Game 130: Offense and defense leave Montgomery hanging

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A new win streak did not start today. Instead, the A’s topped the Yankees 3-1 thanks to a clutch two-run homer from Tony Kemp against Chad Green in the eighth inning. The Bombers offense was quiet as they often are when Jordan Montgomery starts, for whatever reason. Monty was very good today, of course.

After taking the first two games of this series and riding a 13-game winning streak, the Yanks have now lost two in a row. That pushes them to six games behind the first place Rays in the division, though the Yankees do hold a two game edge on Boston for the top Wild Card spot. Fortunately, Tampa Bay is done playing the Orioles this season, though they did what they were supposed to do against them. Anyway, let’s get to the takeaways from this evening’s loss:

Jordan Montgomery deserved better. Another start, another no decision. The tall lefty allowed just one run (it was unearned) across six innings of work this evening. And yet, he left the game trailing 1-0 as the offense couldn’t figure out Paul Blackburn or Yusmeiro Petit.

Aside from a lack of run support, which I’ll touch on in a moment, the one run Montgomery gave up wasn’t remotely his fault. He effectively recorded five outs in the fourth inning before it was all said and done. Montgomery did get into some early trouble in the frame, but should have escaped without a run on the board.

The inning started with a long fly out that Brett Gardner made a great play to haul in, but followed with back-to-back singles. After that, Monty induced what could have been an inning-ending double play, but instead, this happened:

Gio Urshela’s fielding error extended the inning, but it wasn’t the first mistake on defense. Montgomery got another grounder — even more tailor-made for a double play — but Tyler Wade took too long at shortstop. It hurt even more because Oakland needed a replay review to overturn what was initially ruled an out at first base.

A-Rod, on the ESPN broadcast, appropriately criticized Wade’s play there. There wasn’t enough urgency, he didn’t quite get a grip on the ball, and the flip to DJ LeMahieu was too soft. That gave Mark Canha enough time to beat it out upon further review.

So, between some shoddy glovework in the fourth inning and no run support, Montgomery didn’t factor in the decision. I know win-loss record for a pitcher doesn’t really matter, but it’s baffling to see Montgomery just 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 starts this season. He’s been terrific.

About the eighth inning. Ugh. It looked like Chad Green was going to send this one to the ninth still tied at 1-all after getting two outs quickly, but nope. Mark Canha extended the frame with a two-out double over Gallo’s head in left field.

There’s no video highlight available, but as I recount from watching, Gallo’s first step was in, which cost him. He nearly recovered to make a leaping grab, but if didn’t take the first step in, there’s a pretty good chance he hauls that in for the final out of the frame. Alas, that’s easier said than done against a 107.1 MPH rope right at you. That brought up Tony Kemp, now a noted Yankee-killer:

And that homer was the difference. Green’s surrendered 11 homers in 68 frames this year, or 1.46 per nine innings. Four of those have come this month. Only last year’s pandemic-shortened season did Green give up home runs more frequently (1.75 per nine). I know Green is a good reliever by the numbers, but sheesh, has he given up some back breaking long balls this season.

The offense looked like what we saw earlier this year. 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, 7 runners left on base, and two double plays. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The worst of it came in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu walked on four pitches to start the game and Giancarlo Stanton singled right after. Aaron Judge lined out to center, which brought up Joey Gallo.

That’s the second double play he’s hit into in as many days. Incredible considering he had bounced into three all season coming into yesterday.

Later, in the fourth, Luke Voit hit into the the team’s other DP. It came right after Gallo singled to lead off the inning. Really tough day for Voit, by the way. 0-for-4 with that GIDP and three strikeouts.

There did seem to be a bit of frustration as this game wound down. Voit threw his helmet, Aaron Judge looked frustrated with some strike calls (he wasn’t alone, Brett Gardner too), and other swung at some not-so-great pitches to hit.

Leftovers

  • Brett Gardner had a fantastic game in center field, making two difficult catches, including one with a 5 percent catch probability per Statcast. (Seth Rothman)
  • Urshela made a second error in the seventh inning, but Jonathan Loaisiga worked around it. There’s no doubt in my mind that Loaisiga is the team’s best reliever.
  • Anthony Rizzo tied this game in the top of the seventh with a pinch hit chopper through Matt Chapman’s legs, who was charged with an error. Rizzo put together a tough at-bat against the nasty same-sided lefty, Jake Diekman.

So, the Yankees settle for a series split. Next up: Anaheim tomorrow night.

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4 Comments

  1. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    I thought it was the worst loss of the season, Derek. One loss was bad enough and reason for concern. Two losses a streak and it’s time to panic. Monty deserved so much better. They never score for him. And this is my biggest worry for the postseason. This lineup comes and goes and can put up plenty of zeroes when it’s cold. That’s what happens every postseason with this group. The bats go cold. And Sale looms in that WC game. Sox are coming. Rays never lose. We won 13 in a row and didn’t gain a damn game on them. Not one damn game. And Green always chokes in the biggest games. He cannot be trusted yet Boone keeps going to him. He’s essentially a one pitch pitcher when the curve isn’t working, which is most of his outings. Mariano needs to teach him the cutter or Chappy can teach him the splitter. Just something different that’s reliable. If Stanton and Judge go cold get ready for a long losing streak.

  2. DZB

    Falling six back feels like an insurmountable hill to climb, but I suppose it is also what we would have expected after this series with the NYY playing the A’s and Tampa playing Baltimore. Splitting a series in Oakland is not a bad outcome, but psychologically it is tough to be that far back again after winning so many games. From this point forward the Yankees have an earlier schedule than Tampa, so let’s hope that it allows them to finally make a push towards the division!

  3. Alemadgt

    I guess the circle of trust is a one way entity, you can’t get out even if you fail periodically like Green, Luetge, Britton or Chapman. I assume that Kluber because of the no hit and other glories from the past is pretty secure in there.

  4. David Pieragostini

    Any thoughts on 1. Loiasiga going 2nd inning instead of green, 2. In past years Green tinkers with slider/curve and flips between them – how about trying a cutter. Doesn’t Morton use that combo. I get its not the off speed pitch you’d want but maybe it plays enough off FB to allow more selective use of breaking pitch.

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