Another day without much offense from the Yankees. Unlike last night, the result didn’t go in their favor. The offense only mustered seven baserunners, and outside of the one run in the fourth inning, they didn’t threaten the Tigers pitching much today. Masahiro Tanaka performed admirably to keep it close, and Adam Ottavino showed once again how valuable he can be out of the bullpen. Ultimately, a bullpen misfire and no life in the bats doomed the Bombers tonight. All’s not lost though. The Yankees can still win this series tomorrow.
Tanaka gave the Yankees a rock solid performance tonight. Early on, the Tigers tagged him for a handful of hits — he had first and third with no one out in the fourth — but Tanaka worked out of the jam. The right-hander kept the Tigers off the scoreboard until the sixth inning. Jeimer Candelario’s groundball towards first ricocheted of the bag and over Luke Voit’s head for a double. On the next pitch, John Hicks doubled off a slider, scoring Candelario.
Outside of the one bad slider, Tanaka had an incredible night. He didn’t surrender a walk. He racked up seven strikeouts, all swinging. Two of them came from fastballs, two from splitters, and three from sliders. He kept the Yankees in the game, and it’s a shame he won’t get a win for his efforts tonight.
The Yankees didn’t roll out their best lineup tonight, but credit to Jordan Zimmermann for a great start. He went 6.2 innings, struck out six, and allowed just one run to score. The 32-year-old struggled mightily with injuries and poor performance the last three seasons, but in 2019, he’s only surrendered one run in 13.2 innings. A comeback year might be the only good thing to come from the Tigers this summer.
Meanwhile Ottavino is creeping up my list of favorite Yankees, and tonight’s performance is exactly the reason why. In relief of Tanaka in the seventh, he struck Josh Harrison out on three pitches, then came back out in the seventh for two more strikeouts. His presence out of the bullpen has definitely eased the burden of not having Dellin Betances.
For the second consecutive day, Aroldis Chapman took the ball in the ninth, but it didn’t go quite as well as it did in game one. After getting a quick strikeout, the wheels started to come off. Niko Goodrum came to the plate and worked a six-pitch walk. Dustin Peterson brought Goodrum around to score when he doubled off Chapman. The Tigers pushed their lead to two after a couple more singles. Ultimately, Chapman was just bad today. The command wasn’t there. The velocity was better, but two of the Tigers’ three hits came off pitches slower than 95 mph.
Offensively, there are very few highlights from this game. DJ LeMahieu led the team in hits tonight with two. Clint Fraizer and Tyler Wade had decent season debuts. Frazier’s sacrifice fly in the fourth generated the only run tonight. Wade struck out twice but also collected a base hit in the fifth. He stole a base and made a nice defensive play in the ninth.
Tonight was a rough one for sure. Losses are never fun, and boring losses are even worse. The Yankees are back in action tomorrow night against the Tigers. Jonathan Loaisiga will take the mound for the first time next season for the series finale. Matthew Boyd, a left-hander, will get the ball for the Tigers. The game will begin at 4:05 EST.