In the words of former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, “It’s not what you want.”
The Yankees have actually had some great success using the “opener” for games, especially when Chad Green is that opener. But whether Green was just having an off-night, or (more likely) the Indians just got on a roll with momentum and came to the Bronx ready to challenge the AL’s 1st place team.
Green threw 35 pitches and only got 1 out in the 1st. He gave up 4 hits, a walk, and 5 runs, and struck out 1 Cleveland batter in this opening game of the weekend series. He quickly loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk before getting that strikeout. Then the next batter smacked a grand slam up the middle to jump the Indians into an early big lead. After the next player hit a solo home run, Green was ready to exit the game.
But it was simply the start of a long night for Yankee pitchers. Jonathan Loaisiga came into the game, his first since returning from the IL. After an out, he gave up a single that scored on a 2-run home run. Loaisiga started finding his momentum, but he gave up another 2-out single in the 2nd that scored on another 2-run home run. Coming up with a clean inning in the 3rd, the Yankees turned to their bullpen again.
Chance Adams, unfortunately, didn’t follow the latter example in his long-term relief outing. With 1 out in the 4th, Adams gave up a double that scored on a 2-run home run. In the 5th, the lead-off batter singled but was thrown out trying to take 2nd by the Yankees’ solid defense. Then he gave up a single and walk that moved into scoring position on a balk. After another out, a single scored the lead runner.
Adams gave up a lead-off single in the 7th, but the next batter hit into a great double play. The next batter was hit by a pitch who moved to 3rd on a double. Then a single scored both runners. After an allowed walk, unable to get that final out of the inning, the Yankees turned to Nestor Cortes Jr who needed 7 pitches to get out of the inning.
Running out of relievers, the Yankees called in a position player to pitch the final 2 innings. I mean, at this point, there really couldn’t be any worse. It was clear they were going to lose the game. Mike Ford was to do the honors, with mixed results. He actually threw decent pitches (in the upper 70s and 80s mph fastballs), but too many found the sweet spot in the strike zone.
In the 8th, with 1 out, a double and single put runners in the corners. A single then scored the lead runner, and a 3-run home run cleared the bases. The next batter hit a solo home run to get in on the fun. But then after giving up a single, he got the final 2 outs of the inning. And his 9th was efficient with just 9 pitches for 3 outs, thanks to his defense that he’s normally part of.
In total, that was 24 allowed hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts, and 19 runs by Yankees’ pitchers tonight for the visiting team.
On the flip side of things, the Yankees were exactly quiet, just nowhere near as loud as their opponents. LeMahieu led-off the 1st with a single, moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single and then scored on Gio Urshela’s single. Gardner’s 2-out walk loaded the bases, but they couldn’t get anyone else home.
Didi Gregorius hit a 2-out solo home run in the 5th, and Gary Sanchez’s lead-off solo home run in the 6th minutely chipped away at the Indians’ monster lead. Then in the 7th, Ford led-off by getting on base due to a throwing error. He then moved to 2nd on LeMahieu’s single and later scored on Gio Urshela’s 2-out single. Gleyber Torres barely eked out a 1-out solo home run in the 8th to cap off the Yankees’ scoring tonight.
Final score: 19-5 Yankees
There are some games that are really difficult to keep a positive spin when I discuss them on here. I guess the best things I can say off the top of my head is that at least the Yankees weren’t shutout (so that streak continues) and the Yankees have another position player-pitcher in their history (whose only problems were he kept things too inside the strike zone). And unlike some other sports, it doesn’t matter by how much you win, just that you win.