Wow. It is hard to overstate how big that game was. Staring down the barrel of an 8 game losing streak and losing their hold on a playoff spot, the Yankees fought back in this one. After going up 5-0 only to find themselves down 7-5 after 7 innings, the team showed a ton of resilience putting across 3 runs in the 8th to retake the lead. And after some shaky middle relief, Albert Abreu and Aroldis Chapman locked things down to secure to victory. Aaron Boone described it as “just about a perfect night” and in the end it was. Let’s get to the takeaways:
More of the same from Kluber. Corey Kluber has not been effective since coming back from the IL. With all their injuries, the Yankees elected not to have him complete a full rehab, and it shows. For the third straight start, Kluber did not get through 5 innings.
His final line was 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K on 82 pitches which is a nearly identical line to his first start against the Angels. Once again, the command is the issue. Take a look:
I…don’t know what to say. There’s more pitches right down the pipe than in good locations. The Mets had 8 hard hit balls on 15 balls in play which is just ludicrous. Kluber was lucky to get out of that with just 4 runs allowed.
Moreover, Kluber was staked to a 5 run lead, and in the midst of a long losing streak, he needed to hold that lead so the Yankees could breathe. Instead, he nearly gave it all back. I get that the Yankees wanted to get Kluber back up because of injuries in the hopes of having him right for October, but with him pitching this poorly, there might not be an October to hope for. Not to mention the team needed length because the bullpen is gassed in the middle of a 20 games in 20 days stretch with their top 2 starters injured.
Offense shows up then goes to sleep… Man, things were looking so good right around 8:30pm. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning thanks to 3 homeruns from Kyle Higashioka, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge. Higgy’s came on a ludicrous pitch:
Since August 1, Gardner has a 130 wRC+ and a .360 wOBA. I get that we all want to see the Jumbo Package to get Voit into the lineup, but Gardner has been on fire of late.
Judge followed Gardy’s blast with a moonshot of his own:
That was the first time the Yankees hit 3 homeruns in one inning this season. Unfortunately, after the Judge homer, the Yankees went 0-16 with 8 K’s through the 7th inning.
…then wakes back up. Here is what the offense did in the 8th inning against Trevor May and Aaron Loup:
Hit the ball hard, and good things happen. After giving up the lead, Aaron Judge said not today and tied things up with his 2nd homer of the day:
It was 111 mph off the bat and a gargantuan 42 degree launch angle. It was great to see the offense fight back after being shut down for so long. Earlier in the season when the team was in a funk they would lay down after losing a lead, but not tonight. That’s what it’s going to take to make the playoffs and sustain a run.
- Can’t overstate how good Gardy’s been lately. He had 3 hard hit balls tonight.
- Gleyber Torres went 2-4 and had 3 hard hit balls as well. Hope it’s a sing of things to come.
- Chad Green gave up his 12 HR of the year, but hard to blame him for the pitch selection. He’s 3 innings away from a career high and is clearly gassed. Dude needs some rest.
- Huge props to Albert Abreu for throwing a scoreless 8th inning. Guys like him need to step up with all the high leverage innings.
- In addition to the homers, Judge made a GREAT defensive play in the 9th that was much appreciated:
The Yankees go for their first series win in a while tomorrow night at 8pm. It’ll be Carlos Carrasco against whoever the Yankees decide to throw. My money’s on Andrew Heaney (ugh) followed by Clarke Schmidt. Enjoy tonight’s victory, enjoy the first NFL Sunday of the year tomorrow, and enjoy the game tomorrow night!