Category: Game Recaps Page 2 of 37

Game 55: Yanks Return Favor, Demolish Blue Jays 12-1

Now that’s more like it. The Yankees destroyed the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, winning 12-1 after last night’s miserable display. They improve to 32-23 on the season and made it even more difficult for Toronto to catch them for second place. These are all good things.

The game flew along until the 8th inning when it ground to a complete halt, but I’m not complaining. Any day the Yankees win is a good day in my book. Plus, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela all collected 3 or more hits while Gerrit Cole and the bullpen were nasty. Imagine complaining.

Anyway, let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Gerrit Cole is an Ace: When the Yankees signed Gerrit Cole, it is fair to say that a lot of Yankee fans expected to see many, many GIFs like this:

(via Rob Friedman)

And that is exactly what we saw tonight. Cole actually surrendered quite a bit of hard contact – ten balls were classified as “hard hit” by StatCast tonight but it didn’t matter. Most of that hard contact was on the ground, and it powered Cole’s 7.0 IP of 5-hit, 7-strikeout ball. Here was the one blemish against Cole on the night, which came in the 4th inning with a 3-0 lead:

That was it. He also got into a bit of trouble in the 6th inning, when he allowed two singles to open up the inning. The bottom of the Jays lineup was no match for Cole, though. He induced three straight grounders to get out of the jam – including one with a tag play at home after the runners advanced to second and third – and that was that.

Here is his pitch plot on the evening:

One thing to notice there is his curveball, which was consistently thrown for strikes all evening. That makes a huge difference for him, as we’ve noted here quite a few times now. And while Cole only generated a 25% whiff-per-swing rate, that was more than enough to get the job done.

Cole now wraps up his first “regular” season in pinstripes with a 7-3 record and a 2.84 ERA. He’s just finding himself, too, which should bode well for next month. That seems pretty good, to me. Here is his full line:

2. Aaron Hicks Gets it Going: That was a truly tremendous game from Aaron Hicks. He’s having a bit of an unheralded year – his .218 batting average coming into the night obscures what was a 121 wRC+ – but still, it was nice to see what he did tonight. He was TK for TK with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Obviously, he was in the middle of the action. He got it started right in the first inning after an Aaron Judge single to left with this triple:

This made it 1-0 Yankees right away. It was nice to get off to a fast start here after yesterday’s clunker and Hicks did just that. His speed to get to third also set the stage for the Yankees to take a quick 2-0 lead, as he scored on a wild pitch right after:

Hicks added a two-run single in a big top of the 5th inning for the Yankees, which made the score 6-1. He got the Yanks on the board and delivered a big blow that started to put the game out of reach. Great stuff from Hicks. The Yankees’ switch hitter went 2-4 on the night, which raised his season line to .225/.384/.411 (125 wRC+). Good stuff. Hope he stays hot (he is hitting almost .300 in the last two weeks, so the signs are good.)

3. Aaron Judge Also Has a Big Night: It was a big night for the Yankees’ Aarons. Aside from a strikeout in the 7th, Judge had himself a nice night at the plate. He hit two singles and knocked in an RBI. Here is that RBI single:

This immediately preceded Hicks’ two-run single I discussed above and it made the score 4-1 Yankees. Judge scored 3 runs on the night in addition to this RBI. His power hasn’t quite come back since his return from the injury, but this is the first step. There is no real rehab in 2020, so we just need Aaron Judge to get his at-bats. Tonight, for the first time, Judge started to collect his knocks. He went 3-5 on the night. The power will follow…and the timing is pretty, pretty good, in my opinion.

4. Eighth Inning Madness: That sure was a strange, strange 8th inning. It started out in the top of the 8th with a two-out double from Gio Urshela that should have been caught. Clint Frazier walked, then Brett Gardner hit a bloop single to score a run and make it 8-1 Yankees. Kyle Higashioka did then did this:

This led to a length replay delay. Umpires initially ruled that this was a home run. After video review, though, they changed the call to a double. The review was centered around whether or not the ball ricocheted off the tarp in the back, which apparently it did not. I thought it was a HR off the bat, but YES had one angle that made it clear it was not. In any case, the score was 10-1…and Gerrit Cole once again showed that he may indeed be Kyle Higashioka’s primary pitcher.

