Houston's starting pitching is outstanding! We have the lineup over them, but their starters in a series can make life rough. Our bullpen should be better but has not been as good as it can be this year. In general, people don't talk as much about defense until a game can be decided by it or something stands out (like when I talk about Sanchez). That being said, the game Tuesday night saw us commit FIVE errors and also deal with an umpire that was very inconsistent and not favoring us. (two nights in a row complaining about the ump). We were our own worst enemy with so many errors against one of the top 3 teams in the league. Our rookies at 2nd and 3rd have been struggling defensively and that continued in this game. CC wasn't sharp and committed his own error, but the fielding didn't help us and directly led to 2 runs and a lot more pitches.
One of the errors to Torres was really a bad play by Bird at 1st base. While the throw was a slightly offline and low/short, Bird stepped toward the pitcher rather than toward the throw (Torres was coming over from shading up the middle and threw running toward the RF line) so he was not able to reach for the ball correctly and had to back an in-between hop. If Bird had correctly stretched toward the throw as you are supposed to, he would have turned it into a very easy short-hop play.
Speaking of Bird, he was 1-5 with 3 K's, but he had some very tough calls against him that were tough to overcome, especially when you are facing a tough pitcher like Morton. But, you have to love the way he makes the pitcher work and against teams like Houston, you need to get those pitchers out as soon as possible.
Both Stanton and Sanchez have been wildly swinging at terrible pitches. They both are in that swing no matter what mode that is infuriating to watch. Stanton is lining up the ball better because he isn't flying open like Sanchez is (Gary's front hip is pulling off the ball), but it doesn't matter when you are swinging at balls that can't be touched. Stanton will get it going when he gets more selective, Sanchez needs better pitch selection and get his mechanics better.
This game was a great example of this Yankee teams talent. A lot was going wrong (self-inflicted and the umpire), yet we did score one run in each of the first two innings on a Gardner HR and a 2 out double by Andujar and a single by Torres. Houston scored 5 runs on our mistakes and we were down 5-2 going into the bottom of the 5th. Judge pounded a fastball on the outside corner deep to RC to close the game to two runs.
Entering the 9th, the goal was to get the tying run to the plate and Andujar set us up with a leadoff walk! This kid has a stick, but working walks has not been his forte, however, his 6th walk of the year, gave us hope. Torres had his AB taken away as a 1-1 pitch that was not close was called a strike and then tried to protect on a pitch that was worse and he struck out. Gardner, who already had homered, went up looking for a fastball and took a changeup strike. The next pitch was a high fastball (probably a strike) that Gardner gave a good very high ride to it and it just cleared (by 2 feet) the leaping OF'r for a dramatic game-tying HR.
More Yankee excitement this year!
the Yankees weren't done as Judge once again went the opposite way and ripped a double down the RF line. After Bird struck out, Stanton got an infield hit giving Sanchez a chance to win the game with 1st and 3rd. In perhaps one of the worst AB's you can see, he waived at 3 sliders that were all balls and the 3rd one was lucky to be fielded by the catcher.
The 10th saw when of the coolest plays defensively! Chapman came in and got the first 2 batters out and looked sharp hitting 103. He then walked the speedy Kemp (That drives me crazy - you have to make that guy hit his way on). Chapman was starting to get all over the place and wild pitched Kemp to 2nd. On a 2-2 pitch Chapman uncorked a high 101 mph pitch that Sanchez had no chance on and the ball went all the way on a fly to the backstop where it hit the top of the padding and bounced back all the way to Sanchez who caught the ball turned and fired to 3rd base where Andujar made a nice reaching tag to get out the speedy Kemp in one of the craziest plays you will see. Outside of the crazy perfect bounce in the air, Sanchez made an excellent play to turn and fire to 3rd base and while the throw was very good it was a little toward the 2nd base side and Andujar not only was in the correct position he was balanced enough to reach toward 2nd and catch as well as tag the runner perfectly. It was the perfect storm to get Kemp out. BTW, the batter helped out as he got out of the way of Sanchez. If he would have just stood there and faced 3rd base in the batter's box, Sanchez would not have been able to make the throw without moving his feet and then the runner would have been safe. Of course, he risked getting hit with the ball but that made have given them a run if that happened. Anyway, great play that was also very lucky.
The Yankees then replayed the 2nd inning; after getting the first two outs, Andujar doubled and Torres knocked him in with yet another dramatic walk-off win!
Gardner had a great game, going 4-5 with 2 dingers!
Wednesday Game - Last night's game was not nearly as exciting and was still a very good game.
Severino against Keuchel. The Yankees got one run in the first off Keuchel and Severino was cruising until he allowed a 2 out 2 run HR in the 5th inning. He used all 3 pitches effectively and even tripled up on his change one time.
The Yankees came back in the 5th when the struggling Sanchez finally took an outside pitch and served it toward 2nd base (that is vacant because of the shift) and got a huge 2 out bases loaded hit to knock in 2 runs and give us back the lead. His front hip still leaked a lot but he swung the bat well and had a huge smile on his face.
The score stayed this way until the 9th where Houston rallied with a single and double knocking in a run before Chapman struck out Springer on 3 straight fastballs with the last one at 103!
Another series won by this team and against an excellent Houston team.
Unfortunately, Boston keeps winning as well.