There was no excusing the Yankees’ absolutely horrendous showing on Friday night. They made cringe-worthy mental mistakes, played horrible defense, pitched like crap, and allowed the Mets to parade around the bases to the tune of a 10-3 defeat. It was the Yankees’ seventh loss in a row, their longest such string since dropping seven straight in August of last year. It’s one thing to lose a tough ballgame; it’s another to get clowned and embarrassed.
To their minimal credit, the Yankees got on the board early. Tylor Megill got the start for the Mets, and with one out in the first, Brett Gardner lined a ball toward the left-field foul line. Jeff McNeil made perhaps an ill-advised dive, allowing the veteran to get all the way to third with his fourth triple of the year. Aaron Judge didn’t mess around and brought Gardner in with a deep grounder to make it 1-0:
Somehow, that marked the Yankees’ first lead since last Sunday against the Orioles. (Thanks again for no mercy, Blue Jays.)
The Mets didn’t wait long to tie it up, and it was due to another atrocious Yankees mistake that was perfectly fitting of this losing stretch. Jonathan Villar and Michael Conforto notched singles off Montgomery, and while he recovered from down 3-0 and one out to strike out Pete Alonso, he gave up a sharp hit to left by Javier Báez.
For some reason, third-base coach Gary Disarcina sent Villar when Gallo was in perfect position for a throw. The Yankees had him dead to rights:
This is where Villar was when Sanchez first caught the ball. pic.twitter.com/AFt8EmkUtN— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) September 10, 2021
Despite the image, Villar inexplicably ended up scoring. Gary Sánchez forgot how to play baseball and make a simple tag.
There’s nothing else to say aside from the fact that this was maybe the worst defensive play I’ve ever seen a catcher attempt. Villar suddenly trying to slide shouldn’t have mattered because Gallo’s throw beat him to the plate so easily. Good lord.
The tie did not last for long. In the top of the second, Joey Gallo demolished a bad Megill curveball sitting in the middle of the plate:
A 427-foot shot later, and the Yankees were in front, 2-1.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the bottom of the third, when it became even more clear that while Montgomery shouldn’t have been charged with a run in the first, he hadn’t exactly been pitching like Andy Pettitte out there, either. Villar led off with his second hit of the day, and Montgomery followed by walking three batters in a row. When Alonso took ball four, it was tied.
Then, the Yankees found a way to humiliate themselves on defense again with Báez up to bat. He smashed one to third, where Gio Urshela made a nice stop but wild throw home:
Was it a bad throw? Yes. Should Sánchez have found a way to catch it? Also yes, especially since the runner was far enough away that he didn’t need to keep his foot on home plate for the force.
The Mets were in front, and they still had no one out; that only kept the door open for further Yankees idiocy in the field. McNeil dragged a bunt hit up the first-base line and Montgomery didn’t make much of an attempt to cover first; 4-2.
Kevin Pillar hit a sacrifice fly for probably the most normal Mets run of the game; 5-2.
Montgomery, Sánchez, and manager Aaron Boone seemingly forgot that the pitcher Megill was on deck with a base open; James McCann doubled on a pitch that thus caught way too much of the plate; 6-2.
I’d be more dumbstruck if this Yankees club hadn’t already clobbered most of the hope out of me over the past couple weeks in this 2-11 stretch, but regardless, they found quite the showcase to put their completely putrid play on center stage. Terrible pitching. Terrible defense. Terrible fundamentals. And, oh yeah, they stopped hitting after the Gallo homer, too, because I guess why bother at that point?
As the Yankees were stymied by Literally Tylor Megill, the Mets piled on. Francisco Lindor took Montgomery deep in the fourth for a solo shot, mercifully ending perhaps the worst outing of the lefty’s five-year career. Joely Rodríguez entered, and after an infield single from Michael Conforto, Báez forced himself into the narrative once more. His double to the wall scored Conforto on an underwhelming relay to the plate, though he was thrown out at third to end the inning. Of course, at that point, the Mets were up, 8-2, so big whoop.
To add the banana peel “cherry on top” to this trash pile of a game, the Mets scored two more runs in the seventh when Báez singled, Michael King plunked back-to-back batters to load the bases, and Gleyber Torres — shockingly — got in on the defensive disaster. He threw a double-play ball away, allowing two runners to cross home plate. The man is sadly a nightmare at shortstop and the Yankees likely need to reconsider their 2022 plans in a hurry.
Anthony Rizzo added a meaningless solo homer in the ninth to make it 10-3 for his 20th bomb of the season, but at that point, it had to remind him a little of what it was like to be a regular on the 2012 Cubs. The 2021 Yankees are obviously a better team than a group that lost 101 games, but they sure as hell aren’t playing like one. As for postseason play? Well at this pace, they’ll have to hope that their Wild Card opponents keep losing.*
*Toronto’s winning streak came to a surprising end at the hands of the Orioles, so the Yankees remain half a game in front for the second Wild Card spot for another night at least.
The Subway Series trudges on tomorrow night on Fox. Maybe the Yankees will decide not to humiliate themselves further. Since Montgomery didn’t give the bullpen much of a breather, Corey Kluber will start and attempt to last longer than four innings for the first time since his no-hitter. He’ll face Taijuan Walker with first pitch coming at 7:45pm ET.