I’ll take many more games like this. The Yankees tacked on a bunch of runs early and added more late once the Cubs started to score. Aaron Hicks had four hits, which is neat and adds to his fascinating breakout season. Jordan Montgomery had an acceptable start, but the bullpen made it bit uncomfortable in the eighth. Anyways, the Yankees held on to win it 11-6, taking the series at the Wrigley Field against the defending World Champs. It’s the weekend so let’s do it bullet point style.
- Five-run first: The Yankee bats got off to a really quick start, scoring the two runs within the first seven Brett Anderson pitches. Brett Gardner led the game off with a double, and Hicks got on base with a bunt single. Anderson’s throwing error scored Gardner and that pretty much set the tone for his night. On the very next pitch, Starlin Castro, as he often does, swung at the first pitch for an RBI double to score Hicks. After Aaron Judge struck out, Gary Sanchez singled to shallow left to score Castro. Didi Gregorius hit a shallow single off the end of the bat to add another baserunner and Chase Headley brought both of them in with a double. That’s a quick 5-0 lead for the Yanks. Anderson then left the game for back tightness but I didn’t think that he was going to last on the mount for long anyways. After being shut out for the first 8.2 innings of yesterday’s game, this early outburst is refreshing.
- Not done scoring: In the third, against Felix Pena, the Yankees put two runners on with singles from Sanchez and Gregorius. Two batters later, Chris Carter hit a hard grounder that Kris Bryant failed to snag and trickled into the left field. They gave Bryant an E5, which I find it harsh, but understandable. Anyways, Sanchez scored on that error and Yankees built a 6-0 lead. On the fourth inning, with Pena still pitching, Hicks got things started with a deep double to right and Castro followed it up with a home run to the left field seats. Hello again, Cubs fans! 8-0 Yankees.
- Montgomery good: If you look at Montgomery’s line, it’s not the sexiest start (6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) but it’s respectable considering he’s a rookie starter facing the World Champion Cubs. Gumby looked great for the first four innings, allowing only two baserunners and mowing down the Chicago lineup. In the fifth inning, he walked Albert Almora and allowed a double to Javier Baez to get into a jam. Jon Jay’s ground out scored Almora and Didi’s throwing error got Baez home to make it 8-2 Yankees. My thought is that Montgomery could’ve gone deeper into his start if not for that E6, seeing that it took him extra 9 pitches to get out of the inning.
- Don’t do this, bullpen: After Montgomery came out in the seventh, Tyler Clippard got the last out to advance the game. In the eighth, Joe Girardi put in Tommy Layne with a 11-3 lead and the lefty got only two outs while allowing three runs. Layne is not really having a good season, as that poor showing up’d his ERA to 9.45. Not going to say his time is running out with the big league club, but I’d guess the team wants to seek out another lefty arm out of the bullpen. Adam Warren relieved Layne and got out of the eighth. The Cubs are not off to a great start to 2017 but you know what their offense can do, especially when they have bigger bats like Miguel Montero pinch-hitting late in the game. Anyways, Warren pitched a clean ninth against his former team to close the game out at 11-6.
- Leftovers: On a night the Yanks scored 11 runs (and had the Cubs pitch Miguel Montero in the ninth), the only hitter that didn’t reach the base was Judge (0-for-5 with a strikeout). That hole, however, got covered more than enough with guys like Hicks (4-for-5 with a HR and double), Castro (3-for-4 with a HR and double), Gregorius (2-for-4), Gardner (2-for-5) and Sanchez (2-for-4) having good nights. We can agree that it’s a fun team to watch when they are all clicking. Also, Montgomery reached on a walk, raising his OBP to .400.
Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The Yankees have a Sunday night match tomorrow at Wrigley. Luis Severino will be on the mound versus Jon Lester. That will be a fun matchup to watch if both starters deliver to their hype. Have a good Saturday night, folks.