Well, that sure was a Yankees-Red Sox game. It lasted five hours. Extra innings lasted forever. There were about 15,000 lead changes and game-tying hits. But the Yankees came from behind and won the game 6-5, taking their 11th in a row from Boston:
The Yankees are now guaranteed a .500 season as this was their 30th win of the year. This was a ridiculous game, but I’d be lying if I said I was sad it’s over. Let’s get right to the takeaways.
1. Jordan Montgomery Was Okay Until He Wasn’t: That was not a great start from Jordan Montgomery. It was ultimately worse than it needed to be and the line isn’t great: he lasted just 4.2 IP and gave up 4 runs on 5 hits. He struck out 7 and walked 2, and he needed 93 pitches to do it. Here is his plot, which tells the story of the night:
He was all over the place with his curveball, with the pitch either right down the middle or nowhere close to the zone. (He did get 4 whiffs on 9 swings on the pitch, though.) One of those looked like this…
…so the plot is a bit deceptive, too. In any case, Monty was strong to start out the night, pitching around some shaky Yankees defense (including, to be fair, one error by Montgomery himself) and inducing some timely double plays when he walked his way into some traffic, too. Plus, he induced some very soft contact all night, too:
Until he didn’t, that is. The only “hard hit” ball of the night came on a 4th inning, 3-run blast to 9th hitter Christian Arroyo. It followed two soft-hit singles, including one that got past the shift at 3B. Annoying! Here is the home run, which was a no-doubter over the monster:
That was really the big blow off Montgomery. A 3-run home run is a killer, as we all know. Despite how soft the preceding singles were, he earned this home run. I mean, look at the location:
You can’t be doing that, and it put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole. He walked Rafael Devers in the 5th inning before being lifted in favor of Luis Cessa, who allowed the run to score. That was his 4th and final run.
It was not a great start, but some bad luck – some soft singles and bad defense – made his pitch count rise. He worked around it until he didn’t, and that was that. Oh well. Go get ’em next time, Monty.
2. The A-Lineup Blanked By Martín Pérez: Tonight was one of the few times all season we were treated to the A-lineup, so of course the team threw up an offensive stinker against the Sox starter. As unpredictable as baseball is, sometimes you really can predict it. Pérez has actually been rolling of late, so it’s not that big of a deal, and he got some preferential calls from the umpire:
But whatever. What can you do except try to get some hits? Pérez, to his credit, limited the Yanks to just 4 baserunners (3 hits and a walk) through his 6 innings of work. They were thoroughly dominated:
The Red Sox also deployed some slick defense behind him. Check this out:
That’s basically just how it went. Oh well. The Yankees weren’t done just yet anyway.
3. There’s No Quit in the Yanks: The Yankees were undaunted despite being down 4-0 going into the 7th inning. In fact, they staged a rally basically right away. Despite two quick outs after Giancarlo Stanton walked to open up the frame, Aaron Hicks added a single and Gio Urshela walked to load the bases with two outs to bring up Gary Sánchez.
It was a huge moment in the game, and Gary delivered a great at-bat. He hammered a sinker into the right field corner and drove two runs in the process:
That was Gary’s second 104+ mph ball of the night, by the way. He’s looking better each and every day, and you don’t have to squint to see it. It’s a genuinely great sign.
Unfortunately, Clint Frazier grounded out to follow this great at-bat, and so ended the 7th inning rally. There was more to come in the 8th, after Aaron Judge laced a one-out single. Giancarlo Stanton, hitting after Judge for once, showed why this should happen all of the time by hammering an RBI double to the monster to drive him in:
All three runs came courtesy of Gary Sánchez and Giancarlo Stanton, with a nice Aaron Judge single to get the ball rolling for the latter. How I’ve missed this. Just how we all drew it up in December 2018, eh? Unfortunately, Luke Voit lined out to third and Gleyber Torres struck out looking in a bad at-bat to end this rally. This was especially annoying because Mike Tauchman pinch-ran for Stanton, which came back to bite the Yankees later. Gah.
I’m so flippant about this because, while those runs would have been nice, it gave Gary Sánchez (who was always going to be fine) an excuse to show how good he is once more. Here is what Gary did with two outs in the 9th inning:
Inject it right into my veins. That was his 3rd batted ball over 104 mph of the night and it tied the game at 4. It was beautiful.
