Welp. This counts as the worst loss of the season, doesn’t it? The Yankees took a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning before a 3.5 hour (self-inflicted) rain delay. The Texas Rangers then beat up on Kirby Yates to steal the game from the Yankees by a score of 9-6. Yuck.
Let’s start with the end first. The Yankees had a lead after five innings, and the bullpen did their parts to secure the win. Left-hander Richard Bleier and Dellin Betances worked perfect sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Odor launched a solo shot off of Andrew Miller in the eighth to make it 6 - 5, Yankees. It was no-doubter off of the bat and into the second deck. I didn’t know it was possible to hit a ball that hard off of Miller.
Aroldis Chapman tried to close things out in the ninth but inclement weather halted the party. It was pouring rain while Chapman was pitching and Joe Girardi successfully lobbied to get the tarp on the field after a leadoff walk (he later denied doing that but who knows). That’s something you don’t see every day. What ensued was a 3.5 hour rain delay because of course it did.
Kirby Yates stepped in for Chapman at 2:15 AM. He retired Shin-Soo Choo before hitting Ian Desmond and Nomar Mazara with pitches to load the bases. Adrian Beltre drove in the go-ahead runs with a single to make it 7 - 6, Rangers. Naturally, Yates followed that up by hitting Prince Fielder to pull off the rare Cesar Cabral. Elvis Andrus put things out of reach with a two-run single to add to the Rangers lead.
Sam Dyson brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but the Yankees couldn’t muster a rally. I repeat, yuck. If the season actually falls apart, this will be a game that gets brought up. Terrible. Now how did the Yankees get here? Believe it or not the game started with Ivan Nova.
Nova entered Monday night’s game as the weak link in the Yankees rotation. He did little to change that with his effort. He served up a solo home run to Desmond, the second batter of the game, to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. Nova has allowed a home run in each of his ten starts this season. That’s an issue that should probably be addressed.
After a perfect second inning, things got shaky for Nova. He allowed a leadoff walk to Robinson Chirinos, who advanced to third on a double by Choo. Desmond drove Chirinos home with a grounder to first, making it 2-1 Rangers. Nova rebounded to get Mazara to foul out before Beltre grounded out to first.
Nova worked himself into trouble again in the fourth inning. Fielder led off the inning with a single. He advanced to second on a Rougned Odor groundout. An Andrus walk and a Mitch Moreland single loaded the bases with only one out. Nova struck Chirinos out swinging, which brought Choo to the plate. With two strikes, Choo singled to center to bring home Fielder and Andrus. It looked like Nova was going to get out of the jam. He was one strike away. Instead he gave up the lead to make it 4-3 Rangers. All things considered, Nova finished the night allowing four runs over five innings. His season ERA sits at 5.32. Maybe it’s time to try Chad Green instead?
Rangers right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez, who made 2016 season debut on Monday, was equally rocky. The Yankees got on the board in the second inning with an RBI single by Chase Headley to bring home Mark Teixeira. Aaron Hicks followed with an RBI groundout to plate Didi Gregorius. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead.
The third inning brought a barrage of singles by the Yankees, nearly all of them hit to center field. Desmond got quite a workout. Carlos Beltran, Teixeira, and Starlin Castro all singled to center to plate another run, making it 3-2 Yankees. The rest of the damage off of Gonzalez came in the fifth inning when the Yankees scored two runs off of McCann and Gregorius singles.
With Gonzalez and Nova departed, the game became a battle of the bullpens. The Yankees imploded in the ninth, as you know. The Rangers entered the game with a suspect set of relievers but they pitched just well enough win. Teixeira launched a solo shot off of Luke Jackson to lead off the seventh inning. That’s his second homer in as many games and the 399th of his career. Hopefully he’ll continue to hit for power. The Yankees desperately could use it .
Game two of the four game series starts tomorrow at 7:05 PM on YES. It will be CC Sabathia against Cole Hamels in a battle of the left-handed pitchers. Let’s get some sleep and hope for a night without rain.