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Yankees vs. Dodgers – Game Recap – August 24, 2019

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LOS ANGELES — With the sellout crowd at Dodger Stadium hanging on his every pitch, Kenley Jansen found himself in a jam. Bases loaded, one out, and Los Angeles clinging to a one-run lead over the Yankees in the ninth.

All that right after a bizarre twist that had both managers on the field, trying to figure out what happened during a potential game-ending double play that got reviewed.

Jansen stayed cool in the heat of the moment on a scorching day and struck out Mike Tauchman and pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory over New York on Saturday in a matchup between the teams with the best records in baseball.

“Stressful? No,” Jansen said. “Just got to trust yourself in that situation. I don’t lose confidence in myself.”

Still, Jansen has faltered at times this season, including earlier in the week when fans booed during his sixth blown save. His 27th save was his first since Aug. 6.

“Kenley showed right there that he can still command the baseball in a big spot and make pitches,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I definitely don’t think that was stress; that was fun.”

But it was the play right before that to load the bases that left most everyone in the ballpark wondering what was going on.

There were runners at first and second with one out when Gio Urshela hit a grounder to third baseman Justin Turner, who looked to start a game-ending double play. Second baseman Max Muncy caught Turner’s flip, but then got wiped out by Brett Gardner‘s hard slide for an apparent forceout.

“I felt like I made it, but it was so close,” Gardner said. “I’m glad I was safe, but we just came up short.”

Gleyber Torres, who had started the play on second base, rounded third and then headed home with Muncy down on the ground, trying to score the tying run. Instead, Torres was stopped by the umpires because time had been called.

“Ninth innings are stressful enough as they are,” Muncy said, “and you add that in there and it was kind of like, `whew.”

The strange sequence set off a nearly 2-minute replay review. The call at second was reversed and Gardner was ruled safe, beating the throw with a physical but legal slide.

“For me in terms of playing the game, I thought it was perfectly clean,” Muncy said. “In terms of the rule they’ve created, I thought the only thing that was questionable was his hand reaching out and grabbing me. Other than that, it was a good play by him.”

Muncy said he wasn’t injured, but Gardner “got me pretty good.”

Roberts challenged the slide, believing Gardner was out, while Yankees manager Aaron Boone came out, too, seemingly to seek clarification on why Torres wasn’t allowed to score.

“It was a good baseball play,” Roberts said of Gardner’s slide.

Boone said plate umpire Gabe Morales told him Jansen had already raised his hands to call time.

“He had definitely started down the line, it didn’t seem like halfway to me,” Boone said of Torres. “You can see Kenley asking for time maybe about as he’s getting ready to start down the line.”

A day after the Yankees routed the Dodgers 10-2, the clubs played a tight game that have some fans predicting will be an October preview.

“Like I told the guys when I was on second base in the last inning, `Good luck the rest of the way and hopefully we’ll see you again,” Gardner said.

Roberts described the atmosphere as “two great, iconic, storied franchises. You could feel the emotion from both dugouts and the stadium.”

Turner hit a two-run homer in the third. After two games without a homer, the Dodgers got their National League-leading 226th.

Aaron Judge homered for the second straight day, connecting in the fourth.

Making just his fourth career start, rookie Tony Gonsolin outlasted six-time All-Star CC Sabathia in 89-degree heat.

Gonsolin (2-1) allowed one run and two hits in five innings. Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez kept the Yankees scoreless over the sixth, seventh and eighth.

Sabathia (5-8) gave up two runs and five hits in four innings, striking out seven. It was his second start since coming off the injured list with right knee inflammation.

“Just felt way more comfortable out there and hopefully just continue to build off that,” Sabathia said.

Turner’s 23rd homer of the season landed in the left-field pavilion and scored Gonsolin, who had reached on an infield single off Sabathia’s leg for his second career hit.

“I’ve always been a lifelong Yankees fan,” said Gonsolin, who met Sabathia in high school. “It was pretty great to throw against all those guys.”

