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.
- 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.