Baseball can and will hurt you a lot, and after a painful series against Tampa, this one-game finale with the Mets just twisted the knife a little. The Yankees finally broke out offensively, but the relief pitching couldn’t hold a lead, a certain as-yet-unnamed baserunner couldn’t run the bases right, and the Yankees lost 9-7.
This was a game of big innings, with the Yankees and Mets both turning in four-run frames. The good guys put up four runs in the second without a home run – indeed, they didn’t hit any balls out all game – after loading the bases and passing the baton hitter to hitter. Tyler Wade had a single, DJ LeMahieu chipped in with a sac fly, and Luke Voit added a two run double.
Come the seventh, the same trend continued. Gio Urshela broke a tie with an RBI single, and Brett Gardner drove home another run on a double. One of the most annoying parts of that Rays series was the feeling the Yankees were flat and unable to break out. It was nice to have a couple innings with crooked numbers.
Meanwhile, what do we think about J.A. Happ today? He labored, throwing 93 pitches in five innings. He struck out four against one walk, but gave up eight hits and eight hard hit balls. In the fourth inning, we really saw the two sides of Happ’s day, as he got a huge strikeout of Pete Alonso with a runner at third, only to give up three more hits in the inning and allow the game to be tied.
For the time being, Happ is probably staying in the rotation. A combination of manipulation and performance make it unlikely he’ll hit his vesting option, but with so many games to play in September, the Yankees will need arms. Happ’s made five starts, two have been great, two have been awful, and today would have been fine if he had been able to staunch the bleeding in the fourth. His inability to prevent the big inning has hurt him multiple times this year already though, and that adds so much more risk to putting him on the mound every five days.
The Yankees headed to the eighth up by three, and then it all went wrong:
Only one of those “in play” pitches have a launch angle greater than zero, but Zack Britton still gave up three hits and two runs, to reduce the Yankee lead to just one. That’s an occupational hazard of having Britton - he’s going to pitch to contact, and sometimes the contact slips through your defensive alignment.
In the ninth, the not-yet-suspended Aroldis Chapman got a big break when Billy Hamilton, pinch-running after a leadoff walk, was thrown out attempting to steal third. Then, Chapman threw this pitch:
99 mph is great! It is significantly less great when you throw it belt high over the middle of the plate. J.D. Davis did exactly what you should do with that pitch, hitting it 426 feet away to tie the game. To extras we go.
In extra innings, Tyler Wade starts as the runner on second. In theory, this is great! He is very fast and can probably score on just about any single. In practice, this is awful, as he completely blows a tag-up on a flyout, and is doubled off at second base. A bonehead moment from a player that needs to do better to even justify his roster spot doomed the Yankees from scoring.
Fortunately, I guess, we didn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on that boneheaded play, as Pete Alonso hit the second pitch he saw into the left field seats, and the game was over. 9-7 Mets, as the Yankees give up five unanswered runs and lose their third of four games this week.
Bring on Baltimore, I guess. Deivi García will pitch tomorrow, so hopefully, maybe, that will be fun.