Five errors? Seventeen strikeouts? Nothing of note from the 3-4-5 hitters? No problem. The Yankees showed the Fighting Spirit and stole a win from the Astros on Tuesday night. Robbed ’em blind. The final score was 6-5 in ten innings. The Yankees also clinched the season series over the ‘Stros, which is notable for postseason tiebreaker scenarios down the line. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.
So Many Errors
We have to cover the bad stuff so we might as well get it out of the way early. The Yankees had five errors Tuesday night and it could’ve easily been seven. For real. Gleyber Torres had two errors while CC Sabathia, Miguel Andujar, and Gary Sanchez had one each. Torres and Andujar also made misplays on balls that were called infield singles but could’ve been errors.
Three defensive miscues really stand out. First, Andujar tripped over his own feet in the fourth inning and didn’t get a single out on a would-be 5-4-3 double play ball. Second, Andujar threw away — not away away, but he pulled Greg Bird off the bag at first — Alex Bregman’s grounder leading off the fifth. And third, Sabathia threw Jose Altuve’s chopper down the line and into right field in that fifth inning. Sabathia’s gotta eat that ball. He wasn’t getting the speedy Altuve. The veteran should know better.
The Andujar non-double play and the Andujar/Sabathia back-to-back errors contributed to four runs total. Sabathia finished with five runs (three earned) in five innings to bring the Yankees to 23 unearned runs on the season. One every other game, basically. That’s bad. Only the crummy Rangers (33), White Sox (27), and Padres (24) have allowed more unearned runs. The Yankees have been better defensively lately after a miserable start. This game was a flashback to the first few weeks of April.
The Great Gardner
Remember when Brett Gardner looked washed up and over the hill? He went into Tuesday’s game hitting .280/.382/.413 (122 wRC+) with nearly as many walks (12.4%) as strikeouts (13.5%) in May. Now he’s hitting for power too. Gardner had a leadoff homer against the Angels over the weekend and he had two homers Tuesday night. A leadoff shot against Charlie Morton and the game-tying two-run homer against Chris Devenski in the ninth.
As for the offense overall, I’m pretty pleased with what they were able to do against Morton, who’s been out of this world this season. Gardner had the leadoff homer, Andujar (double) and Torres (single) teamed up for a run in the second, and Aaron Judge hit a solo homer as well. That one was a missile. Off the facing of the second deck in right field. Not the kind of homer a normal human can hit. Morton’s line: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 2 HR. I’ll take it.
Give It Up For The Bullpen
The Yankees may not be able to match Houston’s rotation but there’s not a chance in hell I’d take their bullpen over New York’s in high-leverage situations. There are like five dudes in the Yankees’ bullpen I’d want on the mound in a big spot over anyone in the ‘Stros’ bullpen. I guess that “just throw harder!” magic they have in Houston only works for starters, not relievers.
Anyway, the bullpen did not have an especially clean night Tuesday — the Yankees used four relievers and all four allowed at least one baserunner — but five scoreless innings is five scoreless innings. Jonathan Holder continued to be excellent since returning from Triple-A, Dellin Betances pitched around back-to-back leadoff walks, and Aroldis Chapman threw the greatest wild pitch in MLB history:
I wrote that after Sabathia finished the fifth inning. Sometimes I say things that aren’t so stupid.
The Kids Redeem Themselves
Andujar and Gleyber both made errors and had other misplays scored hits when they could’ve been errors. They had brutal starts to the game and for about eight innings it looked like those rookie growing pains would cost the Yankees the game. But wow did those two redeem themselves later on.
For starters, Andujar doubled and Torres brought him home with a single in the second inning to give the Yankees their second run. Then Andujar worked a leadoff walk in the ninth to set up Gardner’s game-tying dinger. Then, in the tenth, Andujar sent a two-out double to left field in an 0-2 count, and Gleyber won the game with a single to right in a 2-2 count. To the action footage:
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 30, 2018
Andujar went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. He is hitting .297/.317/.506 (119 wRC+) on the season. I wish he’d walk more, but sign me the hell up for that batting line from the No. 8 hitter. Torres went 2-for-5 with two run-scoring singles. He’s hitting .321/.380/.596 (163 wRC+) in his young MLB career. Some of the errors have been careless and you’re going to get that with rookies. These kids, though. They can do some amazing things if you give ’em a chance. Way to contribute to the win after the errors, dudes.
The Middle of the Order Struggles
Bird, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez went a combined 2-for-15 (.133) with seven strikeouts as the 3-4-5 hitters. Bird doubled into the left field corner in the first and Stanton beat out an infield in the ninth. I am oddly fascinated to see whether he can finish the season with more infield singles than homers. I mean, I hope he doesn’t, but you know what I mean. The count right now is ten infield singles and eleven homers. Bird, Stanton, and Sanchez went 2-for-15 and the rest of the Yankees went 12-for-28 (.429). Those guys are going to carry the Yankees to plenty of wins this season. Good to see the rest of the team pick them up.
ESPN has the box score and updated standings, and MLB has the video highlights. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees and Astros will wrap up this three-game series Wednesday night. That’s one of those 6:35pm ET starts. Luis Severino and Dallas Keuchel are the scheduled starting pitchers.