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Yankees 6, White Sox 5: South Side Slugfest

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Lots of pluses and two major minuses in Game One.

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

With Matt Holliday, Aaron Hicks, Adam Warren and others battling injury and illness, it’s becoming imperative for the Yankees to keep their entire remaining roster as healthy as possible. The roster took another hit tonight in Chicago, as Starlin Castro came up lame running to first in the second inning. The Yankees second baseman was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring, and will probably be moved to the DL. That was the first bit of bad news in a series opening win, 6-5 over the White Sox.

White Sox David Holmberg was annoying initially, one of the classic soft-tossing lefties that seem to give lineups trouble all the time. He cruised early but began to fall apart in the fourth inning, first by walking Aaron Judge for the second time. Todd Frazier’s error on a Gary Sanchez ground ball set up runners on the corners for Tyler Austin, whose flyout brought Judge in to tie the game. After AL MVP Chase Headley drove in Sanchez with a single, an Austin Romine walk and Ronald Torreyes sac fly had the Yankees up 3-1.

The Yankees kept coming in the fifth, as Tyler Austin jacked a pitch into left field for a solo home run before Holmberg committed a terrible error on a swinging bunt from Jacoby Ellsbury. A double, another sacrifice fly, and another error, and the Yankees were up five. Bottom line, Holmberg probably is as bad as his peripherals say, and Rick Renteria left him in for far too long, but I don’t think anyone will complain.

Jordan Montgomery, meanwhile, was outstanding. He had an unlucky first inning, committing an error and seeing a weird chopper land for a base hit, but Gumby was able to induce a double play and escape damage. A Todd Frazier home run is the only black mark on his line tonight, but after a pretty chaotic start to the game, and a general depressive feeling following Starlin Castro’s departure, Monty did a great job of stabilizing the game and giving the Yankees’ offense time to smack Holmberg around. He scuffled a bit the third time through the order, but 7 IP and 8 Ks will play anywhere.

I didn’t want to write about the bullpen today. I was hoping we could all have a safe, easy finish, and get set for tomorrow’s game. We were not allowed to enjoy that.

Jonathan Holder and Dellin Betances had a rocky eighth inning, loading the bases and seeing a botched double play, but they were able to work out of it and keep the lead at five. Chasen Shreve couldn’t follow suit, putting two men on before Tim Anderson launched a three-run home run to make the game 6-4, and necessitate Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman continued his season of not being as good as advertised, giving up a single and RBI double to make the game 6-5. After an exhaustively long at-bat against Avisail Garcia, Chapman engineered a groundout and flyout to finish a game that should not have been this close.

per FanGraphs

Monty (.209) and Headley (.145, not counting two very nice defensive plays) get the WPA nod tonight.

Tyler Wade is expected to be called up to replace Castro in the meanwhile, although it remains to be seen whether he’ll start or not. Either way he’ll be in Chicago tomorrow night, as will the rest of the Yankees for the second game of this series, again at 8:10 EDT.