About Last Night: Cards 1, Yanks 0
By Mike Whiteman 8/7/2022
*** Born on this day in 1929 was Don Larsen, author of the only perfect game in World Series history. Listen to Vin Scully’s take on this historical contest:
The Yankees are 70-38 on the season. They lead the American League East by 10.5 games. They have the best record in the American League, second in MLB - behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. As of this morning they are on pace for 105 wins.
The Yankees have lost four in a row, their longest such streak of the season.
Jordan Montgomery is 1-0, 0.00 with St. Louis. With the win, the Cardinals moved into sole possession of first place in the NL Central. \
The Big Story: When I was growing up, a 1-0 game usually meant two starting pitchers facing off, putting up the zeros on the scoreboard, at least one pitcher hurling a complete game. Things are a bit different now (eight pitchers utilized by both teams combined), but it still was an enjoyable game for me despite the final result.
What made it enjoyable was the excellent defensive play by both teams:
The Yanks cut down a run at the plate in the third on a perfect sequence of center fielder Tim Locastro fielding Paul Goldschmidt’s double, hitting cutoff man Gleyber Torres, and Gleyber making the perfect relay to home.
In the fourth inning Cardinal third baseman Nolan Arenado made a diving stop on a Josh Donaldson grounder and threw him out from his knees. Just another day in the office for the nine-time Gold Glove recipient.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa returned the favor in the bottom of the frame, making a diving stop on an Arenado grounder and throwing him out at first.
Capping off the fancy glovework, Cardinals right fielder Lars Nootbaar made diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Kyle Higashioka in the eighth, stifling a possible Yankee rally.
Unfortunately, in the end the Yankees came up short on the score. Teams don’t win a lot of games in which they garner only two hits. Arenado’s single in the bottom of the first inning drove in Goldschmidt with the game’s only run.
Of course, there was more to the story.
In a piece of great theater, the Yankees faced off against Jordan Montgomery, days after dealing him at the trade deadline. This was Monty’s first start for his new club and he didn’t disappoint, hurling five scoreless innings before leaving due to leg cramps in 90+ degree heat.
Going for the Yankees was Domingo German, who the team is expecting to step up and fill a place in the rotation. After a rough first, German settled in and produced his second quality outing in a row. Both bullpens pitched well after the starters departed, not allowing a run the rest of the way. The closest the Yanks came to scoring was actually in the first, when an Aaron Judge single and Josh Donaldson walk put runners at first and second. Unfortunately, Torres grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, ending the threat.
Cardinals win, 1-0.
Player of the Game: Let’s give it to Monty. In what had to be an emotional game in brutal heat, the big lefty kept his former teammates off balance, and off the scoreboard. Notable Performances:
The announced attendance of 48,581 was the largest since Busch Stadium III opened in 2006
He looked a bit shaky in his inning of work, but Aroldis Chapman has a five-inning scoreless streak. Can he trusted with a save opportunity?
Better to Forget: Aaron Hicks has gone hitless in his last 32 at bats…Torres looked terrible striking out for the last of the game, flailing at three balls in the dirt.
My take: Yankee fan chatter has exploded about the Montgomery-Bader trade, and Monty’s nice outing is just going to feed the anger many fans have for this deal. If we put down the pitchforks and dig a bit more, we start to see the rationale for the deal.
1. German looks like he will be able to handle the #5 starter spot. 2. Hicks should not be in a postseason lineup, and perhaps not be on a postseason roster. Now there’s plenty of baseball left to play this season, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Losing Montgomery hurts, but I support Cashman taking the risk and making the deal. I think Bader has a real chance of impacting the team this season and beyond. Good luck Monty! Some other random thoughts:
At least a couple of times the FOX announcers said the Cardinals were taming the Yankees’ “vaunted” lineup. Well, we must have been reading a different box score. Last night’s order had a 2021 look to it with Hicks batting sixth, IKF seventh, Locastro eighth, and Kyle Highshioka ninth. I’m an IKF fan, but the others have much to be desired. The absence of Anthony Rizzo (back injury) and Giancarlo Stanton shortens this lineup significantly.
I think the lineup especially misses Stanton. Not only has his production been absent, but he has a sense of swagger and confidence the team could use right now.
Byran Hoch tweeted that the bullpen was 4-10 with a 3.93 ERA in the past 23 games, of which the Yanks are 9-14. Yankee relievers blew five of nine save opportunities that came available in this period. Even saving a couple of those lost games would feel a lot better right now.
Next Up: Welcome to the Yankees, Frankie Montas! The recently acquired starter (4-9, 3.18) makes his Pinstripe debut against Adam Wainwright (8-8, 3.11) today at 2:15.