Game 76: A No Good, Very Bad Game

All there is to say about this one is ugh. If you’ve watched a few Yankees games this season, then you’ve probably watched this one. The Yankees fell 4-2 to the Sox. They’re winless against them this season.

To be honest, though, there were some good takeaways here. The Yankees battled (again), worked some good late at-bats, and were in it until the last pitch. They just couldn’t pull through. (And, on top of that, their most important hitters are turning it around.) Even with tonight’s loss, the trajectory looks up.

I say all of that because this game was depressing, and the takeaways really reflect that overall. Let’s get right to ’em.

1. Death by a Thousand Infield Hits: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Jordan Montgomery was better in practice than his final line suggests. I hope you were sitting down for that one, since I’m sure it was difficult to believe. Anyway, Monty threw 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 8 hits. He struck out 5 and walked 2 across those frames. That’s a fine, very Montgomerian line – but, again, he was better than that.

Of those 8 hits, a ridiculous 5 – five! – were infield singles. Two of those came because of poor shifting (or good hitting from Boston) on the Yankees’ part. They had DJ LeMahieu, playing second, shifted on the shortstop side of second base in at-bats that ended in soft singles to the “normal” 2B spot. I found this to be very annoying, and I suspect you did too.

Two of the three runs came on sacrifice flies in the second, too, the second of which was a literal pop out to Luke Voit in foul territory. Voit caught it a bit awkwardly, Devers was flying home, and Voit didn’t make a good throw. The other run came via an infield single from Hunter Renfroe in the 3rd. It was just one of those games.

Still, let’s look at the silver lining: Montgomery was quite good. The Red Sox did not hit the ball hard against him – the average exit velocity against him was just 85 miles-per-hour – and his entire repertoire was generally effective. To the obligatory graph:

His cutter (5 whiffs on 10 swings) and curveball (3 on 9) were particularly good and helped him achieve a 27% whiff-per-swing rate overall. I’d even say he got squeezed a bit, particularly up in the zone, but what can you do? No use complaining about the ump And, as is always the case, he looked to get stronger as the game went on. The first 3 innings were a bit of a slog, but he battled through it and settled in nicely.

All told, Montgomery is a very dependable arm in any rotation. There’s a reason that the Yankees had won 6 consecutive games in which Monty started and won 11 of his 14 starts this season. He deserved a better outcome than he got today, but hey – this is baseball. It happens.

2. Death by A Thousand Blown Opportunities: Like the bullet above, I am sure you’ve heard this before: the Yankees blew a bunch of offensive opportunities tonight. Are you surprised? Didn’t think so. The first two big missed opportunities were blown via the double play. The Yankees, of course, have hit into plenty of them. In the first inning, DJ LeMahieu kicked off the game with a single, but was immediately erased by a double play off the bat of Aaron Judge. Gary singled right after, too – yet another example of a double play sucking the wind out of a Yankee rally before it even got started.

The second big opportunity came in the 6th with one out. DJ and Judge both singled to bring Gary to the plate as the tying run. He’s been scorching hot, obviously, but that didn’t stop him from grounding into a double play. What did we expect? This one took the wind out of the sails of an existing rally, at least, so we got to feel something there for a minute.

Both of these pale in comparison to the offensive debacle in the 8th inning, though. The Yankees almost made it into a game there for a minute with some assistance from the 3-batter minimum rule, patience, and a DJ LeMahieu homer. The HR kicked Eovaldi out of the game, after which the Yankees worked 3 consecutive walks with two outs. Judge, Gary, and Stanton all worked walks. The Judge at-bat was a particularly beautiful one – a 10-pitch masterpiece reminiscent of 2017 Brett Gardner.

The Sox went to Ottavino to escape the jam, which he did. Luke Voit grounded out. The only thing preventing this one from being a double play was the fact that there were already two outs. Sure was frustrating to be given a gift like that only to squander it. Voit has been fantastic – and, frankly, so has everyone else who hit a GIDP tonight – so it’s tough to be too angry. It’s just so, so frustrating.

Making matters worse was the 9th, too. The Yanks had a rally – Aaron Judge was the go-ahead run following a two-out single from DJLM – but Ottavino struck him out. Oh well. That was the game. Overall, this game was really emblematic of the season.

Leftovers

  • Silver Linings: Okay, so the above game story was a bit depressing. So let’s be positive for a second. The top of the Yankees lineup is really coming together. DJ, Judge, Stanton, and Gary have all been great. They were again tonight, too. On the back of a 4-5 performance from DJLM, which included a HR, the top 4 hitters tonight went 8-15 with 3 walks. An annoying game, but that’s what really counts in the long run.
  • Gleyber Looks Better: Much better night offensively for Gleyber Torres tonight. Three hard-hit balls – two of which went to dead center – and a hit. It wasn’t a breakout performance by any means, but it was a good sign. We’ll take ’em where we can get ’em with Torres these days.
  • Emblematic At-Bat: Okay, so I have to say it. When Boone pinch hit Odor for Andújar to face Ottavino in the 9th, it was a truly emblematic move for the Yankees. They used their useless free hitter to face the good reliever they gave away to their rival. Just utterly classic stuff right there.
  • Albert Abreu was Good: A nice night from Albert Abreu, who didn’t walk anyone. It was another well-pitched game from the Yankees.

