clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees 2, Astros 3: Another tough loss at Minute Maid

The Yanks bats failed to get anything going again against Houston pitching.

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been trying to think of a clever analogy for the Yankees and Minute Maid Park since the start of this doubleheader matinee. For whatever reason — one that I certainly do not know — this Yankees team and previous iterations of it cannot hit the baseball in this awful, awful park. By awful, I mean ugly, triggering, and all of the above.

Aside from the gameplay, this contest was weird. There were no commercials on YES Network because of some technical difficulties. I bet Hal was shaking in his boots because of it. Seeing the players interact in the dugout was odd. They were trying to fill the time as well as they could, but it was tough to do, given how boring this game was for both teams until the final few frames. Anyway, back to the game itself.

Although Cristian Javier was nowhere near as sharp on Thursday relative to his seven no-hit innings last time out, he still kept the Yanks bats silent for only one earned run. He walked four and gave up two hits, but the Yankees failed to capitalize on any of their scoring chances. The low point came in the third, when a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity turned into a line-drive double play from Matt Carpenter and a fly ball from Gleyber Torres. It was just that kind of afternoon in Houston.

DJ LeMahieu continued his hot streak though. This home run reminded me so much of his game-tying shot back a few years back in the ALCS.

LeMahieu stayed on this pitch as long as he possibly could. This is an awesome sign for DJ that his hot streak is here to stay. His power to the opposite field is always the last thing to click when he is near his peak form.

On the other side of the ball, Jordan Montgomery settled down nicely after a bumpy first couple frames. In years past, manager Aaron Boone had a much quicker hook on Montgomery in games like this, worried that the bumpiness from earlier innings would come back up, but this year is different. In two straight starts, Montgomery has taken over after having iffy command at the outset.

Wow. That command is sparkling on every single pitch. This is artistry.

Montgomery was wonderful, and he gave his squad a chance to stay in the game, handing it off to Albert Abreu in seventh while finishing with 6.1 innings and eight strikeouts. His ERA on the season is down to 3.24 in over 100 frames. It’s not hyperbole to say he is definitively in the second tier of pitchers in MLB, behind the bona fide aces. I’d feel very confident with Monty starting a playoff game against any team. I’ll leave you with this.

It’s also time to consider that Abreu is not just your standard innings-filler reliever. He is becoming a weapon. I truly have no idea what the Royals and Rangers were thinking. Two teams who struggle to develop any pitching — reliever or starter — straight-up cut a dude who throws upper-90s running sinkers. It’s player development malpractice at its finest.

This game was all but over with one out in the ninth. With Aaron Hicks on first base after a single, Giancarlo Stanton hit a 65.6 mph groundball that I thought for sure would end the game, but it did not. Instead, it was a fielder's choice, which was followed up by a game-tying base hit from pinch-hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Ha! Take that Minute Maid!

The single had an expected batting average of .100 according to Statcast. Hit ‘em where they ain’t, I suppose.

Sadly, our hopes were brought up for no reason at all. Michael King put himself in a jam by giving up an Alex Bregman single and Aledmys Díaz double down the left-field line that immediately put the winning run 90 feet away. King then did everything he could to get out of it, as he struck out Yuli Gurriel and Chas McCormick to bring up pinch-hitter J.J. Matijevic, who entered play with a .150 batting average and a wRC+ of 58.

Sadly, the baseball gods giveth with the IKF single and they taketh away with a broken-bat, 66.8-mph, walk-off single in the shortstop-third base hole.

Ugh. The final score was 3-2 in this one. The Astros clinched the season series victory over the Yankees and will hold a home-field advantage tiebreaker in a possible playoff series if they end 2022 with the same record.

Let’s hope the Yankees can finally turn it around in the nightcap. Domingo Germán will make his first MLB appearance of the season and Luis Garcia take the hill for Houston. First pitch will be at 6:40pm ET.

Box Score