Congratulations to the Yankees, who clinched a spot in the American League Wild Card game with a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox tonight at Yankee Stadium. It was a cold and rainy night in the Bronx, so not many people were there to witness it in person, but the Yankees are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
CC Sabathia held Boston’s offense in check by allowing one run over five innings of work. The lone run scored on an RBI single from Mookie Betts in the fifth inning. Adam Warren followed with three scoreless innings before Dellin Betances tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to lock down the victory. Appropriately enough, this was the 10,000th win in franchise history.
The Yankees plated two runs against Rich Hill in the second inning, including a solo home run from Carlos Beltran and an RBI single by Brendan Ryan. Rookies Greg Bird and Rob Refsynder added some insurance with solo homers in the seventh and eighth innings.
While the Yankees have secured a Wild Card spot, they could clinch homefield with another win tomorrow or a loss by the Astros. The Wild Card game will take place next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. It’s still unclear who their opponent will be.
Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:
Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.
At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.
Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.
It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.
Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.