For as explosive a start as this game got off to, you have to say that it staggered to the finish line. Two home runs apiece by the Yankees and Mets in the first inning set this up to be potentially one off the all-time classic Subway Series thrillers. However, a disaster start from Jordan Montgomery, baserunning blunders, and failure to cash in men on base doomed the Yankees to a 6-3 loss.
One of the prevailing storylines coming into this game was Taijuan Walker’s ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. Entering play, he was allowing the joint-fewest home runs per nine of any starter with at least 90 IP alongside NL Cy Young frontrunner Sandy Alcantara. Well, you can tear those pregame notes up. Aaron Judge crushed his 38th home run of the year on a 3-2 middle fastball to the opposite field where few righties leave the park at Citi Field.
On the next pitch Walker threw, Anthony Rizzo matched the feat going oppo to left for his first home run since July 2nd. Thus, in the span of two pitches, Walker was halfway to matching his season total of home runs allowed.
Pitching with a rare two-run first inning lead, Jordan Montgomery was perhaps a bit careless, grooving a 1-2 fastball to Starling Marte that he lasered down the left field line for a one-out solo shot. He then gave up back-to-back doubles to Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso to erase the pair of bombs in the top of the frame. Unfortunately, he wasn’t done there, surrendering a two-out, two-run blast to Eduardo Escobar, and just like that the Yankees were in a 4-2 hole after such a promising start. It was pretty alarming to see plate appearances end in extra bases or outs and nothing in between, and one couldn’t help but wonder if the juiced baseballs were brought out of storage for this highly-anticipated, nationally broadcasted game.
The Yankees put runners on the corners with one out in the second thanks to back-to-back singles from Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. However, IKF inexplicably got picked off at first followed shortly by a Jose Trevino lineout to bring the rally to a screeching halt. They put another pair on in the third, but Matt Carpenter struck out on a foul tip to leave them stranded.
Montgomery continued to labor in the second, surrendering a leadoff double to Marte. He got Lindor to ground to Josh Donaldson, however the throw to first careened off Lindor’s helmet into right field, allowing Marte to score all the way from second. He then walked Pete Alonso before striking out Mark Canha, however Aaron Boone had seen enough and went to Ron Marinaccio out of the ‘pen. The Toms River native got Escobar to GIDP to end the threat.
Montgomery was visibly upset that he was being given such a short leash, but it’s hard to blame Boone with the lefty starter at 71 pitches in the third. It continues Montgomery’s first inning woes, as he has now given up seven runs in the opening frame across his last three outings. He struggled to put batters away after getting to two strikes as the stuff just wasn’t good enough today to get swings and misses. His final line: 2.1 IP, five hits (two home runs), five runs (four earned), one walk, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches.
The Yankees had a prime opportunity for a big inning in the fourth, loading the bases with one out on singles from Hicks and IKF and a fielder’s choice from Jose Trevino where IKF beat the throw to second. DJ LeMahieu drove in a run on a softly-tapped grounder to reduce the arrears to 5-3. Walker pitched around Judge to reload the bases and Rizzo worked the count to 3-0 but ultimately flew out to the wall in center to leave the bases juiced.
Marinaccio stayed in and worked a scoreless fourth. Jonathan Loáisiga followed it up with a scoreless fifth followed by a 1-2-3 sixth from Aroldis Chapman. Continuing the trend, Wandy Peralta turned in a scoreless seventh on just four pitches.
Unfortunately, the offense just couldn’t get out of their own way. Judge lined a one-out single to left followed by a Rizzo HBP. Apparently, they hadn’t learned their lesson from IKF’s out on the base paths earlier, because Rizzo got thrown out at second on a double steal attempt. Gleyber Torres popped out as yet another promising opportunity was killed by questionable decision making by men on base.
The Bombers had a pair of opportunities late, Hicks reaching for the third time with two outs in the eighth. Boone decided to pinch-hit Joey Gallo for IKF and, well, you probably know how that ended. After the Mets tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half on three singles off Albert Abreu, the Yankees again put a pair on in the ninth, however Edwin Díaz — probably the best closer in the game — struck out Rizzo and Torres to relegate the Yankees to a 6-3 loss while inching closer to Chapman’s 52.5 percent strikeout rate record set in 2014.
This game will be remembered for the 2021-esque baserunning errors and scores of men left stranded on base. Despite Montgomery’s horror 2.1 innings, the bullpen for the most part did their part to give the offense a fighting chance. The bats just couldn’t come through with men on.
It will take an absolute miracle to avoid the sweep tomorrow, with Domingo Germán squaring off against Max Scherzer. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 P.M. so be sure to join us in the game thread.