Game 142: A Fenway Stinker

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Well that was a lame game. The Yankees fall to 92-50, losing 6-1 to Boston. Here is the box score. The magic number remains at 12. Tonight I really mean it when I say this: let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Domingo Germán Has a Home Run Problem: Look, Germán has been a lifesaver in 2019. He really has been. All year, he has helped stabilize the Yankee rotation and taken a real step forward after flashing some promise in 2018. I think we’ve covered that again and again on this here website, including this afternoon when Steven noted that Germán might well reach 20 wins this year.

With that said, though, I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Germán gives up a few too many home runs. Coming into tonight, 108 pitchers logged at least 100 innings. Germán’s 1.97 HR/9 rate ranks 9th among them (though it ranks only 3rd on the Yanks, as both CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ have surrendered more). That is not ideal!

The HR bug came back to bite Germán again tonight. With two on and two out in the 4th, Brock Holt hit an RBI single to score Rafael Devers, which brought Mitch Moreland to the plate. Moreland promptly cleared the bases with this:

That made the game 4-0 right there, and it certainly ruined Germán’s night. He wasn’t sharp at all, with 4 walks in 4.1 IP, but the HR, as it so often is, was the biggest blow. Here’s his strike zone plot:

Oof. That about tells the tale right there. He struggled all night, really. Oh well. It is what it is. His final line was 4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K. There’s always next time, Domingo.

2. Not So Nasty Nestor Strikes Again: Nestor Cortes only pitched for two-thirds of an inning tonight, but they were not a good two-thirds of an inning. He immediately walked Rafael Devers after replacing Germán, which put two men on (Germán had walked Betts before exiting). Then Boegarts did this:

That added another run to Germán’s line, one to Cortes’, and made it 6-1 Boston. It was not an ideal appearance by any means.

Cortes has had a few of those recently, unfortunately. He had a 8.49 ERA in his last 11.2 IP coming into tonight, spanning 7 appearances since August 12. In those, he’d surrendered 2 runs or more 4 times, held opponents scoreless just twice, and given up 4 big flies. I still love watching Cortes mix up his delivery and arm angles, but it’s been a while since he’s been really effective now. Hopefully, he turns it around soon.

3. Stymied by…Them?: Who the hell even pitched in this game for Boston? I watched this whole game, unfortunately, and I don’t even know. Okay, that’s a little unfair, but I think you get the idea. Here’s who actually pitched for the Yankees’ big rivals tonight:

  • Jhoulys Chacín: 2.0 IP, zeros, 4 K
  • Josh Taylor: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Marcus Walden: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Andrew Cashner: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 K
  • Ryan Weber: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Darwinzon Hernandez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K

The Yankees couldn’t muster up any offensive production against them. Gross! Now, that’s not completely true. Gregorius logged the Yankees’ first hit in the 4th inning, which was a nice piece of hitting. He slapped the ball the other way down the 3B line, beating the shift, so that was cool. Gary Sánchez followed that up with a walk, but Edwin Encarnación struck out. Oh well.

Brett Gardner, who rules, did log a solo HR right down the RF line, wrapping around the Pesky Pole. Here is the video:

Good stuff! That was Brett’s 21st home run of the season, which ties his career high. It’s September 6. Do we think the balls are juiced or what? But whatever. I’m really enjoying 2019 Brett Gardner and won’t let something like “doctored baseballs” stop that. Gardner also logged the only other Yankee hit of the night. He’s hitting .251/.329/.489 (115 wRC+) on the season. You love to see it.

That was about it, though, for the offense. It was not their best night. Alas.

4. At Least the Defense Showed Up: Hey, the Yankees played great defense! This game was a bummer, but it least it had that going on for it. Let’s go one-by-one.

