Game 41: Does rock bottom exist?

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The Yankees blew 2-0 and 6-2 leads in this one and ultimately lost 12-7. A sixth inning bullpen meltdown in which the Blue Jays scored 10 runs (you read that right) sunk the ship tonight. The Yankees are 21-20 and reeling, to put it kindly. Here are the takeaways.

These are the 2020 Yankees, so something had to go wrong. Things were fairly smooth for the Yankees up until the bottom of the sixth inning. Yes, Jordan Montgomery squandered an early 2-0 lead, but the Yankees offense picked him up a few innings later. Up 6-2, Aaron Boone turned to Chad Green. It all fell apart from there.

Green threw 29 pitches and recorded just one out. He’s one of the best at missing bats, and yet tonight, he literally couldn’t miss one. Toronto swung at 14 of his 29 pitches, fouled off 11, and didn’t whiff once. Still, Green nearly stopped the bleeding. Rowdy Tellez kept fouling off pitch after pitch, but on the 10th offering, he bounced one to first. It was not struck well (67.8 MPH off the bat, .050 xBA) and yet, Luke Voit booted it.

Was it an inbetween hop? Maybe, but that’s a play that needs to be made. Has to. That’s when the “here we go again” feeling really sunk in. It should have been a 6-3 game with two outs and two on. Still trouble! But not as bad as bases full and just one out. That was it for Green. Enter Adam Ottavino.

Ottavino faced six batters. He didn’t record a single out. Single, single, walk, single, and a walk made it 8-6 Toronto. Then came the back-breaker:

Atrocious, and yet, unsurprising given how things have gone this year. That effectively was the end of the ballgame.

Green might have been bad, but Ottavino had absolutely nothing. 29 pitches, 12 swings, 1 whiff, 7 fouls, and an average exit velocity of 103.9 MPH on 4 balls in play. He got absolutely rocked. What an embarrassing performance all around.

As bad as Green and Ottavino were, Boone probably should have had a quicker trigger to get these guys out. But by the time he got Luis Cessa in, it was already too late. As for who he could have gone to? I don’t know, but anyone else would have been better. Someone should have been warming by the time Ottavino had failed to record an out after three batters. It was already tied at that point and Ottavino did not look good anyway.

Do you really care to read any other takeaways? Well, I had written a decent amount as the score built up to 6-2, so I’ll let you have those as well.

That could have been a lot worse for Jordan Montgomery. Boone pulled the 6-foot-6 lefty with one out in the fourth inning. It’s the second straight short outing for Monty, though at least he made it out of the first inning this time (a low bar to clear, of course). It was pretty obvious that he didn’t have it right away. His location was a mess, particularly in the first inning. Pitches were bouncing to the plate and sailing way high and out of the zone. It was frustrating to watch after the Yankees staked him to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

Montgomery’s 1st inning pitch chart.

It took him 31 pitches to complete the frame and he was probably fortunate to allow just one run. It would have been more had Lourdes Gurriel’s 107 MPH line drive wasn’t hit right to Brett Gardner. Otherwise, Toronto could have had a crooked number.

Monty wasn’t much better come inning number two. Travis Shaw stroked an opposite field double off the wall. Up came Santiago Espinal, who initially squared around to bunt Shaw over. Instead, he worked the count full and delivered an RBI single to tie the game at two. Montgomery escaped without further damage, but he did get some help from Luke Voit who stole a single from Cavan Biggio a couple batters after Espinal leveled the score.

He didn’t allow a run the rest of his outing, but he didn’t exactly recover. He gave up two more hits in the third and walked the ninth hitter, Danny Jansen, with one out in the fourth. That was the final straw for him. In total, Monty surrendered eight baserunners in 3 1/3 innings. Jonathan Holder cleaned up the fourth and then pitched a scoreless fifth.

It’s crucial for Montgomery to get things going and soon. He really impressed back in spring training and summer camp and even had a few solid outings earlier in the regular season. But his last two starts have been alarming for a rotation that’s already depleted. There are bigger problems on this team than him (duh), but Montgomery’s gone from a pleasant surprise to a concern in a hurry.

Miguel Andújar needs to be in the lineup until further notice. I think we’re all pretty tired of watching Mikes Ford and Tauchman play. Andújar can and should effectively replace both of them (though that means we have to live with the struggling Brett Gardner in left field while Miggy DHs). We know of Miggy’s limitations in the field, but he’s an incredibly talented hitter. Look what he did against Jays’ starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the fourth:

Hanging curve over the fence? Who knew big league hitters were allowed to do that. Must have felt good for Miggy to hit his first big league homer since September of 2018. It put the Yankees back in the lead after Monty coughed up a couple of runs.

Andújar had a three hit game yesterday, so perhaps that along with his homer tonight is the start of a hot streak. The Yankees sure could use another hitter in this lineup to produce. Since Andújar has returned from the Alternate Site, he’s (5-for-10, 4 singles, 2 walks, 1 triple entering tonight).

In any case, I’d much rather watch Andújar get opportunities and struggle than Ford or Tauchman. Miggy is still just 25 years-old and really needs to competitive at-bats, anyway. Ford and Tauchman don’t look like long-term chips, whereas Andújar still can be one. Miggy already lost all of last year, and letting him stagnate in Scranton doing whatever they’re doing is less than ideal. Big league at-bats, good or bad, are better for him. Productive big league at-bats? Even better. DH him as much as possible.

