The Yankees split this iteration of the Subway Series, and their season series with the Mets, winning the final contest 3-1. Thanks to Carlos Rodón’s best outing yet from a run-prevention standpoint and a righty-heavy lineup that mustered just enough run support against lefty José Quintana, the Yankees moved to 54-48, still firmly in the Wild Card race as the Trade Deadline draws ever nearer.
The decision to slide Isiah Kiner-Falefa atop the order paid dividends immediately, as the left fielder singled on a hard grounder up the middle on the fifth pitch of the Yankees’ first at-bat of the game. Gleyber Torres promptly followed that with a single of his own on a liner to right to give the Yankees first and third with no outs. But in a scene all too familiar to fans this season, the Bombers squandered the opportunity in excruciating fashion. Giancarlo Stanton missed a double down the right-field line by inches before striking out, and then a 92.8-mph one-hopper from Anthony Rizzo turned into an easy 6-4-3 double play:
The next inning started off in a similar manner. DJ LeMahieu led off with a four-pitch walk before Harrison Bader ripped the third pitch he saw 97.4 mph off the bat for a double down the line. With runners on second and third and no one out, Quintana pitched around Anthony Volpe in what amounted to a six-pitch walk. Kyle Higashioka strode to the plate next with the bases loaded and got out in front 2-1, but then two borderline (one very borderline) calls ended the at-bat.
Luckily, Oswald Peraza came through next with a slow chopper to third. Mark Vientos tried to go the short way for a force out at second, but Volpe slid in safely. In retrospect, he could’ve nailed LeMahieu at home, but instead, the Yankees went up 1-0:
New leadoff man IKF came through again next, lifting a pop fly to short right. Jeff McNeil wasn’t playing in, so he had to go a long way and ended up making a sliding catch. On a heads-up play, Bader took home despite an impressive throw from the Mets’ right fielder:
But before you could say “overpriced lefty,” the Yankees’ own veteran starter began giving the lead back. Francisco Alvarez led off with a 97.9-mph single up the middle before recent call-up Danny Mendick went the other way with a high fastball for a double. Brandon Nimmo drove Alvarez home with a sac fly:
Rodón induced a Vientos groundout before walking Lindor to set up a tense matchup with Pete Alonso, who was coming off a two-homer night. The slugging first baseman ripped the first pitch hard, 110 mph off the bat, to left field. Luckily, it was hit right at IKF to end the inning.
In all seriousness, in general, Rodón was able to follow his typical high fastballs, low and arm-side sliders (and a lone curveball) gameplan pretty well:
With one major exception — a dramatic hit-by-pitch of McNeil — the lefty stayed within a reasonable distance of the strike zone all night, a very positive sign considering that command is usually the last thing to return after a long layoff. To nitpick, the remaining issue was the crispness of Rodón’s pitches — the break wasn’t where he would have wanted it to be. This resulted in a lot of loud contact: seven of 17 balls in play against him were over 100 mph off the bat, and another three were over 95 mph.
But Rodón’s slider looked better as the game wore on, with five whiffs on the last eight. Two of those whiffs and a called strike set Alonso down on three pitches to end a threat in the fifth:
Now, back to the Yankees’ offense. To start the bottom of the fourth, Vientos made another defensive folly, gunning it to first when he should have just pocketed a slow roller off the bat of Bader. The throw was errant, and the Yankees’ center fielder advanced to second.
The Mets left open the option for a pickoff play on Bader by having second baseman Mendick play close to the bag. Volpe took advantage, shooting a liner right where Mendick could’ve been standing to drive Bader home:
Volpe almost had a chance to score on an IKF liner with an expected batting average of .850, but McNeil made an excellent shoestring catch to end the inning:
The two-time All-Star wasn’t done getting revenge for the HBP, either. He robbed Gleyber Torres of a homer in the bottom of the fifth as well:
McNeil couldn’t do anything about the next threat though. LeMahieu led off the bottom of the sixth with another walk, and Bader took advantage of Mendick playing close to the bag again, grounding a single to right for his third hit of the game. Volpe moved LeMahieu over on a fielder’s choice next, with Bader out at second. But then Higashioka struck out, and LeMahieu got caught leaning on a spiked changeup — one that almost got by Alvarez — to end the inning. The score remained 3-1 heading into the seventh.
And that’s where the score would remain, as both bullpens closed things out with little strife. Wandy Peralta, Tommy Kahnle, and Clay Holmes tossed perfect frames in relief with Alvarez grounding out to LeMahieu to end the ballgamae.
Tomorrow is an offday, but next up is a crucial three-game set with the Orioles in Baltimore. With the Red Sox winning, the Yankees remained in last place, so there’s no time to let up. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 pm ET, with Gerrit Cole facing off against one of the top preseason pitching prospects, Grayson Rodriguez.