But the weirdest part didn’t come until the bottom of the 8th inning. The Yankees put Tyler Lyons in the game, which is normal. The problem was that Lyons wasn’t actually on the lineup card. That means he came out into the game, warmed up, and then could not pitch. He was ineligible. It was all very odd. It looks like the Yanks just didn’t update the lineup card, either. Not great!

5. The Bullpen is Good: The Lyons screw up meant that Aaron Boone turned to Zack Britton for the 8th. I was fine with this. Britton needs the work, but the circumstances were definitely less than ideal – at this point, I just want these guys to have a normal set up to whatever degree possible. He got the job done, though, pitching a scoreless 8th. Britton got some grounders and a strikeout. That’s what you like to see.

Also what you like to see is Adam Ottavino pitch pretty well. He did that tonight. I’ve been tough on him lately – he deserves it – but he’s been much better lately. He pitched a scoreless 9th with two strikeouts. He’s pitched in two consecutive blowouts, but he has not surrendered a run since his horrendous night in Buffalo a few weeks ago. Let’s hope he can keep that up.

I’d also note that the bullpen overall has been very good since the horrid stretch. This shouldn’t be a surprise – they’re very good! – but it is a good sign indeed. The important games are coming quickly.

Leftovers

  • Gleyber Swings it Well: It was also a nice night for Gleyber Torres, who is starting to swing the stick better as of late. He went 3-5 with a double and 2 RBI, including this one below:
  • Gio Urshela Swings it Well, Too: It was also a really nice night for Gio Urshela, who went 4-5 and is now hitting over .300 on the season. He had two RBI, too. Just a nice night overall from the Yankee whose success always surprises me the most.

The Yanks and Jays play the third of this four-game set tomorrow night in Buffalo. Masahiro Tanaka (3-2, 3.27 ERA) will take on Robbie Ray (2-5, 7.17 ERA) starting at 6:37 ET. Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone.

Game 54: The other side of a blowout

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Oof. That was ugly. The Yankees blew out Toronto a couple of times last week, and tonight, the Blue Jays returned the favor. The final in this one: 11-5.

This one was over early as Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga got knocked around in the third and fourth innings. Meanwhile, the offense couldn’t muster much against Matt Shoemaker and the Jays’ bullpen. Here are the takeaways:

Michael King isn’t a big league starter. At least, not yet. There are reasons to like King, but his start tonight was emblematic of his entire season. He got off to a good start but wore down once the opposing lineup got a second look at him. Now, the times-through-the-order penalty applies to just about every pitcher. But for King, it’s particularly bad. Take a look:

Times Facing Opponent in Game
Split PA HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS tOPS+ sOPS+
1st PA in G, as SP27156.182.333.409.74281108
2nd PA in G, as SP26134.318.423.455.878116134
3rd PA in G, as SP1000.000.000.000.000-100-100
1st PA in G, as RP38218.278.316.528.844100127
2nd PA in G, as RP15112.286.333.571.905114115
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/21/2020.

Opposing hitters’ OPS go way up in a second plate appearance against King, though the jump is particularly noticeable as a starting pitcher. He’s kind of consistently bad as a reliever, whereas when starting, his first time through is actually pretty decent.

Tonight, King looked great his first time through the order. He allowed two hits and struck out five. One of those hits absolutely shouldn’t have been a hit, by the way. Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge let a ball drop in the outfield that turned into a triple. Anyway, point is: King shut down the Blue Jays in their first look tonight. He capped off that first time through with a beauty, too:

After that is when things unraveled. With one on, one out, and the top of the order due up, here’s what happened. King walked Cavan Biggio and then gave up back-to-back singles to Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernández, which put Toronto ahead 2-1. Next, King fanned Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for the second out, but Randal Grichuk delivered the final blow right after: an RBI single to make it 3-1. In short, Toronto hitters reached in four of the first five plate appearances in the second turn through the batting order. Not good. Jonathan Loaisiga relieved King, but allowed two of his inherited runners to score, putting the Yankees down 5-1 through 3 innings.

In fairness to King, some of the hits in that third inning weren’t scalded. Still, hits are hits and King has shown us time and time again that he doesn’t fare well against opposing hitters twice. As long as this issue remains, he’s not a viable starting pitcher.

