Mercy. That was ugly. The Yankees blew another game and fell to the Mets 4-3 (box score). As the title indicates, though, they didn’t just lose. They got walked off in Yankee Stadium! They’ve now lost 7 straight games, which would be a 19-game streak in a 60-game season. Again: mercy. Anyway, here is how the last three games have gone for the Yankees:
Rough. Anyway, with this loss, the Yankees fall to 16-13 on the season. Let’s get to the takeaways, I guess.
1. Loaisiga Does His Job: That was a very good “start” for Jonathan Loaisiga. I know I have been leading the “Loaisiga to the bullpen” brigade – don’t think this is going to change that – but that was essentially the ideal start for him. He lasted 3 innings, gave up just 3 hits and 1 run. He struck out 3 and, crucially for him, didn’t walk anyone. There were two other encouraging developments from this start, both of which can be seen here:
The first is that Loaisiga attacked the zone tonight (74% strike rate), which is not always the case with his approach. His stuff is nasty and he needs to attack in order to be successful like he was tonight. The second is that he featured his four-seamer up in the zone like that. Again, this is an unusual approach from him, despite it being the best method for an effective fastball at the velocity Loaisiga reaches (he averaged 97 mph tonight)…so, of course, he got exactly zero (0) whiffs on 9 swings against it tonight. Go figure.
That said, it did play up his changeup (3 whiffs on 5 swings) quite a bit, which is to be expected. Good stuff. The only blemish against Loaisiga came in the 1st inning. He surrendered a one-out double to Michael Conforto and a two-out single to Dom Smith to get him home. He only allowed one other base runner in the next two innings. Great stuff from Loaisiga.
2. A Wasted Opportunity, But Who Cares: The Yankees were down 1-0 going into the top of the 3rd. It didn’t last very long. Here was the sequence of events:
- Jordy Mercer walk
- Thairo Estrada single
- Erik Kratz RBI single:
- Luke Voit pop up
- Clint Frazier walk
That loaded the bases with one out for the heart of the Yankee lineup (Hicks, Sánchez, and Tauchman). It was a chance to take the lead and then blow the game open and give the much-maligned Yankee bullpen some wiggle room. It ended up being a bit of a mixed bag.
That said, Aaron Hicks had a characteristically great at-bat. I mean, just look at this:
Pitch 4 was a real pitch to drive, but Hicks just missed it. That said, he took balls, swung at strikes, and then took pitch 6 the opposite way for a run-scoring single. It was a great at-bat with a great result, and it gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
That brought up Gary Sánchez. I wanted nothing more than for Gary to just absolutely unload onto a pitch and hit a grand slam, but it was not to be. He did, however, manage to work a walk. That’s a good sign, too. He didn’t come out of his shoes and force the action when he shouldn’t have. That approach, coupled with an assist from the ump, made it 3-1 Yankees. Here is the plot:
Tauchman came up with a chance for the Yankees to blow the game open now. Instead, he promptly grounded into a double play and ended the threat. It was a big wasted opportunity, and in normal times would have been super frustrating, but you know what? I couldn’t get worked up about it. I was just glad that the Yankees had a lead and scored 3 whole runs in one inning. Imagine!
(Losing the game almost makes me want to revisit this, but honestly? I’m still not mad about it. The Yanks are just bad right now, and this was the best they can do.)
3. What Happened to the Yankee Bullpen: Doubleheaders and injuries really take their toll. We all know that intellectually, but man, tonight really drove it home. The Yankees had a 2-run lead after Loaisiga left the game in the 3rd inning. They had 12 outs to get and 9 before they got to Aroldis Chapman. Green pitched today already, so he was unavailable. Ditto Jonathan Holder. Zack Britton and Tommy Kahnle, obviously, are hurt. The resulted in usage:
- 4th Inning: Adam Ottavino
- 5th Inning: Nick Nelson
- 6th Inning: Luis Cessa
Now, to be fair, Adam Ottavino is really good (and he looked it tonight!) and Luis Cessa is underrated (and he showed why!) as well. There are worse options, truly. If you don’t believe me, you should watch other teams more. It’s dire out there.
Anyway, that doesn’t mean that this was comfortable. Reader, it was not comfortable. Especially not after Nick Nelson allowed a run in the 5th inning to make the score 3-2. It felt like a disaster waiting to happen. Mercifully, though, it was not. It wasn’t pretty – 4 hits over 3 innings with a walk and just one strikeout – but they had two runs to play with and the trio got the ball to Chapman with a lead. That’s all you can ask for.
4. Hey Look, A Chapman Sighting: Do you remember that Aroldis Chapman pitches for the Yankees? You’d be excused if you forgot. The last time he entered a game – and the only time in 2020! – was August 17, which was 11 days ago. Personally, I was glad to see him enter a game because it meant that the Yankees 1) had a lead at some point in a game, and 2) the bullpen managed to hold that lead long enough for him to enter the game. Imagine!
The long layoff for Chapman made me extremely anxious entering the game. He always feels like a guy who struggles unless he’s being regularly used – I would look this up, but it was a long work week for me and I’m lazy now. Next time! – so it could easily have gone awry. In fact, I was expecting it:
Anyway, he entered the game to face the bottom third of the Mets’ order. It was about as good of a situation as you could ask for, all things considered.
Alas. Chapman walked Jeff McNeil and wasn’t even close. To wit:
The Mets wisely put Billy Hamilton into the game, who stole second even though Chapman picked him off. Yes, you read that correctly. Chapman threw to first and Hamilton made it to second safely. That brought up Amed Rosario. Chapman was all over the place, fell behind Rosario 2-0, and then delivered him a ball on a platter:
Rosario hammered it to left field for a walk-off homer and the Mets walked off the Yankees. There’s no video yet, but that video would not have been posted anyway. No way, no how.
- Aside from Aaron Hicks, the top of the Yankee lineup (1-6) was absolutely abysmal today. All together they went 2-17 (.117) with 6 Ks. The bright side is that they did add 4 walks, at least. On the other hand, Hicks had both hits. Yikes.
- Thankfully, Jordy Mercer, Thairo Estrada, and Erik Kratz each added a knock. They only struck out once and, of course, Kratz had an RBI. You just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.
- Totally unrelated thought: DJ LeMahieu is expected back in the Yankee lineup on Sunday. Thank god for that.
The Yanks and Mets will play again tomorrow, starting at 1:05 pm ET in the Bronx. The Yanks are home again, believe it or not. So that’s cool. The Mets haven’t announced their starter yet, but J.A. Happ (1-1, 6.39 ERA) will take the hill for the Yanks.
Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone.