The Yankees entered Thursday night with a 12-1 record using a bullpen game. That record dropped to 12-2, a figure that somehow doesn’t even combine for the amount of runs that the Cleveland Indians scored in a 19-5 rout of the Yankees.
Chad Green had been impeccable as an opener entering Thursday, but that changed quickly thanks to Cleveland’s deep lineup. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Jose Ramirez, who promptly unloaded them with a grand slam into the Yankees’ bullpen. Jason Kipnis followed with a solo shot, and the Indians were up 5-0 before the first inning was even over. Green threw 35 pitches and recorded just one out in the process.
Jonathan Loaisiga took over for Green, but he didn’t get out of the first unscathed as Roberto Perez took him deep, extending the lead to 7-0 Indians. Cleveland batted around before the Yankees even had a chance to come to the plate.
The Yankees got one run back in the bottom of the first with an RBI single from Gio Urshela. They missed out, however, on the chance to cut further into the deficit by leaving the bases loaded.
Ramirez made the Yankees pay in the top of the second, ripping his second home run of the night, extending the lead to 9-1 Indians. After New York failed to score in the next two innings, Carlos Santana buried the Yankees in just the fourth inning, crushing a two-run dinger off Chance Adams, making it 11-1 and basically ending any comeback hopes.
The rest of the game didn’t feature very many highlights, but Didi Gregorius hit a long home run and went 3-for-4. Gary Sanchez smoked a round-tripper in the sixth, his third since coming off the injured list. First baseman (and former Ivy League pitcher of the year) Mike Ford finished off the game with two miserable innings of relief. Ford’s ERA sits at 22.50 after Cleveland roughed him up in garbage time. He did get one strikeout though!
Although one bad night shouldn’t lead to any overreactions, the loss showed many flaws of the bullpen game. If the opener has a bad outing, it can ruin the entire flow of the game and put more stress on the pitchers who come in next. A successful bullpen game involves four to six pitchers all having good performances, which can be a tough ask.
The Yankees will look to bounce back tomorrow now that their five-game win streak has been snapped. Masahiro Tanaka will go for the Yankees, while the Indians will roll out rookie Aaron Civale.