King now has a 7.76 ERA and 5.13 FIP in 26 2/3 innings this season. If this is it for King this year, yikes. He had a chance to grab a rotation spot this year, but his poor performance, Deivi García’s success, and JA Happ’s resurgence never allowed it to be a possibility. My one big takeaway from King’s season, aside from the times through the order stuff: he’s gotta find a way to get his sinker down. Here’s his heat map on the pitch this season:

He flashes an excellent sinker (that Pitching Ninja gif, for example), but far more often than not it’s up and over the plate. If he can get that down, maybe he can get himself back on track as a back-end starter type.

Jonathan Loaisiga hasn’t looked great since returning from his unknown illness. In his third outing off the injured list, Loaisiga let this one get out of hand. He entered when it was 3-1 and allowed a couple of inherited runs to score, as mentioned earlier. Then, the next inning, he proceeded to give up four more runs. Loaisiga allowed five hits and walked two before Nick Nelson relieved him in the middle of the fourth inning.

Loaisiga’s pitch usage really stood out to me tonight. Of his 39 pitches in this one, 32 were fastballs. He’s got a great heater, but he also possesses a high spin curve and a sharp changeup, both with whiff rates north of forty percent this year. So, it’s a bit odd to see him spin off five breakers and two changeups tonight. He did something similar in his last outing too.

Granted, Loaisiga’s had some other high fastball usage outings this season. But considering how poorly things went tonight, it’s strange how he and Gary Sánchez kept going to the well. Maybe he just didn’t have a feel for the breaker or change, I don’t know. In any case, he also didn’t elevate his fastball at all, something he’s had success with before.

Hopefully this is just a case of Loaisiga trying to get back into a groove after missing a couple weeks of action. He showed some flashes of excellence in short relief last month and looked like a great option to graduate into late relief, particularly with Tommy Kahnle out for the year. It’d be nice to see him sort things out before the postseason.

Leftovers:
  • Gio Urshela drove in two of the three of the Yankees’ runs tonight. One was an RBI single that gave the Yankees’ a short-lived 1-zip lead in the second. The other was an RBI groundout in garbage time.
  • Giancarlo Stanton plated the Yankees’ third run with his RBI double in the eighth.
  • More from the too little, too late department: Mike Tauchman delivered a three-run double in the ninth inning against Wilmer Font.
  • Nick Nelson threw two innings in relief. The only run he allowed came on Randal Grichuk’s solo shot.
  • Chad Green and Adam Ottavino got some work in relief as well. Green gave up one run, a solo homer to Alejandro Kirk. Adam Ottavino pitched a clean eighth inning.
  • The Rays’ magic number for the division title is now 1. Additionally, the Yankees now trail the Twins by 1.5 games for the 4th seed.

Welp, on to the next one. The Yankees have now lost two straight, but it’s nice to have Gerrit Cole on the bump tomorrow. Have a good night, everyone.

Game 53: All good things must come to an end

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The Yankees’ ten game winning streak came to a halt this afternoon at Fenway Park. The Red Sox toppled the Yankees, 10-2. In a battle of rookie starters, Deivi García struggled and Tanner Houck pitched well. Boston jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning and didn’t look back. The Yankees will have to wait and see if the Mariners lose today in order to clinch, otherwise, tomorrow’s another opportunity. Let’s break this one down.

Deivi García didn’t have much working. His final line was pretty indicative of how he pitched: 3 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, and 2 homers. It was unlike the Deivi we had seen in his first four big league starts. Previously, García induced a good deal of soft contact, missed bats, and was incredibly efficient. Today was the opposite. Boston was all over him and García needed 76 pitches to complete three frames.

Two things jumped out at me in this one. First, García’s fastball velocity just wasn’t there. He averaged 90.8 MPH and maxed out at 92.8 on his heater. Deivi had an average fastball velocity of 92.3 entering this game. I don’t think it’s anything to be alarmed about as García isn’t known for a high velocity fastball. He can reach back for mid-90s when he needs it, but he’s usually sitting in the low 90s anyway. Still, losing a tick off the heater does help the hitters a bit. Boston put 10 of his fastballs in play at an average exit velocity of 98.4 MPH.

