Now that’s more like it. It wasn’t pretty, and the Yankees definitely needed the help in extras, but they defeated the Orioles 2-1 (box score) and have now won four consecutive games. They’re back in second place. Amazing what a difference a week will make, huh?
Let’s get right to the takeaways.
1. Jordan Montgomery Does the Job: Montgomery has really struggled recently, but he was absolutely dealing this afternoon. He struggled a bit in the first – he allowed a one-out single and a walk – but settled down immediately. He retired 11 in a row at one point and he struck out 9 Orioles batters. Here’s his pitch plot on the game:
It might look like he bounced a few curveballs, but many of them resulted in swings like this:
All in all, the Orioles whiffed on nearly half of their swings (46%) against the offering today. Wild stuff. Overall, Monty had a 38% whiff rate and looked downright dominant. He deserved more than one run of support on the day, as he was forced to leave with a no decision.
The only blemish against Monty came in his 6th and final inning of work – and his defense did him no favors. He allowed a leadoff single to Hanser Alberto, who advanced to second on an error by Brett Gardner. Then, after a lineout, Alberto advanced to third. He scored on this, which is pretty indefensible defense from Thairo Estrada:
So, yeah. Monty definitely did not necessarily deserve to give up a run in that inning at all, but what can you do? All in all, it was a great performance from Gumby, who lasted 5.2 IP and surrendered just the one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and a walk. Great stuff.
2. Offensive Struggles: The offense, by contrast, really struggled today. It was a slog to watch at times. The Yankees had plenty of chances through the first 9 innings – they’d walked 4 times by this point – but left 9 men on base (Mike Tauchman himself was responsible for 4). In fact, their only run came on a Clint Frazier sac fly in the first inning. DJ LeMahieu doubled and advanced on a Luke Voit screamer before Frazier got him in. That made it 1-0, and it was the only offensive action the Yankees had for the majority of this game.
There’s really not a whole lot to add to this in particular. The Yankee offense just wasn’t that good, though both Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier tripled. Neither scored. More to come on the offense a bit later on.
3. Gary Sánchez Looks Solid: I am so sick of the Gary Sánchez Referendum that happens during every single at-bat and game these days. I feel like it’s one of the only things Yankee fans talk about these days. That said, Gary did look better today at the plate today and I hope that he can keep it up. (It was a continuation of last night, too, when he hit a long single in his last at-bat of the game.)
I was especially impressed with his first at-bat, which came in the second inning. It was just a walk – and none of the pitches were especially close – but it came after he fell behind 1-2. Here’s the plot:
Like I said, these weren’t especially difficult takes, but it was still nice to see Gary work his way back into the count and eventually take a walk. It’s the sign of a good approach. There was more of that in his second at-bat, which ended like this:
Here is a close up of the swing, which was pretty as hell:
Beautiful. He added another rocket in the 6th inning, which, had it gotten down, would have given the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Alas, it was hit right at LF Ryan Mountcastle, so it just looks like an out in the box score despite this:
I’m pretty impressed with Gary’s last few at-bats. It’s way too late to fix his season line, but he’s starting to look a lot more comfortable. So what does he do when he comes up with 2 outs and Brett Gardner on 3rd in the 8th? He pops up, of course. Gah. Still, I like what I’m seeing from Gary. Hope he keeps it up.
4. Bullpen Gets It Done: The Yankee bullpen absolutely did the job. There wasn’t an (earned) moment of suspense in the entire game from them, as they went 4.1 innings innings and allowed just 1 hit and zero runs. Here are the lines for everyone:
- Chad Green: 1.1 IP, zeros, 1 K
- Zack Britton: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros
- Aroldis Chapman: 1.0 IP, 2 K
- Jonathan Holder: 1.o IP, zeros (10th inning)
I was especially impressed with Jonathan Holder, who stranded the runner gifted to the Orioles in extra innings. He’s been very solid of late. All around great stuff from the pen, though.
5. Extra Innings “Fun”: I get the new extra innings rule but that was the lamest walk off the Yankees have ever had, right? Not that I care. They definitely needed the help today, obviously. But still. How anti-climatic.
Anyway, DJ LeMahieu was the gifted runner on second. He advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, which set up Luke Voit to win the game. Here’s his at-bat:
It was honestly a great at-bat – Harvey was throwing 99 – and Voit managed to foul off some really tough pitches until he got a pitch he could drive into the outfield. He did so and the Yankees won the game. Here’s the video with a Sterling call:
- Defensive Woes: Woof, the Yankees defense struggled today. They made a few errors – in addition to the Thairo non-error highlighted above – and that pretty much gave Baltimore every chance they had. A notable one was a dive by Tauchman, who missed the ball, which also got behind Hicks. It set up a man on second with 2 outs for Baltimore, but Britton worked out of it.
The Yankees and Orioles will complete their four-game set tomorrow afternoon in the Bronx for another matinee. John Means (1-3, 6.58 ERA) will face off against J.A. Happ (1-2, 4.31 ERA). Enjoy the rest of your beautiful afternoon, everyone.