After losing three of four to close out last week against Toronto, the virtual Yankees looked to bounce back against the Twins at home and Angels on the road. If the virtual Twins are anything like the franchise, in reality, it would have been the perfect squad for the Bombers to get back on track against. Not so fast, however:
These aren’t your real life Twins
The rules that apply to the Yankees and Twins in the real world didn’t translate in OOTP. One would think that the game’s programmers would force the Yankees to win every game against the Twins. So much for this game’s realism (I kid). Alas, these parallel universe Yankees merely recorded a split of a four-game set at home against Minnesota.
The first game of the series featured old friend Phil Hughes against CC Sabathia. Hughes gave up his customary home run, to none other than Gary Sanchez, but it was of the solo variety and the only run he surrendered through five innings. Sabathia, meanwhile, got rocked to the tune of seven runs in four and two-thirds. Aaron Hicks tacked on two runs with a homer in the sixth against Tyler Jay, but it was far too late, as the Twins took the game 7-3.
A pitcher’s duel broke out in game two of the series. Ervin Santana was brilliant, fanning 13 batters in seven shutout innings. Sonny Gray was good, though only lasted five innings while allowing one run. Fernando Rodney came on for the save in a tight 1-0 game, but perhaps unsurprisingly, he blew it. Aaron Judge’s seventh home run leveled the score. The game went to extras, and Jason Castro broke the tie with a dinger against Adam Warren in the 11th to put the Twins ahead 2-1, which was also the final score.
The Yankees realized who they were playing in game three, finally. In a 4-2 victory, Jordan Montgomery and a balanced offense led the way. Montgomery threw six frames of two-run ball while the Yankees tallied ten hits and four runs against Jose Berrios, punctuated by a Giancarlo Stanton home run. David Robertson had a two-inning save, rescuing the bullpen from the extra-inning affair in the prior matchup.
Luis Severino struggled in the fourth and final game of the series, but his offense picked him up. Sevy allowed five runs in five and two-thirds, including a Robbie Grossman grand slam. All that run scoring came after the Yankees had staked him to a 5-0 lead. Severino exited with a 6-5 lead, and the bullpen locked it down as the offense scored two more runs on an Aaron Judge moonshot. Getting the series split was not a bad result after dropping the first two games, at least.
Two wins and a brawl in Anaheim
When any pitcher surrenders two home runs, that pitcher’s team usually doesn’t win. That wasn’t the case for Masahiro Tanaka in the first game of a weekend series in Anaheim. Despite allowing homers to Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler, they were only solo shots. Tanaka wound up allowing three runs over six innings but left trailing 3-2. The Yankees, specifically Gary Sanchez, came back against the Angels pen that relieved Garret Richards. In the eighth, Sanchez blasted his league-leading 13th home run, a two-run blast, against ex-Yankee Blake Parker, putting the Yanks on top, 4-3. The Yankees added an insurance run on an Aaron Judge RBI single in the ninth before Aroldis Chapman closed it out.
CC Sabathia allowed two home runs in game two, but this time the Yankees weren’t so lucky. The Angels blew out the Yankees 9-4 as Sabathia’s woes continued. His ERA is up to 9.45 in just under 27 innings after this game’s four-inning, six-run start. The lone offensive bright spots were homers by Brandon Drury and Neil Walker. After the game, Domingo German was summoned from Scranton and Luis Cessa was optioned out. Cessa had thrown two-plus innings in relief of Sabathia’s dud, and German was lined up to be the next day’s starter, so he had a fresh arm that could provide distance if necessary in the rubber game.
The rubber game bounced the Yankees way behind a strong Sonny Gray start (six innings, one run) and the long ball (homers by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton). Although the Yankees won 5-3, they lost Giancarlo Stanton for the next three games after a benches-clearing brawl. In apparent revenge for his fourth-inning homer, Matt Shoemaker drilled him in the sixth which caused the brouhaha. Both Stanton and Shoemaker were ejected. Three and seven-game suspensions issued, respectively.
Real Universe Yankees: 18-9 (2nd place, 2.0 GB Red Sox)
Parallel Universe Yankees: 17-12 (2nd place, 4.0 GB Rays)
And here’s a snapshot of all things alternate universe Yankees:
The Yankees split a four-game home series against the Twins. What, you thought OOTP’s Twins were also a doormat? Not in this universe. On the bright side, the Yankees closed out the week winning four of five: two against Minnesota, and two of three against the Angels. While in Anaheim, the rubber game featured a benches-clearing brawl when Matt Shoemaker drilled Giancarlo Stanton, who homered earlier in the affair. Stanton received a three-game suspension.