The Yankees had six hits. Four of them were solo homers. They only gave up three runs. That, my friends, is a weird formula, but a valid one to win in 11 innings against the Athletics (Box Score).
This game had four bullpen near-meltdowns, Zack Britton leaving with an injury and just about no offense for most of the game. Still, a win.
To the takeaways:
1. Gary, Judge and nothing much until the 11th
The Yankees had just eight baserunners in 10+ innings, but hey, dingers. Gary Sanchez carried the load for the first five innings with a pair of solo homers off Homer Bailey, two of the only four hits he gave up. The first was on a hanging splitter that Sanchez lined 109 mph into the second deck in left field.
Next, he took him out to right-center field in the fifth on a hanging curve, basically the only two mistakes Bailey made all day.
Outside of that, Bailey allowed two soft singles and struck out nine over 5.2 innings. He pitched well with his fastball up in the zone and using his splitter and offspeed offerings to get the Yankees to chase low. It was a master job, followed by four easy outs from Blake Treinen.
Then Aaron Judge erased a 3-2 deficit with a solo homer to right field in the eighth.
He didn’t pull it like he did in Oakland, instead choosing to take advantage of the short porch against Joakim Soria. Aaron Judge is great, folks. He had a great defensive play, too (more on that later).
For the ninth and 10th innings, the Yankees got just a single baserunner on a hit-by-pitch from Sanchez and that was it, setting the stage for DJ LeMahieu. Hitting his second walk-off of the year, the third baseman took a high fastball to right off an otherwise extremely effective Lou Trivino.
And that’s your ballgame offensively. Let’s get to the pitching, which was a bit of a mess.
2. Zack Britton has an injury scare
The 2019 Yankees remain snakebitten. They’ve had a key player go down with injury in each of their last three games, which is honestly just par for the course.
This time, it was Britton. After getting the first two outs of the eighth inning, Britton tossed a pitch and was quickly fetched by Steve Donahue and Aaron Boone, limping off the mound. The injury could have occurred when he feinted towards first on a grounder. Britton officially left with right calf cramping, a good diagnosis for now, though we’ll have to see how he holds up.
Losing Britton would be dreadful. This team’s postseason hopes rest largely upon their ability to shorten games with their top five relievers, so having one of them go down, even with Dellin Betances/Luis Severino on the mend, is troubling.
Britton left on a 3-1 count and Green finished off that walk, charged to Britton. Green then walked two more batters before striking out Matt Olson, the Yankees’ nemesis on the day, to escape trouble. It would be just three of 13 runners the A’s left on base between the fifth and ninth innings.
3. An ugly bullpen that holds on
So the Yankees gave up one run over six innings from the bullpen, but they stranded 11 runners and walked seven, striking out six. It was uuuuuuuuugly.
After Domingo German gave them five innings of two-run ball, Jonathan Loaisiga came in for the sixth. He promptly loaded the bases.
Loaisiga’s outings are an adventure. He’s just 24 and has all of 45 MLB innings, so some patience is due. However, his command is spotty and it lets down his tremendous stuff. That stuff allowed him to escape without a run, striking out rookie Sheldon Neuse with a 99-mph fastball on the black and subsequently getting a groundout.
And then Adam Ottavino came on. Otto allowed a hit, stolen base and then a double to Matt Chapman. The replays showed the Chapman ball was foul, but the Yankees didn’t challenge. Don’t really know why. It’s allowed to be challenged. Ottavino loaded the bases afterwards and was relieved with two outs by Tommy Kahnle, who got Jurickson Profar.
Following Green’s theatrics in the eighth, Aroldis Chapman got two quick outs in the ninth and then walked two straight and fell behind 3-1 on the next hitter. He regained his composure and delivered a couple mid-90s fastball to the upper-outside corner to get a strikeout. Phew.
Cory Gearrin, pitching for the second straight day, got through two scoreless frames, erasing his only runner on a double play. If he has a good Yankee career, I guess this could be his true Yankee moment? I am not the arbiter of such things.
Still, Gearrin nearly gave up a homer to Matt Chapman, but Aaron Judge robbed it right near the base of the wall in right. Your witness!
4. Domingo solid outside of a homer … again
German made one big mistake in his outing, a two-run homer by Matt Olson, and otherwise worked his way in and out of troble. He limited the A’s to just those two runs over five frames and struck out five while allowed seven to reach base.
He found himself in trouble in the second inning when Olson doubled and Mark Canha walked. From there, it took him just five pitches to get an easy flyout and a double play to eliminate the rally.
Olson got him again in the fourth. A no doubter, and the second time Olson has homered against him in the last two weeks. He left a changeup at the belt on the outer half and Olson’s long reach allowed him to plant it into the right field bleachers.
The fifth inning was a struggle, German laboring with a low-90s fastball and a spate of curveballs. The A’s put two men on for Chapman with two outs and Boone came out for mound visit in an unusual measure. It worked. Relying on his curveball, he got ahead and induced a weak grounder to the mound.
In all, German has now allowed 29 homers this year, sporting a homer rate nearly identical to his walk rate. He has a 4.01 ERA and can dominate a lineup at least one time through, but he has his flaws, like the rest of the rotation.
- The Yankees struck out 15 times and walked once. Luke Voit went 0-for-4 with four Ks while Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman did the same with 2 Ks. It wasn’t a great day for anyone but the three homer hitters and Mike Ford, who singled and had a liner stolen for an out.
- The bullpen is just about shot right now with Gearrin and Kahnle pitching back-to-back days and Luis Cessa and Nestor Cortes Jr. going two innings each Friday. Luckily, September callups are on their way, so the Yankees should have ample relief to back J.A. Happ.
- In all, the Yankees had no business winning this game. The A’s should have been able to break through more against the bullpen, and the Yankees didn’t do much of anything offensively. However, when you build a strong bullpen and homer-heavy lineup, you can steal a game like this. It evens out over the course of the year, but these wins are nice.
The Yankees look to
avoid a sweep win the series as Happ (11-8, 5.57 ERA) looks to build on his win over the Mariners when he faces Sean Manaea (Season debut). It’ll be a 1:05 p.m. start on YES, WFAN and TBS.