Game 6: A No Good, Very Bad Baseball Game That Should Have Been Better

That was a no good, very bad, frustrating baseball game. It felt like nothing went right, and then when it did start going right, the Yankees literally threw the game away. Oh well. They are now 3-3, so we’ll have all forgotten about this in about three weeks and that’s the best thing we can say about this game. That and the pitching continues to dominate. That’s a very real thing that we can say about the Yankees, which is pretty damn cool.

The opposite of cool, however, is the god-awful, completely inexcusable extra innings rule. I cannot put into words how much I hate the rule. It changes the entire feeling of the baseball game, and not for the better. I hate it and it sucks. It can’t go away fast enough.

Anyway, if you’re brave, there are takeaways from a gross 4-3 loss after the jump.

1. Jameson Taillon’s Good Debut: All things considered, that was a great debut from Jameson Taillon. He hadn’t pitched in a real big league game in over 700 days and you wouldn’t have really known it. In 4.2 innings – he was obviously going to be on a short leash – he allowed just 3 hits, 2 runs (both on homers), and zero walks while striking out 7. He even snapped off some benders that looked really pretty:

That’ll do. Before the game, I noted three things to watch: his new delivery, his fastball location, and his change-up usage. Let’s go through those point-by-point to quickly break down his performance.

First, his short-armed delivery is apparent from the above GIF. It’s just how he throws now, and it was the subject of much conversation between Michael Kay and David Cone on the broadcast. Better yet, his spin rates were all consistent with his improved spin this spring. Taillon, remember, said that his new delivery was leading to better spin. Tonight provided more evidence that he is correct.

Second, he has definitely abandoned the sinker-heavy approach he had with the Pirates. No question. Of his 74 pitches, 31 (42%) were fastballs, and he mixed in 11 sliders, 6 curves, and 1 changeup (more on that in a second). The locations speak for themselves, too:

That is an up-in-the-zone approach alright. I love it. If there is one takeaway from this game, it should be that Taillon’s new approach is certainly here to stay. That’s a good thing – we saw a ton of strikeouts as a result.

Unfortunately, I was not as spot-on regarding the changeup. He threw one of them, in this location:

And it resulted in a home run. A no-doubter, too. Whoops! Two batters later, Taillon served up another absolute meatball. This time, it was a fastball:

Image

That’s the downside with an up-in-the-zone approach. When you miss, you sometimes miss down and put in in the sweet spot. Those two homers, though, were his only blemishes, and they were solo shots. You’ll live with that all year.

All told, this was a great game from Taillon. I think we should all be very encouraged by this start tonight.

2. The Yanks Speed Pays Off, Until It Doesn’t: Despite our twitter mentions, the Yankee offense was really great tonight – it really was! The team hit 10 (10!) balls harder than 95 miles-per-hour off Orioles starter John Means, 9 of which were harder than 100 miles-per-hour. They touched him up to the tune of 7 hits in just 4.1 innings, but had just 1 run to show for it.

That was the tone of the entire evening, really. The Yanks kept absolutely scorching the ball but it did not matter. (The Orioles, by contrast, had just 3 hits through regulation, but two of them just happened to leave the yard.) I know they left a ton of men on base tonight, but they also hit the ball really hard. It happens. It’s not like they were going up there with terrible at-bats. Still, they were just 3-14 with RISP all night, struck out 10 times, and left 12 men on base. That does not get the job done, even if they scorched the ball otherwise.

That said, the 8th inning sure was a ton of fun – and it was salvaged by some unexpected speed. Down 2-1 with two outs and nobody on base, the Yankees showed that the offense, in fact, may not be as one-dimensional as some claim they are. First, Sánchez ripped what should have been an out to left field, but Mountcastle whiffed. The Yanks used Tauchman as a pinch runner on first, and he put his wheels on display as Gio lined a two-out double into the gap. Check it out:

Originally tweeted by New York Yankees (@Yankees) on April 8, 2021.

That’s about as exciting as baseball can get. A late game, first-to-home play with two outs and a close play at the plate? With fans in the stands? Just can’t beat it.

