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Game 89: Not again

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What did we just watch? Seriously, I’m at a loss after watching the ninth inning. The Astros scored six runs off Chad Green (two inherited from Domingo Germán) to walk-off the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees had this game seemingly locked down, especially after Gary Sánchez’s three-run homer made the score 7-2 in the eighth inning. So much for that.

None other than José Altuve delivered the walk-off homer, because who else would? His three-run blast off Green capped Houston’s comeback. What a terrible way to go into the All-Star break. They were on the verge of sweeping the AL’s best team entering a very difficult stretch of schedule following the break. Instead, it’s a gut-wrenching loss.

Chad Green had nothing. Aaron Boone wanted to put things to bed with two on, no one out, and a five run lead, so he went to Green. Perhaps he should have just started the inning clean, but I don’t really blame Boone for letting Germán start the ninth. A five run lead should be safe for any pitcher.

It didn’t take long to realize that Green had nothing. Two hard hit doubles by Chas McCormick and Abraham Toro greeted Green, for one. He had no bite on his curveball. His fastball was all over the place.

Green got zero whiffs on any of his pitches today, which is completely unlike him when he’s at his best. His curveball had six fewer inches of vertical break than usual. Not good. He’s been used a lot lately, so maybe he’s a bit worn out. If that’s the case, Boone needed to have a quick hook, but didn’t. Lucas Luetge was warming up, but it seemed like everything happened too fast for the manager to make a change.

It only took Green 12 pitches to lose this one, and of course it had to be José Altuve, who simply owns the Yankees. There’s no other way to put it.

Scoring seven runs should be enough, but the offense did miss a couple of key opportunities. The Yankees went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position today. A couple of missed opportunities for big innings stand out:

  • 1st inning: DJ LeMahieu gets thrown out attempting to go first-to-third on a wild pitch for the first out. The Yankees put on a couple of more baserunners after that, but couldn’t cash in. Can’t help but wonder if they would have put up an early crooked number had LeMahieu not been overly aggressive.
  • 5th inning: The Yankees had already scored one run in this frame and had runners on first and third with no one out. They didn’t even need a hit to score again, but instead, Gio Urshela flew out and Tim Locastro and Brett Gardner recorded back-to-back strikeouts.

It’s also worth noting that this team walked 14 times! They reached base 21 times overall. Sigh.

Make no mistake, the Yankees should have never blown a 7-2 lead in the ninth inning. But at the same time, this game could really have been a laugher if the offense just gets one or two more hits with runners on base.

There’s still room for improvement, but Jameson Taillon has pitched better of late. I wrote this takeaway way before this game finished, so it certainly feels hollow to take any solace out of this loss. But it’s worth leaving in nonetheless, I guess.

Since his awful start in Philly on June 12 (0.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB), Taillon has made five starts and allowed 11 runs in 29.1 innings (3.38 ERA). The pitching lines:

  1. 6/18 (OAK): 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR
  2. 6/24 (KC): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR
  3. 6/29 (LAA): 5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR
  4. 7/6 (@SEA): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 HR
  5. 7/11 (@HOU): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR

Only the start against the Angels was definitively bad, whereas the rest have ranged from good to very good, including today.

In spite of allowing six homers during this stretch, Taillon has done a far better job of limiting hard contact than earlier in the year. Today, Houston’s lineup managed a meager 84.9 MPH average exit velocity against Taillon, even with Kyle Tucker (101.3) and Martín Maldonado (96.5) taking him deep. There was plenty of soft contact today, and there’s clearly been much more of it recently for the righty:

You can really see the dip against his breaking pitches, though his fastball has been better too.

Now, even with less hard contact against Taillon, it’d be nice if he limited the long ball a bit more. Six homers allowed in 29.1 innings is a lot, even if three of those came in one game against the Angels.

It’s taken a while for Taillon to heat up, but hopefully this is a sign of better things coming. The Yankees really need their gamble on him to pay off, especially while Luis Severino and Corey Kluber remain sidelined.

Leftovers

  • Tim Locastro hit his first home run as a Yankee. It was an opposite field shot in the top of the fourth inning.
  • The Yankees bullpen is going to get worn out if they can’t bring back Aroldis Chapman to something resembling a good pitcher. Green was clearly tired today, and without Jonathan Loaisiga, Green was hung out to dry.
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19 Comments

  1. Sean

    Thank god Britton comes back soon.

  2. I’ve been on the fire Boone ‘train’ for a couple of months but yesterday’s loss isn’t on him, it’s on the players.

    He had no options in the 9th inning that would look like the right move unless it worked and they won the game. Green is (and always has been) inconsistent and his bad games are typically very bad-I went back through his game logs over the past 3 seasons and it’s about 10% of the time, yesterday was one of them and it was obvious from his 1st pitch. He could have given German one more batter but there is no guarantee that would have worked either (and I am so far from a fan of German’s I had no issue with taking him out).

    The 3 batter minimum rule removed any options for Boone to make a change until Maldonado was hitting and Green got him out, now he could have either brought in Chapman (which makes no sense given his recent issues and his history with Altuve) or Luetge, who K’d Altuve Friday night but hasn’t pitched well recently. Walking Altuve intentionally puts the tying run on 2nd with two tough hitters (Brantly and Alvarez) up next, what’s the probably outcome of that?

