The great thing about baseball is that it's so easy to rebound from a tough couple of games and get back on track. The Yankees scuffled on the start of their West Coast road trip last week, dropping three of four games against Oakland, one of the worst teams in baseball, yet followed that up by sweeping the Mariners. Coming into todays game, they had won five straight games and thanks to a good start by CC Sabathia coupled with a handful of home runs, the Yankees extended that to six straight victories and were able to sweep the Angels in the Bronx for the first time since August 1995.
The Angels wasted no time in getting on the board today. Sabathia started off the first inning by giving up back-to-back home runs to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. He settled in nicely after that, though, even though the home plate umpire was all over the place, and Sabathia was starting to get peeved. Dan Bellino was very inconsistent with his low strike call today, and things finally came to a head in the sixth inning. With two batters on, and one out, CC didn't get the strike call that he wanted on his third pitch to Kole Calhoun, seen below.
Calhoun went on to ground into a double play, so the call ultimately didn't matter, but Sabathia let the ump have a piece of his mind anyway. He was quickly ejected from the game, but didn't leave before getting in Bellino's face. What happened next was a sight to behold: Joe Girardi leapt over the dugout fence in one swift movement to defend CC and also got tossed from the game. In the end, Sabathia pitched six innings, notching seven strikeouts and allowing just one walk. CC even made history today, as his strikeout of Johnny Giavotella was the 2,500th strikeout of his career, making him the ninth lefty in MLB history with this many Ks. It was a great outing, and the ejection didn't seem so bad, since it at least prevented Girardi from leaving CC in the game too long.
The strike zone may have been all over the place, but it didn't have too negative of an impact on the Yankees' offense, luckily. They scored their first run in the third, after Jose Pirela hit a leadoff double, and Didi Gregorius knocked in the run. Chris Young has struggled the past few weeks, but he tied up the game with a solo shot to left field in the fifth inning. Not to be outdone, Brett Gardner followed with a three-run home run around the foul pole in right to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. They added on their final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh when Jose Pirela smacked his first career home run into the Angels bullpen.
After Sabathia got tossed, the Yankees turned to Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances for the seventh and eighth innings, and they both worked clean innings. Andrew Miller finished the game on a dominant note, striking out the side.
Despite the win, the defense continued to struggle. Chase Headley made a throwing error to second base, which was his 13th of the season. That matches his career high in terms of errors committed in a season, and that is concerning considering we have two-thirds left to play. Most of them have been throwing errors.
Tomorrow is an off day, but the Yankees will welcome the Nationals into town on Tuesday for a two-game series. The first game will feature Masahiro Tanaka versus Max Scherzer at 7:05 EST, so you probably don't want to miss it.