Game 53: All good things must come to an end

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The Yankees’ ten game winning streak came to a halt this afternoon at Fenway Park. The Red Sox toppled the Yankees, 10-2. In a battle of rookie starters, Deivi García struggled and Tanner Houck pitched well. Boston jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning and didn’t look back. The Yankees will have to wait and see if the Mariners lose today in order to clinch, otherwise, tomorrow’s another opportunity. Let’s break this one down.

Deivi García didn’t have much working. His final line was pretty indicative of how he pitched: 3 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, and 2 homers. It was unlike the Deivi we had seen in his first four big league starts. Previously, García induced a good deal of soft contact, missed bats, and was incredibly efficient. Today was the opposite. Boston was all over him and García needed 76 pitches to complete three frames.

Two things jumped out at me in this one. First, García’s fastball velocity just wasn’t there. He averaged 90.8 MPH and maxed out at 92.8 on his heater. Deivi had an average fastball velocity of 92.3 entering this game. I don’t think it’s anything to be alarmed about as García isn’t known for a high velocity fastball. He can reach back for mid-90s when he needs it, but he’s usually sitting in the low 90s anyway. Still, losing a tick off the heater does help the hitters a bit. Boston put 10 of his fastballs in play at an average exit velocity of 98.4 MPH.

The other takeaway from Deivi’s start: he didn’t have any feel for his breaking pitches. That’s bigger than losing fastball velocity. The young righty is known for his knee-buckling curve and his developing sharp slider. Not today, though. He threw 9 breaking balls today, well below the rate he usually uses them. Mind you that Deivi typically throws the combination of his slider and curve almost a quarter of the time. Here are the locations on the ones he threw today:

Not great! A couple of these were hanging sliders that Michael Chavis hit homers against.

Deivi wasn’t going to be great each and every time out. No one is, of course. On the bright side, he didn’t look flustered on the field. I’m sure he’s disappointed since he was looking forward to pitching on the same mound as his idol Pedro Martínez once did. Oh well. Just wasn’t his day, unfortunately. We’ll see how he bounces back in his next start, likely his final one of the regular season.

Congratulations to the Red Sox for finally finding a competent starting pitcher. Rookie Tanner Houck shut down the Yankees’ lineup today. He allowed just one hit and three walks in six innings today and didn’t run into much trouble until his final frame. In fact, he held the Yankees hitless through five innings before Tyler Wade broke the no-no up with a double to lead off the sixth. The righty held down the Bombers’ resurgent offense thanks to excellent command of his sinker.

Houck’s sinker heat map.

The Yankees’ average exit velocity against his sinker was 80.7 on five balls in play, though Giancarlo Stanton’s 49.8 MPH groundout skews things a tad.

Houck’s lone run allowed was unearned. After Wade led off with a double in the sixth, Christian Vázquez allowed a passed ball which moved him to third. DJ LeMahieu walked to put runners on the corners and it seemed the Yankees might have had a chance to rebound and get back in the game (down 6-0 at the time). But Luke Voit bounced into a run-scoring double play to effectively end the threat.

So, a nice performance by Houck. It’s about time the Red Sox found a starter, I guess. The 24 year-old now has thrown 12 innings and has allowed just one unearned run. He was the team’s first round pick back in 2017, so it’s not as if his success was a total surprise. You know, maybe they could have ran him out before going to the scrap heap for guys like Zack Godley or Dylan Covey or whoever other no names they started this season. But these Red Sox are committed to the tank this year. If you know, you know.

Erik Kratz pitched. Lol. Aaron Boone turned to the Yankees’ third-string catcher to pitch the eighth inning of this one with the game already out of hand. J.D. Martinez hit a homer against him. Good for J.D., who’s really struggled this year as I wrote in the series preview. Heh.

The veteran righty topped out at 86.3 on the gun and mixed in a knuckler! The homer was Kratz’s only mistake.

It’s a lot easier to chuckle and take a loss like this in stride after a ten game winning streak. Clinching a postseason spot will just have to come another day. I’ll trade that in for watching Kratz get on the bump in a mostly meaningless game.

The one downside is that the Yankees are still fighting for that fourth seed with the Twins, likely the team’s opponent in the first round. Whoever gets that fourth seed will be the home team for the Wild Card round. Minnesota, 32-22, plays tonight against the Cubs. The Yankees are 31-22.

Leftovers

  • This is the last time we’ll see the Red Sox in 2020. The Yankees took 9 of 10 from Boston this season.
  • Luke Voit hit his league leading 21st homer in the ninth inning against Jeffrey Springs. He may be in pain (you know, foot stuff), but it’s certainly not holding him back performance-wise. Voit’s dinger was the only other hit for the Yankees aside from Wade’s double.
  • Someone broke into Fenway Park during this game and started throwing things on the field. WTF?

The Yankees now head off to Buffalo for a four game series against the Blue Jays starting tomorrow night. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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3 Comments

  1. Wire Fan

    I get the Yankees are obsessed with breaking up righties and lefties in the line-up over the last few years, but things have gone off the rails recently.

    Brett Gardner was hitting 3rd yesterday and the only reason…. He hits left handed. (Or maybe the Yankees think he hits better than guys like Voit and Urshela and Frazier?)

    Today they had a GB machine hitting 3rd (Hicks). Again this was solely to break up the righties, and Gardy was hitting 6th so there was the perfect
    R-R-L-R-R-L-R-R-L lineup. The actual performance of the hitters seems to be just a secondary consideration. Handedness is now the most important factor.

    At what point do the analytics people and Boone realize…
    1) Hit your best hitters together (don’t insert lesser hitters between them)
    2) Your best hitters should get the most AB’s

    • CentralScrutinizer

      Absolutely. I’ve been very critical of Boone for putting Hicks in the 3rd spot and Frazier down in the order.

  2. JG (Ben Francisco)

    It was fun while it lasted.

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