Game 104: Yanks mount comeback to sweep Marlins

They finally did it! After being 4-10 in potential sweep clinching games and 13-25 in day games, the Yankees pulled off the comeback win fueled by some poor defense by the Marlins to win this one for the sweep. That is their first series sweep since June against the Blue Jays. They are now a season-high 8 games over .500 at 56-48 and just 1 game back in the loss column for a playoff spot. And, they play their next 10 against the lowly Orioles, Mariners, and Royals. To the takeaways:

Better late than never. After being subdued for 7 innings by Sandy Alcantara (more on him later), the Yankees came back against the Marlins bullpen. After an error by Brian Anderson on what should have been an inning ending double play, new best Yankee Anthony Rizzo continued his torrid start doing this:

That was Rizzo’s first game tying hit in the 8th inning or later this season and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Aaron Judge followed that up with a go-ahead RBI single of his own.

The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the 9th fueled by another error – this one a fielding then throwing error by Jazz Chisholm Jr. allowing Gleyber Torres to score.

Monty works through 5 without his best stuff. Despite not having his best stuff or command, Jordan Montgomery persevered through 5 innings today allowing just 1 run.

His day did not start out well, allowing two hits to the first two batters he faced including a 106 mph double to Miguel Rojas, before allowing an RBI groundout to Brian Anderson. That spurred the usual conversation about Monty’s early game struggles. On the year, he has a 4.80 ERA during the first 3 innings and a 2.45 ERA during the next 3. Though he was able to settle down after that and didn’t allow another hit until the 5th.

That 5th inning got dicey after a lead-off hit and a walk to my nemesis Sandy León. Montgomery worked his way out of it by inducing a groundout from pitcher Sandy Alcantara and rebounding to strikeout Miguel Rojas on a nasty, nasty curve.

On the day, Montgomery got through those 5 innings before being removed due to archaic NL baseball rules, allowing just the 1 run on 3 hits, walking 1 and K’ing 5.

The first few innings Monty relied on his sinker and changeup because his trademark curve wasn’t working. He found in in the 4th, however, and after not getting any whiffs through 3 on the curve, he generated 5 in his final 2 innings. Despite his velocity being down ~1mph on each of his pitches, Monty had a 30% called strikes + whiffs rate and his overall whiff rate of 12.3% was in line with his season average.

That continues his impressive stretch where Monty has an ERA of 2.75 in his last 6 starts and 3.69 on the year. Here is his pitch plot from the day which shows the lack of fastball command, nice curves below the zone, and a great job of staying away from the heart of the plate.

Offense continues to let Montgomery down. This is getting ridiculous. In his last 8 starts, the Yankees have given him a total of 4 runs of run support which included 6 starts with no run support. Today they were absolutely shut down by Sandy Alcantara who executed the north-south pitching approach to perfection. Take a look.

Look at all those fastballs up and changeups down. Alcantara is a nightmare matchup for the Yankees with his fastball averaging over 98 mph with decent spin and his changeup and slider hitting nearly 90 mph as well. They mustered a grand total of 2 hits against Alcantara and struck out 10 Yankee hitters.

Alcantara is a great young pitcher, but the offense has to do better than that. They were overmatched all day, and Alcantara got through those 7 innings in under 100 pitches. They didn’t put his slider in play at all – he had a 50% CSW%! on the pitch, and their average exit velocity against him was 78 mph. That’s over 10 mph lower than the league average!

New groundball heavy bullpen gets it done. After Monty was done, the new Yankee relievers came in and got it done. Clay Holmes threw 1.2 innings and got 4 of his 5 outs on ground balls with the 5th coming on a strikeout. Joely Rodríguez made his Yankee debut throwing 1 pitch and inducing a groundout. Zack Britton handled the 8th getting all 3 outs on grounders.

All told, that was 8/9 outs on the ground by the ground ball specialists which is the plan for the new Yankees bullpen. With the sticky stuff crackdown, it appears the Yankees are betting that whiffs will be down and relievers who can get ground ball will be even more valuable.

