This game was bowling shoe ugly. Gerrit Cole was fine, but not excellent. The offense absolutely stunk, yet again, scoring only on a solo home run and a passed ball in extra innings. The bullpen did their job ... until it didn’t, and the Yankees were walked off in ten, 3-2.
We’ll start with the tenth inning, and if you just need to know how the game ended and then you want to leave, well, I won’t blame you. Justin Wilson was called upon to work the tenth inning, after Aroldis Chapman was given the ninth. Chapman only threw 14 pitches in that frame, leading a number of folks to wonder if he could get six outs. The Yankees disagreed, bringing Wilson in. (After the game, Aaron Boone said that they didn’t want him throwing an extra inning recovering from an illness.)
Wilson actually got to two outs before anything bad happened. I was typing up a draft of this review where Wilson actually made it work, moving himself closer to — if not into — the circle of trust by recording a save. Instead, Robbie Grossman took him deep to left field, ending the game and making Wilson’s season even worse.
You can blame me, if you like:
Feels like the third such game I’ve recapped this year, but Gerrit Cole was pretty good despite not having his best stuff. His line is strong — 6 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 6 H, 1 ER — but not the kind of dominance we’ve seen in games this year. His fastball was a little slower than typical, and had a little less spin than usual, especially in the early goings of the game. Whether that was weather-related or not — every pitcher was blowing on their hands all night — Cole’s keystone pitch just wasn’t as good as usual.
The other thing I found really interesting about Cole’s start is his changeup. There’s been a lot said about him using it so much more this season, and it being a big part of his early success, but it didn’t fool players as much as it normally does:
Cole gave up more hits against the changeup than he had whiffs on it, including the RBI double that represented the only run allowed in his start. Overall, you take the results, but when at least half his repertoire was less than dominant, Cole may have gotten away with a start against a pretty weak Tigers lineup.
Casey Mize, meanwhile, was everything a young, up and coming starter should be. He threw five innings of one-run ball, with a 7:0 K:BB rate, and proved particularly effective against the top of the Yankee order. Aaron Judge managed a single and a double, true, but both DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton were 0-for-3 against Mize, striking out each at-bat. Managing a 75 percent strikeout rate against the top three Yankee hitters will play.
Mize throws five pitches, but leaned on his four-seam, slider and sinker tonight, and each of them were effective against the Yankees. All three managed a 28 percent called strike + whiff percentage, a good indicator that hitters have trouble identifying the ball out of the hand. Rougned Odor seemed to be one of the few that didn’t have that trouble:
Odor ended up with four hits on the night, so he and Judge get the two-bagel breakfast tomorrow. That’s it, no one else.
We had a little drama in the ninth inning, with Aroldis Chapman working his first game in five days. A leadoff walk brought pinch-runner Akil Baddoo in to run at first, and he was dead-set on taking second. A ball in the dirt from Chapman caught Baddoo halfway, though, and quick reactions from Gary Sánchez, himself working his first inning of the game, ended the baserunning threat:
In extra innings, the Yankees scored despite themselves, with Bryan Garcia wild as all get out on the mound for Detroit. A groundout for the second out of the frame moved ghost runner Aaron Judge to third, and a wild pitch from Garcia allowed him to come home. It looked, if for a moment, like that might be enough for the Yankees to steal a win. But it was not to be.
Deivi García will look to get the Yankees back to their winning ways tomorrow, starting for the Yankees in game two, which comes at 1:10pm Eastern. Hopefully, they bring their bats to that one.