“We Have Seen Too Much” Yanks Win Topsy-Turvy Game 2 to Advance

Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains. For the Yankees and Cleveland in Game Two of their Wild Card matchup, all three things happened. 

On the way to a 10-9 win by the Yankees,  there were two rain delays and questions about why the game started when it did and whether or not it should’ve been played at all. But play they did in a marathon, back-and-forth game that saw the Yankees advance to the ALDS.

Indeed those rain-soaked questions arose early for the Yankees as Masahiro Tanaka got off to an incredibly rough start. It was clear the rain was messing with him as his command and control were absolutely all over the place, leading to a four run inning for Cleveland, right off the literal and metaphorical bat. Before the game was delayed a second time, he gave up back-to-back doubles to Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez to get Cleveland on the board. Any thoughts of a reset after the rain delay were quickly washed away.

After getting Carlos Santana out, he fell behind Franmil Reyes, eventually walked him, then gave up a two-run double to Josh Naylor followed by a rocket on the ground to Roberto Perez that took a bad hop, ate up Gleyber Torres at short, and plated a fourth run for the home side. Tanaka looked about as bad as possible in his interrupted first inning.

Luckily for him, the Yankees started a comeback in the second when Giancarlo Stanton took Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco deep to right field for a solo homer, his second in as many at bats at the time. 

After two relatively uneventful innings in which both Tanaka and Carrasco seemed to settle in, the fireworks started for the Bombers in the fourth inning. First, Aaron Hicks tripled with Delino Deshields, Jr. badly misread Hicks’ ball and it turned into a triple. Luke Voit and Stanton then worked walks, forcing Sandy Alomar to pull Carrasco and bring in James Karinchak, his fireballing reliever, to put out the flames. At first, it looked like he just might do that. Despite the righty being a bit all over the place, Yankee third baseman Gio Urshela did not look comfortable at the plate….until….

Urshela blasted Karinchak’s full count offering into left center for a go-ahead grand slam to put the Yankees up 5-4, capitalizing on Deshields’ mistake, Carrasco’s sudden wildness, and Karinchak’s poor command and control. 

To the surprise of many, Masahiro Tanaka came back out for the bottom of the inning and handled things, including a great glove flip play on a Deshields attempted bunt.

In the fifth, the Yankees added a run on a Stanton sac fly, but failed to add more when Voit was thrown out between third and home on a grounder back to the pitcher. That would loom large as Cleveland struck back in the bottom of the fifth. 

A trifecta of bad things allowed Cleveland to tie the game. First, Aaron Boone tried to squeeze a bit more out of Masahiro Tanaka, which he should not have done. Tanaka put the first two hitters on base and that led to the second bad thing: a poorly executed curveball by reliever Chad Green. Jose Ramirez again made his presence felt, knocking a double down the right field line that tied the game…thanks to the third bad thing. DJ LeMahieu made a poor throw to Gary Sanchez, who skied up to get the ball and almost tagged the tying runner out, but, alas, it was not to be. For the third time, the game began again. 

The tie didn’t last long, as Gary Sanchez took advantage of a meatball for what seems like the first time all year, and hit one out ot right to put the Yankees up 8-6. 


Green came out for the bottom of the sixth, but exited after putting two runners on against the bottom of the Cleveland order. Lucky for him, Zack Britton bailed him out with–what else?–a groundball double play. 

But Britton’s heroics were short-lived as he walked two batters with two outs in the seventh. This prompted Aaron Boone to bring in Jonathan Loaisiga to face surprise pinch hitter Jordan Luplow, who came in for the red hot Josh Naylor. Loaisiga hung him a pitch and Luplow didn’t miss, tattooing it over Aaron Hicks’ head and off the center field wall to tie the game for Cleveland. 

Despite two walks by LeMahieu and Aaron Judge–their best plate appearances of the night–and a botched double play by Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Boone’s decision to lift Luke voit for Tyler Wade came back to bite the Yankees as it forced Clint Frazier to pinch hit in the cleanup spot; he had a bad at bat, striking out on three pitches, stranding runners on the corners. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Boone repeated his Tanaka mistake from the fifth by allowing Johnny Lasagna to stay in the game and walk the first two hitters before calling on Arolids Chapman, who probably should’ve started the inning anyway. But one batter later, Cesar Hernandez pushed a bloop single into shallow left, bringing Delino Deshields, Jr. home to give Cleveland a 9-8 lead. The damage could’ve been worse if not for a spectacular double play started by Gio Urshela, who dove and threw from a seated position to start a 5-4-3 double play that bailed the Yankees out of further damage and gave them a fighting chance in the ninth. 

In said ninth inning, Giancarlo Stanton took a five pitch walk against Cleveland closer Brad Hand, replaced by Mike Tauchman on first. Frustratingly, he did not attempt a steal despite Hand’s slow delivery, but he moved to second anyway on a wild, defensive flick of a swing by Gio Urshela that resulted in a single up the middle to keep the Yankees’ line moving. Despite a strong at bat, Brett Gardner–following an infield single/maybe an error by Hand off the bat of Glebyer Torres–struck out to bring up Gary Sanchez, who tied the game with a sac fly to center. And then up came LeMahieu and, what do you know? It’s French for game-winning hit. An on 0-2 pitch, he poked the ball up the middle and scored Urshela from second to give the Yankees the lead and chase Hand from the game.

