Well, that was a wild-ass baseball game right there. It was equal parts hilarious and frustrating. It was every part exciting. Just look at this:
Now that’s what I call exciting! The best part about it, though, was that the Yankees walked it off before such a good game got ruined by the abomination that is the extra-innings rule. With the 2-1 victory, the Yankees improved to 26-19. They beat one of baseball’s best teams in the process, too.
Not much not to love. Anyway, on to tonight’s takeaways.
1. Jordan Monty Rules the Day: Jordan Montgomery has been inconsistent at best in 2021, though he has shown flashes at times. He really, really put it together tonight against one of the best offenses in baseball, though. Coming into tonight’s game, Chicago hit .297/.372/.486 against left-handed pitchers, which is good for an MLB-best .372 wOBA. It’s not particularly close, either: the next best team is St. Louis, which comes in at .347. It’s probably a lot closer now, though, after Jordan Montgomery got done with them.
Monty threw 7.0 innings of 4-hit, 11-strikeout ball. He didn’t issue a walk, and he completely carved up the White Sox. He made them look like the Orioles. This was a big reason why:
It was his curveball that really ruled the day. He threw it 29% of the time, the most out of all of his offerings, and induced 14 swings, 8 whiffs (57%), and 6 called strikes, which is good for a 54% called strike and whiff rate. His other pitches were good too (he even had a 36% whiff rate on his fastball), but his curveball was the star of the show.
It’s hard to really stress just how great Monty looked tonight. Aside from Yoan Moncada, who tagged him for hits in the 1st and 6th innings, he barely broke a sweat out there. He even overcame a very poor play in the outfield from Andújar, who cut Brett Gardner off after Gardy called for the ball, impeded his view, and allowed batter Andrew Vaughn to reach second. It didn’t matter. Matt Blake came out to visit, and Monty struck out Grandal right after to end his night. He pumped his fist, and he deserved to – it was probably the best start of Montgomery’s career.
2.Rodón Stagnates the Offense: The Yankees absolutely could not touch Carlos Rodón at all tonight. It was hard for me to get too frustrated, though. He’s been great all year, and he really kept the Yanks off-balance all evening. One look at this is all you need:
See all those swinging strikes down and in to righties? Those were Rodón’s slider, which was dancing all over the place tonight. It was a truly dominant performance. The slider got 11 whiffs on 2o swings. His changeup was no slouch, either, eliciting 5 whiffs on 11 swings. He mowed through the first five batters, striking out all five. In total, he retired 13 Yankees via the strikeout and didn’t walk anyone.
Sometimes it’s easy to get mad at the Yankee offense. Tonight was not one of those nights. Rodón was electric, just as he has been all year. Sometimes, you gotta just tip your cap to the opponent. All there is to it.
3. The Offense Wakes Up…Sort Of: All of this is to say that it was a big relief to see Rodón leave the game. The Yankees immediately capitalized with a Yankee Stadium home run on the very first batter new pitcher Michael Kopech faced in the game. I mean, just look at this thing from Gleyber Torres:
Yankee Stadium is the only park in which that is a home run. I don’t even need to look that up to know it’s true. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t well-hit, though: the ball still had a .410 expected batting average. It wasn’t a total pop-up that made the seats. Nice to see Gleyber hit the ball hard and into the air. More of that, please.
Anyway, that gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the 7th inning. Given the way both staffs were going, that almost felt like enough to win the game. (It wasn’t.) Even with the game soon tied (more on that in a moment), it looked like the Yankees were poised to take the lead in the bottom of the 8th. Back-to-back singles from Miguel Andújar and Brett Gardner got the Yankees started, with a cool little stolen base from pinch-runner Tyler Wade thrown in between the singles. That put runners on the corners with nobody out.
Given that this was the 2021 Yankees, though, things went poorly. I am sure you’re not surprised. First, the contact play struck again. DJ hit a weak grounder up the middle, and Tim Anderson smartly threw Tyler Wade out at home. It was a dumb contact play. Awful. Wade is fast! Why send him there?
Ugh. I’m sick of it. Anyway, Luke Voit came up and immediately did this:
Honestly, you just gotta laugh. What else can you even do at this point?
4. An Annoying, Very Bad Late Game Until It Wasn’t: And then, well, things were equally annoying in the tops of the inning. Let’s start with Jonathan Loaisiga, who walked Adam Eaton to lead off the inning. A wild pitch and ground ball later, Eaton stood on third. Here’s where things managed to get even more annoying. Look at pitch #5 here From Loaisiga:
Here’s what that turned into:
Infuriating! The top of the 9th was barely any better, either. The Yankees smartly went to Aroldis Chapman in the top of the 9th. It made sense. A walk and an error on a sac bunt put runners on first and second with nobody out.
A hard-hit grounder to Gio Urshela later and the Yankees turned their first triple play since April 17, 2014. Talk about a positive turn of events. Aroldis Chapman even smiled! It’s worth watching, honestly. Really great stuff. Got a good fist pump out of me over here. It felt like karma after all of the double plays we’ve seen.
And then, in the bottom of the 9th, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Gleyber Torres hit three straight singles to win it. It was a fantastic walk-off aided in large part by noted baseball dumbass Tony La Russa. Mr. Hall of Fame apparently forgot that he can use his closer during a tie game. Maybe it’s an unwritten rule. Whatever the case may be, it was fine with me. Love a good win.
- Aaron Judge Keeps it Up: A solid 2-4 night for Aaron Judge, who continues to sting the ball. His slump is way behind him now. He’s above .300 on the season and making great defensive plays, too. Love to see it.
- Brett Gardner: A 1-3 night from Gardner, who worked a really, really nice at-bat in the 8th. He also picked up Andújar after the dumb error in the 7th, too, going right over to him. I love me some Brett Gardner.
- DJ LeMahieu: Rough 0-4 night for DJ. He’s struggling right now. Hate to see that
- Contact Play: Enough of the contact play. That’s all I have to say. Enough. The Yankees have now made 10 – ten!!!! – outs at home this year so far. It’s even more annoying than the double plays to me. The contact play is to blame, in my opinion.
The Yankees and White Sox will play again tomorrow at 1:05 pm. Gerrit Cole (5-2, 2.03 ERA) will take on Dylan Cease (2.0, 2.41 ERA) in the Bronx. Have a great night, everyone.