Game 98: Déjà Vu

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

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.

Leftovers

  • 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.

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23 Comments

  1. MarkB

    Execution, execution, execution. DJ leads off game with a double, Yanks can’t move him along and strand him at 2b. Bases loaded one out for Stanton, and he can’t hit a fly ball to score a run. Meanwhile, Red Sox score two in the 8th with solid, fundamental baseball. 2nd & 3rd, one out… ground ball to score one and move other runner to 3rd, and then a fly ball to score the 2nd runner. Yankees have been ‘out-fundamentaled” all season.

  2. Broussard Yankee

    I agree this is a particularly maddening team. I have followed some pretty bad Yankee teams during the late sixties and early nineties, but this team is more frustrating. I do not think Boone is a good manager, but this failure is on the players. They take turns underperforming. I think the biggest disappointment has been Stanton. Jeter was smart to get rid of him and his exorbitant contract. He typically has a few brief runs of hitting home runs and then long periods of strike outs and ground balls. For what he is paid, we could have surely done better. The only players on this team I would consider untouchable are Judge and Cole. The rest are being outplayed by players on the Rays whose names you can’t remember and who are being paid MLB minimum salaries. Getting the second wild card berth would be a joke. We would lose the one game playoff in either Boston or St. Petersburg.

  3. DZB

    Not playing Stanton in the field is one of the many foolish decisions that this team has made over this season (the most foolish is the idiotic commitment to staying under the luxury tax threshold when you are the richest team in the sport, and the penalties are manageable).

    Stanton should have been in left for the Cole starts at the very least. If Higgy is going to be the personal catcher, then put Gary at DH. That upgrade (having both Stanton and Gary in the lineup instead of a replacement level or worse left fielder is a big one).

    Personally, I am shifting into sell mode if Boone remains in charge. They don’t have a lot to sell (could have moved Voit if he had been healthy all year, or Frazier if he had been at least passable and not injured – same for Andujar). I would sell some of the marginal players coming up on Rule Five eligibility (though that is never going to return much) and perhaps a reliver or two.

  4. Mungo

    I’d have left German in as he was in through the 8th. He was in total control.

    Does it matter? Sadly, probably not. This team is not going anywhere this year with Boone at the helm and the variety of issues they’ve had to deal with. Hopefully they don’t make any foolish trades and hopefully they don’t go over the luxury tax threshold. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted them to go over the threshold at the start of the year, but it wouldn’t make sense now considering they constructed the roster around the threshold. If they’re going over in any year, they need to plan that up front. If they go over by a few million now, then Hal will immediately want them to get back under next year to reset the tax. They really should start planning for 2022.

  5. It’s too late to fire Boone and hope they turn it around this year-this roster is poorly conceived and not capable of winning anything, at best they will win 84-86 games. That’s been obvious to anyone who knows baseball since at least May.

    They’ve now won a total of 1 World Series in 20 years and only been in the World Series one other time in that stretch, what they are doing isn’t work, period. All the bs stats in the world can’t change those facts.

  6. Dzb

    Bring in Carlos Beltran as manager, make some trades using Rule Five eligible fringe players, if you can pull that off, but don’t pay a premium for rental players, please.

    • Steve

      The big knock on Boone was his lack of experience, so why would you want another inexperienced manager?

  7. Eugene White

    Sad that the algorithm didn’t say to pull the infield in.

  8. WaitingOnTheKids

    I don’t use “hate” loosely, but, my God, I absolutely hate this team. The roster construction, the front office, the idiots on the field. I love the Yankees, except when they aggravate my ulcers. See you in 2022, you chumps.

  9. Joel

    I like Boone, but not as a manager. He has cost the team quite a few games this year, significantly beyond what an average manager would do. Hard to understand he has not been replaced. But who is available?

  10. Esteddardban Florial

    I thought it was the worst loss since yesterday, Derek. I’ve been saying for years that Boone should be fired and it looks like folks are finally starting to agree. He has no feel for the game and gets the least out of his players. Another foolish base running error today. More bad decisions including pitching Loisaga back to back days after he had missed three weeks. And he had a rested Britton and Green. Cora and Cash manage circles around him every game. Hopefully this convinces Hal not to buy and to blow the whole thing to smithereens. The Cubbies are blowing things up because they know their window has closed. At least they got a WS. Who cares if you finish above .500 every year if you don’t win a single championship. Trade anybody and everybody this week, play the kids like Florial and get a good draft pick. We were told Florial “wasn’t ready” because he was only hitting .200 at AAA. He’s done nothing but shine up here proving they don’t know a damn thing. Dad’s been watching the Yankees since the 60s and says this is the worst Yankee team he’s seen in 100 years. Stump Merrill tweeted earlier “even I wasn’t this bad.”

  11. Winfred

    German should have stayed in the game, Boone is a terrible manager, analysts is destroying baseball, Stanton is horrible

  12. Brian

    It’s not what you want…

  13. Jason

    “I’m sick to my stomach” – Jordan Montgomery

    Can’t wait till they make trades, only to blow it in the Wild Card game. Then Boone and Cashman get 5 yr extensions.

    • dasit

      my hope is that the recent resurgence of taillon, montgomery, and german convinces them to stand pat and pray that the offense figures it out

      • Jason

        They need to make moves, but those moves can’t be one year rentals. Should be moves that could help 2022 because rentals aren’t worth it for how trash this year has been. Too many things have to go well and that’s just unlikely.

        • dasit

          story might move the needle but i’d rather save the prospects and just try to sign him in the off-season.

    • Boone’s decisions are just horrendous. Not playing the infield in. Not walking the bases loaded on Thursday to get a play ay any base. It just goes against the grain of basic baseball. At the very least he needs a former manager as a bench coach. But I’m sure he’s gone this winter. I hope they hire an experienced manager and not another newbie

  14. Kansas

    Boone makes decisions using hope, not logic

  15. Howard Shanley

    If they won’t fire boone now can he not be traded or DFA before the deadline on friday? I have lost count on how many games he has cost us this year. Agree that loisaga just coming back from covid should have not been brought in. Green was a better option but, Why not cessa? He threw I think 5 pitches the other night and made the heart of their order look ridiculous…Boone and his I-pad loving minions got to go and go now!!

  16. dasit

    one step forward, two steps back. i cannot remember a more maddening yankee team

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