in 1941, of homering in 25 consecutive games. They may have difficulty breaking it today. The starting pitcher for Houston will be Justin Verlander.
Today is Old-Timer’s Day. Mariano Rivera will be honored, a month before his HOF induction. He’ll be making his first Old-Timer’s Day appearance, and apparently will pitch. Even though Rivera will be 50 in November, ex-teammate Paul O’Neill says “I wouldn’t want to face him.”
Now to the highlights/recap of the Yankees’ win.
Giancarlo Stanton drive in four runs. Masahiro Tanaka was sharp.
The Yanks didn’t get anything going until the fifth. Despite the final score, for half of the game this was a pitcher’s duel.
In the fifth, with one out, Aaron Hicks walked. Gio Urshela got the first Yankees’ hit of the game by slicing one into the porch. HR #6 for Urshela made it 2-0 Yankees.
Tanaka gave it back in the top of the sixth by giving up a 2-run HR. Watching on TV, the pitch actually looked like a good one. Reddick just went down and got it.
The Yanks went up 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth. D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge led off the inning with walks and Luke Voit blooped a single that loaded up the bases. Stanton singled in two runs.
But in the seventh, Jonathan Holder gave up a 3-run HR and Houston took a 5-4 lead. I’m not sold on Holder, who may be the weak link in the Yankees’ bullpen right now. As one friend of mine has mentioned, he does well in games where the lead is safe, but in tight games…. now I don’t know how much that’s the case, but he didn’t do his job last night, and except for a great (and controversial) play by Aaron Hicks (the Yanks’ D was tight last night. Voit made a couple great plays, too, and Judge threw out a baserunner) another run would have scored. (UPDATE: Stanton made a fine defensive play, too).
The Yanks do have someone at SWB, J.P. Feyereisen, and I wonder why he hasn’t received a MLB shot yet. He has pitched decently in relief for them last year and this. Stephen Tarpley (see minor league report) is there too in case Holder doesn’t straighten out.
Speaking of straightening out, Chad Green has done well since that bad stint at the beginning of the year that required Green to be sent down for a while.
So maybe Holder (5.55 ERA) needs the same.
We only wonder when Betances is coming back.
But as far as coming back, the Yankees did, getting three in the bottom of the seventh of this see-saw battle to retake the lead at 7-5, and eventually make Holder the winning pitcher.
With one out, Austin Romine, probably the weakest hitter on the team among the regular position players (I am not counting the callups from SWB like a Tauchman or Wade), homered (2) to tie the game.
LeMahieu then singled and advanced on a WP. Judge reached on catcher’s interference. Voit grounded out, moving up the runners. Houston elected not to walk Stanton to load the bases to set up a force at any base for the final out of the inning, but to pitch to him. Stanton got another 2-run single, and the Yanks were up 7-5.
Adam Ottavino got out of a two-out, two-on jam in the eighth.
In the ninth, Zack Britton walked the bases loaded (the last one intentionally to set up a force at any base) before getting the final out of the ballgame.
Stanton 2 hits, 4 RBI (having missed almost the whole season so far, his first 4 RBI of 2019).
Urshela 2-run HR (6)
Romine solo HR (2)
Tanaka 6 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. 3.21
Holder (W, 5-2; BS, 2; 5.55) 1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Ottavino (H, 17) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 1.57
Britton (S, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 3 W, 0 K. 2.51
Five walks in those last two innings. Oh, my heart.
The Yanks still haven’t replaced injured Cameron Maybin on the roster. They won last night with 24 players.
Could Sanchez hit 50 this season? A catcher hitting 50?
Also, I saw a report on Justus Sheffield. The former Yanks’ top pitching prospect, traded this past offseason for James Paxton, is struggling so badly that he was DEMOTED from AAA back down to AA. Sheffield only got into one game in the majors for Seattle, giving up 2 runs in 3 IP. At AAA, he was 2-6 with a 6.87 ERA, causing his demotion back to AA.