After waiting out a two hour and 50 minute rain delay, the Yankees dropped Thursday night’s series finale to the White Sox by the score of 4-3. The game itself feels insignificant though. Dustin Fowler, in his first Major League inning, suffered a ruptured right patella tendon and will miss the rest of the season following emergency surgery. The injury happened when his knee hit an electrical box along the wall in foul territory. This sucks so much.
Two Earned, Two Unearned
The Yankees got off to a quick start Thursday night. They scored a run within the first ten pitches of the game. Brett Gardner beat out an infield single, Aaron Judge drew a walk, then Jose Abreu committed an error and allowed Gardner to score. Didi Gregorius hit a chopper to first, and Abreu attempted to start the 3-6-3 double play, but the throw hit Judge in the shoulder and deflected away. Gardner scored all the way from second.
Fowler suffered his injury in the bottom half of the first inning, which forced Rob Refsnyder into right field. Refsnyder grounded out to short to start the top of the second, then, in the bottom half, he made a backbreaking error that got the White Sox on the board. The ChiSox scored their first run because this ball was not caught …
… for what would have been the final out of the inning. Joe Girardi‘s face after Refsnyder dropped that ball said it all. It was part exasperation and part death stare. Refsnyder dropped the ball, a run scored on the play, then the next batter dunked a bloop in front of Gardner to score the runner who reached on Refsnyder’s drop. Instead of the final out, two runs were on the board.
The leadoff walk came back to bite Luis Cessa in that second inning, and it did again in the fourth. A leadoff walk and a one-out hit-by-pitch started that rally. Cessa missed badly with a first pitch fastball to Willy Garcia, who hammered it to left field for a two-run double. Cessa’s night came to an end with two outs in the fifth, after the White Sox loaded the bases on a double, a walk, and an infield single. Chasen Shreve escaped that jam. Cessa’s final line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Not great, Luis.
Not Enough Offense
The Yankees are without four regular position players due to injury and it’s really starting to show on offense, Wednesday night’s outburst notwithstanding. They managed only three runs (two earned) against the reanimated corpse of James Shields, who was behind almost every hitter and generated only four swings and misses among his 81 total pitches. The White Sox played some nice defense behind him, but still.
Following that gift run in the first inning, the Yankees got on the board again in the fourth thanks to a Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff walk and a Ronald Torreyes two-out single. Torreyes was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, which was the 1,000,000th bad baserunning play by the Yankees this season, so he wins a prize. Austin Romine slapped a one-out single that inning, so had Torreyes stopped at first base, it would have been runners on the corners for Gardner. Alas.
The third run against Shields came in the sixth. Ellsbury smashed a leadoff triple off the center field wall — Adam Engel nearly ran it down and it was going to be Mad Online if he caught it — and Romine got him in with a ground ball. But not before Refsnyder struck out on three pitches. He’s a zero-tool player at this point. It’s impressive, really. No redeeming qualities at all. Remember when everyone wanted him to play second everyday a few years ago? Yeesh.
The Yankees last best chance to score came in the eighth inning. Gary Sanchez led off with a single but was erased on Ellsbury’s fielder’s choice. Ellsbury was able to steal second with two outs, though Romine struck out to end the inning. Anthony freaking Swarzak blew him away. David Robertson closed it out in the ninth inning. Seven hits (five singles) and four walks. Three runs. One of which was defense-aided. Everyone get healthy soon please.
Good night for the bullpen! Shreve got one out to escape Cessa’s mess in the fifth, then Ronald Herrera, Tyler Clippard, and Tyler Webb followed with a scoreless inning each. Their combined line: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. The one hit was an infield single literally off Herrera’s calf. Why can’t the bullpen have games like this when the Yankees lead? Every game is a nail-biter when they’re trying to protect a lead, it seems.
Those seven hits by the offense includes the Ellsbury triple and singles by Gardner (two), Sanchez, Romine, Torreyes, and Tyler Wade. Wade hit a ball to the wall against Robertson in the ninth that I thought looked pretty good off the bat. Alas. It was just short of the game-tying home run. The Yankees did get Judge to the plate with the tying run on the base in the ninth, so that’s cool. Robertson struck him out to end the game though. Better luck next time.
By the way, Judge is officially getting the Bonds treatment now. He was intentionally walked with the bases empty and two outs in the seventh inning. The White Sox were up 4-3 at the time, so they put the tying run on base intentionally. Gregorius grounded out on the first pitch, so it worked! Didi has been great this year, but squeezing him between Judge and Sanchez was not Girardi’s finest decision. Anyway, Judge is the fifth Yankee to be intentionally walked with the bases empty and the fourth who wasn’t hitting in front of the pitcher. Pretty crazy.
And finally, Judge’s on-base streak has hit 31 games, the second longest in baseball this season. (Zack Cozart had a 32-gamer a few weeks ago.) That’s the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 36-game on-base streak in 2012. Judge went 0-for-2 with three walks in this game, and one of the outs was a robbed home run by Melky Cabrera. In addition to all sorts of other things, Judge now leads MLB with 56 walks. He has one more than Matt Carpenter and Joey Votto.
This four-game series in Chicago is finally over. The Yankees are heading to Houston next for a three-game weekend set with the first place Astros. Michael Pineda vs. Lance McCullers Jr. is the scheduled pitching matchup for Friday night’s series opener.