Watching this game, I was reminded of The Who’s classic hit “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” To play off a line from the end of the song, “meet the second half, same as the first half.” A two-run first inning would prove a simple mirage with the team failing to score for the rest of the game against the NL-worst Rockies pitching staff. On the other side of the ball, Carlos Rodón, Michael King, and Albert Abreu all fell victim to the big fly as the Yankees dropped the first game of the second half, 7-2. They’re now in a last-place tie with the Red Sox.
It turns out all the Yankees needed to do was hand over their pictures of Spider-Man to J. Jonah Jameson to convince him to be their hitting coach. Fans who were hoping the coaching change would magically turn the season around got quite a tease in the opening pieces of action of the second half. The first inning of the Sean Casey Era opened with a bang as Gleyber Torres led off with a single before Giancarlo Stanton crushed a 113.7-mph, 455-foot missile to left-center to jump out to an early lead, 2-0.
Unfortunately, the lead would be short-lived. Despite a stress-free 1-2-3 first, Rodón struggled in the second allowing C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk to reach on a walk and single, respectively. An Ezequiel Tovar single plated Cron to cut the Yankees’ lead in half, and a wild pitch to Alan Trejo allowed Grichuk and Tovar to advance to second and third. Number nine hitter Brenton Doyle punished the mistake, fouling off three two-strike pitches before lifting a double over the head of Isiah Kiner-Falefa in left — who initially broke in before retreating — to plate both runners and give the Rockies the lead, 3-2.
New York created some traffic in the third on singles by Torres and Anthony Rizzo but couldn’t cash in. Randal Grichuk meanwhile added to his case as a Yankee killer, leading off the fourth with a home run to double his team’s lead, 4-2. Just when the Yankees thought they were rid of Grichuk after all those years of him tormenting them as a Blue Jay, here he was again to haunt their existence.
From that point the game pretty much flew by. Rodón settled in following the Grichuk homer, striking four of the final six batters he faced, all on sliders. His day ended after five innings, credited for four runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts on 88 pitches. It was interesting to hear Jeff Nelson note that Rodón was short-arming his fastball early on, leading to a lot of misses high armside. Rodón and Gerrit Cole were pictured speaking multiple times in the dugout so it will be interesting to see if he can iron out those mechanical inconsistencies in time for his next start.
King worked a scoreless sixth but came unravelled in the seventh. Following a walk of Doyle, King fell behind Kris Bryant, prompting a mound visit. Whatever they told him didn’t work, because on the very next pitch he grooved a middle-middle get-me-over slider that Bryant deposited to left to put the Rockies up, 6-2.
With the Yankees offense picking up right where it left off, that lead would prove more than enough. In fact, it seemed only Torres, Stanton, and LeMahieu showed up ready to play, Torres collecting three singles, Stanton adding a double to his first inning home run, and LeMahieu chipping in two singles to account for seven of the team’s eight hits. The last notable action saw Abreu serve up a tape-measure home to Nolan Jones in the eighth to bring us to our final score, 7-2, sinking New York to the division cellar.
Clarke Schmidt goes tomorrow against Connor Seabold. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10pm ET so be sure to join us in the game thread. Maybe the offensive production will last longer than a single frame.