Game 109: Long Live Brett Gardner

Well, that sure was a long-as-hell but ultimately satisfying-as-hell game from the Yankees. Not many other words for it. The Yankees won 3-2 in walk-off fashion (looking at you, Michael Kay) and improved to a season-high 60-49 (.550) record. The Yanks are 14-6 since the All-Star Break. They are just two games behind Boston in the loss column for second place and five behind Tampa for first in the American League East. It is going to be genuinely hilarious when they win the division, isn’t it?

Anyway, let’s bask in those good vibes for a second…and then let’s get right to the takeaways, shall we?

That’s a hell of a pitching performance from nine (9) different pitchers tonight. The Yankees have a full pitching staff on the IL and it has not stopped them one bit from dominating night in and night out in 2021. Why should tonight have been any different? It was a bullpen game from start to finish and it didn’t matter who Aaron Boone turned to. It was going to work out. Look at this absolutely preposterous line:

  • Wandy Peralta: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
  • Stephen Ridings: 1.1 IP, zeros
  • Joely Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, H
  • Clay Holmes: 1.1 IP, H, R, K
  • Lucas Luetge: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K (actually allowed the run)
  • Jonathan Loaisiga; 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Zack Britton: 1.0 IP, K
  • Chad Green: 1.0 IP, H, R, K
  • Albert Abreu: 1.0 IP, zeros

Look at at that again. Just an utterly ridiculous performance that would make the Rays front office jealous. The Yanks used 9 pitchers and only surrendered 1 walk in 11 innings. And it’s from a bunch of guys that only the most dedicated OOTP players and DOTF readers would even recognize. Ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

Anyway, the Yanks did this by mixing up the looks they threw at the Mariners. Of the 9 pitchers, 4 were lefties, and the approaches were clearly different. Look at this mashup:

They attacked the zone all night, working north-south, east-west, and featuring 7 distinct pitches. It was a hell of a performance overall. Pretty much everyone deserves a shoutout for it.

Chad Green and Lucas Luetge may be the exceptions. I want to focus on Green, though. His curveball usage is drawing ire, and I get it – it seems like it’s getting hit a bit. But I don’t think his performance tonight is worthy of the scorn he’s seeing. He gave up one hit. It’s not his fault the extra-innings joke rule is in place. In a normal context, that’s a fine outing.

Still, things were on thin ice there for a moment. Albert Abreu deserves a real shout out for his 11th inning performance – not allowing a run there was huge – mostly because of the fact that only Brady Koerner was left in the ‘pen with Chapman unavailable. The Yankees needed to win that game and fast. Abreu, who looked as crisp and sharp as he ever has, played a huge, huge role in getting that done.

The Offense, Man. Where has it gone? For a while there, we got to watch a vintage Yankees’ performance: the offense getting completely dominated by a soft-throwing, junk-balling lefty with bad numbers. It brought me back to the late Bush and early Obama era, honestly. Like watching that old show you turn to when you need to feel at home.

Marco Gonzales was pretty brilliant in this one, pounding the Yankees with sinkers and cutters inside to righties. I mean, do you think this guy had a game plan or what?

Although he grew tired as the game went on – he threw 108 pitches – Gonzales stymied the Yanks over 6.2 innings, allowing just 3 hits. It didn’t feel like the Yankees had a real chance until the 8th inning, when old nemesis Diego Castillo entered the game and walked and hit the bases loaded. That brought up Aaron Judge with the bases loaded and nobody out. Castillo gave Judge a slider here:

And he hit it hard. 107 mph hard, in fact. But it was just a loud sac fly that preceded a double play from Giancarlo. I’m going to lose it with the double plays, I swear. Stanton redeemed himself later, though, tying the game in the 10th with a clutch two-out single.

Brett Gardner Forever. That’s it. That’s the section. It’s been a rough year for Brett Gardner, but the man will always have a place in my heart (and hopefully yours, too). We got to see a bit of a vintage Gardner performance this evening, too. He went 1-2 with a walk and 2 runs scored. He also drove in the third run. Not bad!