Aaron Judge walked against new reliever Cal Quantrill, but Aaron Hicks whiffed and couldn’t tack on either. 

In the ninth, Arolids Chapman came back out for his second inning of work and promptly whiffed Franmil Reyes on three pitches then got Luplow to ground out to Torres, Gary Sanchez made things interesting by whiffing on Chapman’s strikeout pitch to pinch hitter Oscar Mercado allowing him to reach base. But, despite a momentarily scary long foul ball by another pinch hitter–Austin Hedges–Chapman picked up his catcher with a strikeout. 

That was….a game. It made my blood pressure rise. It took a year or three off my life. This is the first recap of a Yankee game I’ve done since the three grand slam game in 2011 and, uh, I sure know how to pick ’em, huh? All that matters, though, is the Yankees have two games down and ten to go for number 28. Next up–the Rays on Monday in San Diego.


Wild Card Round Game 2: Close it out


Thoughts after the Yankees Advance to the ALDS


  1. CentralScrutinizer

    Ugly, painful game to watch but at least the result was what we needed. First off, whoever was making decisions about the weather blew it big time. I thought we were going to get a replay of 2011 when we lost CC to a rain out in a game that should have never been started. Tanaka got the worst of that deal but he was still pretty bad.

    Boone probably stayed too long with Tanaka but man, he’s got about 1 guy (Chapman) who he can trust out there. Why they are carrying 9 (?) guys out there and most of them are useless in high leverage situations is beyond me. Chad Green needs to shove that curveball up his rear end. When you come in a situation like that your job is to strike motherf—–s out. Stick with the high cheese. Same thing with Johnny Lasagna (I can’t spell his last name) – nothing but cheese. You can’t hang a curveball to a .145 hitter in that situation. Zach Britton sucks. He loses the strike zone too many times and can’t make adjustments. Ottavino is, rightfully, out of the circle of trust showing that giving him that big contract was as big a mistake as Britton’s deal.

    And as someone pointed out earlier, Boone has to get off this fascination with pinch running for his sluggers. He took Voit and Stanton out of the game because – reasons? You can’t have Wade or Tauchman coming to the plate in key situations because you pinch ran for a middle of the order guy. Yeah, he pinch hit for Wade (sorry Clint – I’m your biggest supporter but you have to start jumping those first pitch fastballs) but that is going to bite him sooner or later.

    Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Gio Urshela. Sorry Miggy Mantle but you can’t top Gio’s game. Without him this game was lost. Kudos to Sanchez even if his HR was heavily wind aided. He did what Judge, Gardner and Hicks could not do – deliver a fly ball with a man on third and less than 2 out. As for Hicks, I don’t care how many walks he draws – he’s killing them in that 3 hole. That’s another Boone blunder. What a weak at bat in the 9th with the bases loaded and a chance to break it open. The Indians obviously pitched around Judge (even though he swing at ball 4 twice) to get to Hicks. They knew. It’s about time that Boone Knows.

    • Wire Fan

      Nailed it 100%. Hicks is hitting too many GBs to hit behind two high OBP guys. The only reason he is 3rd is because of the Yankees obsession with platoon effects and the need to “split up the righties”

      Also saw platoon-itis later in the game when they pulled Britton for Loaisiga because of the need to get a righty righty matchup. Britton is an extreme GB pitcher and better than Loaisiga. With two men on and a 2 run lead, you guard the lines and the worst result is probably a 1 run RBI single.

      The Yankees obsession with handedness is really leading to some dumb decision making.

      • Mungo

        Hicks himself has a .380 OBP and a 121 OPS+ this year. My general belief is get your high OBP guys up higher in the order. Where do you want to bat him and why? One thing we know about the Yankees. They are as data-driven as any team. Between their baseball people and their analytics people, there is almost assuredly a reason they like to break up their righties. Arguing strongly against Hicks and his .380 OBP doesn’t make much sense. He had several key ABs, was on base four times and scored four runs in the two games.

  2. Yanks317

    The bullpen is not as long and effective as it once was… I thought Tanaka made Lindor look silly in the prior AB, after Lindor he needed to be lifted. The pen was really ineffective, that makes it difficult for the manager to look good.

  3. FrankieHo-Tep

    Not humanly possible for Boone to manage this game worse.

    Leaving Tanaka in to face the lineup a third time instead of a rested pen for a clean inning? Atrocious managing.

    Pinch running for Voit AFTER one out is already made? Makes zero sense.

    Loaisiga instead of Ottavino when Cleveland pinch hit Naylor with a righty?

    Could have cost them the game, and by extension, the series. Worst game I’ve seen Boone manage, personally.

    • Yanks317

      Loaisiga has been better than Otto for a long while now. Dating back to last October.

  4. MikeD

    If that felt like the longest nine inning game ever, well, that’s because it was. Grueling. Glad they came out on the winning side.

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