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Game 22: An ugly loss

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This had to be the most infuriating loss of the season, right? The Yankees haven’t played well in general this month, but sheesh, this one was ugly. The bats, which seemed to wake up over the weekend in Cleveland, couldn’t touch the remnants of Matt Harvey. Even still, Baltimore tried to hand this one to the Yankees in the eighth, but the team couldn’t capitalize. The 4-1 loss at the hands of the Orioles pushes the Yankees to 9-13, last place in the AL East. To the takeaways we go:

A Matt Harvey comeback would be a nice story, but the Yankees’ bats made him look a lot better than he actually pitched. Somehow, the bats scored just one run in six innings against whatever’s left of Matt Harvey. There was a lot of talk on Twitter and the broadcast about how good Harvey looked, but I couldn’t disagree more. He got away with a handful of hanging sliders, didn’t have good command of his four-seamer, and was gifted a couple of double plays. His sinker was his best pitch tonight — a pitch he last threw frequently in 2018.

First, the hanging sliders. Here’s where he threw them:

Those are mostly bad locations. The worst came in the third inning, in particular. We tweeted about it, but again: three hangers resulted in a foul ball, whiff, and ground out. That’s unacceptable.

Then there were the untimely double plays. With Giancarlo Stanton on first and one out, Aaron Judge bounced into an around the horn double play against this pitch:

Not good.

In the sixth, the one inning the Yanks scored against Harvey, a DJ LeMahieu double play prevented a crooked number. Clint Frazier started the inning with a walk on five pitches. So for some reason, LeMahieu chases the first pitch he sees:

I mean, come on. What is LeMahieu swinging at after a five pitch walk? At least Stanton (single) and Judge (double) plated a run right after, but it was too little too late.

Now, Harvey did induce 11 whiffs on 40 swings (28 percent), but 8 of those were by Gary Sánchez (who’s slumping again) and Giancarlo Stanton (who whiffs a lot in the first place). So it’s not like Harvey was making a bunch of hitters look bad. The Yankees, for the most part, got themselves out with poor at-bats.

A mess of an eighth inning, which was served on a silver platter to the Yankees. It wasn’t just Harvey tonight. Later in this one, Tanner Scott couldn’t find the strike zone in the eighth inning. So what did the Yankees do? Swung away anyway.

Down 4-1 on the scoreboard, Frazier and LeMahieu led off the inning with back-to-back walks. Scott threw ball one to Stanton immediately thereafter. At that point, maybe keep taking? Instead, Stanton flew out to left field on the next pitch. On one hand, it was a crushable pitch over the heart of the plate. On the other hand, maybe don’t swing until he proves he can throw a strike? Scott has nasty stuff so even a hanger can be tough to square up.

Next, Judge walked to load ’em up with one out, though he did chase (and thankfully miss) a 3-0 fastball in off the plate. Again, more evidence to maybe not swing against Scott. So, with the bases full and one out, the Yankees were in prime position to get right back in this one. Instead, cleanup hitter Rougned Odor followed with an absolutely awful at-bat.

He swung at everything except the first pitch, a fastball way off the plate. How? Was he not watching the previous four hitters? Odor struck out, and Brandon Hyde pulled Scott for closer Cesar Valdez.

For a moment, it felt like things might finally turn the Yankees’ way. Gio Urshela ripped a liner to left, which looked like it would cut the lead to 4-3. I guess at some point the Orioles couldn’t keep getting away with miscues, right? Well, not unless the Yankees could find a new way to shoot themselves in the foot.

First of all, that’s awful baserunning by Aaron Judge. He should not have tried to get to third with the play right in front of him. Second, the umpires likely botched the call to disallow DJ LeMahieu to score. Instead of 4-3, it was 4-2 on Urshela’s base hit. Now, Aaron Boone could have reviewed the play, but couldn’t. It’s not clear exactly what happened, but Boone was livid and got ejected. Even if he was mad that the umpires didn’t let him ask for a replay, what was he waiting for? It’s the 8th inning — there’s no reason to save a replay review at that point. Just use it! In fairness, perhaps it was unclear whether or not LeMahieu’s run was disallowed or not. Regardless, just an ugly display all around.

Good grief, what an abomination of an inning. From bailing out a pitcher who couldn’t throw strikes, to bad baserunning, to bad umpiring, and to whatever Boone was doing, yikes.

