The Yankees’ four-game losing streak is over. New York beat the Twins 8-4 in the first of three at Minnesota. It’s really too bad that the Twins aren’t in the AL East. The Yankees would never lose the division. Anyway, let’s get to tonight’s takeaways.
The Twins are just what the doctor ordered. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Yankees have ever lost a game to the Twins. As horrible as the Bombers have played of late, there was no stopping them from winning tonight. Not poor managing (which I’ll get to), not a struggling offense, not anything.
Seriously: the Yankees went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and neither of those two hits actually drove in runs. Rather, the first five of the team’s runs were scored without a base hit driving a runner in. That finally changed in the ninth inning, when Gary Sánchez and Miguel Andújar did this:
Now, even before those dingers, the Yankees were hitting bullets all over the field. They recorded exit velocities of 100 MPH or greater 15 times today, but somehow, only seven of those went for hits. That’s very good to see, even if it didn’t result in success with runners on base.
What’s more: DJ LeMahieu looked a lot more like himself, and I’ve never been happier to look dumb immediately after suggesting that the Yankees drop him in the batting order. But more importantly, it was great to see LeMahieu lift the ball with authority a couple of times. His double (102.7 MPH fly ball) and single (85.7 MPH line drive) were much more in line with what we are used to seeing from him. Granted, LeMahieu hit three grounders today too, but it’s good to see positives.
As I wrote before, LeMahieu’s line drive rate is way down this season (from north of 29 percent in the past two seasons to just above 23 percent in 2021). He’s been hitting the ball harder of late, including today, so now it’s just a matter of squaring the ball up a little better.
Anyway, if LeMahieu keeps this up, there’s just one thing to say: thanks again, Twins.
Aaron Boone should not have left Jordan Montgomery in. Yeah, hindsight is 20/20, but allowing Monty to face Rob Refsnyder for a third time was a horrible decision. Here’s why, in no particular order:
- You have a fresh bullpen at your disposal after yesterday’s day off.
- There’s another off day coming Friday.
- Gerrit Cole should give plenty of length tomorrow.
- Jonathan Loaisiga was ready to go.
- The Yankees are struggling to score as it is, so every lead is precious.
Incredibly, Boone’s lucky that Refsnyder’s double didn’t clear the fence for a two-run homer. Instead, it was merely a game-tying double.
In spite of Boone’s poor decision, Montgomery did a nice job, especially after a rocky first inning. The Twins scored twice against the lefty in the first inning, who looked like he had no put away pitch from get go. It took Montgomery 29 pitches to complete the frame, including a nine pitch at-bat against Ryan Jeffers which resulted in a two-run double. Minnesota fouled off eight pitches in the inning too. Really looked like Monty was in for a short outing, but instead, he pitched into the sixth.
The tall lefty didn’t really settle down until the fourth and fifth frames, both of which were 1-2-3 innings. He put two runners on with one out in the second and another baserunner with two outs in the third, but worked out of trouble both times.
I have no way of backing up the forthcoming statement, but I feel like a younger Montgomery doesn’t pitch into the sixth inning of a game like this. He made an adjustment after the first three not-so-great innings. 25 of his last 35 pitches were either curves or changeups (71 percent), which is way above how often he typically throws those two secondary offerings (48 percent). Clearly, he made an adjustment after giving up six hits in the first three frames, and it worked. Credit to Monty, credit to Gary Sánchez, and credit to the coaching staff for making the adjustment.
- Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green tossed 2.1 perfect innings. Only one strikeout between the two pitchers, going to Green.
- Wandy Peralta gave up a run in the ninth, which forced Aroldis Chapman to start getting loose again after sitting down once the Yankees plated three in the top of the ninth.
- Every starter reached base, but Aaron Judge was the lone hitter not to record a base hit tonight. Of all people not to join the party, you wouldn’t expect it to be him.
These two teams go at it again tomorrow at 8:10pm eastern. Gerrit Cole will face Randy Dobnak. Have a good night everyone.