The third run, of course, came on a walk-off single in the 11th inning. Just beautiful stuff:

It came on the 5th pitch of the at-bat (all fastballs) and it was an elevated, down-the-middle offering at 96 mph. Gardner didn’t miss it, and he sent everyone home happy. I also want to call out his at-bat in the 9th inning, too, where I thought he was going to end it. Check this out:

If you’ve seen Gardner hit before, you’ve seen this at-bat. He was foulding balls off, working the count, and just generally being a pest. He swung at pitch 9 and popped up, but it was a Herculean at-bat nonetheless. I’m so glad he was able to walk it off in his next AB. He deserves it.

Leftovers

  • I’m glad to see DJ LeMahieu work some walks, but he continues to kill the Yanks. He looks like the guy we thought they signed in 2019. His OPS is teetering around .700, and it’s a real problem. I do think they should consider moving him down soon.
  • A great night for Giancarlo Stanton, double play aside. He went 2-4 with an RBI and a walk.
  • Also nice to see Gleyber Torres continue to look better at the plate. He was 2-5 with a double. I’m getting more and more confident each time he hits.
  • Kyle Higashioka is useless offensively – he went 0-5 – but he did have a nice throw-’em-out in a strike ’em out, throw ’em out in the 10th inning to help extend the game. That’s nice, at least. Get well soon, Gary.

The Yanks and Mariners will play game three of this four-game set tomorrow afternoon. Andrew Heaney (6-8, 5.42 ERA) will take on Chris Flexen (10-5, 3.75 ERA) tomorrow at 1:05 pm. Until then, enjoy your night, everyone.

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5 Comments

  1. Doug

    What is going on with the captions in that video? The algorithm picks up most of what Flaherty says but it had a lot of trouble with Michael Kay. I think my favorite part is when it turned “Longest Tenured Yankee” in to “Longest Tingler Zack Greinke”

  2. Evan3457

    Marco Gonzales: 5.15 ERA. 17 HR allowed in 73 1/3 innings coming in.
    Really? Really??
    This lineup couldn’t even dent him? And he’s a soft-tosser and a lefty, against whom they have the 2nd best OPS as a team in the entire AL.
    This isn’t Carlos Rodon. This isn’t Nathan Eovaldi. This isn’t Luis Patino, who at least has prospect pedigree.

    He had a plan coming in? Tip your cap to this guy? Nope, sorry, that won’t do. Same as Jorge Lopez on Monday night. Real championship contenders don’t do that. Twice in five games.

    I’m happy they’re winning all these games missing half the pitching staff, but that’s primarily due to facing teams that can’t hit. The Rays can hit, yes. But the Marlins can’t, the Orioles can’t, the Mariners can’t. and neither can the Royals.

    They’re very lucky that the injuries and COVID shutdowns in the starting staff have all peaked right now, when they have hit, for the most part, the softest part of their schedule. And they’re lucky that by the time they hit Chicago (and Iowa) to face the White Sox next weekend, Cole and Monty should be back. And Severino and Kluber right behind them. They’re even lucky to miss Logan Gilbert in this series, because he profiles as the type of pitcher who usually shuts them down, not Marco Gonzales, for spit’s sake.

    But they need better hitting from darn near everyone in the lineup. The defense is better. The bullpen is better. The starting pitching will be better in a few days, hopefully. But the offense is still an open sore, despite the heroics of Rizzo and Gallo since joining them. They’re dead last in RISP in the AL. both BAVG and SLG, on merit. And 2 for 15 again tonight, which means 1 for 14 before Gardner’s game-winner. That’s doom in whatever post-season series they manage to make it to, because they don’t have the dominant rotation they had in the late 90’s, even if Cole and Monty and Kluber and Severino all make it back.

    This is better than losing, by a long shot. The results are good enough, but the play on the field isn’t. If you watch them remotely closely, you can’t miss that.

    • MG309

      Gonzales is a pretty good pitcher having a bad year. He did a good job last night of pitching inside but it can be frustrating to watch.

    • To be honest, the ump called a lot of those pitches strikes when they were clearly outside the box.

    • MikeD

      Must.Always.Be.Angry.

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