For another game the New York Yankees remain in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the American League. Tuesday night in the Bronx, and with the inevitable of elimination at their hands, the Yankees lived to see another day in a wild card race that was unexpected.
They also delayed the Boston Red Sox from clinching the AL Eastern crown with a 6-4 win. And they beat lefthander David Price and his 14 wins against the Yankees which is just as impressive.
But Price did not have it again in the Bronx and is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA in five starts against the Yankees this season. In six innings, Price allowed six runs and 12-hits. Yes, the Yankees lived another day and in the process stopped the Red Sox 11-game winning streak.
Said Price, “It didn’t happen tonight it will happen tomorrow. Not going to be great every time I’m out there.”
The Red Sox assured that the Yankees would have little or no hope after a four-game sweep last weekend up in Fenway Park. Prior to that, and with winning games for five weeks, the Yankees put themselves back in contention .
But there is some hope, even if this is an improbable task for the Yankees. This version of the “Baby Bombers” clinched a non losing record for the 24th straight season and are four games still from a second wild card with the Toronto win over Baltimore. So for now, whether or not they pull off the improbable, the Yankees feel their season has been somewhat of a success.
And chances of obtaining a wildcard outright will mean winning their remaining five games, and of course the teams ahead of them losing some of their games.
Regardless, the Yankees will relish the opportunity to finish off a season this week that started bad and was difficult to recover. They revamped a roster that got younger and Gary Sanchez brought the excitement back to the Bronx.
Sanchez got to Price early. His two-run homer in the first inning snapped an 0-13 drought. The 20th home run, that went into the Yankees bullpen area in left-center tied a record of Wally Berger in 1930 for the fastest player to hit 20-home runs in Major League history.
Considering this was the 51st career game for Sanchez, that is quite an accomplishment and for the Yankees, younger and more athletic, Sanchez is expected to be around a long time and there is no telling if the league will catch up to him.
“Gary has meant so much to his team as any rookie in the big leagues this year,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
And a major reason for the Yankees late season surge, of course it was attributed to Gary Sanchez who arrived at the trading deadline when the Yankees were planning for next year in late July.
“I want to keep working hard,” Sanchez said through a translator when asked about his home run production. “Don’t know how many I’m going to hit next year.”
Then, he was questioned about being considered as a candidate for Rookie Of The Year. The limited amount of games and the stats, which include 42 RBI will get him some consideration.
“It’s up to the people who vote,’” he said. “My goal is to finish the year.”
These other “Baby Bombers” who will be in the plan for 2017, they also assured the Yankees lived another day with the slim hopes well in their minds. Righthander Luis Cessa tossed six innings, on five hits and no runs. He did not get a decision and had a shutout going into the sixth inning before giving up a two-run homer and the Red Sox had issues with his slider.
Tyler Austin hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh off Price, and all four of his home runs have been instrumental in getting the Yankees a lead. Austin figures to be in the plan at first base next season.
But, he knows a little something and it’s all good about Sanchez and Cessa.
“Seen them work all year,” he said about his teammates from Triple-A Scranton. “They are doing something special and can only get better. The way he, (Sanchez) is swinging the bat it could be a home run.”
It came down to the final out. In the first of his final three games at Yankee Stadium, David Ortiz went 0-for 5, struck out five times and stranded seven. Tyler Clippard threw a backdoor cutter which Ortiz swung and missed. Two were left on in the ninth as the Red Sox looked to take the lead.
“As players we relish those moments,” Clippard said. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way. If I’m going to get it done, I’d rather get it done against David Ortiz.”
Ortiz would say, Sanchez took too many trips to the mound during that final at bat. “I was tricked,’”he said. He intends to get back at the Yankees Wednesday night.
And after Wednesday night, we will know again if the Yankees live for another day in their improbable task. If not, there is that awareness of what can come next season, and in the years ahead with Gary Sanchez and company,