Sigh. Just … sigh. Remember when the bullpen was supposed to be a strength? Now it’s a bigger weakness than it has been at any other point during the Joe Girardi era. The Yankees had a three-run lead with five outs to go Saturday and the final score was 7-6 Astros. Life is pain. Let’s recap with bullet points on this Saturday night:
- Monty’s Loud Outs: Bit of an uneven start for Jordan Montgomery. He cruised through the first four innings scoreless before the ‘Stros really started to hit him hard in the fifth. Yulieski Gurriel’s two-run home run gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the fifth, and all three outs that inning were loud too. Two went to the warning track. Then, in the sixth, Montgomery gave up a solo homer to Carlos Correa and a hard-hit double to Evan Gattis, ending his night. Six of the final seven batters Montgomery faced hit the ball quite hard. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2/10 GB/FB.
- YES IN-DIDI: After five innings of doing nothing in particular against Francis Martes, the Yankees exploded for five runs in the sixth inning. It all started with a Clint Frazier double, his first big league hit. A Brett Gardner single and a Jacoby Ellsbury walk loaded the bases with no outs. In business! Gary Sanchez got the Yankees on the board with a fisted single to right field, then Didi Gregorius turned the 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead with a grand slam juust over the right field wall. A Yankee Stadium cheapie in Houston. Second straight day with a grand slam for the Yankees.
- Happier Times: Montgomery’s sudden exit in the sixth inning brought Chad Green into the ballgame. Six up, five down, three strikeouts. That includes fanning Carlos Beltran and Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth, when they represented the tying run. Green has found a home in relief. The Yankees got an insurance run on Frazier’s solo homer into the Crawfish Boxes in left field in the sixth. So awesome. He’s the first Yankee in over a century with a double and a homer in his debut.
- The Meltdown: Three-run lead with Dellin Betances on the mound and Aroldis Chapman waiting for the ninth? That’s a win that has to be nailed down. Instead, the Astros rallied for four runs in the eighth, mostly because Betances couldn’t find the plate (again) and couldn’t control the running game (again). His inning went strikeout, walk, stolen base, stolen base, RBI ground out, home run, walk, runner reaches second on Chris Carter‘s error (the runner would have stolen second anyway), stolen base, walk. Dellin threw 13 strikes and 16 balls. The death blow was Gurriel’s two-run double into the left field corner against Chapman. Betances’ last two outings have been rough. Chapman hasn’t looked quite right all year. The Yankees aren’t good enough to overcome these two being something less than dominant. They need to be better. Dellin must cut down on the walks (18.3 BB%) and Chapman has to remember how to miss bats (13.6 Whiff%).
- Leftovers: Because the bullpen meltdown wasn’t enough, the game ended when Gardner slapped a two-out single in the ninth, and was thrown out at first because he took too big of a turn. He was caught in no man’s land. This team has been so bad on the bases lately. Sooo bad … the wraparound 9-1-2-3-4 portion of the lineup: 8-for-19 (.421) with a double, two homers, and two walks … the 5-6-7-8 hitters: 2-for-15 (.133) with a walk … Aaron Judge pinch-hit for Carter in the ninth and flew out. His on-base streak ends at 32 games. What a lame way to end it.
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees wrap up this series with the Astros on Sunday afternoon, then they head back to New York for a six-game homestand to close out the first half. Luis Severino and Mike Fiers will be on the bump Sunday.