Over the past week, we here at Pinstripe Alley have been reviewing the season. All of those posts are far more important than this.
There have been things about the best moments of the year, the worst, and now it’s time for the weirdest. From 18 inning games to pitchers playing first base, lets look back at the stranger games from the 2017 season.
In the midst of their lull that saw the Yankees fall close to .500, the Yankees went to Fenway for a series. They lost the opener after Aroldis Chapman allowed two runs in the ninth. The Yankees sat at just 45-42 and dropped 4.5 games behind Boston.
The following day looked like it would be more of the same as Chris Sale shut out the Yankees for 7.2 innings. Craig Kimbrel finished off the eighth for Sale and then came back out for the ninth. At that point it became quite important that Luis Severino had only allowed one run. Matt Holliday led off the ninth with a home run out of nowhere, and sent the game into extra innings.
For the next couple innings, it looked like the home run would be in vain as the Yankees put six runners on and failed to score any of them. The Red Sox stranded five runners themselves. That included the 10th inning, where the first two hitters led off with singles against Chasen Shreve, and then wasted them.
In the top of the 16th, the dam broke all at once. The first four Yankees picked up hits and they scored three runs to eventually close out a long win. The Yankees spent 15 innings doing basically nothing and still came away with a victory.
The boxscore of this game shows it as a 2:52 minute, fairly uneventful game, but it was most certainly not that.
The afternoon game started with a rain delay in which no rain actually fell. The teams did manage to then get in several innings. At that point, the rain finally did show up and caused a three hour delay. The game eventually finished a solid seven-ish hours after it was supposed to start. In all that time, the Yankees found no offense and wasted a solid Masahiro Tanka outing.
Another weird thing that happened was Dellin Betances throwing an immaculate inning. He’s wild to begin with, and this was arguably his worst season in that regard. However, for those nine pitches, he was perfect.
3. June 13th: Eric Young Jr. Beats the Yankees
Anytime you give up the tying and game-losing runs to Eric Young Jr. hits, the game was probably pretty weird.
The Yankees lost CC Sabathia to an injury early in the game, but held on to a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth inning. Tyler Clippard then allowed a home run to Young and the game eventually went into extra innings.
In the top of the 11th, the Yankees left the bases loaded, which would be a problem when Young’s spot in the lineup came back around for the Angels. With runners on first and third, Young punched through a single, winning the game for LA.
The guy who was the Yankees’ September pinch runner in 2016 drove in two runs to beat them and get the Yankees’ worst stretch of the season rolling.
A few days before this game, these two teams played another game that easily could have been on this list, when the Yankees came back from being down eight runs.
This game gets the nod over that one because of one positional decision in the late innings.
Bryan Mitchell pitched a scoreless top of the ninth with the Yankees down three runs. In the bottom of the ninth, they staged another dramatic comeback, scoring three runs to tie the game.
Joe Girardi wanted to bring Chapman to pitch the tenth in the newly tied game. However, Mitchell was the long man and they might still need him to pitch if the game went longer beyond that. Naturally, the decision was to move Mitchell to first base.
Mitchell botched one catch, but otherwise did about as well as you could expect a pitcher to do.
His fielding at first base ended up being more useful than his pitching, as he later gave up three runs in the 11th as the Yankees lost the game.
1. May 7th: Yankees Win in 18 Innings
It should not be a surprise that the weirdest games tend to be the longest ones. Number one follows that trend.
The Yankees held a three-run lead heading into the ninth, on the verge of sewing up a sweep over the Cubs. Chapman then proceeded to give the Cubs all three runs back. To cap it all off, the tying run came when he hit a batter with the bases loaded. Clippard, of all people, managed to strand the bases loaded and send the game to extra innings.
After the teams basically played another game, Aaron Hicks scored on a Starlin Castro fielder’s choice to put the Yankees ahead in the top of the 18th. Chasen Shreve finished off the game and the Yankees came away with a 5-4 win, somehow.
The journey there was also quite the adventure. From the 10th-17 innings, the Yankees put on just five runners. The Cubs put on seven, including two in the 18th inning. One of those runners ended up at third with just one out and didn’t score. The Cubs used both John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks as pinch hitters during extra innings. You won’t be surprised to know that they both left runners on base.