Tonight’s game between the Yankees and Angels was virtually devoid of actual stakes. The result of the game would have essentially zero impact on the fates of either club’s 2019 season. Yet for a game in which nothing was really up for grabs, there was a whole lot going on.
Giancarlo Stanton made his return from injury as he tries to salvage a lost season. CC Sabathia made his final regular season start at Yankee Stadium, and what could be his final appearance ever in the Bronx, all while the Yankees had a chance to clinch the AL East. They fell by a score of 3-2, however, meaning if the champagne is to flow tonight, the Rays must lose to the Dodgers.
Winner(s) of the Game
The Yankees struggled on the offensive side of things tonight. That said, Stanton looked good in his return, smacking a booming double in his first at-bat in months:
Giancarlo ropes a double in his first AB pic.twitter.com/kilNTxJKM0— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 18, 2019
That was his only hit of the night, but his groundout in the third came off the bat at 113 mph. Safe to say his ability to barrel the ball is still fully intact even after a long layoff.
On the other side, Sabathia didn’t fare much better than the Yankees’ lineup, but we still have to recognize him here. He earned a standing ovation when he exited having completed 2.2 innings with two runs allowed and four strikeouts. Sabathia won’t start at home again in the regular season, and it remains unclear if he’ll appear in New York in the playoffs. If this caps Sabathia’s time as a player in the Bronx, it marks the end of a tremendous run.
Loser of the Game
Adam Ottavino will be made the scapegoat, thanks to an odd sequence of events in the seventh inning. Ottavino entered a 2-2 game and allowed a leadoff double. A pair of infield hits loaded the bases, and with one out, Ottavino got a groundout back to the mound. He failed to toss the ball to catcher Kyle Higashioka, and instead found the backstop, allowing what ended up as the winning run to score.
We also must mention, though, that Ottavino’s mistake wouldn’t have mattered too much if the Yankee offense managed more than six hits against a feeble Angels staff.