    This Yankees team isn’t going to win anything because it’s the wrong group of players, they need to get more balanced, add a few players who are truly tough outs with runners in scoring position (DJM is really the only one at this point in time). Maybe that will happen between now and next season, maybe it won’t, but all of these cries for ‘George’ being able to fix it is such garbage it’s beyond belief-anyone who was alive in the 80s and early 90s knows better than that.

  3. Dani

    Just blow this team up already.

  4. Terry from LA

    There is nothing to say. This game is the perfect microcosm of the season.

  5. D J

    Top of the 9th, back-to-back walks to start the inning. Judge Ks, Sanchez DP. Maybe guys don’t try hard in a situatoaion like that when up 5-runs, especially since stat-heads inform us that RBIs aren’t a big deal.

  6. Larry Mofield

    We should had never pitched to Altuve.
    He is their version of Jeter.and clutch hits.Shoukx had walked the bases loaded and take our chance with Brantley.Another Boonehead move or lack of.
    We have blown 4 games in the 9th with at least a 4 run lead this year. That is unheard of.
    Maybe we needed a bigger lead,( 14 walks and 3-16 with RISP says it all. Sanchez had a clutch home run but the rest of the hitters were not clutch at all)
    We should had been at least 50-39 at the break this year instead of 46-43. When is Gardner going to spend time in batting just practicing bunting against the shift, what good is a speedy runner if he doesn’t steal a base. DJ another Yankee running mistake. Houston best us be we helped them.

  7. Will

    Yesterday, Boone, needing to get Chapman back on track, wants him to protect a one run lead with two outs when he’ll have to pitch to three hitters no matter how poorly he’s throwing. Today, Boone, still needing to get Chapman back on track, doesn’t trust him to start a clean inning with a five run lead. Makes no sense.

  8. Mungo

    No words are adequate, so no words it will be.

  9. Bartholomew

    Boone belongs in the booth again. He ticks off Chapman and then Cole this week. It’s clear he’s losing the team. Half the bullpen is injured now. Judge had to have a team meeting to get them to win 5 of 7. I mean seriously what is Boone thinking going out there to pull Cole yesterday. He really doesn’t know his players. I thought he was a group hug manager. I guess it fired Cole up, job well done.

    • Steve

      You can disagree with Boone’s decisions without resorting to fanfic. You have zero idea what goes on in the clubhouse.

      • Tim Loceddardstro

        He’s right, Steve. Cole screamed at him and Chappy did too. I actually think Cole would be a much better manager. Boone doesn’t protect his players and just spits out the same old cliches. No passion, no urgency. Boone lacks the baseball instincts of a Torre and even a Girardi. Boone should go back to ESPN to replace Arod and kill two birds with one stone.

  10. DanGer

    This is why you don’t flex on a superior team. You end up looking silly. To quote Paulie, revenge only come in the postseason. Is it 2022 yet?

  11. MikeD

    I’ve said it before, and unfortunately I keep getting opportunities to say it again. I’ve been watching the Yankees since the 1970s, and there never been a more disappointing team than the 2021 version. There have been worse teams, but they were supposed to be bad. There have been flawed teams, but we knew their flaws. This team is simply a disappointment.

    Is there anything that sums the 2021 Yankees up better than this: They’ve actually won 5 of 7, taking the last game from the Mets, then going on a tough west coast road trip, taking 2 of 3 from the Mariners, who were ahead of them in the WC standings, and then going into Houston and taking 2 of 3 from the cheaters, who had the best record in the AL. On paper, it should be viewed as a great week, yet it’s a wild disappointment. In the glow of Cole’s incredible performance, they put of the worst loss of the season for the second in about a week. Incredible!

    Sigh.

    Yuck.

  12. Steve

    The most 2021 Yankee way to end the first half.

  13. Joel

    Without question, Boone is a liability.

  14. Tim Loceddardstro

    I thought it was the worst loss of the season, Derek. For the life of Boone he just cannot sweep a series and he really blew this one. Was German really in dire straits after a dribbler and a double? He’s a starter so he wasn’t tired. Green was clearly running on fumes and shouldn’t have been in there. Why wasn’t Chapman or Leutge warming? It’s like Boone thought he had a 2 man bullpen. The ASB is tomorrow and Cole pitched a CG yesterday so he had everybody else available. With a competent manager I think we’d be 10 games over right now.

    And once again he gave Altuve the last laugh. Sure you win the series but the Astros are 20 games over .500, not 2. And Judge doing that thing with his jersey was dumb. Why poke the bear. Just play the game the way it was meant to be played. Instead he gives Altuve the last laugh just like he has had the last 4 years. Judge needs to actually win something first.

    This is a .500 club and nothing more. Sell sell sell at the deadline. I’d try to get Chapman showcased after the break so we can trade him. Put anybody and everybody on the block, including Judge. This team had its window and that window was shattered by Altuve today. Put us out of our misery, we’re begging you.

  15. dasit

    hope eddard has a thesaurus because he’ll need it to describe this loss

    don’t know if boone has noticed, but green either has it or he doesn’t and if he doesn’t you have to get him the hell out of there

  16. Boone is overusing Chad Green.

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