Now let’s fast-forward to the 10th inning, with Kyle Higashioka hitting with two outs and Tyler Wade on second:

That’s more great base running. Great slide, great speed, great send. The slugging Yanks tattooed the ball all night, but they stayed alive not once but twice because of the speed of their bench. Baseball, folks. You gotta love it…

…Until you don’t gotta love it. In the bottom of the 11th, after a sacrifice bunt to open the frame from Brett Gardner, DJ hit a shallow fly ball to right. Phil Nevin, who was aggressive all night, sent Gio Urshela home, and he was out by a mile. A mile. It didn’t matter if the throw was off-line, bad, or imperfect. There is no universe in which he was going to be safe, and he was not. That ended the game. It sucked!

3. Gleyber’s No Good, Very Bad Defense: The story of this game could have been much, much different with a good throw by Gleyber Torres in the top of the 10th. Chad Green was dealing and seemingly got out of the 10th without surrendering a run, despite the indefensibly bad runner on second extra innings rule. That is, until Gleyber made yet another inexcusable play at short:

Listen, I am a Gleyber defender, and I think he can improve. I really do believe that. He’s 24-years-old, after all. But let me just say it: that is an indefensible error. It really is. You just cannot make that error in that situation. (Or any, but especially in that one.) It’s a terrible throw and it almost seems like he has the yips. All I know is that I am not confident when the ball gets hit to Gleyber right now. Not at all.

I’d also like to give a secondary shoutout to Jay Bruce for abysmal fielding, too. He did bail them out on the previous throw from Chad Green, which was also in the dirt, but that’s a ball he can catch. It was clearly a terrible throw, and that was the main culprit, but Bruce could have caught it. Gah. It’s just so frustrating.

Leftovers

  • Stanton Mashes: Stanton was 2-5 today and hit the ball over 95 miles-per-hour three times. He is absolutely mashing the ball to start the season, and it rules to see. The fans are still booing him, of course, but that will stop if he continues to put the bat on the ball the way he is so far.
  • So is Gary: Gary Sánchez is also crushing the baseball. He was 2-3 tonight and had two balls over 95 miles-per-hour. He also tagged up from second on a medium-deep fly ball to right and made it. It’s the Summer of Gary. I can feel it.
  • The Bullpen Rolls: This should be a bigger component of this takeaways, but I’m tired. The Yankees pitching continues to be dazzling this season, from everyone to Darren O’Day to Aroldis Chapman to Chad Green to Jonathan Loasiga and everyone in between. It is fantastic and I think we should be paying more attention to it. That was especially true tonight, too.

The Yanks are off tomorrow, as you probably already know from the incessant Aaron Judge talk today. They’ll resume the action on Friday at 3:10 pm ET in Tampa, where Corey Kluber (0-0, 2.25 ERA) will take on Rich Hill (0-0, 9.00 ERA) in the first matchup of the season against the Rays. Enjoy your night, everyone.

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13 Comments

  1. Fat Sancho can rake.

    Gleyber is trying to be perfect instead of just playing on instinct. A real 1st basemen catches that.

  2. Frankie Ho-Tep

    Okay so… what’s the solution? Do they stick Rougned Odor at 2B and put DJLM at 1B to try and save Gleyber a few throws and get Bruce out of the lineup here and there?

    Lost in all the attention Gleyber gets is the fact that Jay Bruce has been northing short of atrocious on the field and at the plate. He and Gleyber on the field at the same time has been difficult to watch. Odor probably doesn’t give you anything better than Bruce offensively, but at least with him at 2B and DJLM at 1B you can have a competent infield.

