The Yankees are doing a really great job beating themselves this series. They lost Tuesday’s mistake filled game 6-3 to the Astros. Back under .500 they go at 5-6.
Three & Fly
I like Jonathan Loaisiga. I really do. I ranked him as the second best prospect in the system a few weeks ago. I’m just not sure how much longer the Yankees can stick with a starter who struggles to complete even four innings. Loaisiga needed 71 pitches to get through three innings Tuesday night, and the Astros had him on the ropes in both the second and third innings. It was a real grind.
To Loaisiga’s credit, he did not break in those second and third innings. The Astros put runners on first and third with one out in both frames, and he escaped both times with a strikeout and a fly out. The kid has some guts. Seven innings in two starts though? That’s a problem. Especially with Domingo German relatively unpredictable and J.A. Happ unable to get through five innings against the Orioles these days.
Loaisiga’s final line: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR. He struck out the side in the first inning, then allowed six of the next dozen batters he faced to reach base. Ten of the 15 batters he faced saw at least five pitches in their at-bats. Loaisiga has tremendous stuff and the kid competes like hell. His inexperience is evident though. Given the current roster, I’m not sure letting him learn on the fly is the best idea, but what other option do the Yankees have?
(Update: The Yankees optioned Loaisiga to Triple-A Scranton following the game, the team announced. They’re calling up a fresh arm for Wednesday’s game (Jake Barrett? Joe Harvey?) and presumably that pitcher will be sent out when CC Sabathia joins the team this weekend.)
Three Token Runs
Six times in eleven games this season the Yankees have scored no more than three runs. Scoring three runs against Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole is pretty good though. Could’ve been worse. The Yankees scored their first run on Luke Voit’s first inning solo home run to center field — Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge both hit the ball earlier in the inning as well — before Cole settled down and retired 12 of the next 15 batters he faced.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Yankees broke through again. Gardner and Judge worked back-to-back leadoff walks and Gary Sanchez doubled to left field to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. It was more like a single to left before it hit the scoreboard in a weird spot and kicked away from Tony Kemp. Eleven of the final 12 Yankees to bat after Sanchez’s double made outs. Not much of a fight at the end.
Death By Bullpen (Again)
All things considering, Stephen Tarpley and Luis Cessa did an okay job getting the ball from Loaisiga to setup men Jonathan Holder and Chad Green, but, for the second straight night, a late-inning lead slipped away. Holder allowed back-to-back two-out doubles to Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley to tie the game in the seventh. Green made his own mess in the eighth with a leadoff single and back-to-back one-out walks. He put a fastball on a tee to George Springer, and that was that. Two-run double into the corner. Jose Altuve added a sac fly for good measure.
The bullpen in the series: 7 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 9 K. In both games the Yankees had a lead with seven outs to go. A small lead, sure, but a lead, and the entire point of building a super bullpen is to turn small leads in the late innings into wins, even against great teams. It hasn’t happened the last two nights. The relievers are working too much because the starters aren’t giving innings, and Dellin Betances’ absence has left the Yankees short a high-leverage reliever. Still, the guys out there are plenty good enough to close out games like this. Annoying.
How do the Yankees manage to screw up the most basic stuff game after game? It is getting ridiculous. Fairly or unfairly, it reflects poorly on Aaron Boone and the coaching staff, especially because this all started at the beginning of last year. Every single game the Yankees have to beat the other team and overcome their own mistakes. That is no way to contend. Here is a mostly complete list of Tuesday night’s obvious screw ups:
- Brett Gardner did not run out a bunt because he thought it was foul, resulting in a double play.
- Austin Romine had two pitches get by him that let runners advance.
- Clint Frazier missed two dives that led to extra bases and contributed to runs.
- Gleyber Torres didn’t throw right away when the runner tripped rounding third, and he was able to scamper back to the base safely.
- Gardner bobbled a ball hit in front of him allowed the runner to take an extra base.
- Whatever the hell this is.
Physical mistakes happen. The pitches that got by Romine? Fine, whatever. It happens. But Gardner not running out the bunt? Inexcusable. Also, why is he bunting anyway? Cole doesn’t need free outs. Frazier’s dives were unnecessary. Pull up and hold the hitter to a single, which, to his credit, he did in the eighth inning. Torres hesitating to throw home was bad and Romine dropped the throw anyway. Romine made no fewer than three mistakes in this game that would’ve gotten Gary Sanchez skewered.
Spring Training is over but you wouldn’t know it watching the Yankees on a daily basis. Their games are littered with unforced mistakes. Even if they don’t lead to extra runners or extra bases or extra runs, they lead to extra pitches, and the pitching staff is taxed enough as it is. The Yankees aren’t going anywhere as long they keep hurting themselves with mistakes day after day, especially with half the team on the injured list.
Judge, Voit, and Sanchez: 4-for-11 (.364) with a double, a homer, and a walk. The rest of the Yankees: 1-for-20 (.050) with two walks. Cole is really good, but like the Verlander game Monday, the Yankees had a lead after six innings. What more do you want against pitchers like that?
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. The updated standings are at ESPN. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:
The series finale and the road trip finale. James Paxton and Collin McHugh are Wednesday night’s scheduled starters. That is a 7:40pm ET start. Three games, three different start times all in the same range. It’s like they’re trying to confuse me as much as possible in the final days of RAB.