The Yankees continue to find new ways to frustrate. It seems like a nightly occurrence. Tonight, the dubious honors went to the pitching staff, with special emphasis on Dellin Betances. For a super-team, they sure do know how to get you irritated, especially against admittedly terrible clubs. The Bombers lost in embarrassing fashion to the Tigers, by a score of 8-7.
The warning signs came early, as J.A. Happ repeatedly got burned by the long ball. Three poorly located fastballs resulted in five runs for the Tigers. After being so vital to the Yankees’ success since the trade deadline, he had his first real clunker in pinstripes.
It all started in the first inning, when Happ allowed a leadoff home run to Jeimer Candelario. The southpaw placed a fastball on a tee — up and over the plate. The Tigers third baseman sent the pitch to the seats in left field and gave Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Happ created traffic on the bases in the second inning, but he navigated that and the third without damage. Unfortunately, that ends the good news for the left-hander. In the fourth inning, shortstop Ronny Rodriguez took him deep for a two-run homer. This one came on almost the same pitch as Candelario’s home run. It also resulted in a 3-2 lead for the Tigers.
The final blow for Happ came in the fifth inning, when Victor Martinez launched a two-run shot of his own to right field. This time it was a fastball down in the zone that caused the damage. The Tigers had a 5-4 lead, and two batters later, drove Happ from the game.
All considered, the 35-year-old allowed five runs over 4.1 innings. He struck out just three batters. This clunker raised his season line to a 4.00 ERA (4.07 FIP). It was his first real dud in pinstripes. He’s been rock solid since joining the Yankees, so he earned a pass here. Shake it off and get ready for next time, Happ.
For a brief moment, it appeared the Yankees would struggle to generate offense. Brett Gardner got things going in the third, however, with a one-out single. That brought Aaron Hicks to the plate, who punched a single of his own through to right field. For inexplicable reasons, Gardner tried to go from first to third on the play. He was thrown out with plenty of time to spare, which is all the more concerning when one considers the fact that Giancarlo Stanton stood at the plate.
Thankfully, Stanton made up for it by swatting his 300th career home run.
The Yankees took another temporary lead in the fourth inning, this time courtesy of a Gleyber Torres home run. Following a Luke Voit single, Torres took Francisco Liriano deep for his 21st homer of the season. That made it 4-3 Yankees, while confirming that Gleyber has fully snapped out of his long funk at the plate.
After trailing 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, the Bombers evened things out thanks to some heads up baserunning. Hicks got the action started by singling off Liriano. He then advanced to second on an infield single off the bat of Miguel Andujar. Candelario, who fielded the ball, made an errant throw to first, however, allowing Hicks to come home. He beat the play at the plate and the Yankees tied the ballgame at five runs apiece.
What felt like the defining blow, however, came off the bat of Voit. The red hot first baseman crushed a Victor Alcantara sinker into Monument Park. His homer gave the Yankees a 7-5 lead, and produced plenty of excitement in the dugout. Voit’s home run celebrations have become must-see TV.
With the bullpen keepign things on lock, it felt like a win would come on autopilot. Then Betances entered in the ninth inning. For the first time in months, he totally melted down. He surrendered a pair of homers, propelling the Tigers ahead 8-7. The culprits? A 39-year-old Victor Martinez and Niko Goodrum. According to Jeff Quagliata, this was the first time in Betances’ career that he allowed two home runs in the same game. Bad Dellin showed up at such an inopportune time.
Naturally, the Yankees went quietly in the bottom of the ninth. They once again lost to a terrible teams. A seemingly fun game ended with the same frustrations that have plagued the club all year, but boiled over in the last month. What a completely ridiculous game.
Jordan Zimmermann will face off against Luis Severino in tomorrow night’s game. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.