Free Baseball for MLB Yankees and their AA brothers;

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Sunday, July 16.

On the day after baseball’s longest game of the season (21 innings,) both the major league Yankees and their AA farm club the Trenton Thunder found themselves working overtime.  On the big league level the Yanks emerged with a 16-inning 4–1 win over Boston.  The AA Yanks weren’t as lucky, losing in 13 7-6 to  Hartford on a walk-off home run in the last of the 13th by (remember the name) Brendan Rodgers.

Starting at the top, the Yankees-Red Sox game proved to be the pitching duel every fan hoped for.  The Yankees’ Luis Severino and the Sox’ Chris Sale matched each other out for out, inning for inning. Sale struck out 13 men while his teammates put up the game’s only run in the last of the third.  Sale left visibly angered by his departure with some 120 pitches thrown and a 1-0 lead.  His anger proved to be justified.   He left only to see Craig Kimbrel give up a game-tying home run to Matt Holliday, whose signing I was critical of early on. OOPS!

After an awful loss Friday night the Yankees were desperate to win one over their long-time rivals. The 16-inning affair lasted 10 minutes shy of the 6-hour mark.  While most Yankees-Red Sox games seem long this one topped them all.  Only game 4 of the 2004 ALCS at 5 hours 49 minutes came close, and that was a 14-inning affair I still can’t think about without a jug of Mylanta in hand. As wretched as the Yankees’ play has been of late they are still only 3.5 games behind the Red Sox (or as I playfully call them the Red Sux.) The Yankees have won just 8 while losing 19 since  June 13. With Red Sox’ starter Doug Fister working his third inning on the hill Didi Gregorius singled home the tie-breaking run. Austin Romine singled another run home and the Bombers’ final run came on a scoring fly ball off the bat of Gary Sanchez.  Ben Heller wrapped it up in the last half. The Yanks’ much-maligned bull pen worked 9 scoreless innings following Severino’s departure after 7.

In a display of behavior that would embarrass a Little League coach, Red Sox manager John Farrell played the game under protest following an umpire’s call and ridiculously long review in the 11th inning. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a fielder’s choice which Farrell believed should have been a double play.  The return throw from Xander Bogaerts hit the fragile Ellsbury in the leg.  He was ruled safe and the unneeded review (hey, all reviews are unneeded) upheld the umpire’s call.  Farrell should have been ejected for doing the MLB version of taking the ball and going home. Free baseball is nothing new for these rivals.  They went 19 innings at Yankee Stadium in April 2015.  I happened to be hospitalized when that game took place and the nurse on the floor was kind enough not to order me to turn off the TV even though the game went well past 2 AM. Before my time the two teams went 16 innings at Fenway in June, 1966. After yesterday’s 16 innings the two teams meet for a day-night doubleheader.  CC Sabathia faces Rick Porcello in the early game at 1 PM while Masahiro Tanaka matches pitches with David Price in the 8 PM ESPN game.

While the big league Yankees were winning in Boston, the AA Yankees weren’t so lucky. They were playing roughly 100 miles south and west of Boston, in Hartford, CT.  While Hartford did well with baseball until the advent of TV, this is their first year of the game being played there since the late fifties.  The Rockies’ AA team called the YardGoats plays there.  The Yankees’ AA team, the Trenton Thunder lost to the YardGoats 7-6 in 13 innings last night. Nearly 7,000 fans jammed brand new Dunkin Donuts Park to see the game. The Thunder who already have 61 wins in the books put up 6 runs in the first 4 innings and hoped it would be enough. But the home team put up 4 in the first and 2 in the 4th to square things at 6, and there they remained.  The 4 Hartford runs left Trenton in an early  hole.  They split the defecit in half in the top of the second, then took a brief lead in their half of the 4th thanks to 3 doubles and a home run. Drew Weeks’ second bomb tied it at 6 all.  He and Brendan Rodgers had gone back to back in the first.  Rodgers had 4 hits in 7 tries and hit the game-winning walk-off home run.  You don’t know the name of Brendan Rodgers but barring a Dustin Fowler-type catastrophe you probably will in 2018 or 2019 at the very latest.  He was shredding the California League opposition, putting up video game numbers when he was promoted.  I had followed his exploits with awe via twitter almost from the first. The native of Lake Mary, Florida won’t be legal to buy himself a brew after a game for another month.  Following a walk-off blast to end a 4-hour game with a win, I somehow think his manager winked if he saw an older teammate hand the hero a cold one. He was taken by the Rockies in round 1 using the third overall pick in the country during the 2015 draft. The Rockies’ move led him away from a college career playing for Mike Martin at Florida State. Like the major league Yankees, the Thunder bull pen pitched 8 shutout innings.  Their starter Domingo Acevedo only lasted 4 leaving the bull pen to do its best. By the 13th that proved not to be

quite good enough.

While these games were going on, two other games at the AA level went 13 innings on this unusual Saturday.  In the Eastern League where Trenton and Hartford play, the Altoona Curve (Pirates) defeated the Bowie Baysox (Orioles) 7-6 in a baker’s dozen innings. In the Texas League it took the same 13 innings for the San Antonio Missions (Padres) to beat the Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers) to the tune of 9-7.  In Altoona, the Curve who are 49-43 had a 6-1 advantage on their division rival Bowie (47-43) until the Baysox bats arrived in the last of the 9th to score 5 runs. That put Bowie ahead briefly at 6-4. Pablo Reyes made it 6-5 in the last of the 9th with his first home run of the night, setting the stage for his mates to tie the game at 6.  He later ended the game with his second home run. Bowie had won 8 of 9 over Altoona until last night. A spirited crowd of over 7500 saw their home team’s victory over the leaders of the western division.

The other 13-inning game took place deep in the heart of Texas. The game took place in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas.  The opponent was from San Antonio, in South Texas and near the Rio Grande.

The visitors came in with an impressive 56-36 mark. They were kept quiet over the first 4 innings, then scored 3 followed by 2 each in the 7th and 9th. The home team grabbed a 2-0 advantage in the 4th, then tied it after Frisco’s 3-run uprising and took a brief lead with a run in the 6th. They scored 3 in the 7th to lead 7-5 on a go-ahead 3-run blast by Eric Aguilera.  The lead lasted until Frisco tied it in the 9th and ultimately won it with a pair in the 13th. The visiting RoughRiders had 19 hits while the Missions countered with 17 in the park with the wonderful name Dr. Pepper Park.

As mentioned above, the Yankees and Red Sox meet in today’s earliest game after their almost 6 hours of action last night. While both bull pens are fried, the Yankees would be in particular distress if either Sabathia or Tanaka who starts the night game can’t go deep into the contest.  Both have had enough poor outings this year to make them liabilities in this situation.  The Rockies and Mets also start just after 1 PM in New York. The Mets send out Steven Matz as they hope for a 3-game sweep over the visitors from Denver. The Cubs will try out their new toy, Jose Quintana against the Orioles. Camden Yards isn’t his idea of a health resort, considering he’s 1-3 there with an ERA north of 5. The Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson goes today in Milwaukee, and the smart money is on him becoming somebody else’s plaything before July turns to August.

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