INDIANS (73-51) AT YANKEES (83-42)
1:05 p.m. ET; WPIX, ST-OH, MLB.TV
While the New York Yankees (+1.5) are piling up wins in their quest to attain the best record in the American League, they are struggling to maintain their composure at times with umpires.
In the last month, New York has been involved in three wild arguments with umpires – all over balls and strikes.
Despite the wild argument that resulted in three ejections Saturday, the Yankees are in position to get another series victory Sunday afternoon when they conclude a four-game set with the Cleveland Indians (-1.5) at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are 15-3 in their last 18 games and have rebounded from a 19-5 pummeling in the series opener to record consecutive one-run victories. They hit four homers in Saturday’s 6-5 win, two by Gleyber Torres, but it was overshadowed by manager Aaron Boone getting ejected by plate umpire Ben May and CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner getting tossed by first base umpire Phil Cuzzi.
That gave the Yankees seven ejections this season with five coming since the All-Star break.
On July 18, Boone was ejected by rookie umpire Brennan Miller in a profane rant that went viral when he described his hitters as “savages in the box.” On Aug. 9, Gardner was ejected when Chris Segal thought it was him arguing from the dugout on a strikeout of Cameron Maybin.
On Saturday, the mayhem occurred on a called strike three that Maybin thought was outside in the sixth inning immediately after Torres hit his second homer. Boone was tossed by May; Gardner banged his bat on the dugout roof and Sabathia was tossed.
“Look we’re playing for a lot right now and you can feel that with all our guys and we’re in this thing, we’re playing for keeps,” Boone said.
Cleveland heads into Sunday hoping to avoid losing consecutive series for the first time since May 20-26 against Oakland and Tampa Bay. Although Cleveland is 29-13 since June 30 and 44-21 since June 4, it has lost four of its last five games.
Carlos Santana drove in three runs Saturday and is 6-for-12 in the series.
“Their lineup, if you make a mistake, man, they just, they’re not trying to shoot the hole between first and second, they’re trying to hit that Modell’s sign (in right field),” Indians manager Terry Francona said of the Yankees.
Sabathia (5-6, 4.78) will be activated off the injured list after missing 21 games due to right knee inflammation. Sabathia was cleared to return after successfully throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday and is making his first start since July 27 in Boston when he allowed five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Sabathia was 0-2 with an 8.79 ERA in his three starts before beginning a second injured list stint. He also missed nine games with the same injury earlier this season.
Sabathia is 4-4 with a 3.78 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians, who drafted him in the first round in 1998.
Mike Clevinger (7-2, 3.34) starts for Cleveland and seeks his seventh straight victory. Since June 28, he is 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last eight starts.
Clevinger last pitched Tuesday and took a no-decision against Boston when he allowed four runs on a career-worst 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings, matching his second-shortest start this season.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Yankees. He last pitched in New York on May 6, 2018, when he struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings in a game the Yankees won on a walk-off homer by Torres.
–Field Level Media