Last night, Harrison Bader had a nice little pinstriped debut overshadowed by Aaron Judge clubbing his 60th homer and Giancarlo Stanton shocking the Pirates with a walk-off grand slam in a five-run ninth that the Yankees entered while trailing 8-4. Somehow, I don’t think Bader will mind the headlines shifting away from him.
Those heroics took the pressure off most scoreboard-watching, but regardless, let’s peak in on what the rest of the Yankees’ top American League rivals were up to on Tuesday.
Houston Astros 5 (97-51), Tampa Bay Rays 0 (82-66)
A bad day for the Rays probably could’ve been a lot worse than it actually was. The game itself was all Astros, as Houston continued to easily maintain its eight-game lead on the AL’s No. 1 seed. Kyle Tucker notched his 100th RBI of the season with a double in the first, Jeremy Peña launched a three-run bomb in the third, and with the Cristian Javier-led Astros staff allowing just three hits in the shutout, that was more than enough.
Ace Shane McClanahan was the true cause of mass perspiration in the Rays’ dugout, as he had to leave in the fifth with neck tightness.
McClanahan only just returned from the IL on September 15th. However, after the game, he clarified that the injury did not involve his previously nagging left shoulder, and that he should make his next scheduled start. Rays fans better hope that the move was more precautionary than anything else, though with the Orioles losing again, Tampa Bay still seems to be in a comfortable Wild Card spot (5.5 up on Baltimore).
Toronto Blue Jays 18 (84-64), Philadelphia Phillies 11 (80-67)
Who doesn’t love a good, clean, and crisp 18-11 ballgame? Yes, the CFL’s Argonauts and the NFL’s Eagles made cameo appearances in spirit at Citizens Bank Park, combining for 30 runs. As a Scorigami enthusiast, I’m aware that scoring 11 on the dot is not particularly normal either, but humor me since we’re bringing CFL rules into this anyway. I’ll reward you with this zany highlight reel:
If you can believe it, this final score doesn’t actually do the Blue Jays’ damage justice. Backed by a three-run homer from Matt Chapman in the first, Toronto surged to a 6-0 lead by the third, and while the Phillies rallied off Ross Stripling to cut the Blue Jays’ advantage to 7-5 by the fifth, John Schneider’s crew pulled away once more. Raimel Tapia tripled and doubled as Toronto scored a touchdown between the sixth and eighth, making it a 14-5 ballgame.
Kyle Schwarber briefly stirred faint hopes in the home half of the eighth when he launched his National League-leading 40th dinger of the season (it’s not 60, but not bad) to reduce the Argonauts’ lead to 14-10, but a Carlos Espinal rouge and a Jackie Bradley Jr. field goal erased the them.
Despite the victory, the Yankees’ own win means that time is running out for the Blue Jays in the AL East, as New York’s magic number is 10 with Toronto 5.5 games behind. Regardless, the Jays are in good shape to potentially host a Wild Card Series against the Rays or Mariners, as they lead both by at least two games. (On the other side, the Phillies have lost five in a row, but the Brewers’ three-game skid means that they still hold the last NL Wild Card spot by 2.5 games.)
Oakland Athletics 4 (54-94), Seattle Mariners 1 (81-66)
Since coming to Seattle at the trade deadline, Luis Castillo has been brilliant ... against everyone except the worst team in baseball. After getting knocked around by the lowly A’s for the second time in the span of a month, he has a 7.45 ERA in Oakland, compared to a 1.83 ERA in his seven other starts. Go figure.
Tony Kemp delivered the big blow with a go-ahead three-run bomb, and the Mariners lost a tough one. Former Yankees southpaw JP Sears allowed one unearned run to Seattle on one hit with seven strikeouts and three walks in five innings, and the quartet of A’s relievers who followed held the M’s hitless. So in total, that’s one hit in nine innings against a 2022 Oakland team that is on track to lose 102 games. Whoops.
- Detroit Tigers 3 (57-91), Baltimore Orioles 2 (76-71): On the topic of “Whoops,” the Cinderella 2022 O’s are going down on a real bummer. They lost their second in a row to the dismal Tigers, who are 5-0 on the season against them. Those struggles will probably be the biggest reason for the death of the Orioles’ Wild Card dreams before the season’s final week. Akil Baddoo and Kerry Carpenter went yard, and Gunnar Henderson’s two-run counter wasn’t enough. Andrew Chafin snuffed out rallies in the seventh and eighth to hang another L on Baltimore.
- Cleveland Guardians 10 (81-67), Chicago White Sox 7 (76-72): I hope that you’re invested in the AL Wild Card seeding because that might be the only league race that comes down to the wire. I’ll give credit to the Guardians and White Sox for playing a zany marathon that was tied at 3-3 in the seventh and eventually featured 11 combined runs in extra innings, but the Cleveland bullpen outlasted Chicago. Jose Abreu’s 10th-inning heroics were merely a stay of execution before the Guardians piled five runs on Jake Diekman in the 11th. They’re now a commanding five games ahead of Chicago and by clinching the season series over the White Sox, their magic number is nine.