Panthera tigris is the tiger species with which we’re all familiar. They’re big, they have stripes, and are one of the few animals known to actively hunt human beings. Tonight in Detroit, however, Yankees fans were introduced to another tiger species, the Tigris horribulis. A comedy of poor plays and poorer relief pitching helped the Yankees erupt to an 8-6 win in game one.
The Tigers got off to a rough start in the second inning, as Gary Sanchez doubled to the wall on a line drive that right fielder Nick Castellanos seemed to duck to avoid. The mirth experienced from that weird play was short lived, however, as the very next batter was Aaron Hicks:
That was fun. Even more fun, it wasn’t Hicks’ only home run of the day. Four innings later, he launched a ball into the right-center seats for a more conventional round trip.. After a quiet return last night in Boston, Hicks reintroduced himself in a big way.
It was a very efficient night offensively, as the Yankees turned seven hits and four walks into eight total runs. Comerica Park is a tough yard to hit home runs in, or at least the regular kind of home run, and the Yankees managed four extra base hits that were NOT long balls. That kind of power helps you win a lot of ball games.
Those Tigris horribulis showed up again a little later, on a seemingly innocuous groundout with a runner on second. Didi Gregorius slaps a ball to the shifted Dixon Machado, who has to throw the ball about fifteen feet to first base for the out and, well, see for yourself:
#Yankees @ #Tigers— Bronx Cathedral (@BronxCathedral) April 14, 2018
Didi Gregorius grounds a ball to Dixon Machado, who throws the ball away, allowing Aaron Judge to scores extending the Yankees lead to 5-0 (00:46)
MLB Gameday: https://t.co/L2AbMpg257pic.twitter.com/R0YFaoaoSL
Jordan Montgomery looked really good, making his first career start against the Tigers. His final line: 6+ IP, 5 H, 3 ER and 4 strikeouts, with no walks. He worked quickly and efficiently, leaving the game with just 91 pitches thrown. Most importantly was the command, as he issued no free passes. Walking batters has been Monty’s Achilles heel for his young career, and the key for him being a successful pitcher is the ability to consistently throw strikes. He was able to do that tonight.
You could maybe argue he was left in a couple of batters too long, though. After cruising through six innings, the only blemish a James McCann home run, Aaron Boone let Monty work the seventh. He gave up a pair of hits, along with a run. Montgomery certainly looked fatigued coming out for that extra inning of work, and it’s clear that his stamina is still an area he’ll have to work on.
The third run charged to Monty came off a sacrifice fly once he had left the game, as David Robertson entered with a man at third and nobody out. Unfortunately, the bullpen’s struggles continued (and how) as D-Rob was hit hard twice, resulting in a lineout and double, before giving up an infield hit. With the tying run at the plate, Robertson was able to strike out Leonys Martin, and the Yankees headed to the eighth up 6-3.
Fortunately, the Tigers bullpen is a thing of comedy, and the Yankees answered right back in their eighth. Miguel Andujar led off with a triple, and was brought home by Ronald Torreyes’ succeeding single. The team then promptly loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch and walk, and Didi Gregorius extended the lead to five with a sac fly.
Dellin Betances worked a bad eighth and I don’t really want to talk about it. He’s clearly lost the right to work in high leverage spots and looked terrible in a low leverage appearance facing a bad team. I don’t know what the future holds for Betances, it just makes me very, very sad to see him as he is now. Thankfully, Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth, sealing the 8-6 win.
Detroit is going to be punished by rain tomorrow, and it’s questionable whether any baseball will be played. If the game goes ahead, Luis Cessa will start and first pitch will be at 1:05pm. Be sure to check in with PSA here, on Twitter or Facebook as we’ll update you as to the status of the game.