Leftovers

  • Welcome to the 2021 Yankees Anthony Rizzo! In humorous news, Rizzo made an error in the field and got thrown out on the bases in this one which indoctrinates him fully into the 2021 Yankees.
  • Other new addition Joey Gallo got his first Yankee hit with a booming double in the 7th off Sandy Alcantara.
  • Aroldis Chapman shut things down in the 9th striking out the first 2 before a hard liner to Gardner to end it.

The Yankees kick off a homestand against the Orioles tomorrow night at 7pm. It’ll be Andrew Heaney making his Yankee debut against Jorge López.

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8 Comments

  1. DZB

    Not sure if anyone else is watching USA-Japan baseball at the Olympics (currently Tanaka facing Tyler Austin in an all ex-NYY matchup). They are talking about the nice tackiness of the balls, which makes me wonder why MLB cannot find a solution like that. Also, watching Tanaka out there makes me sad that the team didn’t look to bring him back for pitching depth (which would have required them to actually spend money).

  2. Wire Fan

    I think part of Monty’s early struggles is figuring out which pitches are working. He blends 5 pitches pretty effectively and I think it just takes 2 or 3 innings to figure out what is on that night and which of the 5 he can lean.

    Had the Yankees held on to the two leads in Boston, they’d actually be even with them in the loss column right now. A good run over the next 4 series and the division might be in play.

  3. Tomh8

    The “lowly mariners” are 1 game behind the yanks….

    • And they have a great pen, and an awesome record in one-run games. Should be an interesting series.

      • DZB

        And thankfully they sold their great closer, so their record in one-run games may decline!

  4. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Rohan. Boone finally completed a sweep and all it took was Anthony Rizzo and the lowly Marlins for him to do it. Cash better be working on a 7 year extension for Antony Rizzo as we speak. There’s no way we can let that man walk next year. He’s a wizard with the glove and our best pure hitter and power hitter. A far cry from Jay Bruce. Gallo might be a bust, though. Let’s see what he does in the Stadium but I’ve been very disappointed so far. Gallo was supposed to be a big bopper sandwiched between Judge and Stanton but Tyler Wade had more hits this series. Monty was brilliant again and gets no credit. The pen is dominant again. Clay Holmes might be the steal of the century. They do eventually need to get some blowouts to give the top guys a breather. Maybe the O’s will help with that. Now we get to sit back and watch the Rays and Sox destroy each other. We have to be considered the favorites to win the division. Sox really screwed up not trading for Rizzo. He woulda killed us and instead he saved our season.

  5. MikeD

    Adding Rizzo and Gallo is great, but I’m equally excited to see a top-fielding 1B’man. The post-Teixeira parade of poor-fielding 1B’man from Carter to Bird to Ford and Voit have been difficult to stomach. Even DJLM has been mediocre there, the weakest of his three glove positions. Analytics has never been able to quantify the value of a great fielding at 1B, not just on direct plays, but the cascading impact across the infield. Enjoy it for a couple of months as I’m not sure the Yankees plan to pay at 1B, likely looking to bring in a SS and push Gleyber to 2B and DJ to 1B next year. Maybe. Perhaps Rizzo will leave enough of an impression that they are open to his return, or maybe trading for Olson, another top fielder.

    Beyond that, I’d love to think the Yankees plan to use Stanton more in the OF, moving beyond their failed DH-only plans, which really haven’t kept him healthy at all over the past three seasons. That will open up the DH spot for Voit, as well as other hitters. Seems, though, based on Cashman’s words, that Gardner will remain in CF, Gallo in LF and Stanton DH. Too bad.

    • If Luuuuuuke is right, they have to find a way to get him decent playing time. Agreed, the way is to play Giancarlo in LF where he’s decent.
      As for Voit’s glove, he’s not great overall, but is great on stretches and fielding short hops cleanly, which gets us some big outs.

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