About Last Night: Houston 4, Yankees 2
You can't defend Boone's decisions tonight. He manages for a tomorrow that never comes and punts games like Ray Guy. I'm exhausted with him.
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Justin Verlander (1-0, 6.30 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Clarke Schmidt (0-1, 11.57 ERA)
Save: Ryan Pressly (2, 0.00 ERA)
Home Runs (New York): Harrison Bader (4), Anthony Rizzo (2)
Home Runs (Houston): Yuli Gurriel (2), Chas McCormick (1), Jeremy Pena (2)
Big Story - After going 5 games against the Cleveland Guardians in the ALDS, the Yankees found themselves up against a recent and familiar foe in the ALCS: the Houston Astros.
For the 6th straight year (from 2017-2022) the Houston Astros have played their way into the American League Championship Series. We know they cheated to get there in 2017, and this may have continued going into and through 2018 and 2019 as well (though the later two years have not been confirmed). This would also be the 4th time since 2015 that the Astros and Yankees faced each other in the postseason. The Yankees lost the first three of those post season meetings.
In 2015, it was losing the 1 game playoff after getting blanked by Dallas Keuchel.
In 2017, it was losing Game 7 of the ALCS to a team that was later found out to be cheating. (Whose players faced no repercussions from doing so.)
In 2019, it was losing Game 6 of the ALCS on a walk-off home run to an insecure Jose Altuve, afraid of his jersey being removed. (All before he quickly ran to hide in the clubhouse to change his attire.)
For 2022, who knows what it will bring? For Yankees fans, the time to beat Houston is now. They've had the Yankees number at every turn and refuse to go away. Now, with a team battered by injuries- especially to the bullpen- and running with the same organizational strategy that failed them multiple times before (i.e. "Strikeouts are okay if we hit Home Runs."), the Yankees are back for chance #4.
And if Game One serves as any indication, it's not going to go well.
Player of the Game -
Jameson Taillon - 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 0 K
Truthfully, I don't even know if Taillon deserves this recognition, but it doesn't feel right going to anybody else on the team. Taillon was tasked with keeping the game close against Justin Verlander (who is likely to win another Cy Young Award this year). That's not an easy task and while the Astros had chances in the 1st and 2nd innings, he escaped with just 1 run allowed. We'll talk more about this in a minute.
Other Notable Performances -
Harrison Bader - 1-4, HR, RBI, 2 K's
Anthony Rizzo - 1-2, HR, RBI, BB, HBP, K
Giancarlo Stanton - 2-4, 0 K's
Lou Trivino - 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Miguel Castro - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
A slew of good performances from a few players last night. Harrison Bader gets on the list thanks to a 2nd inning home run. Anthony Rizzo for getting on base 3 out of 4 times up (plus an 8th inning home run). Giancarlo Stanton for playing pretty solid defense and getting hits in 2 of 4 at-bats. Lou Trivino for perfectly finishing up a lost inning. And, Miguel Castro for tossing a perfect 8th inning.
Better to Forget -
Josh Donaldson - 0-3, BB, 3 K's
Matt Carpenter - 0-3, 4 K's
Jose Trevino - 0-4, 2 K's
Gleyber Torres - 0-4, 2 K's
Clarke Schmidt - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 HR's
Frankie Montas - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
Josh Donaldson gave away the game by twice failing to make anything happen with 2 runners on. Matt Carpenter looked lost at the plate and should have a short leash if they try this again. Jose Trevino should never be batting in the 9th inning. Gleyber Torres did nothing. Clarke Schmidt wasted a promising performance with a rally ending double-play by giving up back-to-back home runs. Frankie Montas immediately gave up a solo home run to put the game out of reach for these Yankees.
My Take - Retitled: How to Punt a Game (Without Really Trying)
Step One: Pull Your Starting Pitcher Early
Jameson Taillon did work his way into jams in the 1st and 2nd. However, he was able to escape the first two with allowing just 1 run to cross the plate and he was pulled after giving up a double with 1 out. He had thrown just 67 pitches. The Yankees know they have a less-than-stellar bullpen out there (and one where all the top arms were used the day before) and yet they chose to head early into the depths of questions and unsteadiness. It was a bad call.
Step Two: Bring in a Converted Reliever Who is Not Comfortable in Relief
To try and save the inning, Aaron Boone went to Clarke Schmidt and immediately issued an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. That move made sense. Get Schmidt a free batter (for the 3 batter rule) so they could pull him faster if things went wrong, which they didn't. Schmidt was a hero...for all of 5 minutes. Then, they brought him back out there for the next inning and he gave up back-to-back solo home runs to give the Astros a 3-1 lead.
Step Three: Make a Correct Move and Quickly Change Course
Now behind on the scoreboard, Aaron Boone- the manager who notoriously pulled all of his relievers far too early during the ALDS- went to the bullpen to bring in (get this) an actual reliever. And, believe it or not, the move worked. Lou Trivino pitched perfectly to end the 6th inning. So, of course if Clarke Schmidt got a chance to get through another inning after getting 2 outs, so would Trivino...right?
Step Four: Bring in Another Starting Pitcher in Relief Who Struggled as a Starter
Of course not! Why send Trivino out there to pitch another inning when you could go to Frankie Montas! The starting pitcher who hasn't pitched a game in relief since 2018 and who had a 6.35 ERA with the Yankees in the later half of 2022! Of course he's the man for the job to keep a 3-1 ballgame close. And by close, I mean, to immediately give up a solo home run to Jeremy Pena.
Step Five: Go to Another Reliever Because Now the Idea Is To Use Every Arm You Can
Okay, Montas finished out the rest of the 7th inning with no additional damage. So, of course the obvious move is to allow the starting pitcher to get multiple innings of work. If Clarke Schmidt can get the chance and Lou Trivino can't, it must be because Trivino is strictly a reliever now. Oh, but that'd make too much sense. Let's go to Miguel Castro instead just to burn another arm in an already depleted bullpen. Credit to Castro for pitching a perfect 8th inning, but the game was already over by then. Boone punted it away long beforehand.
Some Additional Notes:
Why were the Yankees (then down 4-2) laughing during Carpenter's at-bat in the 8th inning? If we're laughing at losing, that's a terrible look. It appears to the fans that they aren't serious; that they don't want to win.
Josh Donaldson has long been a thorn in the Yankees lineup. Especially as he bats so darn high for no reason whatsoever. The front office seemed to listen during Games 4 & 5 of the ALDS to finally bench IKF. It's now time to move Donaldson away from where any hitting may be necessary. He's had 2+ K's in each of the last 6 games now. That's embarrassing.
The umpiring of last nights game was terrible. Truthfully, I don't know if I've seen a worse game, ever. It was so clearly tilted in the favor of the Houston Astros, it seemed they got at least twice the close calls (if not more) that the Yankees pitchers got. I can't wait to see the umpire scorecard when it gets published.
Aaron Boone needs to be out there, yelling, screaming, kicking dirt, throwing bases around, I don't care what, but something if this continues. His only calling card is the "savages in the box" outburst from 2019. That was 3 years ago now. Spit out your gum and get out there and yell. That's your job as manager. To defend your players.
Would also help if Boone got ejected so that someone else (hopefully with more foresight) could make the bullpen decisions.
What a disgrace of a game. I was cautiously optimistic that the Yankees would be able to get to Verlander and they almost did. And, because of it I got too invested and now feel let down. What a joke.
Next Up - Game Two of the ALCS, in Houston, against the Astros. Game available on TBS, start time of 7:37 PM (EST). The Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to face off against Framber Valdez.