September 27, 2015, Bronx, N.Y.; Yankees 6, White Sox 1 — I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the 6-1 Yankee win over the Stadium Sunday afternoon, the last home day game of the regular season, probably the last of the year 2015. It wasn’t just because my team won another must game, which they did. Or that rookie Luis Severino continued to impress with yet another dominant start, though he certainly did effectively control the Chicago lineup, shutting them out over six innings, allowing just five hits and a walk.
Though a late arrival on the Yankee scene this year, Severino’s performance has been one of the several delightful surprises that has this team playing better ball than many predicted. He only retired the opposition in order once in his six frames, but his ability to coax ground balls — for 12 of 18 outs — was the key to victory today. Riding his dominant high-90s fastball and a sinking two-seamer, he only got Sox batters to swing and miss six times in 98 pitches, and struck out two, but the grounder parade allowed the Yanks to extract revenge for the four double plays Chicago used to beat them Friday night. These twin killings were a little more varied than the litany of routine 6-4-3s from Friday. Ex-Yank Melky Cabrera was retired on two 6-6-3s, J.B. Shuck was pegged out on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em out dp in the second, and the Yankee hurler turned in a fine play covering first on a 3-6-1 to defuse a budding rally in the fifth.
Severino also made fine plays on several comebackers to the mound, and Shuck made a rally-killing stab of a Dustin Ackley drive to right center in the first that could have ended this one early. But it was not a particularly well played game. When Luis failed to corral a Greg Bird throw at first with one out in the top of the second, it was already the third error — there would be four, three on Chicago, all four taking place around first base — of the game. Chicago pitching allowed six walks, and a Yankee run scored on a passed ball.
The Yankee offense, too, failed in numerous opportunities to break the game open early. Treated to bases loaded with no outs in the first on a walk and two errors, they scored just once, and failed to take advantage of back-to-back singles to lead off the third, or a Didi Gregorius double starting the fourth. Young righty Erik Johnson did walk five, but he showed poise in pitching out of several tight situations. But allowed to throw 120 pitches into the sixth, he and his bullpen eventually succumbed to five late runs by the Yanks. Dustin Ackley homered for 2-0, which became 3-0 on the passed ball, both in the sixth, and Avisail Garcia answered with a shot against Justin Wilson in the seventh for the lone Palehose score. Even on the offense, Yankee youth was served as, along with Jacoby Ellsbury, young pinstripers Greg Bird and Slade Heathcott led the way with two hits apiece.
By playing on this day in 1931, Lou Gehrig completed four straight seasons in which he played every game — he also stroked the first and last home runs of his career on September 27. Today’s contest displayed little of the Iron Horse’s long, hard, every-day approach; the two teams combined to use 33 players between them, and it took 3:20 to complete.
And yet, it had the feel of a baseball game in days gone by. There was almost no evidence of the extreme infield shifts ubiquitous in today’s game. The White Sox did shift on Brian McCann, to no effect — he had a sac fly and struck out three times. And not only was there not a single managerial request for instant repay; we didn’t even have to sit still while a manager waited for their video consultant to let them know if a play was replay-worthy. Yep, it brought a smile. Because it was an