Deivi García debuts with a different approach. So much happened after Deivi departed in this one that it felt like he pitched in a completely different game. But on the bright side, I liked what I saw from him.

One thing we’ve learned about the 21 year-old righty is that he’s always willing and able to make adjustments. Last year, it was shifting his starting position on the rubber to the first base side. Prior to tonight’s start, we heard about how Deivi tweaked his slider at the Alternate Site.

Indeed, García’s slider looked different tonight. It was a bit more sweepy than last year, with Statcast indicating less drop but more horizontal movement. That’s not all, though. He also was breaking ball heavy after never throwing fewer than 55 percent fastballs in any one of his starts last season. Tonight, the starter offered just 38 percent heaters to the Orioles.

Deivi got burned on a couple of fastballs in this one, by the way. Cedric Mullins took him deep to lead off the game on some high cheese and Freddy Galvis drilled an opposite field RBI double.

And perhaps that’s why he de-emphasized the pitch in this one. He didn’t get a ton of whiffs against it last year (18 percent), and tonight wasn’t much different (20 percent) in spite of increased velocity (93.3 MPH, up from 91.9 last year). He also didn’t have good command of it either.

The breaking balls were a different story. He threw 19 sliders (29 percent) and 13 curves (20 percent). He got four whiffs on 11 swings against (36.3 percent) and didn’t allow an exit velocity higher than 93.5 against those pitches. All four of his strikeouts ended with those pitches, and Orioles batters also went hitless against them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, throwing more breaking balls resulted in Deivi having a tougher time throwing strikes consistently. He walked three batters today, which is a career high. He walked 6 in 28.1 innings last year. Two of his three walks were four pitch at-bats, and yet, he only threw one fastball in each of those base on balls.

Free passes aside, I thought Deivi pitched well. He was very efficient, needing just 65 pitches to complete four frames (Aaron Boone had a very quick hook. Seems like he didn’t want his starter to face the lineup for a third time, with the top of the order coming up for the fifth).

Leftovers:

  • A rare not so good night for the Yankees’ bullpen. Darren O’Day balked in a run and Justin Wilson surrendered a home run to Cedric Mullins, his second of the game.
  • I don’t know if the 8th inning deflated the team, but if the 9th was any indication, it sure did. Valdez made quick work throwing 7 pitches to retire Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, and Gary Sánchez to end this one.
  • The Yankees have now lost four in a row at Camden Yards. That’s hard to fathom after the team’s dominance over the Orioles previously.

Tomorrow has to be better than what we watched tonight, right? It’ll be another 7:05 start and Corey Kluber gets the ball. See you then.

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30 Comments

  1. Gerreddardit Cole

    Well, folks. They finally listened to us. Higgy is starting, Gio is hitting clean up and Tauchman was traded. About time.

  2. chip56

    This team is so bad. It is a pretty direct result of the Yankees looking at the rest of the AL tearing their teams down and thinking it would be a cake walk to the playoffs again.

    I expect nothing from Cashman since Hal clearly doesn’t care about whether this team wins so long as it makes him money.

    That said, there are a couple of moves that the team could make that would not cost them their shot at being luxury tax champions:

    Recall Kyle Holder and Estevan Florial
    I don’t think Holder can hit at this level, but he’s an elite defensive SS – so put him in there and Gleyber back at 2b. The kid can’t play SS and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his bat went into the dumpster when he was moved to SS.

    As for Florial: It’s pretty clear that “Clint Fraizer is our starting LF’er” lasted about as long as “Bubba Crosby is our starting CF’er” did. Given that, I would rather give Florial a shot than roll out the corpse of Brett Gardner or Mike Tauchman. At least Florial might have a shot of being good.

    Regarding the rest: I love how the Yankees responded about concerns that they were too RH dominant by saying “left right balance is nice but not necessary” and then went ahead and put Rougned Odor in the 4 spot to break up the righties. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, it’s that the Yankees don’t want to spend any money.

    Screw them. They deserve to be pounded this year by teams who don’t waste opportunities.

    • Zach

      This is 100% correct. There is no organization in professional sports that deserves to lose more than the Hal/Cashman Yankees. Even tanking teams are honest with their fan base about their priorities.

      • chip56

        apparently my comment didn’t post because I swore…so let me try again:

        The Yankees do not care about titles, they care about budgets. If they stumble into a win along the way, that’s great. If not, that’s acceptable too as long as the bottom line is met.

        Hal has publicly lamented that the Rays do better with a much lower payroll. If that’s truly how he feels, then he should fire Levine and Cashman and hire someone to overhaul the organization.

  3. Can we stop ripping each other?
    Let’s talk about making the third out at third base! Throw in the Boone Blunder #640.
    The awful part is the Judge comment after he continued running, saw how hard the ball was hit, saw how cleanly it was fielded. I have to do better there? Really.
    The sad part is nothing will happen to him, he will be in the line up today, and Boone will make a handful of excuses for him.
    “All Rise”

    It seems MLB lowered the amount of time a team has to appeal a play from 30 seconds, to 20 seconds. Oh, forgot to mention, that was BEFORE the season.
    Boone Blunder #640

  4. Dani

    I’m just saying this: last night’s lineup had 1 hitter with an average above .250 and 5 batter with an average below .200. Start hitting, please.

    Also, I think Higgy should start at least every other game until Sanchez proves he is better than him.

  5. DZB

    Not sure why my earlier comment didn’t appear. (sorry if this ends up being a repeat). I feel like so many issues are downstream consequences of the money saving approach they have implemented and stuck to so loyally. Put Lindor at SS and Darvish in the rotation and you have cascading effects that I think would make for a hugely improved team (the primary one being that we don’t have to pretend that Odor is actually a good option at 2B!).

    I am also finally starting to consider whether the team should consider replacing Boone. I really like Boone, but I don’t like his decision making and leadership. I think he is good with players and a lovely fellow. But I would prefer him as the bench coach. I hate to say it, but I am thinking that Beltran could be a good fit for this team (though it will take a lot for me to stop being angry with him).

    • Alex

      I’ve moved on from being angry with Beltran. He was a player at the time and was far less involved in the sign-stealing scandal than Hinch, Cora, and Luhnow, yet was the only person who appeared to accept responsibility and issue a genuine apology.

      Cora got re-hired by the Red Sox and Hinch was hired by the Tigers and nobody seems to give a crap. When Beltran was here as a front office advisor, he also seemed to do a far better job fixing our players when they were broken than anybody on the coaching staff. Remember how he was the one credited with fixing James Paxton’s pitch tipping issues after it cropped up against the Astros, who were most definitely stealing signs? Also can’t help but think Beltran would have a positive impact on guys like Torres, Severino, and dare I say even Sanchez and Stanton. He knows what it is like to be in NY and thrive despite getting booed by the home fans.

      Similar to you, I do like Boone on a personal level but its becoming more apparent that choosing him over Beltran was a mistake.

  6. DZB

    I think a lot of the issues are tied to the plan to stay under the luxury tax threshold, and the general unwillingness to spend any money. The infield would be so different with Lindor at SS – Gleyber at 2B is a much better fit, and you would have DJ at 1B all this time. When Voit returns you can rotate DJ through all the non SS positions to keep everyone healthy. On the pitching side, they could have gone after someone like Darvish in a salary dump. I realize that they have a good team, but they are also unnecessarily constraining their success with the imposition of a de facto salary cap, which should make every NYY fan angry.

  7. Alex

    Gary Sanchez continues to be unwatchable levels of bad. It’s honestly astonishing how far he has fallen. Even Buster Posey is out there completely outclassing him nowadays, not to mention his backup catcher the last 2 years who should now be starting instead of him.

  8. dasit

    luke voit is doing more “baseball activities” than our clean-up hitter

    • Alex

      He’s doing more baseball activities than any hitter on the team not named Urshela, Judge, or Higashioka.

  9. Wire Fan

    You can’t bat Odor 4th for two reasons
    1. his SOLE qualification for that spot is “he is left handed”. His actual performance doesn’t merit that spot
    2. Because of Cashman and the analytics group’s obsession over left handed hitting, the only right handed bench bat is Higgy. This allows the opponent to exploit Odor (or Ford) in a key situation unless they want to burn Higgy…Voit coming back will help this but good grief the IF bench construction has been terrible and apparently has to be left handed (Bruce, wade, Odor, Ford).