The other takeaway from Deivi’s start: he didn’t have any feel for his breaking pitches. That’s bigger than losing fastball velocity. The young righty is known for his knee-buckling curve and his developing sharp slider. Not today, though. He threw 9 breaking balls today, well below the rate he usually uses them. Mind you that Deivi typically throws the combination of his slider and curve almost a quarter of the time. Here are the locations on the ones he threw today:

Not great! A couple of these were hanging sliders that Michael Chavis hit homers against.

Deivi wasn’t going to be great each and every time out. No one is, of course. On the bright side, he didn’t look flustered on the field. I’m sure he’s disappointed since he was looking forward to pitching on the same mound as his idol Pedro Martínez once did. Oh well. Just wasn’t his day, unfortunately. We’ll see how he bounces back in his next start, likely his final one of the regular season.

Congratulations to the Red Sox for finally finding a competent starting pitcher. Rookie Tanner Houck shut down the Yankees’ lineup today. He allowed just one hit and three walks in six innings today and didn’t run into much trouble until his final frame. In fact, he held the Yankees hitless through five innings before Tyler Wade broke the no-no up with a double to lead off the sixth. The righty held down the Bombers’ resurgent offense thanks to excellent command of his sinker.

Houck’s sinker heat map.

The Yankees’ average exit velocity against his sinker was 80.7 on five balls in play, though Giancarlo Stanton’s 49.8 MPH groundout skews things a tad.

Houck’s lone run allowed was unearned. After Wade led off with a double in the sixth, Christian Vázquez allowed a passed ball which moved him to third. DJ LeMahieu walked to put runners on the corners and it seemed the Yankees might have had a chance to rebound and get back in the game (down 6-0 at the time). But Luke Voit bounced into a run-scoring double play to effectively end the threat.

So, a nice performance by Houck. It’s about time the Red Sox found a starter, I guess. The 24 year-old now has thrown 12 innings and has allowed just one unearned run. He was the team’s first round pick back in 2017, so it’s not as if his success was a total surprise. You know, maybe they could have ran him out before going to the scrap heap for guys like Zack Godley or Dylan Covey or whoever other no names they started this season. But these Red Sox are committed to the tank this year. If you know, you know.

Erik Kratz pitched. Lol. Aaron Boone turned to the Yankees’ third-string catcher to pitch the eighth inning of this one with the game already out of hand. J.D. Martinez hit a homer against him. Good for J.D., who’s really struggled this year as I wrote in the series preview. Heh.

The veteran righty topped out at 86.3 on the gun and mixed in a knuckler! The homer was Kratz’s only mistake.

It’s a lot easier to chuckle and take a loss like this in stride after a ten game winning streak. Clinching a postseason spot will just have to come another day. I’ll trade that in for watching Kratz get on the bump in a mostly meaningless game.

The one downside is that the Yankees are still fighting for that fourth seed with the Twins, likely the team’s opponent in the first round. Whoever gets that fourth seed will be the home team for the Wild Card round. Minnesota, 32-22, plays tonight against the Cubs. The Yankees are 31-22.

Leftovers

  • This is the last time we’ll see the Red Sox in 2020. The Yankees took 9 of 10 from Boston this season.
  • Luke Voit hit his league leading 21st homer in the ninth inning against Jeffrey Springs. He may be in pain (you know, foot stuff), but it’s certainly not holding him back performance-wise. Voit’s dinger was the only other hit for the Yankees aside from Wade’s double.
  • Someone broke into Fenway Park during this game and started throwing things on the field. WTF?

The Yankees now head off to Buffalo for a four game series against the Blue Jays starting tomorrow night. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Game 52: Ten In A Row

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In my last takeaways post, I implored people to keep the faith. There was no way a team this talented would play that poorly for the rest of the year. The Yankees are now on a ten game winning streak. They look like a machine right now. This is the level of performance we were expecting coming into the season. The 7-0 win over the Red Sox tonight leaves the Yankees at 31-21. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to one. This is quite a run. Here are the takeaways.

