The Wild Card race is getting interesting. September is the month of anything happening. Let’s check out what happened during this week in the AL East.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Game one was…interesting. Ryan Yarbrough only pitched two innings and gave up seven runs. After scoring in the first inning, the Rays were held to one run until the 4th inning. Nelson Cruz hit his 28th home run and went 3-for-6. Randy Arozarena went 2-for-6. Wander Franco went 4-for-6 and Yandy Diaz went 3-for-5. Austin Meadows hit his 24th home run, an inside-the-park home run, to tie the game. The game went into extra innings and the Rays ended up winning 11-10. Just a ridiculous game the Rays have no business of winning.
This game has everything pic.twitter.com/uep1YZfBhR — Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 6, 2021
Drew Rasmussen pitched five innings and gave up one run. Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 and hit two home runs. Mike Zunino went 3-for-4 and hit two home runs. Jordan Luplow went 3-for-5 and hit his 10th home run. David Hess pitched in the 8th and 9th innings and for whatever reason, Kevin Cash pretty much left him out to dry. Hess gave up six runs. The Rays still won 12-7.
Shane McClanahan pitched five scoreless innings. Brandon Lowe went 2-for-3 with a walk. This game was scoreless until the 8th inning. Matt Wisler started the inning and was removed due to an injury. Seemed kind of weird since the pitcher seemed to say he was fine but Cash took him out anyway. Turned out he had inflammation on his finer that popped up again. JT Chargois replaced Wilser and gave up a 2-run home run to give up the lead. The Rays lost 2-1.
BOSTON RED SOX
Chris Sale took the mound and what was thought to be a 99 percent sure win turned into a devastating loss. Sale pitched 3.2 innings and gave up five runs, one earned. The other four were due to an error by Alex Verdugo. The Sox had three errors in the game which allowed five unearned runs. Just a sloppy game. Hunter Renfroe went 3-for-5 against his former team. Taylor Motter went 2-for-5 and Rafael Devers went 2-for-4. The Sox were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Garrett Richards, Josh Taylor, who returned from the COVID-IL, and Adam Ottavino each gave up a run. Garrett Whitlock gave up two earned runs, in total three due to the ghost runner. The Sox lost a game they shouldn’t have 11-10 in extra innings.
Enrique Hernandez and Danny Santana returned from the COVID IL. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched 3.2 innings and gave up six runs. Alex Verdugo went 3-for-5. Bobby Dalbec went 2-for-2 with both hits being home runs. Danny Santana hit his 5th home run. Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-4. The Sox tried to make Cash’s decision to keep Hess in the game a mistake but they ended up losing 12-7.
NO MORE RAYS
The Red Sox needed Nasty Nate and Nasty Nate was what they got. Nathan Eovaldi went seven scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. J.D. Martinez went 1-for-3 with a walk. Josh Taylor gave up the only run to the Rays in the 8th inning. Renfroe went 2-for-4, hit the game-winning 2-run home run, and threw out Joey Wendle at third to end the game. Hansel Robles got his 12th save. The Red Sox won 2-1 and avoided the sweep in the last game they played against the Rays in the regular season.
The Nasty Nate you know & love. 😎#RedSox x @NationalPro pic.twitter.com/eIhj3Oy28h — Red Sox (@RedSox) September 9, 2021
It is the battle of the Sox over the weekend as the Red Sox head to Chicago. Tanner Houck and Chris Sale are scheduled to pitch.
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yankees pitching is doing that thing where they give up runs early and/or can’t hold a lead/tied game again. They dealt with this during the first half of the season when many were just blaming the offense. Jameson Taillon pitched seven innings and gave up three runs. The first two were home runs. The offense was shut down by Hyun Jin Ryu and the bullpen. Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3. Brett Gardner went 1-for-2 before being pinch-hit for by Luke Voit. Brooks Kriske pitched the 9th because no one other pitcher was really available and gave up five runs. The Yanks lost 8-0.
