With 15 games to play and the scramble for the AL Wild Card spots becoming no less intense, every game is a must-win for the Yankees – especially games like today’s, against a team like the Orioles, with a pitcher like Jordan Montgomery on the mound. Alas, despite an excellent outing from Montgomery and holding a lead with 8 ⅔ innings in the books, the Yankees found a way to blow it in Baltimore and dropped this game 3-2 in 10. To the takeaways –
Montgomery bounces back. None of this can be blamed on Jordan Montgomery, who has really been one of the most consistent fixtures in the Yankees’ rotation this year. After a rough start against the Mets last week, he returned to form to throw 5.2 innings and surrendered only one run, striking out 12 and lowering his season ERA to 3.63. He gave up six hits and walked only one.
He put two runners on in the third, but beyond that didn’t run into any kind of trouble. The one run he surrendered was on a leadoff sixth-inning home run to Ryan Mountcastle. The Orioles were chasing his breaking balls all night, as he garnered 18 whiffs on his curveball and changeup combined. His didn’t quite have command of his curve in the zone, but his stuff was good enough to rack up a career high in strikeouts. Effectively wild, for sure.
Offensive failures. Unfortunately, as has been the story in Montgomery’s starts all season, the Yankees offense did almost nothing to back him up. All of the offense came in the second inning, on a solo home run by Joey Gallo and an RBI double by Gio Urshela. After opening up the 2-0 lead, the Yankees could not tack on, and didn’t really threaten other than a bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning when Gallo sent a would-be grand slam to the wall but not quite far enough.
Orioles starter Chris Ellis, who no-hit the Yankees through five innings in their last meeting, was not quite as good today, giving up the two runs in 4.2, but the Yankees’ inability to consistently hit Orioles pitching has almost single-handedly put them in this tenuous playoff position.
Bullpen almost gets through it. Even as the offense floundered, it was almost enough. The Yankees made it through 8 ⅔ innings looking at a win, but the taxed bullpen once again came back to bite them. Overuse of Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green’s struggles, and Jonathan Loaisiga’s injury put the team in a position where Clay Holmes was called on to close out a one-run game, and he came so close. After pitching a strong 8th inning, Holmes allowed a one-out 9th inning single to DJ Stewart; a wild pitch allowed Stewart to reach second, he moved to third on a groundout, and another wild pitch tied the game before Holmes got Austin Wynns to strike out and end the inning on the very next pitch.
Embarrassing extras. Faced with a tie game in the 10th, the Yankees pretty much rolled over. They could not move the “ghost runner” over from second base in the top half, going quietly with three unproductive outs. Wandy Peralta then came on in the bottom of the inning, gave up a bunt single to Richie Martin to put runners on the corners, and intentionally walked Cedric Mullins to load the bases. He got Mountcastle on a four-pitch strikeout, but Austin Hays poked a single through a drawn-in infield to win the game for Baltimore. Not much to say about that except … embarrassing.
- Joey Gallo has 3 home runs in his last 4 games.
- Giancarlo Stanton picked up two hits today, including a 120 mph line drive off the first base umpire.
- The Red Sox and Blue Jays are both off today, so the Yankees have fallen 0.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.