1.Clint Is Here To Stay: Normally, the takeaways would start with the fantastic start from J.A. Happ but we’re going to highlight Clint Frazier first. It’s pretty obvious that DJ Lemahieu and Luke Voit saved this team from a disastrous season. You can make a strong case that Clint deserves to be in that group as well. He’s done nothing but mash and play solid defense since his call up from the Alternate Site. Coming into tonight’s game, Clint was sporting a cool 165 OPS+. Frazier was firmly entrenched as the team’s clean up hitter while some of the stars were on the IL. He was a consistent power source for a lineup that experienced a team-wide power shortage for a long time.

The returns of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres have done nothing to dim the star of Frazier. He is continuing to be a force in the lineup. Clint was the offensive star of the game tonight. He drove in the second run of the game in the first inning, added another hit, and then did this on his third at-bat:

This was a meatball and he destroyed it. It isn’t easy for a right-handed hitter to drive the ball out of right field in Fenway Park. The home run was clocked at 103.4 MPH. The home run was the culmination of good at-bats and great swings from Frazier all night. Here is his heat map for the game:

It is one thing to blister the ball on the middle and inside parts of the plate, it is another to catch barrels on the outer half of the plate. This is a sign that both Frazier’s mechanics and timing are in perfect harmony with one another right now. You add in his impressive bat speed and you get performances like tonight. Clint Frazier should be the Yankees starting left fielder for the next few years at least.

2.Happ Is Proving A Point: If you’ve been following us for a while, you are familiar with our feelings about J.A. Happ. It is safe to say we’re not the biggest fans. I’m guessing most of you will agree. With that said, we give credit when it is certainly due. Over his last four or five starts, Happ has been pretty damn good. Tonight was his best start of the season. This Boston lineup, despite their team record, is still pretty formidable. J.A. dominated them for seven innings.

Two big keys for Happ’s turnaround are the usage and command of his four-seamer and sinker. Happ has always been reliant upon his fastball but it feels like he got away from that for a while going back to last year. He lost the feel for those pitches last year and used his slider more. It got him in trouble for various reasons. The command has returned so the usage has jumped up. Here is his pitch plot for tonight’s start:

Despite not having the best velocity or spin rate on his fastball, Happ can be really effective when he can command the upper part of the zone. It is especially effective if he can control the inside corner. If he is pinpoint on the inside it opens everything else up for him. It’s clear he was able to do that tonight. This is pretty much what the Yankees want to see in this plot.

Happ used the four-seamer a whopping 50% of the time in this start. Of the 57 fastballs thrown, he was able to create a 46% called strike and whiff rate. He also forced as many foul balls as balls in play on the four-seamer. The Red Sox struggled with this pitch all night. They couldn’t square it up. The average exit velocity was 84.8 MPH. This was a fantastic performance to say the least. It is one of his best in a Yankees uniform.

As the playoffs rapidly approach, Aaron Boone has a great conundrum on his hands. In the three-game series, does he go with Deivi or Happ in his rotation? The obvious debate is experience versus youth. This decision is going to extend well beyond that. Who will the Yankees face? What are the tendencies of those potential lineups? Who can exploit the weaknesses of their opponent better? Do you have a stronger belief in Happ’s resurgence or Garcia’s emergence? Will you have Deivi or Garcia pitch a potential Game 3 or have one of them pitch Game 2 and save Tanaka for the elimination game? These are all questions Boone and company will need to answer when deciding upon a Wild Card Series rotation. I think I still lean towards Deivi because we’ve seen bad Happ too many times but it is increasingly becoming a tough decision.

The Yankees finish this series against the Red Sox tomorrow afternoon at 1:07pm. They have a chance to sweep the season series against Boston. I really hope they can pull it off. Deivi gets the start. It doesn’t matter who is pitching for the Red Sox. Have a great night everyone.

Game 51: Yankees Win Five-Hour Slog in Fenway 6-5

Well, that sure was a Yankees-Red Sox game. It lasted five hours. Extra innings lasted forever. There were about 15,000 lead changes and game-tying hits. But the Yankees came from behind and won the game 6-5, taking their 11th in a row from Boston:

The Yankees are now guaranteed a .500 season as this was their 30th win of the year. This was a ridiculous game, but I’d be lying if I said I was sad it’s over. Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Jordan Montgomery Was Okay Until He Wasn’t: That was not a great start from Jordan Montgomery. It was ultimately worse than it needed to be and the line isn’t great: he lasted just 4.2 IP and gave up 4 runs on 5 hits. He struck out 7 and walked 2, and he needed 93 pitches to do it. Here is his plot, which tells the story of the night:

