Tanaka Loses the Zone

Bronx, N.Y., April 14, 2019; Chisox 5, Yankees 2 — Coming off a well-pitched, and well-played, victory on a glorious warm day in the Bronx on Saturday, it was hard not to be feeling pretty good about ourselves as Yankee fans after the third inning Sunday. With a patched together lineup, the Bombers had managed to eke out a 2-0 lead. Not only had superb righty Masahiro Tanaka retired nine of 10 with six strike outs, but he had done so on just 37 pitches. Conversely, Chicago lefty Carlos Rondon threw 68 and allowed two walks, both of which scored for the only runs of the game. Continue reading

Waiting for CC

Bronx, N.Y., April 13, 2019; Yankees 4, Chisox 0 — With bad news on the injury front almost daily, the Yankees stumbled out of the gate this year, were swept in Houston early this week, and fell to the lowly White Sox Friday night despite having taken a 4-1 lead in the second inning. Injuries have crippled the offense, and the underperformance by their vaunted bullpen has come as a shock. With ace Luis Severino’s absence, the kind of starting performance that could help right the ship has been sorely wanting. Continue reading

Don’t Tell Gator

Bronx, N.Y., April 3, 2019; Detroit 2, Yankees 1 — Ron Guidry had a glorious day in old Yankee Stadium in 1978, the day he whiffed 18 Angels to establish the Yankee record for strike outs in a game. It was an uplifting day in the Bronx, and my recollection is that it was the day the fan practice of standing and applauding once a pitcher had two strikes on the batter originated. Louisiana Lightning has been in the Yankee pantheon for what he did that day, and that year, ever since. Continue reading

Feel the Noize

Bronx, N.Y., March 30, 2019; Baltimore 5, Yankees 3 — James Paxton pitched well in his Yankee debut, but not good enough to avoid taking the 5-3 loss. The southpaw throws hard, pounding heat up to 97 mph, mixing in a slider, and a (very) occasional slow curve. He’s a strike thrower; James threw 21 of 24 first pitches for strikes, and 57 strikes and just 24 balls. Continue reading

Yankees Winners, O’s Help Out

Bronx, N.Y., March 28, 2019; Yankees 7, Baltimore 2 — Yankee fans could be forgiven for thinking Thursday’s home opening win was in the bag four batters into the bottom of the first. Staff ace Masahiro Tanaka had held the visiting Orioles off the board, and one-out sharp singles to right field by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton set up a monstrous home run by DH Luke “LUUUKE” Voit on a 3-1 count into Monument Park, 3-0 Yankees. That left fielder Dwight Smith, Jr., had to reach above the fence to corral a following drive from Miguel Andujar added to the certainty. Continue reading

Knockout Punch

Bronx, N.Y., September 1, 2018; Yankees 2, Detroit 1 — Masahiro Tanaka tossed a beauty in a 2-1 win over Detroit in the Bronx Saturday, one that could have been a shutout but for some early bad luck, or a loss if he didn’t make a dazzling escape from a dangerous seventh inning late. This was done in front of a big crowd in pleasant temps, though not under sunny skies. Continue reading

Yankees “Hammer” Jays

Bronx, N.Y., August 18, 2018; Yankees 11, Toronto 6 — Following two straight games where the Yanks fell behind by multiple runs in the first inning (one loss, one win), Luis Severino and his mates took no prisoners Saturday afternoon in sweltering Yankee Stadium, pounding their way to an 8-0 lead by scoring in each of the first five innings. Didi Gregorius got the place rocking with a two-run first-inning jolt, and the rout was on. Continue reading

Lords of the Flies

Bronx, N.Y., August 12, 2018; Yankees 7, Texas 2 — It’s a habit I could learn to like. For the second straight day Yankee power hitter Giancarlo Stanton drilled a first-inning home run to give the Yanks an early 1-0 lead. It felt like it eased the burden on CC Sabathia, who, despite throwing six shutout innings with seven strike outs and just one hit, labored in this one early. Continue reading

Timeline Tightrope

Bronx, N.Y., August 11, 2018; Yankees 5, Texas 3 — This is a timeline of an ugly, tense, terrifying, but ultimately terrific, day. I entered Yankee Stadium at noon despite rain prediction percentages hovering near the exit velocity of an Aaron Judge-struck ball. The infield was covered, but the grounds crew removed it, smoothing the dirt and laying the foul lines in time for a 1:10 Lance Lynn first pitch. Continue reading