4. Pre-Extras Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen has been a bit unheralded of late, but it’s been very good. Tonight was another example of that. I also enjoyed that Aaron Boone went to some of his best arms tonight despite the deficit. It’s time to make sure that everyone is getting their routine work in before the postseason. Here is everyone’s line tonight:
- Luis Cessa: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
- Adam Ottavino: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB or K
- Zack Britton: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
- Chad Green: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Britton looked especially great – Cessa looked a bit worse than the line, but he was fine – but I’m still a bit concerned with Ottavino. He gave up 2 fly ball outs and got only 1 whiff on 7 swings. He’s not quite looking like the elite reliever he was in 2020. If he can figure it out in the next few weeks, the Yankees will be even more dangerous.
Still, this was a good performance overall from the pen. They were handed a 3-0 deficit in the 5th, and while Cessa allowed an inherited runner to score, that was it. They gave the Yankees a chance to chip away and tie the game, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do. Give them props.
5. Extra Innings Frustration: Ugh, the top of the 10th inning was annoying. Clint Frazier was the Yankees’ free man on second and they were unable to get him to the plate. DJ LeMahieu grounded out, which at least helped get him to third base. That meant all Judge had to do was get a sac fly to at least give the Yanks the lead. But it was not to be. To be fair, he wasn’t helped by the ump. Look at this 0-0 “strike”:
That is an at-bat changing call. Judge didn’t look right after this, swinging through some bad pitches off the plate, but that is a horrendous call. There’s a huge difference between 0-1 and 1-0. Anyway, Judge struck out which brought up Mike Tauchman. I’m not sure why Boon didn’t go to Gardner here. Tauchman has been horrible and Gardner is coming off a nice night and starting to look better. I guess they were saving him for a potential defensive replacement? I don’t know. Anyway, Tauchman hit a very weak ball to third and that ended that. It was extremely frustrating!
Also frustrating: Aroldis Chapman’s performance. He was all over the place and tried his hardest to blow the game…but he did not. Somehow. He collected 2 strikeouts despite a walk and 27 pitches that looked like this:
Gary was great behind the plate when Chapman was wild as hell and he probably saved the game here. But in any case, it was no harm, no foul. We went to the 11th, where Luke Voit immediately did this:
To give the Yankees the lead. That was all they could muster, so Jonathan Loaisiga came on for the bottom of the 11th. A wild pitch/passed ball set up a no-outs, runners on 3rd situation. The Red Sox immediately scored on a weak single up the middle and the game was tied at 5. The Sox then bunted – even with 2 strikes! – and defensive replacement Tyler Wade dropped Loaigia’s throw to first. Inexplicable.
Loaisiga then fell behind 2-0 and they intentionally walked Boegarts. That loaded the bases with one out for J.D. Martinez. Loaisiga, of course, struck him out and overpowered him, and also induced a fly ball to get out of the inning. This is the game that would never end: Loaisiga and Chapman threw over 50 pitches with RISP and somehow allowed just 1 run. Boston, apparently, didn’t want to win.
Anyway, on to the 11th. Gio Urshela led off with a single, but Aaron Hicks was held at 3rd.Gary and Frazier struck out. DJ LeMahieu, however, did this:
To give the Yankees a 6-5 lead. Judge grounded out, though, so the Yankees went to the bottom of the 12th with a one run lead. Loaisiga stayed in the game. He induced a groundout to 2B that moved the runner over and then got JBJ to hit a shallow fly ball to center. Aaron Hicks fired a laser home to hold the runner, and then Loaisiga ended the game by getting a routine grounder to short.
I would apologize for this last section veering into straight recap territory, but I’m not going to. It’s almost 1 am and I am exhausted as hell.
- The Defense was Shaky: Jordan Montgomery made an error in the first inning on a weak ground ball, Gleyber Torres made an error in the 3rd, bad shifting in the 4th preceded a 3-run home run, Aaron Hicks dropped a fly ball (it was a tough play in the gap) in the 7th inning, and Judge missed a playable fly ball in extra innings against the RF wall. There was also the Wade mistake I highlighted above. All in all, it was not a great evening for the Yankee defense.
- The Bombers are Back: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton reached base 3 times in 7 plate appearances hitting back-to-back. It is just so nice to see them in the middle of the order again. It’s cathartic and it makes the Yankees feel that much more dangerous. Their mini 8th inning rally is all of the evidence we need to remember how potent the combination is.
The Yankees and Red Sox will play the second game of this three-game set tomorrow at 7:30 pm ET. J.A. Happ (1-2, 3.96 ERA) will take on Chris Mazza (1-1, 5.57 ERA) in that one. Try to enjoy your night, everyone.