Between ugly brawls, bad losses and suspensions, it’s been a rough couple of days for the New York Yankees, who will try to bounce back when they continue a three-game series with the visiting Seattle Mariners on Saturday. After Thursday’s brawl-marred loss in Detroit led to the suspensions of catchers Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine, the Yankees saw struggling lefty Aroldis Chapman give up the tiebreaking home run in the 11th inning in a 2-1 loss Friday.
Yonder Alonso was the one who got to Chapman with a drive to center, keeping the Mariners - who have won seven of nine - within a half-game of the second wild-card in the American League. New York still leads the wild card but missed out on a chance to gain ground in the AL East, as it remained 4 1/2 games behind first-place Boston. Chapman, who was removed from the closer’s role earlier this month, has surrendered homers in three of his last six appearances and has an ERA of 10.29 over a span of seven games. Mike Zunino also homered Friday for the Mariners, who hope to have star second baseman Robinson Cano (hamstring) back in the lineup after he was reduced to pinch-hitting duties in the series opener.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, ROOT Northwest (Seattle), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Yovani Gallardo (5-9, 5.75 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Sonny Gray (7-8, 3.38)
Gallardo is winless in four straight starts and has suffered the loss in his last two outings, although he spun a quality start at Tampa Bay on Sunday. He limited the Rays to three runs in 6 1/3 innings and struck out six, matching his best total since June 7. The 31-year-old has a 6.32 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees and has been hit hard by several of their regulars, including Todd Frazier (14-for-39), Chase Headley (10-for-29) and Starlin Castro (16-for-45).
Gray failed to strike out a batter for the first time in his career over five innings of a loss at Fenway Park on Sunday. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 consecutive starts but has gone eight in a row without completing seven frames. The Vanderbilt product saw plenty of the Mariners from his time in Oakland and is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 10 career meetings.
1. Sanchez (four games) and Romine (two) are appealing their suspensions.
2. Seattle needs to win one of the final two games in New York to improve to 8-0-1 in its last nine road series.
3. Castro (hamstring) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday and 1B Greg Bird (ankle) is expected to be activated Saturday.
PREDICTION: Yankees 6, Mariners 4