Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Job one for the Yankees on Sunday was to get out of the regular-season finale with no injuries, but with the way this IL-fest of a year has gone, forget that.
The Yankees lost to the Rangers, 6-1, in the last game ever at Globe Life Park, but the pinstriped headline was Gio Urshela leaving in the fourth inning with what the team is calling a mild left ankle sprain.
The Yankees told reporters in Texas that doctors examined Urshela at the ballpark and there were no further tests planned. The Yankees don't play again until Friday when they open the AL Division Series against the Twins at Yankee Stadium, so Urshela has time to heal.
But if he's compromised, it'll hurt the Yankees' October depth. Urshela also suffered a bruised left hand last week when he was hit by a pitch in Tampa Bay.
Sunday, Urshela was limping after fielding the ball and making a throw and departed after a brief visit from athletic trainer Steve Donohue. Tyler Wade replaced Urshela at third base.
Urshela, a revelation this season as a replacement at third for the injured Miguel Andújar, batted .315 with 21 homers and 74 RBI.
Here are five other takeaways from Game 162, which left the Yankees with a record of 103-59 and the AL Division Series against the Twins on the horizon:
1) Chad Green opened and allowed an unearned run in the one inning of work. He walked Shin-Soo Choo to start the first inning and then allowed a hit to Elvis Andrus. The Rangers pulled a double steal and Gary Sanchez made a throwing error, allowing Choo to score. Green got out of the rest of the inning and threw 14 of his 23 pitches for strikes. The Yankees are 11-4 when Green is used as an opener and he did not allow a run in 11 of his 15 opening assignments.
2) Masahiro Tanaka piggybacked off Green in his final tune-up before the playoffs and logged three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and five hits. He was not particularly sharp, though he threw 35-of-53 pitches for strikes. He threw away a pickoff attempt, which allowed a run to score. We'll see if the Green-Tanaka combo Sunday offers any hints about how the Yankees will deploy their pitching in October.
3) Aaron Judge smacked his 27th homer of the season and finished the regular season homering in 15 of his final 33 games, perhaps a frightening sign for the fraternity of playoff pitchers.
4) D.J. LeMahieu was 0-for-3 in the finale, dropping his batting average to .327. He finished second in the AL batting race to Tim Anderson of the White Sox, who batted .335.
5) The Yankees lost the home run race to the Twins, even though they entered Saturday ahead by one. Judge's homer gave the Yankees 306 for the season, but that's only the second-highest total in baseball history. The Twins had already homered three times Sunday by the time Yankees-Rangers ended, meaning Minnesota holds the single-season record. The Yankees hit 267 homers last season to set the previous mark.
The Yankees will have some well-earned time off before the postseason gets underway with Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins on Friday. Times and probable starters for the series have yet to be announced.