The MLB trading deadline came and went on Wednesday and nothing changed about the Yankees. The starting pitching remains suspect and the club couldn’t find a deal to address that.
However some of the things that have not changed should be reassuring. The Yanks still have a high-scoring offense and an exceptionally strong bullpen. They rode those two to a big lead in the AL East and they rode them again in a 7-5 victory over Arizona at the Stadium before a soggy 43,979, who endured a 36-minute rain delay.
While the Yanks stood pat in the face of steep asking prices, Houston did not. The Astros made a last-minute deal for Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. How last minute was it? He started against the Yanks and threw five innings of two-run ball before the rain delay halted play 40 minutes before the deadline.
The Yankees instead doubled down on their winning formula and hope that getting back some on the injured list — which includes Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Dellin Betances — will be all they need.
“I was just in there celebrating a win with those guys and looking around the room and knowing we’ve got everything we need to be a championship club,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That doesn’t change. I have total faith in [GM] Brian [Cashman] and the staff that they’re going to always do what’s best for this organization . . . The fact something didn’t happen means it didn’t match up.
“We’re ready to roll and move forward now and now that this day is officially behind us . . . We know we can go beat anyone.”
Masahiro Tanaka did little to quell concerns about the starting rotation. He didn’t get hit hard, but he also wasn’t able to record a single out in the fifth inning before he was lifted. Chad Green came on and allowed the two inherited runners to score and a third on a throwing error by Aaron Hicks as a 2-0 lead became a 3-2 deficit.
But Austin Romine hit a two-out, two-run homer off Arizona reliever Yoshihisa Hirano in the bottom of the seventh to put the Yanks up 4-3 and, in the eighth, Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres and Cameron Maybin each had an RBI as the Yanks tacked on.
Mike Tauchman also had a two-run homer, in the second inning for the 2-0 lead; he hit .423 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 16 July games.
Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton all pitched a scoreless inning. When Nestor Cortes Jr. allowed a leadoff homer to Tim Locastro in the ninth making it 7-4, Aroldis Chapman came on, allowed a run and permitted the Diamondbacks to send the go-ahead run to the plate, but ultimately got the Yanks over the finish line. Ottavino got the win and Chapman his 27th save.
Tanaka was charged with two runs on five hits and three walks and struck out four. Five of the last eight batters he faced reached base before manager Aaron Boone pulled him. He didn’t allow a run in the fourth, but it was a draining 36-pitch ordeal. When he gave up two singles to the top of the Arizona order in the fifth, Boone said “I knew he wouldn’t have much more.”
And this comes on the heels of allowing 12 runs in Boston.
“Obviously you want to stay in there, go that inning and put up a zero — but I think it’s part on me,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I haven’t been effective of late and I kind of understand the decision. For me, I need to keep performing, get some results and maybe that will change.”
Tanaka and the rest of the rotation can agree about getting some results. The Yankees are gambling on them.
Luis Severino said he is “maybe 10 days” away from pitching off a mound … CC Sabathia had a Synvisc injection in his right knee and will be assessed in a few days … Gregorius landed awkwardly on his left wrist trying to make a play on a grounder that went for an Alex Avila single, but remained in the game; Boone thought it would not be an issue going forward.