Game 99: Yankees ground into series-opening loss to Twins

TFW you ground into a TRIPLE PLAY

Tonight was just one of those games where the offense puts almost everything together and the rallies all die sudden deaths. Oh well. CC Sabathia was rocked by the Twins’ high-octane offense, and the Yankees suffered an 8-6 defeat to open their three-game set in Minnesota.

Here are the takeaways:

In Play, Outs

The Yankees had a chance to turn this one into a laugher early. Martin Perez walked the first two batters he faced and Edwin Encarnacion had him locked in a long at-bat. The Twins were short on bullpen arms, so if the Yankees could knock Perez around early, the game would have been more or less in hand.

But Encarnacion grounded into a triple play. Yes, that’s not a typo. Triple. Play.

That was the theme for the night. The Yankees scored in four separate innings and had men in scoring position for three others, yet they went 2-for-12 with men in scoring position and were limited to six runs. That second part is fun to say, even in a loss.

In the third inning, they tied the game and loaded the bases for Gary Sanchez, who hit almost the exact same ball as Encarnacion for a DP. Sanchez, Hicks and Voit each made outs after the Yanks put two men on with no out in the fifth inning.

Finally, with the Bombers down just one run in the sixth inning and men on first and second with one out, Aaron Judge hit a 102.2 mph grounder right to Jorge Polanco, who turned a 6-4-3 double play.

The Yankees brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning to no avail. Judge and Encarnacion singled in the ninth, but Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks were retired by Taylor Rogers. Not what you want.

Tonight was not CC’s best

CC Sabathia gave up a homer to the second and third batters he faced, setting the tone for a night of horrors for the 39-year-old southpaw.

He wasn’t hit especially hard — 89.6 mph, which is higher than the MLB average, but Perez was hit harder — but he gave up four home runs and just didn’t look like the confident self you’d want him to be.

All four of the home runs were solo jobs while Sabathia gave up three runs (two earned) in a third-inning rally. A walk, infield single, bloop single and catcher’s interference scored one run, and then the Twins added two more on ground outs. He put himself in trouble by walking the nine-hitter on four pitches, but the rest wasn’t bad.

Sabathia only gave the Yankees four innings, leaving the bulk of the work for Luis Cessa, who allowed a solo homer in three innings. Cessa got into some deep counts and threw 55 pitches, yet he had six punchouts and has lowered his ERA to 4.13. Cessa is, dare I say it, good now? Not sure I’m willing to go that far.

Urshela, LeMahieu and Tauchman ride again

The Yankees have gotten a ton of production from players not on the 2018 roster and tonight was no different. Gio Urshela had himself another great night, going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a double.

The solo homer set the stage for the Yankees’ offense as their first hit of the game and was the first of five straight batters to reach.

Meanwhile, Mike Tauchman wasn’t quite so powerful behind him, though he continued his mini-run of the last week with a 3-for-4 night. It was the cliched “not trying to do too much” game for the outfielder, who hit three singles to left-center and up the box. He grounded out to end the eighth inning yet was otherwise unblemished.

Finally, holy f*** DJ LeMahieu. Can anyone stop him? He went 3-for-4 with a BB. Those three hits weren’t just singles, either. He doubled in the third-inning rally and homered in the fifth inning, all before his single in the sixth pushed the potential tying run to second base.

If I had to give a takeaway on him, it’s that he’s amazing. I keep expecting an extended slump from him and he just hasn’t had one for a few months.

Leftovers

  • Luke Voit had an odd game with a solo homer to right field and three strikeouts. Gleyber Torres doubled.
  • Jonathan Holder took the first step back towards trust by producing a 1-2-3 eighth inning with one strikeout. He also made this nifty play behind his back.
  • Judge grounded into a double play in his biggest AB of the game, but he went 1-for-2 overall with three walks. The hit was a 116.4 mph single.
  • Lastly, Sanchez’s slump is getting worrisome. He’s 6-for-54 in July after an 0-for-5 tonight. He didn’t stand much of a chance against Rogers in the ninth inning.

The Yankees look to even the three-game series when Domingo German (12-2, 3.38 ERA) takes on right-hander Kyle Gibson (9-4, 4.02) on Tuesday night. It’ll be another 8:10 p.m. start on YES.

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5 Comments

  1. The Original Drew

    Anytime the Yankees want to go out and acquire difference maker in the starting rotation that would be just fine.

    The only starting pitchers I would feel good about in a playoff game right now is Tanaka and German. That just won’t cut it against facing Verlander and Cole 4 times in a series.

  2. Dani

    Dang, the Twins have a legit shot to hit 300 homers this season. The Yanks’ record from last season will be shattered.

  3. Wire Fan

    On the plus side Sockman now has a 118 wRC+, which is higher than Frazier (116) on the year. All his singles were off of lefties too. He is at 1 fWAR over ~150 PAs. While you can’t just linearly extrapolate, that would be an ~4 WAR pace

    Thankfully the Frazier apologists who keep saying he deserves to be on the 25 man have quieted down. Hopefully he gets it together in AAA and starts forcing the issue, but he might be waiting until 2020. With Maybin starting rehab, he is probably waiting until Sept for a shot, and even then he might be 7th on the depth chart if Stanton ever get healthy.

  4. Wire Fan

    1. Cessa gave up some hard hit balls tonight. OK results (1ER), but when his command is not on he gets crunched. Won’t show up in the pitching line but he hung a slider that was absolutely destroyed that was about 5 ft foul (close enough that the umps reviewed it). His line looks a lot different if that doesn’t go foul. Also had a few hard hit balls when he wasn’t striking people out. He looks like the same inconsistent pitcher he has always been.

    2. Sanchez needs to be dropped in the order and/or given a few days off. He killed the Yankees tonight. 7 LOB (!), 2 K’s, the weakly hit GB double play with the bases loaded, a weak IF pop-up, and a hard hit ball to LF on a 3-1 pitch which was clearly ball 4… which would have loaded the bases with no out. And the CI with the bases loaded. (this was his 3rd in a week? With one of them not called)

    His chase rate has skyrocketed since about the last week in June and he’s swinging at over 40% of pitches out of the zone. He looks lost at the plate and there is no reason to throw him a strike at this point.

    • CountryClub

      Considering what happened last yr, this slump by Sanchez is more than worrisome.

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