The Yankees came from behind for the second straight game last night to win a squeaker, completing a three-game sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees now own a four-game winning streak and have climbed above the .500 mark for the first time in this young season. But more importantly, they now own another streak in which they have gotten four consecutive quality starts from their much-maligned rotation.
Last night, it was Luis Severino who took the ball to give the team seven firm and decisive innings in which he struck out eleven batters, walked only one, and threw 70% of his pitches for strikes (70-104).
And when a team is going good, contributions are bound to come from everywhere. And on that score, Aaron Hicks did not disappoint. In four at-bats in which he saw a total of only thirteen pitches, including a walk, Hicks belted two home runs, the second of which occurred in the Yankees half of the seventh inning that drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in a 3-2 victory.
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Following the prescription for Yankees wins, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman pitched the final two innings with each recording two strikeouts in their one inning of work. Chapman earned his second save of the season.
Hicks, who is on the team for exactly the reason he was called on by Joe Girardi last night as an outfield replacement didn’t miss a beat and neither did the Yankees. Brett Gardner, who was involved in a frightening collision at first base during Wednesday’s game sat the game out, mostly as a precautionary measure and is not expected to miss a significant amount of time.
There were disappointments in the game as well. Greg Bird returned to the lineup but clearly is not himself as he registered three strikeouts while seeing only 18 pitches in four at-bats. Bird’s ankle injury is healed enough for him to play, but a flu-like illness took him out of the lineup until last night.
Video Courtesy of the YES Network
Turning The Page
The St. Louis Cardinals arrive for a three-game weekend set beginning tonight, the first Inter-League matchup for the Yankees. The Cardinals have been struggling of late with a porous defense and a lack of hitting, although they did break out of it Wednesday night with a 6-1 victory over the Nationals just in time to face the Yankees.
The job of keeping the line moving now falls on Masahiro Tanaka, who no one believes will have three consecutive clunkers as the team’s ace. No one has ventured any guesses as to what might be wrong with Tanaka, except for the obvious fact that he’s had little or no command of his pitches.
Tanaka draws Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.50) as his opponent in tonight’s contest.
The Yankees have an opportunity to fix the leaks in the rotation by moving to a sixth starter that would give extra rest to Tanaka and Sabathia.
In a sad note for fans of baseball everywhere, the Cardinals announced that Hall of Famer, Lou Brock, whose left leg was amputated below the knee in 2015 due to complications with diabetes, has been diagnosed with bone cancer.