Game 31: Yanks Win An Inexplicable, Ridiculous Baseball Game 8-7

That game sure was a rollercoaster. It’s one of the most ridiculous games I’ve ever watched in my life, right up there with Luis Castillo and the insane comeback against Boston in Fenway a few years ago. I mean, look at this thing:

Anyway, the Yanks won 8-7 despite trailing 7-2 with two outs in the bottom of the 7th (and final) inning. They improve to 18-13 on the season and stole victory from the jaws of defeat, as they say.

This game was a wild ride, and I think the below takeaways will really exemplify that.

1. Mike King Does His Job: The stat line will not reflect how good Michael King was today, even though his final line was decent – especially for a 7-inning game. Overall, King went 3.2 innings, allowed 6 hits and 2 runs. He walked just one and struck out three. All hits are not created equal, though. I mean, just look at this 4th inning, which is also when King allowed both runs:

That’s 5 of his 6 hits right there. That is some serious, serious soft contact –and it just didn’t work out. Here are the two hits, to put this visually:

And:

What can you do about that? The last run-scoring hit was a missile, at least, but it followed all of that soft contact. King really did nothing wrong, and he was just a few better-placed bloopers away from cruising into the 5th inning, but but it wasn’t to be.

Aaron Boone removed in favor of Brooks Kriske (more on that below) and that was the right decision. King threw 24 of his 68 pitches in the 4th inning and look at their locations:

He started to really work up in the zone there, which is a recipe for disaster without more velocity. I had no problem with the Yanks removing King there, but it wasn’t any fault of his own. He ran into some bad luck at the end that really spoiled what was an otherwise great start for him – especially with his changeup, which was really working for him all day. I’ll also leave you with this, which was King at his best today:

2. Blowing Chances, Again and Again: This was made all the more frustrating in the context of the game at the time. The Yanks had a 1-0 lead – it sure does feel like every single game these days involves the Yankees tenuously “holding” a one-run lead, right? – that should have been larger.

DJLM worked a great walk to lead off the game against Rick Porcello. And I mean it was a great walk. Look at this:

Some of those fouls were clearly hittable pitches, but I’ll still take it. It was a great at-bat to lead off the game and it resulted in DJ taking first base. Luke Voit, who is the 3rd best hitter in baseball this year, followed that up with a single that turned into a double when nobody covered second for the Mets.

The Yanks were set up with runners on second and third with nobody out for Aaron Hicks, Mike Tauchman, and Gary Sánchez. Here’s how that went:

  • Aaron Hicks strikeout
  • Mike Tauchman RBI groundout
  • Gary Sánchez flyout

There are some fans that are obsessed with scoring runs on outs, but I am not one of them. Even one base hit here would have scored two runs and given the Yankees a nice start to the game. I know they scored a run, but it has to be deflating to not get a hit there. It was the first of many big turns of events in this game.

The Yankees came into today 5 for their last 41 (.122) with RISP and this made it now 5 for their last 44 (.114). (They’d add a big one, later.) That stings, but they deserve it. Aaron Hicks’ at-bat was particularly illustrative. Look at this:

It was a good at bat, as usual, to work the count and lay off some bad pitches, but look at pitch 6 there. It’s right over the corner and he took it looking to strike out. I was really hoping to see a more aggressive approach there and not see him be so complacent to take a walk. Alas, he was saving his aggressive approach for later.

Anyway, here is the “good” result:

3. An RBI Driven by Ford: The bad taste from the wasted opportunity outlined above and the insanely infuriating top of the 4th inning went away pretty quickly, though. That’s because Mike Ford got a hit that actually drove in a Yankee baserunner. That’s right. The Yankees got a hit with a guy on base, and that guy scored. It’s okay if you need to read that again.

In case you need to see it to believe it, here it is in all of its glory:

Sure, we could get more specific here. Should Dom Smith have caught that ball? Possibly! Do I care? Not at all! I’m taking what I can get these days, and it tied the game. It was especially nice to see Ford drive the ball. That one left the bat at 99.9 miles-per-hour and traveled 376 feet. Ford – who is essentially a bat-only guy – has been abysmal in 2020 so far.

He’s hitting just .184/.255/.388 (70 wRC+) on the season and is sporting just a 5.5% walk rate. It’s not been pretty, and the Yankees – who cannot buy a hit right now – would really benefit if he could get going. This was a good sign, at least. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

4.Bullpen Woes: As I referenced above, Brooks Kriske came in to replace Mike King. He did so with the bases loaded and he immediately did this on three pitches:

(Via Lucas Apostoleris)

The way things have been going lately, it felt like the Mets were about to blow the game open. They didn’t, though, in large part because Kriske came right in and did that. It was good stuff, and it was immediately followed by the Ford double. Perhaps things weren’t so bad after all. Unfortunately, a few batters later, Kriske allowed old friend Robinson Canó to do this:

That one came with two outs. It stung. The Yankees needed to really try to keep some momentum going, but Kriske threw Canó two fastballs right here:

Which just isn’t going to do the job. But the real problem came after he recorded the next out. The Yankee pen is on fumes – it really is – so I get trying to steal an out or two from a guy like Kriske. To that point, he’d only made the one mistake. Alas, Aaron Boone left him in way, way too long.

