Game 28: Ugh, not again

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Make it six consecutive losses. It looked like the Yankees were about to break the losing streak as they were up 4-0 with Jordan Montgomery cruising. Alas, Chad Green had another clunker and the offense couldn’t tack on any runs against…checks notes…ah yes, Walter Lockett. Bad bad bad. Let’s get to the takeaways before the second game of this doubleheader.

Jordan Montgomery was terrific. Things were looking awfully cheery early in this one. Montgomery was absolutely dominant to start this one out and the offense actually scored some early runs. It seemed like a nice rebound game was in order. The 27 year-old exited this one with a 4-1 lead in the sixth, but as I’ll discuss shortly, that didn’t last long.

Gumby struck out the side in the first inning with ease: it only took him 13 pitches to do so. The Mets swung seven times, whiffed five times, and hit two foul balls. The southpaw also garnered two called strikes. Not a lot of wasted time to retire Jeff McNeill, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto.

The second was more of the same. Montgomery struck out Pete Alonso on a changeup to start the frame. Robinson Cano broke up the strikeout streak by looping a single to left, but Montgomery got right back on his horse thereafter. He punched out Wilson Ramos with yet another changeup. That pitch was really working for Monty today: he threw it 18 times and garnered 7 whiffs on 12 swings.

Montgomery threw scoreless third and fourth innings, but started to run into trouble in the fifth. It really wasn’t his fault, though. He recorded two relatively quick outs, but then plunked Smith. Up came Jake Marisnick, who bounced to Miguel Andújar in what should have been an inning ending 5-3. Instead, Miggy bobbled the grounder and then threw it away for two errors on the play, which allowed Smith to move to third. Up next: a wild pitch on a spiked changeup. It was the definition of a 55-footer, but it seemed like something Gary Sánchez could have blocked. Instead, it skipped away and Smith scored. Monty eventually got out of it with no more damage.

Monty started the sixth, but after back-to-back singles with Alonso coming up as the tying run, his night was done. In came Chad Green, and things unraveled as I’ll touch on in a moment. Montgomery’s final line: 5-plus innings, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), no walks, and 6 strikeouts. Those two earned runs scored as inherited runners for Green.

What’s up with Chad Green? Green’s given up a season’s worth of back-breaking homers this week. First, it was Freddie Freeman in Atlanta as he tried to preserve a 1-0 lead. Today, with the Yankees up 4-1, he was tasked with escaping a first and second with no one out jam in the sixth with Pete Alonso at the plate. Here’s what happened.

But wait, there’s more.

By the time the inning was over, it was 6-4 Mets and Green was saddled with the loss.

Is there such a thing as What’s Wrong With Chad Green Week? We kinda had this last year, except it was roughly a month-long thing to start the season. Anyway, the big issue was his location. Green needs to paint the top of the strike zone with his fastball and mix in an occasional breaker to keep hitters honest. He didn’t get his fastball up enough today, and paid the price for it.

That’s just two fastballs at the top of the zone. Everything else he threw was either belt-high or thigh-high, and that’s not going to work even with as good of a heater as Green offers. These are the at-bat ending pitch locations which tell the story:

Clint deserves to stay. And I’m not just talking about Frazier staying with the big league club for the rest of this regular season — I mean next year as well. Before I make my case, let’s take a look at what Frazier did this afternoon.

In the first inning, after Leadoff Luke Voit single (he went 3-for-3 in this one, by the way), Clint hit a rocket into the gap off Michael Wacha:

Frazier got another shot against Wacha in the second inning. This time, he went from gap power to over-the-wall power:

Clint’s now up to a .300/.364/.600 (158 wRC+) batting line in 33 plate appearances. That’s an incredibly small sample size, but we’ve also been hearing about Frazier’s legendary bat speed and offensive potential for years. It shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise to see him hit. And that’s a big part of why he needs to remain a long-term piece in the Bronx.

On paper, Clint is no better than the fourth best outfielder on this roster. But the cavalcade of outfielders ahead of him are on the injured list quite often. Frazier makes for a more than capable player in their stead. Hell, it might be time to let him just play everyday. If Giancarlo Stanton is going to be a designated hitter primarily, Frazier should be the regular left fielder. I love Brett Gardner, but there comes a point when it’s time to move on. I think after this season is that time. Mike Tauchman is fine in his own right, but he lacks Frazier’s upside and power. I like him more as a fourth outfielder. If Gardner departs, there’s room for both Tauchman and Frazier, who are both out of options.

Ultimately, whether Gardner is back or not, letting Frazier go is risky given how often Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks are hurt. I know it may be tricky to keep him around without minor league options after this season, but the Yankees can’t really afford to lose outfield depth.

Leftovers

  • Estevan Florial’s debut went about as well as you could expect for a guy to never play above High-A (aside from Double-A playoff appearances). He struck out in ugly fashion in his first two at-bats, but collected his first big league hit later.
  • Voit, Frazier, and Brett Gardner reached base nine times today. Everyone else? Three times: the Florial single, a Sánchez walk, and a Mike Ford double. Not good. It was particularly troubling, even with this cast of replacements, to not score against Walter Lockett who entered with an 8.66 ERA in 43 2/3 innings. Really should have pulled away.
  • Tarp is on the field right now, but I’ll post the lineups below when available. Bobby will have the second game recap later. Have a nice night.

New York Yankees

  1. Luke Voit, 1B
  2. Clint Frazier, RF
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Gary Sánchez, DH
  5. Mike Tauchman, LF
  6. Miguel Andújar, 3B
  7. Jordy Mercer, SS
  8. Thairo Estrada, 2B
  9. Erik Kratz, C

RHP Jonathan Loaisiga

New York Mets

  1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
  2. Michael Conforto, RF
  3. J.D. Davis, 3B
  4. Dom Smith, LF
  5. Robinson Canó, DH
  6. Pete Alonso, 1B
  7. Jeff McNeill, 2B
  8. Luis Guillorme, SS
  9. Ali Sánchez, C

LHP David Peterson

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1 Comment

  1. CentralScrutinizer

    Agree 100% in Frazier and maybe now Boone will stop putting him at the bottom of the order behind 3 guys batting under the Mendoza Line. Tauchman is no better than a 4th OF. Outside of that insane streak he had last July and August he’s shown little power and is now riding the wave of a .447 BABIP that covers a lot of weak contact and lucky placements. Regression seems imminent.

    About Game 2 – pray for rain.

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