Game 80: All you can do is laugh

@Yankees

Holy moly, that was an awful loss. Worst loss of the season, no doubt, though we’ve said that before and perhaps we’ll say it again. Hal Steinbrenner speaks with the media tomorrow, and while he probably won’t say anything to appease anyone, it’s…amusing (?) that this was tweeted while the team was winning, and now, he’ll hold court after whatever on earth this game was.

This was shaping up to be a laugher, especially after they scored seven in the first and knocked out Shohei Ohtani before the inning finished. It even looked like this game would be over early due to rain — why exactly they decided to wait around an hour and a half to resume what was already an official game, I don’t know. Instead, they resumed, didn’t tack on runs, and Aroldis Chapman had an absolute meltdown. There were “Fire Boone” chants from those left at the Stadium, by the way. Can you blame them?

Anyway, I do have takeaways from tonight’s game. I’m not sure if what I’ve written so far, or anything going forward, is coherent because it’s past 1am on the east coast. Alas, here we go.

Is it fair to wonder about (the lack of) foreign substances hurting Aroldis Chapman? I know we’ve heard about finger nail issues for him of late, but I can’t help but wonder if the “sticky stuff” ban is the real culprit for Chapman’s awful pitching of late. With tonight’s grand slam surrendered to Jared Walsh, the closer’s ERA has ballooned from 0.39 on June 6th to 3.77 today. What seemed like a reasonable chance for Chapman to work out some of his issues with a four run lead turned into an absolute disaster.

Now, about the sticky stuff. Chapman hasn’t seen significant spin rate decreases, but that doesn’t mean it’s not affecting him. It’s not like he had good control in the first place, and now, he can’t even use a grip like sunscreen and rosin, which as I understand doesn’t increase spin. It’s pretty obvious that he has absolutely no idea where the ball is going, as evidenced by tonight’s three walks and pitch chart:

Aaron Boone pulled Chapman and replaced him with Lucas Luetge, who proceeded to give up three runs of his own.

Anyway, the rest of my takeaways from tonight’s game were written waaay before Chapman’s meltdown and seem like they were from a completely different game.

File this under stupid complaints, but I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get to see more of Shohei Ohtani. Look, it was really nice to see things break the Yankees way in the team’s seven-run first inning, but couldn’t they have saved that for like, the fourth inning? I haven’t really had a chance to watch Ohtani pitch extensively, so I was looking forward to doing so tonight.

So much for that. Ohtani had very little control and simply couldn’t put anyone away. It’s not like the Yankees scalded the ball against him. Other than Giancarlo Stanton’s RBI single, nothing was tattooed. But to the Yankees’ credit, they didn’t expand the zone and drew four walks. Gary Sánchez in particular had an excellent at bat, as he is doing seemingly every time he’s at the plate now. In all, the Yankees tagged Ohtani for seven runs, though three of those came across against Aaron Slegers who couldn’t strand the inherited runners.

The weather looks pretty bad tomorrow afternoon, so this likely will be a pretty anticlimactic finish to Ohtani’s week in the Bronx. The Yankees won’t complain one bit, though.

The Yankees don’t have anyone to replace Domingo Germán right now. The 28 year-old righty had his fourth consecutive poor start this evening. He’s thrown no more than 4.1 innings in each of those games, with tonight’s outing lasting just three frames (though partly a result of the rain delay). Not that he was pitching well anyway, though. He gave up three runs on three hits and three walks, including a two-run homer to Phil Gosselin (?!?).

Right now, the Yankees have little choice but to ride out Germán’s skid until he turns it around. Deivi García has been an enigma in Scranton, Clarke Schmidt is still working his way back, Luis Severino’s groin injury has delayed his return from Tommy John surgery, and Corey Kluber may not be back until September.

What we’re seeing from Germán reminds me of his 2019 season. As you may recall, he got off to a really hot start, only to struggle through the heart of the season, and then finally pitch better in his last few starts. This year is another roller coaster:

  • First two starts: 7.0 IP, 9.00 ERA, 9.43 FIP
  • Next nine starts: 53.2 IP, 2.35 ERA, 3.91 FIP
  • Last four starts: 15.1 IP, 9.98 ERA, 5.43 FIP

This just might be the kind of pitcher Germán is: a very streaky one. The Yankees need to get him back on track while its rotation depth remains thin.

How can Germán get out of this rut? On the YES broadcast, David Cone said he saw some mechanical issues hindering the starter’s control tonight. This was the first start Germán walked more than two batters all season and entered the game with a career-low 5.2 percent walk rate, so his location issues were unusual.

This situation is far from ideal, but it is what it is. Starting pitcher is just one of the many items on the Yankees’ shopping list should they remain in contention. Which, uh, doesn’t seem all that likely right now.

Leftovers

  • Clint Frazier exited early due to experiencing dizziness. Presumably this was related to the extreme heat. We saw Dylan Bundy get sick the other night while on the mound.
  • Justin Wilson looked good in his return. He threw one inning after the game’s first rain delay. His fastball ranged between 94 and 96 MPH, well up from 93.1 average earlier this year. I’d disregard the 93.9 MPH average velo tonight, as Statcast erroneously included what was clearly an 89.8 MPH cutter in there.
  • Darren O’Day also made his return and threw a 1-2-3 inning.
  • With two hits including a homer, Brett Gardner is back above the Mendoza line. Gardner didn’t have a hit since June 17th!
  • Jonathan Loaisiga pitched two excellent innings in relief.
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7 Comments

  1. Broussard Yankee

    Chapman’s recent implosion is reminiscent of what happened to Betances. If we all remember, Betances went from untouchable to unusable and was essentially banished from the 2019 postseason. He never really came back after that to his former dominance. Maybe, it is the absence of Spider Tac that has caused Chapman’s swoon. If so, it is probably what has hurt Cole. Nevertheless, if it is illegal, it is illegal for everybody. Cole or Chapman using Spider Tac is no different than Bonds using PED’s.

  2. David Kunst

    HAHAHAHA

  3. Dani

    As part of “team sell” … I love to see it!

  4. Terry from LA

    Wow. Worst loss I think I’ve seen and I’ve seen some bad ones in my many years. This team makes me tired. WHY is Gleyber hitting 5th??? He’s had two hits in the past month? Mo wasn’t perfect, but I don’t recall giving up 4 to lose it. Lutke shouldn’t be in there then either. I don’t know anymore. I give up. The best we can do is boycott the stadium, boycott YES and hope the cheapskate sells or is forced to spend. I don’t need YESman Kay to explain 210 million is enough. It plainly is not. And if it is, then Cash didn’t spend it right.

  5. Steve

    I think Chapman’s got the yips. Give him a phantom IL tonight and let him work on stuff. Absolutely can’t bring him into a game right now.

  6. Jason

    Is there a correlation between Chapman reverting to suck and the sticky stuff ban? That Twins series was after Donaldson called out Cole, so…maybe?

    If so, he’s cooked without it. Dude looks like the same guy who blew it for us the last two postseasons.

    Jonathan Loaisiga for closer.

    Send Chapman, German, and the people who used Hal’s cheap budget to waste a championship window to the moon w Bezos and Elon.

    • Mikey

      I think Green would be a good closer. He’s got good control yet he throws hard and can strike guys out

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