Fun fact: Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song Déjà Vu is actually about the 2021 New York Yankees. Today, the Yankees replayed their biggest hit in a 5-4 loss to the Red Sox: a gut-wrenching bullpen meltdown.
The Yankees were in total control through seven-and-a-half innings today. They led 4-0 and Domingo Germán was working on a no-hitter. Then, it all came crashing down like it has so many times before this season. To the takeaways we go:
The Yankees had a legitimate chance to get back in the division race this weekend and completely blew it. I’ll get into the details of how the team coughed it up today in a moment. First, let’s talk about this series as a whole, which the Yankees dropped three of four. They could have won three of four or even swept Boston. Alas, these are the 2021 Yankees, after all. What can go wrong, will go wrong. A quick summary:
- Thursday: Led 3-1 in 9th, lost 5-4 in 10
- Friday: Led 1-0 in 5th, lost 6-2
- Saturday: Won 4-3
- Today: Led 4-0 in 8th, lost 5-4
Series review. pic.twitter.com/iGnsgO5JxK— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 25, 2021
So, the Yankees leave Fenway Park nine games out of first place (eight in the loss column). It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but…it’s looking very bleak. There’s really no reason to look at the division standings at this point. The Wild Card is still in reach (four games out, three in the loss column, pending the A’s game this afternoon).
The eighth inning blame game. I have a few issues with how the eighth inning unfolded today. The Yankees were in total control of this one — Domingo Germán had a no-hitter through seven innings, but disaster struck, and there are multiple folks to blame.
Once Germán surrendered a leadoff double to Alex Verdugo, Aaron Boone pulled him. The Yankees were up 4-0 at the time. He had 93 pitches, the most he had thrown since May 27th (98 pitches). He also hadn’t thrown more than 80 pitches since June 13th, and no more than 72 pitches since June 30th. My point: I was fine with removing Germán.
At first, I was fine with going to Jonathan Loaisiga, but in retrospect, it wasn’t a great idea to use him back-to-back games after returning from the COVID-19 injured list. An easy second guess, but at the same time: Chad Green hadn’t pitched since Thursday. Why wasn’t he an option?
It all snowballed from there. Four hits, ten pitches, and Loaisiga was done, leaving runners on second and third and no one out for Zack Britton (and a 4-3 lead). It all happened in a blink of an eye, but Boston was all over him.
Again, where was Green?
Now, about Boone’s not-so-quick hook for Loaisiga. First and foremost, there’s a three-batter minimum. Second, I just don’t think there was enough time to have someone ready by the time Franchy Cordero singled. The first three batters took only seven pitches. So, I won’t actually blame Boone for this part of the inning.
I will, however, blame Boone for not playing the infield in with Zack Britton on the mound immediately. With runners on second and third, up 4-3, and no one out, how do you not try to cut off the tying run in a pivotal game with a ground ball pitcher? He even got the ground ball needed! But instead, all Gleyber Torres could do was throw out Kevin Plawecki at first base. Sigh.
Leaving in Loaisiga for four batters wasn’t really in Boone’s control, but completely avoiding a rested Green and not playing the infield in with Britton on the hill were horrible decisions. Using Loaisiga for a second day in a row looks terrible in hindsight too, especially after returning from COVID.
There’s a lot of blame to go around on the failures of the 2021 Yankees, but Boone is front-and-center of this. The Yankees should send him packing already. They’ll probably wait until the offseason for his contract to expire, but he’s just not a good manager.
Oh yeah, Domingo Germán pitched the game of his life. It’s impossible to take solace in anything about today’s game considering the way it ended, but credit where credit is due: Germán was brilliant. He threw seven no-hit innings and struck out ten batters in this game and should have gotten the W.
Germán had impeccable command this afternoo:
You really can’t draw it up better. Boston’s hitters were off balance all day. Clearly, they were pretty happy to see him go after Verdugo’s leadoff double in the eighth.
Germán had been in the midst of an awful stretch entering this start. He had an 8.53 ERA in his last eight games dating back to June 13th (25.1 innings pitched). Some of that time was spent out of the bullpen. Perhaps this start will get his season back on track.
- Failing to score with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning looms large, huh? Giancarlo Stanton struck out and Rougned Odor flew out to end that frame.
- Stanton and Odor had a chance to redeem themselves in the ninth against Matt Barnes. Stanton ripped a two-out single, but Odor popped out to end it. Odor did have a good game otherwise, hitting a homer and an RBI single earlier.
- Gleyber Torres went 2-for-4 with a double. He continues to swing a good bat, at least. His eighth inning RBI single drove in Gary Sánchez, who tripled (!) before him.
- Speaking of the eighth: that was also a missed offensive opportunity. After Torres’s RBI single, he stole second with no one out and Brett Gardner walked behind him. But Torres then got picked off, and the next two hitters grounded out.
- Shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza was a late scratch from Somerset’s lineup this afternoon. It is hug watch season, so we’ll keep tabs on this.
The Yankees are off tomorrow before they play a three game series at Tropicana Field against the Rays.