  3. CentralScrutinizer

    This post sounds like it was written by the Yankees” PR department. The offense was “great”? Really? They were horrible with RISP and I don’t care how hard they hit the ball. Exit velocity doesn’t count on the scoreboard. No comment on Sanchez’ loafing on the base paths which almost cost the Yankees a chance to tie the score in the 8th? Summer of Gary ? Like George Costanza hell be “decompressing” for 3 months while eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery while jogging to 2nd base. Taillon was just OK – not great. The Yankees now have as the #2 and #3 pitchers in their rotation guys who are not able to go more than 4 innings (if that) and Kluber was actually pretty bad in his start. That’s not exactly comforting and although the bullpen has been very good if this keeps up they will burn out pretty fast. Good on you for calling out Torres and Bruce on that error in the 10th and Nevin for that ridiculous send in thee 11th. But no mention of Judge sitting out? The Yankees have no credibility in the injury reporting department so I discount whatever they say and assume that things are always worse than they claim.

  4. As much as I like Gleyber Torres as a player the Yankees will never win a World Series with him playing shortstop-he doesn’t play the position at anything close to a major league level. He’s actually worse this year than last and makes Eduardo Nunez look like an All Star.

    I don’t know what they do about it but with DJ signed for 6 years and Voit at 1st there really isn’t a good spot for him on this team.

    • Joseph

      I agree for the most part. I do think that it’s a bit early to judge this year, but that really was a terrible error by him. I don’t see the Yankees leaving him behind now, but by midsummer, I would be very happy to see him gone in a trade to a team that needs a second baseman but has a spare shortstop. Maybe in a package for Seager??

      • I’ve watched most of the games this year and his throwing has been awful, period, not just last night. His range is limited as well. Bruce should have made that scoop last night because the ball bounced at least 4′ in front of him but he’s not a 1st baseman and doing the best he can.

  5. JJ Dools

    I agree with all the comments about Torres. He just doesn’t look like a natural SS, and his throw looked worrisome (is he losing confidence in his throwing? That would be a disaster). With Lindor off the market, I wonder if there is a good option at SS that would allow Gleyber to move to 2B. Not sure what that would mean for how they use DJ and Gio, but it would obviously mean that the extra infielder replaces Wade on the roster. I suppose a lot will depend on whether Gio and Voit continue to look good this year – if either falters, they could be replaced by an incoming SS (and presumably DJ ends up at 1B).

    • Dani

      Correa, Story, Seager and Baez will all be FAs after this season and the Yanks look like they’ll reset their luxury tax. Obviously no solution for this season but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ends up in NY.

      Gleyber seems to be without a real defensive position. He’s not good at short, not good at 2nd either (and DJ just is the way better fielder at 2nd anyway). Trying him at 3rd seems useless with his throwing troubles (and again, in Urshela they likely have a way better fielder there too). Seems we just have to hope he works it out or hits enough that you can live with the bad fielding.

    • Joseph

      Meh. I don’t think it’s worth it to switch around the whole infield to get Gleyber back to 2nd. Trade with him in the package and get Seager.

  6. CountryClub

    I hate the extra innings rule too. But, it seems like more players are behind it this year than they were at the start of last season. I hope it goes away. But, I’m not so sure.

    Nitpicking here, but you mentioned above that the 8th was saved by some unexpected speed. Tauchman is the 2nd or 3rd fastest player on the team. Not really unexpected.

    Finally, this Gleyber thing is more than a little bit concerning. Hopefully, he snaps out of it soon (if he can).

  7. Wire Fan

    Is it time to revisit the now universal “use your closer when tied in the 9th at home” rule

    Yeah there is some risk of your 2nd or 3rd best reliever giving up a run in the 9th but I wonder if it is best to save Chapman for the 10th inning when the game is tied?

    (Not blaming Boone, every team does this, at least under the old rules)

  8. Mungo

    While 3-3 is a perfectly mediocre way to start the season, the starting pitching — and pitching overall — has been very encouraging. The know the offense will be there, so the solid starting pitcher is a positive.

    Gleyber’s defense is worrisome. I really figured he’d settle in defensively this season, and he might, but this seems to be more in his head now. Simple throws are no longer simple. That’s a problem when there isn’t a Mark Teixeira over there to cover the bad throws. I’m not blaming Bruce at all for that. He’s out of position. Gleyber has to get through this. I’ll take Jeter’s sub range but surehandedness every day of the week. You have to make the standard plays.

  9. Yankees are 12-55 (.218) w/RISP to begin the season. Woof.

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