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Yankees 5, Guardians 6: BABIP Gods frown on New York

The Yankees were blooped to death in a game they really, really, REALLY wanted to have

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

I say it a lot, but even I need to be reminded from time to time. We play nine today, folks.

The Yankees fell behind early, clubbed their way ahead, and were undone by a bunch of slap-hitting shit goblins. The Guardians, down two in the ninth, came up with five nonsense singles to steal a win from under New York, taking a critical Game 3 with a 6-5 final score.

Luis Severino gave up hits to 6 of the first 10 men he faced, and the Guardians were up 2-0 before the second inning ended. Isiah Kiner-Falefa failed to make a play on a ball that should have been turned into at least one out, if not two, in the first. Still, Sevy looked overmatched, with terrible fastball command and a slider that hung in the zone through the first two frames.

We play nine today, folks.

After that second inning, with the Yankees starting to time up Triston McKenzie, Sevy set down the next 11 Guardians in a row. It’s exactly the comeback you need from a starter — everyone’s gonna hit a rough patch, and it wasn’t like Cleveland was hammering Severino from gap to gap. He got into trouble, didn’t get help from his shortstop, but was able to make some changes and keep his team in the game long enough for the offense to come back.

The biggest change Sevy made was, well, the changeup. He threw it just nine percent of the time in the first two frames, really leaning on that fastball and slider. Those pitches weren’t working, and credit to him for being able to switch up on the fly, throwing 20 percent of his pitches for changeups for the rest of the outing. His fastball command wasn’t great all night, but increasing those changes gave him a little separation and bought him some time against a Guardians team that likes to go hacking.

If you’re looking for a bright side, the Yankees rediscovered their power stroke:

If you think that Judge just needed to be moved out of the leadoff spot to rediscover his stroke, hey, points to you. After Oswaldo Cabrera led off the inning with a double, the Yankees’ first hit of the night, Judge came up a batter later and shook this postseason monkey off his back. The two-run blast travelled 449’ and seemed to wake up a team that has been pretty sleepy since Tuesday.

I was a little worried that, like yesterday, we’d see one spark of offense and nothing else. Thankfully, Oswaldo Cabrera put an end to those fears a couple innings later:

Really both his and Judge’s home runs were a good reminder of the finicky nature of the postseason. A lot of people wanted Cabrera sat after a really rough two games in the Bronx, and a lot of people thought Judge was choking after the same. Turns out, you can’t value guys off of eight plate appearances, this is a good baseball team with good hitters, and both Judge and Cabrera proved that with big swings.

In the sixth, Sevy retired the first two before IKF bungled another ball, quintuple-clutching a throw that José Ramírez was able to beat out. Another single moved runners to the corners, and Sevy’s night was done. Lou Trivino allowed an inherited runner to score, making it a one-run game. The back and forth continued an inning later, with Harrison Bader at the dish:

We play nine today, folks.

Wandy Peralta worked well in the seventh and eighth, before those slap-hitting shit goblins reared their heads (certainly not their barrels) in the ninth. Myles Straw blooped a ball in front of Cabrera in left, and Cabrera dived. I’ve been a fan of his performance in the outfield so far, but I thought that was indicative of a guy who isn’t used to playing the outfield. Ahead by two runs, in the ninth, you can’t leave your feet unless you know you’re getting to the ball — I think Judge or Bader or another veteran outfielder probably stays on their feet and keeps the ball in front of them. Concede the single, keep the double play a possibility.

Instead Straw ended up on second I don’t really want to go through every hit after that. The Guardians had four hits with an average exit velo of 80 mph to push across three runs, and the Yankees lost. Maybe you quibble with leaving Wandy Peralta in a batter too late, maybe you want Clay Holmes in the game instead of Clarke Schmidt — even though it’s at least possible the Yankees don’t think Clay can go two games in a row with his shoulder.


(Draw your own conclusions, folks.)

The Yankees lost, and it sucked. They’re up against the wall, and an exit in the ALDS after everything that’s happened this year would be unacceptable, but they’re just nine innings away from it happening. We played nine today, and we play nine tomorrow. Gerrit Cole gets the ball. There’s no cavalry coming.

Box Score