Luke Voit had a nice play at first, nabbing a sharp grounder from Mitch Moreland that ended the 2nd inning. Check it out:

And then there’s my favorite play of the night. It wasn’t close, really. Jackie Bradley Jr. broke for 2nd on a pitch very low and out of the zone. It’s the type of pitch you dream of stealing a base on, really. But Gary had other plans (#DROG). He made a slick backhanded grab of the ball as it bounced and proceeded to fire an absolute rocket to Gleyber Torres at 2nd. Gleyber made a really impressive tag, and the speedy Bradley was way out. Check this beautiful thing out:

Remember when Gary was having throwing issues for like 3 minutes in the rainy days of April? Yeah, me neither. (Also, I wonder if that was because of the ball?) Anyway, that was a hell of a play.

Finally, Didi Gregorius made a sweet play of his own in the 5th. It didn’t result in a double play (almost!) but it sure was pretty. Check it out:

Sure, the Yankee offense didn’t show up and the pitchers didn’t have a great night. But hey, the Yanks brought their gloves! So that is nice, at least.

Leftovers

  • A Questionable Send: There was a bit of a questionable send in the th inning. With Gary on 2nd base, Brett Gardner lined a single to center field…and they waved Gary, who is slow, home. This despite: 1) the big deficit, 2) the fact that Gary is very slow, 3) the fact that the ball was struck very hard, and 4) Jackie Bradley Jr. has a cannon of an arm. As you can imagine, Gary was out by a mile. Here is the video, if you care to watch it:
  • New Faces in the Bullpen: The Yankees used Tyler Lyons, Cody Gearrin, and Chance Adams to get the last 3 innings worth of outs tonight, and they did very well. They each threw an inning, combining for 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, and 2 K. Not bad! A nice job by the back end of the pen there. Can’t say they didn’t give the offense a shot.
  • Nice to See Ortiz: Finally, Edwin Encarnación and Gary Sánchez visited with David Ortiz yesterday, which warmed my heart. We all remember Ortiz as the victim of a horrific attempted murder in the Dominican Republic two months ago, so it sure was nice to see him out and about with some friendly faces. Keep getting better, David. We’re all rooting for you. Here is some video of the get-together:

Up Next

The Yankees and Red Sox will meet for the 2nd game of their 4-game, wraparound series tomorrow at 4:05 pm. J.A. Happ (5.34 ERA) will face someone from Boston (starter TBD) in Fenway as the Yankees try to even this series at one each. You can catch the game on FS1 nationally, YES locally, and on WFAN for the radio broadcast.

Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone. Hope it’s better than this game was.

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4 Comments

  1. Bobby

    I agree with all of this, Rob. It doesn’t make much sense to me superficially but we don’t have access to the same data/research that they have, obviously. I think the Yankees deserve the benefit of the doubt here, and with all lineup construction decisions generally. It would be one thing if we were talking about the Orioles.

    • RetroRob

      Agreed. It’s been done so consistently from Girardi to Boone that that it’s not an accident. Not in today’s game. It’s not a random one off.

  2. Wire Fan

    .284 OBP, .747 OPS, 91 wRC+

    This is the statline of, by far, the worst hitter in the Yankees lineup tonight. And he regularly hits 3rd, or if a lefty is on the mound maybe 4th or 5th.

    The 2nd worst OBP is Sanchez at .314, the 2nd worst OPS is Gardy at .818 (a mere SEVENTY ONE POINTS higher than Didi).

    For an organization that prides itself on analytics, why the heck does Boone and the analytics group keep penciling Didi in the middle of the lineup?

    • RetroRob

      They likely believe, and probably have evidence, that separating a string of righty batters with a lefty has some benefit. I remember David Cone commenting it was easier for a pitcher to develop consistent command to one side of the plate when facing a string of same-sided hitters. I agree with the question you’re asking, although I doubt they’re doing this without input from the analytics teams. Girardi used to do it too.

      The Yankees also believe Didi is not a true ..284 OBP player. It’s 50+ points below last year and it represents the lowest of his career. Unfortunately, he’s not showing improvement as the season progresses. To pick and arbitrary begin point, he’s hitting .226 with a .252 OPB since the start of August.

      I’d drop him down until he shows improvement.

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