Good Morning, and Happy Birthday to: Johnny Murphy. “Grandma” was one of baseball’s first relief specialists:
Eighty Five Years Ago Today: Lou Gehrig, suffering from lumbago, leads off for the Yanks, the lineup card listing him as shortstop. After Lou singles, Red Rolfe pinch runs and Gehrig’s day is done early, with his consecutive games played streak intact. The Yanks lose to Detroit, 12-11.
About Yesterday: JA Happ took the hill for the Yanks against his former team. At first, it wasn’t a good reunion for the Blue Jays, as Happ held them scoreless through the first five innings. After retiring the leadoff batter in the sixth, the lefty yielded singles to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Cavan Biggio. That was all for Happ, and Adam Ottavino was brought in to put out the fire.
After Otto struck out Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Jays executed a double steal, putting Gurriel and Biggio at second and third. Centerfielder Randal Grichuk dropped a flair just into shallow right field and the Toronto had a 2-0 lead.
In the meantime, with the Jays starting a pitcher who came into the game with a 6.23 ERA, and his injury replacement bringing an 8.44 ERA the Yanks were piling up the runs, right? Well, no. They were being held scoreless, nearly breaking through in the fifth, as the Yanks loaded the bases for Gary Sanchez, who lined one to center field, only to have Gruchuk make a diving play and keep the Bombers scoreless.
After Toronto got on the board in the sixth, Nester Cortes Jr., Zack Britton and David Hale held the Jays scoreless the rest of the way.
Bottom of the ninth, and New York has yet to crack the scoreboard. Aaron Hicks walks, but Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner fly out and the Yanks are down to their last out. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge both single, and suddenly it is 2-1 with runners on first and third. Unfortunately, Luke Voit, back in the lineup, watches strike three go by on the inside corner and that’s the game.
Yankees lose, 2-1.
Who’s Hot? Gardner is batting .478 since July 4th. Interesting note - he only trails LeMahieu and Torres on the team in WAR on the season…Happ has a 0.84 ERA in July…Hale hasn’t given up a run in his past six appearances, spanning 7.1 innings…Judge had four hits.
Who’s Not? When would we ever think we would see LeMahieu in this space? He’s batting .188 In July...Sanchez is at .103 so far this month…Gregorius has two singles in his past 22 at bats.
Why it Matters? Last year Happ’s ERA prior to the All Star break was 4.29 – after it was 2.62. Here’s hoping that we’re off to a second half like last year’s.
Other Thoughts: Has there ever been a time when two sons of Hall of Famers (Biggio, Guerrero) been on the same team?
They Said It: “We had our chances, felt like a lot of baserunners” – manager Aaron Boone.
Final Takeaway: Kinda looks like the bats are still on All-Star break.
Today’s Game: Win the game, win the series! The Yanks get a real good look at possible trade target Marcus Stroman (5-9, 3.18), who goes up against Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 3.86). A similar scenario played out last July, when the Yanks encountered Happ, who was also pitching for Toronto and rumored to be heading to New York. The Yanks shelled the tall lefty on July 7th for six runs in 2+ innings. They decided to trade for him later in the month, and were rewarded with a 7-0, 2.69 record in Pinstripes. Could this be happening again?