Judge’s drive was New York’s 58th homer in August, tying the major league record for most in a month shared by Baltimore in 1987 and Seattle in 1999.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Dellin Betances (lat muscle) threw a 20-pitch batting practice session at the minor league complex in Tampa, Florida. … RHP Luis Severino (lat muscle) said he felt fine after throwing a two-inning simulated game Thursday. He’s scheduled for another simulated game Tuesday and then could start a minor league rehab assignment.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (flexor tendon strain) threw a 27-pitch bullpen session. He’ll do it again in a couple days and then face hitters. … LHP Julio Urias is at the team’s spring training facility in Arizona where he threw a bullpen session while serving a 20-game domestic violence suspension. He’s set to return on Sept. 3, but the team is unsure whether he will start or work out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Domingo German (16-3, 4.15 ERA) is averaging fewer than six innings per start this season.

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-2, 2.71) gave up three home runs and walked three in six innings against Toronto in his last start.

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Playing for October, Cubs preach ‘next guy jumps in’ mantra with Rizzo, Baez out

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CHICAGO — As if the Chicago Cubs weren’t fighting an uphill battle already, the heart and soul of the team, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, is out indefinitely with an ankle sprain — and it couldn’t come at a worse time of the season. With the Cubs in a dogfight to make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year, Rizzo’s presence will be missed in all facets of the team.

“It’s going to be tough to be without Anthony for a while here,” team president Theo Epstein said on Monday afternoon. “He’s so important to everything we do, on the field and off the field.”

Shortstop Javier Baez has been out with a thumb injury, but Rizzo might be the bigger loss. He’s integral to everything Cubs, from leading off, to two-strike hitting, to the bunt defense they incorporate — that’s where he got hurt — to simply being the face that meets the media before and after games. For comparison, Baez hasn’t even commented on his injury since being diagnosed with a hairline fracture, whereas Rizzo was at his locker to discuss the bad news on Monday.

“It’s throbbing but I keep my mind in better spirits and try to be in as good a mood as I can,” he said. “Every year isn’t going to be 2016. You have ups and downs. Everyone in this locker room is fully capable of carrying a heavy load at all times.”

As much as the team is hopeful for a quick recovery, the history of moderate ankle sprains doesn’t scream “a few days,” or even a couple of weeks.

“In the meantime you just have to plan that he’s not going to be there,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You have to get the guys ready and get them indoctrinated in these positions. I really believe our guys will rally around this moment. We have different options to play over there.”

It’s true. The team has better defensive options at first base than one might think, but Rizzo was the best leadoff hitter on the team this season. Chicago was terrible from that spot in the order — until he took over recently. So where do the Cubs turn, at first base and leadoff, to help keep their playoff streak alive?

Replacing Rizzo

A little-known, switch-hitting, backup catcher has emerged as the best candidate to replace Rizzo at first base, at least on the days he’s not behind the plate. Victor Caratini is actually beginning to make a name for himself, both as Yu Darvish‘s personal catcher and as a decent hitter. It’s not just his OPS+ of 113 that’s impressive, it’s actually his batting average. Sometimes, that statistic tells a story. Hitting .282 entering play on Monday, Caratini has become a more complete hitter. And don’t forget his two home runs that won a game off New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom last month. That was a defining moment for Caratini.

“He’s not chasing as much out of the zone,” Maddon said. “And he’s using left-center a lot more consistently. He’s not hitting that rollover ground ball, left-handed. He’s staying through the ball. Left-center has become his buddy. And the right side has gotten better.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, 33 percent of Caratini’s balls in play have been to the opposite field; that’s up 10 points from a year ago.

“Caratini has showed time and again he’s good enough to be an everyday player,” outfielder Nicholas Castellanos said. “The fact that he’s getting an opportunity, I’m happy for him.”

Ben Zobrist added: “You don’t make that up with one player. You have to make it up with a couple players. That’s how you try to fill that hole.”

On Tuesday night, in the second game of their series against the Cincinnati Reds, Caratini will be behind the plate for Darvish; the hurler has a 3.17 ERA this season with Caratini catching. It means Maddon will need another first baseman and Ian Happ is his best bet. Like Caratini, he has flashed some decent leather filling in for Rizzo at times, but his offensive game isn’t quite like that of the Cubs’ regular first baseman.

Rizzo has a strikeout rate of 13.9, while Happ is at 25.6 percent after spending four months in the minor leagues. And that percentage is actually down from last year. Meanwhile, Rizzo plays against all types of pitchers, while Happ’s starts are limited to the good matchups. The drop-off is considerable.

“Next man up,” Zobrist said. “Rizz and Javy are a big part of this but no one is bigger than the team.”

