On their final night at Wrigley Field, the Yankees scored early, got a clutch home run, and saw their starter work into the late innings on their way to a sweep of the World Series champions. This weekend series was a strong showing for the surprising Yankees who have just gotten a little bit of everything from all facets of their team so far.
Oh, if it had just been that simple. This paragraph was written several hours ago before more than one entire second game transpired. Everything that came after the eighth inning was the stuff of nightmares. Horrible, horrible nightmares. Let’s start with the good, I guess.
Luis Severino was pretty incredible over seven innings against the Cubs. He allowed just one run on four hits on his way to striking out nine batters. Severino hit 100 mph on the gun and hung around in the upper 90s all night, despite the colder Chicago temperatures.
The lone blemish on Severino’s line came in the third inning when Javier Baez lifted a ball into the bleachers over Aaron Hicks’ head. The Yankee left fielder had no idea where the ball was and it led to this entertaining moment, which may have made it worth it.
Yankees OF Aaron Hicks with the most clueless reaction ever to a HR. pic.twitter.com/1FEPsLghDq— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) May 8, 2017
New York was able to get to Chicago starter Jon Lester early, scoring a run in the first inning on an RBI groundout by Starlin Castro that brought home Hicks. The Yankees could have possibly gotten more out of that first inning when Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a single, but he strayed too far off first base and was picked off by Willson Contreras. Both consecutive batters reached base, making the pickoff sting, especially considering what would come later.
The Yankees broke the 1-1 tie when Aaron Judge launched a ball to center field that Jon Jay took an awkward route to before failing to come up with it. Castro scored on the play after he reached base on a Kris Bryant throwing error that allowed him to get to second base safely.
It looked like the Yankees would easily get out of Chicago with a sweep of the Cubs with Joe Girardi able to turn the ball over to Dellin Betances and his closer with a three-run lead. Unfortunately, the ninth inning was a disaster. Addison Russell worked a walk to lead off the inning, and Jon Jay singled to put the Yankees’ closer immediately in trouble. He got Contreras to strike out swinging, but Albert Almora Jr. sent a pitch back up the middle to score Addison Russell to cut the Yankees’ lead by one.
It continued to unravel from there. Baez poked a single past Didi Gregorius at shortstop that plated Jay and brought the tying run to third base with Kyle Schwarber at the plate and only one away. Baez stole second without a throw to put the winning run in scoring position before Schwarber went down swinging.
The Yankees opted to not intentionally walk Bryant with first base open...which I guess is a decision that one could make. Once the count ran to 3-1, they put Bryant on to bring Anthony Rizzo to the plate. Rizzo was hit with the first pitch of the at-bat to tie the game. That was all for Chapman and the Yankees’ lead.
After the blown save, Tyler Clippard came on to try and somehow salvage extra innings for the Yankees with the bases still loaded. Ben Zobrist grounded out to second to end the inning, but Severino’s excellence was already wasted. Clippard was great in the tenth, striking out the side. The game continued on with neither team getting much of anything.
<a considerable amount of time later>
The Cubs had a good chance to win the game when Rizzo doubled to lead off the 12th inning against Adam Warren before advancing to third on a long fly ball by Miguel Montero. Warren worked out of the jam, though, and the game continued still.
<several hours later>
Brian Duensing. They ran out of baseballs.
<time is a flat circle>
Aaron Hicks bunted to lead off the inning. The throw was bad and he went to second. Ronald Torreyes sacrificed him to third and he scored on a groundout by Starlin Castro. The time was 1:58 am. The inning was the 18th.
Game over. Yankees win. Good night.