    Someone needs to teach Sanchez, Voit, Torres and Judge how to run the bases. Nearly half of the Yankees regular starting lineup are channeling their inner Posada. These guys are all way too aggressive, have all injured themselves because they don’t know how to slide, and don’t have basic fundamentals (basic sliding technique, understanding the game situation, etc). This is somewhat on the coaching or lack thereof – both at the major league and minor league levels.

    The Yankees need to take the kid gloves off the starters not named Cole. The analytics guys running things are so in fear of third time thru the order that the bullpen is going to be cooked by the all star break. Maybe worry about this in the playoffs (if they get there), but this idea that you only need 18 batters out of a starter and 5 innings is all that you need, needs to be abandoned in the reg season.

  10. Brian

    Batting Odor 4th is probably about the 50th Boone-ism that would be a fireable offense in any organization that was trying to win.

  11. Jordan

    What do you think is the problem that they’re missing so many hittable pitches so consistently throughout the season? Thames? Boone? Cashman? Hal?

    • Rick

      Hal! I definitely don’t want to go back to the Billy Martin days, but some accountability is needed. The GM fails at his job for twelve years, fails to beat clubs with much less resources….why? What are we paying for? If you are going to give us KC Royals results, give us KC Royal prices

      • Alex

        The Royals have had better results than us in recent time. I’d hands down take a World Series championship, two pennants, and a bunch of rebuilding years in the last decade over what the Yankees have done then. Not to mention the fact that the Royals won that World Series in spite of having a fraction of the payroll that the Yankees have. Complain about Hal all you want but even with him as owner, Cashman’s had every resource a GM could ever ask for and has utterly failed.

  12. Rick

    Horrible, batting coach seems like a nice guy but results are in – for two years bats have been horrendous. Time to move on. Three walks and Odor swings at two pitches a foot off the plate, not his fault he should not be batting clean up for the Yankees. Sorry Cashman. You get $200MM+ in salary every year for how long and this is the crap we have to watch? Can we get Theo Epstein in and start winning championships again!!!

    • Stephen

      Rick- The Yankees had the best offense in baseball last year. Why do you think they were bad last year?

  13. Gerreddardit Cole

    Well it was by far the worst loss of the season, Derek. DJ doesn’t look right and nobody is doing anything about it. All he does is roll over and hit weak double plays to 3rd. Odor never shoulda been hitting 4th. I know you don’t have Voit but can you put Gio or someone else 4th that can actually hit? Washed up Harvey never shoulda shut this club down.

    It’s looking more and more like the Indians were the reason this club looked good and not because of some miraculous resurgence. Boone should be let go if we lose another game to these clowns who are trying to tank. Deivi wasn’t great but this will be used as the excuse to recall the great Nick Nelson so he can open for Gerrit Cole against the Tigers.

    • Rick

      You have two 2nd basemen, no SS, no 1st baseman, and you bring in another weak hitting 2nd basemen to bat clean up? WTF!!!! This is a clown show.

      • I’ll go with clown show although it is probably the show starting with the letter S.
        Worst record in the American League says it all.

  14. dennis

    You bat Odor fourth you get what you deserve. Amazing how you can get cut by Texas but bat cleanup for the Yankees.

    • Wire Fan

      He is clearly qualified to hit 4th… He is left handed.

  15. Zach

    Two night ago, this blog was gloating and mocking the people who were concerned about the team. The Yankees had turned the season around and everything was wonderful again, just as the “smart” fans always knew it would be. Are you laughing now?

    • Derek

      You’re the same person who said this team was closer to losing 100 games than winning 100 and that the season felt over on April 9th. So yes, I’m laughing. Tonight was trash, but the Cleveland series was objectively good.

      • Jason

        My nonsense aside, it’s honestly annoying how the latino guys continue to get ripped apart, but DJ whose supposed to be the epitome of how this team should hit has been responsible for momentum killing double plays at least once a game.
        I enjoyed the Gleyber piece, do you guys plan to deep dive into DJ’s kryptonite of grounders and why its worse this year?

        • Jason

          I meant to post this as a separate reply. My phone has betrayed me. Sorry.

      • chip56

        “Objectively good” is a pretty subjective comment. The Yankees are not at all improved from the team that wasn’t good enough to make the world series last year. Even a bad team is going to win 50 games, and right now, the Yankees are a bad team.

    • Randy

      You can stop reading the blog. Pretty simple.

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