It’s the same attitude the Milwaukee Brewers must be embracing as they continue to play good baseball even after losing MVP Christian Yelich to a knee injury. The loss of stars can be overcome for a period of time in baseball. When a very productive player is out several months, that’s when it usually catches up to a team. That’s not the time frame the Cubs are looking at. They can survive — for a bit.

“That’s our expectation,” Maddon said. “Of course it is … It is the next man up kind of a theory. And I do believe there are galvanizing moments when you do lose key people in key situations. I do expect a good result.”

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Reds vs. Cubs – Game Recap – September 16, 2019

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CHICAGO — Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer and made a diving catch in left field, helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Nicholas Castellanos added a two-run double in the eighth inning as Chicago moved a season-high 14 games above .500. Castellanos is the third right-handed hitter in MLB history to record at least 55 doubles and 25 homers in a season, joining Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg (1934) and Joe Medwick (1937).

Chicago has outscored its opponents 59-18 during its win streak.

The Cubs (82-68) pulled within a half-game of Washington for the top spot in the wild-card standings and stayed two games back of NL Central-leading St. Louis, which held off the Nationals for a 4-2 win.

Steve Cishek, Alec Mills (1-0), Rowan Wick, Kyle Ryan and David Phelps combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of an ineffective Cole Hamels. It was Mills’ first major league win in his 17th big league appearance.

It was Chicago’s first game since Anthony Rizzo had an MRI that showed the big first baseman had a moderate lateral right ankle sprain sustained during Sunday’s 16-6 victory over Pittsburgh.

Rizzo will wear a walking boot for five to seven days, casting doubt on his availability for the rest of the season.

“We’re not shutting any doors, but we’re realistic that this is a legitimate injury that under ideal circumstances would take some time to heal,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.

Cincinnati (70-81) had won three of four, but it went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.

Kevin Gausman (3-9) pitched two innings for the Reds in his first start since he was claimed off waivers from the Braves last month. The right-hander has been a starter for most of his career, and manager David Bell wanted to give him another look in that spot while giving the rest of his rotation an extra day of rest.

Gausman got into trouble in the first when Chicago put runners on first and second with one out. Schwarber then connected for the second straight day, driving a 2-2 pitch deep to center.

It was No. 37 for Schwarber, the highest total for a lefty batter for the Cubs since Hall of Famer Billy Williams hit 37 in 1972.

Schwarber also robbed pinch hitter Derek Dietrich with a stellar grab on his liner to left in the fourth. Phillip Ervin‘s sacrifice fly cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2, but Cishek struck out Eugenio Suarez looking to end the inning.

IN-GAME CHANGE

Reds infielder Josh VanMeter left in the fourth inning because of a family medical issue. He started at first base after Joey Votto was scratched with an illness.

HE’S HERE

The Reds promoted infielder Christian Colon from Triple-A Louisville. Colon was hit by a pitch while batting for Gausman in the third and scored on Curt Casali‘s bases-loaded walk. It was Colon’s first major league appearance since June 20, 2017, for Miami against Washington.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: SS Jose Iglesias (sore back) was out of the starting lineup. Bell said Iglesias likely will start Tuesday. … SS Freddy Galvis missed his second straight game with left knee soreness. Bell said Galvis doesn’t have meniscus or ligament damage and won’t be out long-term.

Cubs: Closer Craig Kimbrel (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday and could return this weekend. … SS Addison Russell (concussion protocol) hit off a tee before the game.

UP NEXT

RHP Sonny Gray (10-7, 2.80 ERA) faces RHP Yu Darvish (6-6, 3.97 ERA) on Tuesday night in a matchup of two of baseball’s best pitchers since the All-Star break. Gray is 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last eight starts for Cincinnati. Darvish struck out 14 while pitching six scoreless innings in Chicago’s 4-1 victory at San Diego on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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White Sox shut down RHP Giolito with lat strain

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The Chicago White Sox are shutting down right-hander Lucas Giolito for the rest of the season with a mild lat strain.

The team said there are no long-term concerns.

“For me, it just sucks because I wanted to finish what I started. But at the same time, it is what it is,” Giolito told reporters. “It just was kind of a random thing that happened. That’s it.”

Giolito, who was slated to pitch against the Twins on Tuesday, ends his bounce-back 2019 season with 14 wins, 228 strikeouts, two shutouts and a 3.41 ERA.

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