He was all over the place with his curveball, with the pitch either right down the middle or nowhere close to the zone. (He did get 4 whiffs on 9 swings on the pitch, though.) One of those looked like this…

…so the plot is a bit deceptive, too. In any case, Monty was strong to start out the night, pitching around some shaky Yankees defense (including, to be fair, one error by Montgomery himself) and inducing some timely double plays when he walked his way into some traffic, too. Plus, he induced some very soft contact all night, too:

Until he didn’t, that is. The only “hard hit” ball of the night came on a 4th inning, 3-run blast to 9th hitter Christian Arroyo. It followed two soft-hit singles, including one that got past the shift at 3B. Annoying! Here is the home run, which was a no-doubter over the monster:

That was really the big blow off Montgomery. A 3-run home run is a killer, as we all know. Despite how soft the preceding singles were, he earned this home run. I mean, look at the location:

You can’t be doing that, and it put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole. He walked Rafael Devers in the 5th inning before being lifted in favor of Luis Cessa, who allowed the run to score. That was his 4th and final run.

It was not a great start, but some bad luck – some soft singles and bad defense – made his pitch count rise. He worked around it until he didn’t, and that was that. Oh well. Go get ’em next time, Monty.

2. The A-Lineup Blanked By Martín Pérez: Tonight was one of the few times all season we were treated to the A-lineup, so of course the team threw up an offensive stinker against the Sox starter. As unpredictable as baseball is, sometimes you really can predict it. Pérez has actually been rolling of late, so it’s not that big of a deal, and he got some preferential calls from the umpire:

But whatever. What can you do except try to get some hits? Pérez, to his credit, limited the Yanks to just 4 baserunners (3 hits and a walk) through his 6 innings of work. They were thoroughly dominated:

The Red Sox also deployed some slick defense behind him. Check this out:

That’s basically just how it went. Oh well. The Yankees weren’t done just yet anyway.

3. There’s No Quit in the Yanks: The Yankees were undaunted despite being down 4-0 going into the 7th inning. In fact, they staged a rally basically right away. Despite two quick outs after Giancarlo Stanton walked to open up the frame, Aaron Hicks added a single and Gio Urshela walked to load the bases with two outs to bring up Gary Sánchez.

It was a huge moment in the game, and Gary delivered a great at-bat. He hammered a sinker into the right field corner and drove two runs in the process:

That was Gary’s second 104+ mph ball of the night, by the way. He’s looking better each and every day, and you don’t have to squint to see it. It’s a genuinely great sign.

Unfortunately, Clint Frazier grounded out to follow this great at-bat, and so ended the 7th inning rally. There was more to come in the 8th, after Aaron Judge laced a one-out single. Giancarlo Stanton, hitting after Judge for once, showed why this should happen all of the time by hammering an RBI double to the monster to drive him in:

All three runs came courtesy of Gary Sánchez and Giancarlo Stanton, with a nice Aaron Judge single to get the ball rolling for the latter. How I’ve missed this. Just how we all drew it up in December 2018, eh? Unfortunately, Luke Voit lined out to third and Gleyber Torres struck out looking in a bad at-bat to end this rally. This was especially annoying because Mike Tauchman pinch-ran for Stanton, which came back to bite the Yankees later. Gah.

I’m so flippant about this because, while those runs would have been nice, it gave Gary Sánchez (who was always going to be fine) an excuse to show how good he is once more. Here is what Gary did with two outs in the 9th inning:

Inject it right into my veins. That was his 3rd batted ball over 104 mph of the night and it tied the game at 4. It was beautiful.

4. Pre-Extras Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen has been a bit unheralded of late, but it’s been very good. Tonight was another example of that. I also enjoyed that Aaron Boone went to some of his best arms tonight despite the deficit. It’s time to make sure that everyone is getting their routine work in before the postseason. Here is everyone’s line tonight:

  • Luis Cessa: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Adam Ottavino: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB or K
  • Zack Britton: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Chad Green: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K

Britton looked especially great – Cessa looked a bit worse than the line, but he was fine – but I’m still a bit concerned with Ottavino. He gave up 2 fly ball outs and got only 1 whiff on 7 swings. He’s not quite looking like the elite reliever he was in 2020. If he can figure it out in the next few weeks, the Yankees will be even more dangerous.

