Game 158: Urshela leaves early as Yankees lose least thrilling extra-inning game possible

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The Yankees and Rays bullpenned a game deep into the night and extra innings. While the Rays technically won, 2-1, in 12 innings, we all lost for having watched the game. Cameron Maybin homered. CC Sabathia and the rest of the Yankees’ relievers looked good out of the pen. Please never speak of this again.

Fair Warning

This game was an absolute dumpster fire for a game with serious postseason implications. I’ve criticized the opener strategy for what it’s done to the role of a starting pitcher, but at least those games have a bulk starter.

This was just a series of relievers, on and on with no end in sight. There was maybe 1-2 rallies overall, and none of them all that compelling. All of it happening at Tropicana Field doesn’t help matters.

In total, the game had 20 pitchers — 11 from the Yankees — and three solo homers over 12 innings. The two teams went a combined 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

I just want to be upfront with how much I hated this game. You can read about the details and the importance of the game below, but it was bad and I can’t blame you for not scrolling down.

Extra Innings

Chad Green struck out five over two 1-2-3 innings. He was oustanding. Meanwhile, the Yankees got a single from Giancarlo Stanton and a pop-up double from Mike Ford. Nothing came from any of it.

Cory Gearrin came in for the 12th inning and allowed a homer to Ji-Man Choi to end the game on the first batter.

Urshela Injury Scare

What Yankee game would be complete without another possible injury? This was ridiculous a couple dozen injuries ago. We’ve gone to the purely absurd.

In the sixth inning, Diego Castillo took over and was wild with his first pitch. The fireballer tossed a 95-mph sinker that glanced off Urshela’s left hand/wrist.

Urshela winced in pain and had a clear mark on the back on his hand, but he stayed in the game after examination by Steve Donahue. He’d be removed after another inning in the field and before taking another at-bat. Luckily, he appears to have avoided serious injury.

It’s time to hold one’s breath yet again. Urshela is in the midst of a slump, but he drove a ball 106 mph the other way in his first at-bat, just right at a fielder. He may come around … if he’s on the field.

Offense? What offense?

The Yankees put out a strong lineup with Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres back in the field, but Bombers they were not for the evening. Against Yonny Chirinos, they managed just one hit and a boatload of weak contact, though the hit was a solo homer by Cameron Maybin.

Beyond that, the team got singles from Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine and Judge in the first six innings, as well as an impressive 10-pitch walk from Giancarlo Stanton. The Bombers weren’t facing the same pitchers AB to AB as the Rays used their September army of relievers.

LeMahieu added a single to lead off the eighth, but the Bombers couldn’t get him to advance, even with a near assist from a catwalk on a pop up. Through nine innings, the Yankees had just five hits and a walk against six Rays pitchers.

CC Sabathia and the Early Bullpen Army

The Yankees matched the Rays’ bullpen game with one of their own and Jordan Montgomery got the nominal start. He got two swings and misses on what was a sharper curveball than his first outing and scattered three hits across two frames. A nice step in his Tommy John rehab.

Ben Heller followed with a scoreless though wild frame, setting the stage for Sabathia. CC got the chance to warm up and was guaranteed a clean inning by Aaron Boone.

Sabathia faced the heart of the order and needed just 13 pitches to get a 1-2-3 inning. He faced only one left (Ji-Man Choi) and got a groundout stuck in between a pair of strikeouts, including one of the pesky Travis d’Arnaud. This was exactly what you want to see out of a potential October relief option.

Stephen Tarpley couldn’t hold the Rays scoreless as he gave up a solo homer to Kevin Kiermaier, while Tyler Lyons walked the only batter he faced to lead off the sixth. Luis Cessa walked two himself and nearly walked in the go-ahead run, but got a groundout on a 3-1 count. No one in that trio made a strong case for the postseason roster.

The Top Bullpen Arms Dominate

Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino each tossed 1-2-3 innings to stifle the Tampa Bay in the 7th-9th innings and force extras. All three had one strikeout and only Kahnle (17 pitches) needed more than 11 to finish off the side.

For Kahnle and Ottavino, it’s encouraging after recent struggles. Kahnle allowed a decisive home run to Justin Smoak on Friday, while Ottavino had a four-outing run with at least one run allowed before the weekend. Ottavino had an extremely effective slider for the second straight outing. Aaron Boone thought Ottavino may have injured himself covering first on a groundout, but the tall right-hander handled his final two hitters without issue.

Britton, meanwhile, has been dominant recently as his slider has complemented his sinker. The slider got Brandon Lowe swinging for his lone strikeout. As I said on Twitter, he’s probably the most reliable reliever in the Yankees’ bullpen right now.


  • Maybin’s home run was his 10th of the year, giving the Yankees 14 players with double-digit homers, an MLB record. Next. Man. Up.
  • Stephen Tarpley’s 5th-inning strikeout set a new MLB record as the 41,208th strikeout of the season.
  • With the Indians blowing out the White Sox, the Rays were unable to gain any separation in the Wild Card chase.

The Yankees and Rays close out their two-game set at the Trop on Wednesday with Jonathan Loaisiga opening followed by J.A. Happ for the Yankees against Tampa ace Charlie Morton. That’s another 7:10 p.m. start.


Game 158: Night of the Living Bullpens


Marcus Stroman, Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ playoff rotation


  1. There is nothing more boring that watching a baseball game when 20+ pitchers are used.

    I turned off the game as soon as Gearrin started walking in from the bullpen, the last equivalent ‘sure thing’ was Sonny tearing up his tickets at the track once he saw the loser from the neighborhood rooting for the same horse in ‘A Bronx Tale’.

  2. aaronjudgemvp

    Seems like Chad Green is back to his 2017 self..
    since May 27th:

    52.2 innings 41 hits 13 BB 78 Ks, 14 ER (9 of them came between 2 outings. His horrible “open” against Cleveland and in Fenway when he was left out there)

    His last 10 appearances:
    16.2 innings 4 hits 4 BB 32 Ks, 1 run

    Also, im very encouraged with Britton. He is using his slider much more lately:

    July: 18.5%
    August: 19.7%
    September: 24.6%

    • What’s really encouraging about Green, to me, is the number of swings and misses he’s getting with his fastball.

      I don’t have the stats but earlier this year they were way down and now seems pretty much back to his levels from a couple of years ago.

  3. CountryClub

    I’m repeating myself from the other day. But, Gearrin better not sniff a post season roster spot.

    • aaronjudgemvp

      Do you honestly believe there is any chance he will be on the roster?

    • aaronjudgemvp

      I expect to see:

      Happ (bulk guy/long man)


      OF – Stanton, Gardner, Judge, Maybin
      1B – Voit/DJ
      DH – EE/Voit
      2B – Torres
      SS – Didi
      3B – DJ/Urshela
      C – Sanchez
      BUC – Romine
      Util – Wade

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