The Yanks and Sox will conclude this three-game set tomorrow afternoon in Boston. They’ll try to earn their first win of the season against their rival, but at least they’ll have Gerrit Cole on the hill to do it. Cole (8-3, 2.33 ERA) will take on Eduardo Rodriquez (5-4, 6.07 ERA) in that one. First pitch is at 1:10 pm. Enjoy your night, everyone.

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13 Comments

  1. This team is cooked. They have some good wins, like every team does. But they are not hitting overall, and constantly have to come from behind due to the mediocre starting pitching, now that Cole has no sticky stuff. It’s not sustainable.

  2. Brian

    This is an ok team they is a wild card contender, and I’m pretty sure that ownership is ok with it. As long as merch and seats and TV are selling, they will be ok. They will pay lip service to winning championships. Because if you can make the wild card you have a shot at the WS. And this is less a cashman problem and more an ownership problem. The front office has to work within the confines of top leadership.

  3. Dani

    Hey, on the bright side they’re outperforming their expected record (38-38). Success! Let’s enjoy it while it lasts 😛

    I don’t know what more needs to happen for people to realize that this team needs to be blown up. This team has no future, they’ve not been hitting for half a season (they’re on pace for a 600 run season) and were hard-carried by an overperforming pitching staff. Aside of that pretty much every trade/acquisition during the past year backfired hard. The absolute worst thing they could do is to buy at the deadline. They need to do the opposite because they can’t do enough trades to turn this team into a WS contender.

    And while I’m at it: I love Cash but it’s time for a different approach. A new GM is probably the biggest need in the offseason.

  4. Alex

    None of this garbage is going to change until Brian Cashman is finally fired. Once Hal cares enough to get rid of him, then the Yankees will be a force to be reckoned with again. Most overrated general manger in all of sports and has completely blown this team’s window despite top payrolls year-in-year-out.

  5. Zach

    Games like this are exactly the reason fans get so frustrated with the repeated insistence on this blog (and others) that the Yankees are a “successful” organization. The Red Sox are actually successful, and the contrast could not be greater. They have a team with an excellent manager, a smart, fresh front office and ownership that puts winning above profit margin. They develop young talent and are not afraid to fire underperforming managers and GMs. They do everything right fundamentally, which goes back to coaching. 4 WS titles in 17 years is the result. The Yankees have none of that. During the most recent championship window (which Hal has now slammed shut), they had one (1) good season (2019), which ended in Houston because Cashman refused to make any improvements in season. Now the team has been deconstructed and luxury taxed into pure mediocrity, with no hope of improvement. Hal is content to “contend” and win 85 games every year so he can sell chicken buckets, but that is only possible because “fans” tolerate and excuse it. That is how we got to this point, with a now-dead franchise being embarrassed and outclassed by Boston over and over again. The Hal/Cashman/Boone regime has turned the Yankees into a laughingstock, not only to the Red Sox, Mets and Rays, but all of baseball. It is truly disgraceful and painful to watch.

    • You couldn’t be more wrong and wrote too much insanity for me respond to any of your complaints.

      • That's baseball, Gene

        Trading Betts as a move made by a front office that puts winning before profit is some galaxy brain mess.

    • Jason

      Red Sox literally gave away a top 10 player in Mookie Betts because they didn’t want to pay the superstar his due.
      Hal is a cheap moron, but Red Sox ownership is the last thing that team can brag about.

      • Zach

        Boston won the Betts trade, regardless of motive. And even in that case, the philosophy is completely different. They traded Betts away, but sent him to the NL and upgraded the roster in the process. It wasn’t a in-division straight salary dump like the Ottavino trade. More importantly, the Red Sox have not let the luxury tax get in the way of going all-in for a championship – 2018 is the best example of this.

  6. Jason

    This team is 5 games back from the 2nd Wild Card spot and has yet to beat the Red Sox…

    Hal Steinbrenner’s stupid mandate is the biggest problem. However, is 210mil not enough to at least evaluate players at an elite level? How the hell did Brian Cashman and co let Whitlock go before a Kriske and Nelson? Or even Cessa?

  7. dasit

    once again i wonder how a grown man can let an otherwise fine day be ruined by a baseball game

    might be time to step back for a week

    • Jason

      The Yankees have found new ways to do this for a decade now.

    • Zach

      Judging by the “full capacity” attendance on the last homestand, you’re not alone in stepping back.

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