Still, this was a good performance overall from the pen. They were handed a 3-0 deficit in the 5th, and while Cessa allowed an inherited runner to score, that was it. They gave the Yankees a chance to chip away and tie the game, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do. Give them props.

5. Extra Innings Frustration: Ugh, the top of the 10th inning was annoying. Clint Frazier was the Yankees’ free man on second and they were unable to get him to the plate. DJ LeMahieu grounded out, which at least helped get him to third base. That meant all Judge had to do was get a sac fly to at least give the Yanks the lead. But it was not to be. To be fair, he wasn’t helped by the ump. Look at this 0-0 “strike”:

That is an at-bat changing call. Judge didn’t look right after this, swinging through some bad pitches off the plate, but that is a horrendous call. There’s a huge difference between 0-1 and 1-0. Anyway, Judge struck out which brought up Mike Tauchman. I’m not sure why Boon didn’t go to Gardner here. Tauchman has been horrible and Gardner is coming off a nice night and starting to look better. I guess they were saving him for a potential defensive replacement? I don’t know. Anyway, Tauchman hit a very weak ball to third and that ended that. It was extremely frustrating!

Also frustrating: Aroldis Chapman’s performance. He was all over the place and tried his hardest to blow the game…but he did not. Somehow. He collected 2 strikeouts despite a walk and 27 pitches that looked like this:

Gary was great behind the plate when Chapman was wild as hell and he probably saved the game here. But in any case, it was no harm, no foul. We went to the 11th, where Luke Voit immediately did this:

https://twitter.com/snyyankees/status/1307164896958783489

To give the Yankees the lead. That was all they could muster, so Jonathan Loaisiga came on for the bottom of the 11th. A wild pitch/passed ball set up a no-outs, runners on 3rd situation. The Red Sox immediately scored on a weak single up the middle and the game was tied at 5. The Sox then bunted – even with 2 strikes! – and defensive replacement Tyler Wade dropped Loaigia’s throw to first. Inexplicable.

Loaisiga then fell behind 2-0 and they intentionally walked Boegarts. That loaded the bases with one out for J.D. Martinez. Loaisiga, of course, struck him out and overpowered him, and also induced a fly ball to get out of the inning. This is the game that would never end: Loaisiga and Chapman threw over 50 pitches with RISP and somehow allowed just 1 run. Boston, apparently, didn’t want to win.

Anyway, on to the 11th. Gio Urshela led off with a single, but Aaron Hicks was held at 3rd.Gary and Frazier struck out. DJ LeMahieu, however, did this:

To give the Yankees a 6-5 lead. Judge grounded out, though, so the Yankees went to the bottom of the 12th with a one run lead. Loaisiga stayed in the game. He induced a groundout to 2B that moved the runner over and then got JBJ to hit a shallow fly ball to center. Aaron Hicks fired a laser home to hold the runner, and then Loaisiga ended the game by getting a routine grounder to short.

I would apologize for this last section veering into straight recap territory, but I’m not going to. It’s almost 1 am and I am exhausted as hell.

Leftovers

  • The Defense was Shaky: Jordan Montgomery made an error in the first inning on a weak ground ball, Gleyber Torres made an error in the 3rd, bad shifting in the 4th preceded a 3-run home run, Aaron Hicks dropped a fly ball (it was a tough play in the gap) in the 7th inning, and Judge missed a playable fly ball in extra innings against the RF wall. There was also the Wade mistake I highlighted above. All in all, it was not a great evening for the Yankee defense.
  • The Bombers are Back: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton reached base 3 times in 7 plate appearances hitting back-to-back. It is just so nice to see them in the middle of the order again. It’s cathartic and it makes the Yankees feel that much more dangerous. Their mini 8th inning rally is all of the evidence we need to remember how potent the combination is.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play the second game of this three-game set tomorrow at 7:30 pm ET. J.A. Happ (1-2, 3.96 ERA) will take on Chris Mazza (1-1, 5.57 ERA) in that one. Try to enjoy your night, everyone.

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