They’ll call it “The Ichiro Shuffle.”
The Yankees struck first tonight in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Orioles. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single and Ichiro Suzuki reached on an error before Robert Andino made an excellent diving catch off a hard-hit ball of the bat of Alex Rodriguez. Andino then flipped it to J.J. Hardy at second base to double off Jeter. If Ichiro wasn’t alert enough to stay at first, it’s possible it could have been a triple play.
Wei-Yin Chen had a chance to get out of the inning with no damage, but Robinson Cano smacked one into the right-field corner. It appeared that Ichiro would be held up at third base, but he ended up getting sent home by third base coach Rob Thomson. He was going to be out by a mile, but managed to do some pretty nifty footwork to avoid the tag by Matt Wieters before diving and touching home plate to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Any description won’t do it justice, so we’ll have to wait for the video. Truly classic stuff.
Andy Pettitte sat the Orioles down in order in the bottom of the first inning, so it’s 1-0 Yankees as we move to the second in Baltimore.
UPDATE: Ah yes, the video. The glorious video:
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.