Game 97: SF vs. NYY — Extra inning let-down

Even if it’s summertime, a mid-afternoon game that goes into extra innings is bound to face a few natural issues — loss of sunlight, shadows creeping across the diamond, heat exhaustion, and the inexplicable progressive reduction of fans in the seats. Of course, today’s game was nearly four and a half hours long. And the nearly 47,000 fans had sat through a rather tight, rather uneventful (at times) game. But still, “it ain’t over…” and all that.

And then it was.

But first, Ivan Nova dominated this middle game with the visiting Giants from the pitcher’s mound, going 96 strong pitches through his full 7 innings. He gave up just 6 hits and 2 walks, allowing just 1 run, and struck out 7 Giants batters. His lone run allowed was a lead-off solo shot in the 5th inning. So between him and the defense, the Giants weren’t doing nothing.

Of course, the Yankees certainly had their own issues of a similar nature. Facing another great starter of recent World Series fame (though with a team that won in the odd years), the Yankees made him pitch a lot — 117 pitches in just 6 innings, got 6 hits and a walk, and struck out 9 times. Plus, they also scored a run, albeit an unearned run because the Giants defense just isn’t what it should be for how high they are in the standings. (Seriously now, how bad does that make the NL West that a sloppy defensive team is at the top of the standings? Research is needed clearly.)

Anyway, the Yankees got on the board first in the 4th inning. With 1 out, Didi Gregorius singled to get on base. Then Mark Teixeira singled, but thanks to a lovely fielding error by the outfielder, Gregorius made it all the way home to score the run. Of course, it helps that Gregorius is rather speedy in base-running.

{Video of Yankees’ defense showing off: Gardner, Headley, the teamwork of Gardner-Gregorius, and the infield collectively.}

Anyway, with the game all tied up for the 8th inning, the Yankees sent out Andrew Miller for a quick shutdown of the Giants — 10 pitches, 2 strikeouts, a standard Miller inning really. Aroldis Chapman found his somewhat normal position in the 9th, but then came out for the 10th to continue the set-down, adding 3 total strikeouts of his own over his 2 innings. Extra baseball continued when Dellin Betances made his appearance in the 11th, adding another strikeout to the total. (The Warriors Three out of order, but still incredibly effective.)

And on into the 12th inning, the game still tied. New reliever Anthony Swarzak sent in to keep the momentum going, except it didn’t. He gave up a lead-off double. And those in the stands in navy sat down as the scattering of orange wildly cheered. A 1-out single scored that runner to break the tie and give the Giants a slight edge. (The single was hit by the same guy who hit the homer earlier in the game, by the way.) A pop-out later, the Yankees called on Richard Bleier to finish the inning, which he did rather quickly.

So the Yankees turned their sights on offense in the bottom of the 12th. But the Giants’ closer today shut the Yankees down in order, in an efficient 12 pitches. Game over.

Final score: 2-1 Giants, in 12 innings.

The Yankee pitchers threw a rather impressive 13 total strikeouts today, but the Giants nearly matched them at 12. Actually, today’s game felt like a back-and-forth of equally matched teams. See, this is where standings and statistics don’t line up. You have one of the better teams in baseball (Giants) versus the 4th place AL East team (Yankees), and yet, they play like the old time days when the Giants were still in New York and they were intense rivals.

Trade rumors alert: Okay, I know I don’t do much as far as rumors go, but this one has been rather persistent. The rumor is that the Yankees have been looking to trade Aroldis Chapman and/or Andrew Miller. Chapman is set to be a free agent come this off-season, and Miller is seen as the “weaker” of the Three because he doesn’t hit 100mph on his fastball. (You can imagine my scoffing and arguments there if you’d like, and you’d be right.) But now, it’s looking like the rumors have settled on the fact that Chapman might be the lone trade. Again, still rumors, so whatever.

Tomorrow is Hall of Fame Induction Day at Cooperstown. The ceremony will be broadcast live on MLB Network beginning at 11 am. The Class of 2016 inductees are Mike Piazza (Mets) and Ken Griffey Jr. (Mariners), both well-deserved honors for a couple of great ball players.

Go Yankees!

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