The Yankees are six games into the 2019 season and I already can’t wait for it to be over. No, I don’t mean that, but good grief. What a miserable team the Yankees are at the moment. I’m starting to think making no discernible upgrades through free agency was a bad idea. Anyway, the Yankees lost their series finale 2-1 to the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon. Dropping two of three to the Orioles and Tigers at home is something we’ll all laugh about in September, right?
Three Hits, Eighteen Strikeouts
We all hoped the 2019 Yankees would set some records coming into the season, and they set a record Wednesday afternoon. Did they ever. Eighteen strikeouts is the new franchise record for a nine-inning game. I’m not talking about the pitchers here. I mean the hitters. Yankees’ hitters struck out 18 times in a nine-inning game for the first time ever Wednesday. Only four times had the Yankees ever struck out as many as 17 times in a nine-inning game.
Here is Wednesday’s leaderboard:
- Three strikeouts: Gleyber Torres, Mike Tauchman
- Two strikeouts: DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Clint Frazier
- One strikeout: Aaron Judge, Tyler Wade
- No strikeouts: Troy Tulowitzki (one at-bat before getting hurt)
Mixed in with those 18 strikeouts were three (3) hits. The Yankees are fortunate two came from consecutive batters. With one out in the third, LeMahieu doubled off the left field wall and Judge followed with a loud single to right to give the Yankees a 1-0 run lead. Officially, Torres recorded a single later in that third inning. The hard-hit grounder hit Judge between second and third bases, however, resulting in an inning-ending out. Par for the course right now.
All told, the Yankees put nine runners on base Wednesday afternoon. Six of the nine reached base with two outs. The LeMahieu double and Judge single came with one out, and Voit drew a leadoff walk in the eighth inning. Every other baserunner came with two outs and you’re just not going to score many runs when you have to build a rally with one out to play out. Not when you’re short on extra-base power like the Yankees are right now.
The Yankees have scored no more than three runs in four of their last five games. Obviously the injuries are a huge factor. It’s not only the injuries though. Judge is the only guy doing something each game. He hasn’t hit a homer yet, but he’s reached base multiple times in five of six games so far. LeMahieu has slapped some singles and Sanchez has run into some homers. Otherwise the non-Judge regulars haven’t done much since Opening Day.
Loaisiga’s Four Innings
Jonathan Loaisiga’s first start in 2019 looked a lot like his four starts in 2018. He showed incredible raw stuff, truly top of the line stuff, but he was also prone to long counts and he couldn’t pitch deep into the game at all. Four innings on 70 pitches. The Yankees and several other teams keep their starters on strict limits early in the season. When a guy’s limit is 70 pitches, you’re not getting any length.
Loaisiga started the game with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 first inning, and he had no trouble getting through the lineup the first time. Once the lineup turned over though, the outs didn’t come quite as easily. The numbers:
- First time through lineup: 1-for-9 with one double
- Second time through lineup: 0-for-4 with three walks and a sacrifice fly
The Tigers were more or less overmatched the first time through the lineup. The second time around they had much more patient at-bats. Those fastballs and sliders just off the plate didn’t coax as many swings. The three walks and the sac fly came in a five-batter span in the fourth inning to give the Tigers their first run. Judge very nearly threw Nick Castellanos out at the plate on the sac fly. The throw was just a tad late. Alas.
Loaisiga’s final line: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K on 70 pitches. Eleven swings and misses on 30 swings is pretty darn good. Four of the eleven came on his first eleven pitches. So that’s four whiffs in the first eleven pitches and seven in the final 59 pitches. Seems like the more teams see Loaisiga, the better their swings. I mean, that applies to every pitcher, but especially the inexperienced ones. All things considered, Loaisiga did well as the seventh starter.
Chad Green took the loss when he gave up an opposite field solo home run to (checks notes) Gordon Beckham? Gordon Beckham. Didn’t even realize that dude is still playing. Green left a slider up a little too much, and Gordon parked it just above the auxiliary scoreboard in right-center. Green, Jonathan Holder, and Zack Britton combined to allow one run and two baserunners in five innings. That’s … good? Do something, offense.
In case you missed it earlier, Tulowitzki left the game with a left calf strain. Couldn’t even make it through the first homestand healthy. The Yankees had an entire offseason to replace Didi Gregorius, and they went with a guy who hadn’t played in 18 months and they weren’t comfortable playing even three straight days in April, simply because he was cheap. Great stuff.
The first road trip of the new season. Three games in Baltimore and three games in Houston. Alex Cobb (groin) will be activated off the injured list to start the home opener for the O’s on Thursday. James Paxton will be on the mound for the Yankees. That’s a 3:05pm ET start time.