It started with this at-bat, which ended in a walk for Wilson Ramos:

At this point, you just have to take Kriske out. He was out of gas and it was obvious. Instead, Boone left him out there. (It was not by necessity. Ben Heller was already warming up, and Jonathan Holder had earlier in the game, too.)

Here’s the next at-bat:

This was not enough. He was left in for one additional at-bat, which went like this:

That loaded the bases with nobody out. At this point, the Yankees did turn to Ben Heller, who promptly allowed this:

That made it 6-2 Mets. It was 4-2 Mets to open the inning, and it ended 7-2 after all was said and done. The Mets didn’t even have to work for this one. They only got one hit!

A very relaxed attitude from Aaron Boone helped stretch this lead and essentially end the game for the Yankees. Now, these choices are not easy – and, to be fair, Boone was very aggressive to go to the pen earlier this week and those didn’t work, either – but this one felt like a gimme at the time. I get that this is a weird season, the team is depleted, and that they’re going to make the playoffs anyway. But it would have been nice to see a bit more urgency here. Maybe I’m just cranky, but I do think the way that the rest of this game played out showed the importance of keeping the score as close as possible in every game.

5. The Most Improbable of Rallies: I’m sure there are other examples, but this has to rank as one of the most improbable Yankee rallies I have ever seen. After all of this – and I stand by my complaining re: Kriske above, as I think this only validates it further – the Yankees managed to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th 7th inning. It was ridiculous, and here was the sequence of events:

  • Mike Ford reached on an error
  • Brett Gardner robbed of a double at first. Mike Ford just gets back in time, called safe, Mets lose the challenge
  • Gio Urshela flied out to center
  • Tyler Wade walked
  • Thairo Estrada hit by pitch
  • Luke Voit hit a very weak single through the 2B hole, Thairo Estrada hit by the throw to 3rd (he would have been out by 10 feet)
  • Aaron Hicks hits a game-tying 2-run homer to right field that just clears the fence

Folks, baseball. You have just got to love it. That tied the game at 7 and sent it to extra innings. Here is some video of the Luke Voit single:

And of Aaron Hicks’ home run that barely cleared the fence:

Mike Tauchman ended the inning, which sent the Yanks to their first extra-innings game of the season. Aaron Boone correctly went to Chad Green for extra innings and hoo-boy did he look good. He struck out the side and looked dominant in doing so. (For once, though, the Yanks IBB’d a good hitter in front of Jake Marisnick.) He even got a strikeout on his curve. It was ideal and a good reminder that two (2) appearances does not a reliever make. Here’s his pitch chart:

Dominant. Anyway, the Yankees just absolutely had to win the game after all of this, but it didn’t get off to a good start. Gary Sánchez flied out on the first pitch, and Brett Gardner flied out after a Mike Ford walk. That brought up Gio Urshela, who did this in a two-strike count:

In real time, I thought Tauchman was dead to rights at home…but Conforto’s throw was up the line and Tauchman evaded the tag and survived the challenge. And so ended one of the most ridiculous games I’ve ever watched in my life.

Leftovers

  • Gary Sánchez is Lost: Matt covered this earlier today, but woof is Gary Sánchez completely lost. He isn’t even close in his at-bats and he even let a few balls go between his legs behind the plate. It is becoming extremely difficult to watch. And that is coming from Gary’s biggest fan.
  • Thank God for DJLM: At least the Yankee offense has DJLM. He also added a single to the walk I highlighted above. Between him and Luke Voit, the Yankees have just two competent hitters right now. It is going to feel very, very good when they bust out of this slump. (Edit: it felt very good.)
  • Absurd, Absurd Game: I needed to just say this one more time. It was one of the most absurd games I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure we’ll ever see another like it, honestly.

The Yanks and Mets will finish up their five-games-in-three-day set tonight in one that Yankees fans will be watching closely. That’s because Deivi Garcia will make his MLB debut against Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.03 ERA). First pitch will be about an hour after this one.

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Game 31: Here’s to a Better Second Half

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Game 32: It’s Deivi Day in the Bronx

1 Comment

  1. Gerreddardit Cole

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Bobby. Certainly didn’t deserve to win but this helps make up for the other games the pen blew. Green redeemed himself and the Mets are gonna Mets. As I said earlier, Gary’s gotta go when Higgy returns, not Kratz. If Gary has options I’d send him down, otherwise DFA or trade him for Jesus Montero and a couple boxes of ice cream sandwiches. Let’s continue the momentum into Game 2. Deivi will dominate!

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