Leftovers

  • Erik Kratz and Kyle Higashioka have gone 0-for-8 since Gary Sánchez was benched. I’m fine with giving Gary a break to clear his head and work on things, but he should be back in the lineup tomorrow. Kratz and Higashioka aren’t actively helping even if this latest lousy performance wasn’t their fault.
  • It feels like eons ago, but the Yankees jumped out of the gate quickly thanks to back-to-back homers in the first inning by Luke Voit and Aaron Hicks. Those two along with Miggy’s came against Hyun-Jin Ryu, who had allowed just three homers in 43 innings entering this one.
  • The other contributor offensively? None other than Clint Frazier. He had (at the time) a big 2-run double that gave the Yankees some breathing room in the 5th. He’s been terrific.
  • Clarke Schmidt did much better in his second big league outing. He did walk two batters, but also struck out two in a scoreless eighth inning.

More baseball tomorrow, if you can stomach it. JA Happ will try to stop this skid. It’s another 6:37 p.m. EDT start tomorrow. Have a good night.

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8 Comments

  1. mikenyc2007

    gotta think Cash punted this year – even last year got the Parrot to help with the offense.

    The have the same stats we have – tauchman cant hit a fastball, Gary cant cover the strikezone, Voit is a good DH but horrible 1B… yet nothing was done.

    Once Pax went down, he realized their rotation would be toast in a longer series even if they got thru the Best-of-3 qualifier… and with no gate revenue to be made he decided to let the season play out.

  2. Mungo

    Rock bottom does exist. You just don’t know you’ve hit it until you slam into the ground!

    A friend texted me last night to ask how the Yankees were doing during the game. I told him they’re set up perfectly for the loss, ahead 6-2 currently.

  3. This team is less fun to watch than the 2013 version.

  4. The Original Drew

    If this was a normal season we would only be 25% through the season. There would be plenty of time for guys to snap out of their funk. Obviously and unfortunately, time isn’t on the Yankees side. Someone (or ideally a collective of players) in the room need to step up and at the bare minimum play .500 ball from here on out. If the Yankees are going to go down with the ship, at least do it while running your most talented players out there. I get Gary is struggling but playing Estrada over him makes zero sense in my eyes. The lineup from here on out should be:

    C – Kratz/Higgy
    1B – Voit
    2B – DJ
    SS – Torres
    3B – Andujar
    LF – Gardner
    CF – Hicks
    RF- Frazier
    DH – Sanchez – Allow him to concentrate on hitting alone and to not bring his struggles out into the field with him. If there is ever a situation where Judge and Stanton both come back then you can move Gary back to catcher then.

    Do I think this will actually happen? No. Not at all. I am sure Frazier will get a day off because reasons and if they are facing a left hander Mike Ford will be batting 3rd.

  5. CentralScrutinizer

    So the guy who could “strike out Babe Ruth” gave up a grand slam to .155 hitting Danny Jansen? Why don’t you try striking him out before you worry about Babe Ruth Adam? I never liked that signing, thought he was overrated and then overpaid by the Yankees and their dumbass “build around the bullpen” strategy. Ottavino is a POS. Like the vast majority of relievers he’s a one-trick pony mediocrity and that one trick hasn’t been working too well.

    Frankly, I’ve stopped watching. It isn’t worth the agita. I don’t care if they limp into the BS expanded playoffs this season.

  6. dasit

    the yankees just played a game in an empty stadium in buffalo
    this is not a real season
    it’s good they’re getting the suck out of their system now

  7. Gerreddardit Cole

    I thought it was the worst loss of the season, Derek. And yes, rock bottom does exist but this ain’t even rock bottom yet. That’s how far this franchise has fallen since George died ten years ago. No championships since and the only change made was to fire a World Series winning manager and hire a tv personality in his place. Joe Girardi has the Phillies fighting for a division title while Aaron Boone is battling the Orioles for the 8th seed. The Boone hire was real bad. It’d be like hiring Arod because he talks good on ESPN. There’s no strategy out there. Everybody looks confused and doesn’t know what the hell to do. Kevin Cash was right about that.

    After they get swept by the Jays, and they will get swept by the Jays, it’s time to blow this thing to smithereens. GM, manager, coaching staff, training staff and a lot of these players have gotta go. Keep the Voits and the DJs and Clints and get rid of everybody who can’t stay healthy for more than a week and underachievers like Gary and Green. Throw Crappavino under a stampede of buffalo. The Sox are doing it the right way rebuilding. At least they know they’re bad. Kay was still saying on tonight’s broadcast, well once Stanton and Judge come back they’ll be a tough #8 seed! They ain’t coming back for one and by week’s end the 8th seed will be the 10th seed. I’ve never seen a team this bad and I’ve been watching Yankee baseball since the 60s.

  8. Alex

    Nearly a year ago to date, the Red Sox fired team president Dave Dombrowski, less than a year after winning the World Series. At the time of his firing, the team was spiraling downward, with an overall record of 76-67 through 143 games played and having just lost to the Yankees.

    The Yankees, unlike the Red Sox, are not coming off any World Series victories in the last decade and despite operating with the league’s highest payroll, Brian Cashman only has 1 title to show for it in the last 19 years. Still, the Yankees were projected to field a top-3 team in baseball this season, similar to the Red Sox last season. Instead, they are currently 21-20 and completely falling apart. Spread out through 143 games, that record would be 73-70, 3 games worse than the Red Sox were upon Dombrowski’s firing.

    Hal needs to follow in the footsteps of the Red Sox ownership. Brian Cashman, along with this coaching staff and much of the organization’s scouting/player development personnel, need to go. Jordan Montgomery stinks and yet as of this moment, he’s what, the 2nd most impactful draft selection this team has made in the last 10 years? What an embarrassment. Cashman has made a lot of awful decisions over the past several years that are going to compromise this organization moving forward, with the Stanton contract alone being a completely fireable offense in and of itself.

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