Gerrit Cole took the mound for the Yankees and what was hoped to be a great start in order to get back in the win column, turned into a possible injury for the ace. Cole pitched 3.2 innings and gave up three runs, two earned. He left in the 4th inning due to left hamstring tightness. As of now, it is reported that the Yankees are being cautious and will find out how Cole feels in the next 24-48 hours. It will be a huge loss for the team if Cole lands on the IL. Rizzo went 2-for-4. He is quietly starting to heat up a bit. Gardner went 2-for-4 and Andrew Velazquez went 2-for-3. Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres had the night off in order to help “reset” during their struggles. The Yanks lost 5-1.
Luis Gil was called up to start game three. He lasted only 3.1 innings and that was barely getting the outs. He just didn’t have anything working for him. Although he struck out six hitters, he also walked seven. He had bases loaded in the third, barely got out of that, and then left the game leaving the bases loaded again in the 4th. His pitch count was at 91. Lucas Luetge took over and the three runners inherited ended up scoring. Clay Holmes, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman gave up the other three runs after Brett Gardner hit his 7th home run which tied the game at three. Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-4. Joey Gallo went 1-for-2 with two walks. The Yanks lost 6-3. They are now a half of a game behind the Red Sox for the top wild-card spot.
Nestor Cortes started in the series finale. He pitched six innings and gave up two runs. Rizzo hit his 19th home run that tied the game at two. The pitching continues to not hold anything as Sal Romano came into relief and broke the tied game after getting two quick outs. Wandy Peralta walked three batters, gave up a hit and two runs in his outing. Gary Sanchez hit his 21st home run and Luke Voit hit his 9th. The Yankees lost 6-4 and their 6th straight game.
The Yankees head to Queens to play against the Mets. Jordan Montgomery and Corey Kluber are scheduled to pitch in CitiField. Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th. The Mets plan to have a ceremony honoring the first responders.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The Jays entered the Bronx after sweeping the A’s and looking to get closer to a wild card spot. Hyun Jin Ryu pitched six scoreless innings. The bullpen continued the shut out the last three innings. Marcus Semien hit two home runs in the game, including a grand slam. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.hit his 40th home run and went 3-for-5. Teoscar Hernandez hit his 25th home run. The Jays won 8-0.
Alek Manoah pitched 5.2 innings and gave up three runs which were via a home run by Gardner. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.hit his 41st home run and went 2-for-4 with a walk as well. Semien went 2-for-3 with two walks. The Jays won 6-3 and are creeping closer to the Yankees.
Jose Berrios went 6.2 innings, struck out eight, and gave up two runs. Bichette and Ryan Grichuk hit their 22nd home run. Guerrero Jr hit his 42nd home run. The Jays won 6-4.
Homers: 42 RBI: 100 Age…22 💥 pic.twitter.com/XhkCNlqrdd — Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 10, 2021
The Jays have a chance to gain more ground as they face the O’s over the weekend.
Alexander Wells pitched four innings and gave up two runs. DJ Stewart hit his 12th home run. Austin Hays hit his 16th home run and Mullins hit his 27th. Anthony Santander went 2-for-4. The O’s beat the Royals 7-3.
Matt Harvey went 4.1 innings and gave up four runs, three earned. Dillon Tate gave up three runs in the 0.2 inning he pitched. Ryan Mountcastle went 2-for-5 and hit his 26th home run. Ryan McKenna went 2-for-3 and Kelvin Gutierrez went 3-for-4. A 9-run 8th inning rally gave the O’s the 9-8 win.
9-run 8th inning rally 👀 pic.twitter.com/zhVYg6VBkz — Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 9, 2021
The Jays come into town as the O’s try to spoil their chances of gaining ground in the standings.
The Jays and Yankees are tied in the loss column but the Yanks lead with one more win. The Mariners and A’s are also in the mix with just two losses behind the Jays. This month will be a close race for the wild card spot. The Red Sox and Yankees will have to get their stuff straight if they want to face each other for the Wild Card game. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a one-game playoff game against those two teams right? It will certainly be an exciting game to start the playoffs.
Featured Image via Vincent Carchietta, USA TODAY Sports