Yankees Make Presence Felt During Midsummer Classic

As an organization, the New York Yankees were represented by CC Sabathia, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, Gleyber Torres and Aroldis Chapman in Major League Baseball’s 90th All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday evening.

The American League took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, and never gave it back as the junior circuit won the exhibition contest over the National League by a score of four to three.

American League pitcher Aroldis Chapman, left, of the New York Yankees, and catcher James McCann, of the Chicago White Sox, celebrate after the American League defeated the National League in the MLB baseball All-Star Game, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The AL now has an all-time 45-43-2 advantage over the senior circuit, continuing the trend of league domination in recent years. In fact, the American League has now come away victorious in 25 of the last 32 All-Star Games, dating back to 1988. This includes one tie that occurred back at Miller Park in July of 2002, and a current seven game winning streak.

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia waves to the fans during the ninth inning of the MLB baseball All-Star Game against the National League, Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Sabathia was invited by Major League Baseball and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora to take in the festivities as an honorary All-Star. The southpaw who notched his 250th career win and 3,000th career strikeout earlier this season, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former Cleveland Indians All-Star catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. to kick off the game. This was fitting because Sabathia spent his first eight major league seasons with the Indians, winning his first career CY Young Award with the club back in 2007.

LeMahieu and Sanchez were both elected by the fans in the inaugural Google MLB All-Star Starters Election. The duo of Sanchez and LeMahieu mark the first season in which New York has had multiple position players start the All-Star Game since Robinson Cano Derek Jeter Curtis Granderson

Sanchez played five innings and went 1-for-2 with a hard-hit double, and run scored. His leadoff two-bagger came in the bottom of the fifth off a Walker Buehler 3-2 count, 96 mph fastball.  It was roped down the left field line, and was actually the hardest recorded hit in the game. The ball was verified leaving the bat with an exit velocity of 110.2 miles per hour, courtesy of Statcast. In his first plate appearance, the Dominican native flew out to center field on a 91 mph fastball from Clayton Kershaw.

LeMahieu, who leads the American League in hits and batting average with runners in scoring position, batted second and went 0-for-2 with two groundouts courtesy of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Jacob DeGrom in the bottom of the first and third inning, respectively.

Tanaka followed AL starter Justin Verlander to pitch a scoreless top of the second inning, and became the first Yankee to win the All-Star Game since 1948. The Japanese native faced four batters, allowing just one infield single to Josh Bell in his All-Star Game debut (second overall selection). He struck out, Cody Bellinger, the first batter that he faced on a nasty 2-2 87 mph splitter. The split looked as good as it has all year in this game. He later got Nolan Arenado to fly out to centerfield and Wilson Contreras to later ground out to first basemen Carlos Santana.

Torres replaced LeMahieu in the top of the sixth inning and was able to get two at bats in an All-Star game debut of his own. He joined Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio as the only New York Yankees to be selected to multiple All-Star Games before turning 23-years old. He recorded his first All-Star hit in the bottom of the eighth inning on a sharp hit ground ball that was stopped by second basemen Max Muncy from going into centerfield.

Between Torres and LeMahieu, only Yankees played the second base position in Tuesday night’s exhibition for the American League squad.

Aroldis Chapman entered in the bottom of the ninth inning and promptly shut the door. The Cuban native faced the minimum three batters and picked up the save as he fanned each batter that he faced in an absolutely dominant performance.

New York has Wednesday and Thursday off, before resuming the second half of the regular season on Friday at 7:05 pm in the Bronx against the Toronto Blue Jays. The game’s starters are still to be determined.

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