About Last Night: Rays 7, Yankees 8
The Yanks scored in 4 of the last 5 innings after scoring just once in the prior 31 innings. The magic of the rain delay or the new kids?
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman (2-3, 4.45 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Jalen Beeks (2-2, 2.81 ERA)
Home Runs (New York): Gleyber Torres (17), Anthony Rizzo (28), Josh Donaldson (12)
Home Runs (Seattle): Harold Ramirez (5)
Big Story - Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of support. That, and the help of media, thousands of fans on twitter continuing to spread the message, and a nudge in the right direction by another team in the league.
On Tuesday, the New York Mets announced that- in large part due to injuries in their outfield- they were going to call up top prospect Brett Baty. He's the Mets #2 prospect and #19 in the entire MLB. While it was unknown what would happen going forward for him, he ended up hitting a home run on the 2nd ever pitch he saw in the MLB. Ultimately, the Mets have been playing fine baseball (7-3 in their last 10), but they have continued to put their best foot forward, regardless of service clocks.
Fast forward to late on Wednesday night/early on Thursday morning and the rumors started circling that the Yankees were going to call up not just 1, but 2, of their young budding prospects in Estevan Florial and Oswaldo Cabrera. The team needed a spark and fans were clamoring for something new to be done in center field (over Aaron Hicks) and to give a new spark to the infield (over, well, everybody). While it was unknown that the two of Florial and Cabrera would combine to go 0-6 with 3 K's in the game from last night, they did provide something I hadn't felt in a while.
I actually, legitimately, wanted to turn on the Yankees game.
And, Cabrera quickly caught my attention.
It is a lot of pressure to put onto two young players to be the two sparks to a team that is in free fall. It takes a lot to recognize who will thrive in those situations. Estevan Florial already had some (albeit very very very limited) MLB experience and was the obvious move to give a center field shot. Oswaldo Cabrera was already being seen as the back-up move to the Yankees not wanting to bring up Oswald Peraza (for which it seems). However, it didn't seem like this phased him much. Like I said,
Cabrera caught my eye.
It takes a lot to have swagger. Players who want to have this aura need to know what it is going to mean for them to try and possess such a delicate thing. Gleyber Torres often likes to display his swagger. When he's playing the hot hand, it is great to watch. When he's ice cold, it's an obvious talking point against him (see my post yesterday for example).
For what it is worth, Cabrera came into the game yesterday with a lot of swagger. Heck, it seems like he had practiced for his roll call from the bleacher creatures! (With, what looked to be a grenade toss? Wow. That's pretty dang cool.) Old-school baseball minds will not appreciate how much "not-so-quiet" confidence that Cabrera had on display. Especially before he's done anything at the MLB level. And, thanks to Eli Fishman, we can see this is not outside of the norm for Cabrera. Just check out his bat flip from a home run from last year. He's long been like this.
During the game, Oswaldo Cabrera showed off that had a mini Soto-esque shuffle towards the pitcher after every ball thrown to him, he nearly took his first at-bat out of the confines of the field, he missed completing a double-play in the 1st inning, and he struck out twice. It was not a pretty game, nor a good game for him. But none of it mattered. Cabrera was just going to continue with playing the game his way. Like with having swagger, this is a delicate game to play before it rags on the fans. I'm here for the show, but it has to be said that the show must prove it to continue on.
After the game he was also a pro with the media. Here are two additional clips to watch of his post-game talking to the media for the first time. (Clip 1) and (Clip 2). Amidst the swagger on the field, I get the sense Cabrera is very mature and comes from the proper school of thought when it comes to handling the media. It will be a balancing act that he'll have to learn with having the swagger on the field and not getting too big for himself/the game/the moment, BUT I have confidence in him.
Sometimes all it takes is a little support. That, and, a little spark from a guy who has a lot of confidence to give. Give me more Oswaldo Cabrera going forward. Keep that spark going. I'm quickly becoming a fan. (Just don't make me look silly, Oswaldo! Let's get that first MLB hit tonight!)
The Bringer of Rain (Post-Rain Delay):
Josh Donaldson: 1-4, Run, Home Run (Walk-off; Grand Slam), 4 RBI's, HBP
Player(s) of the Game - A walk-off is nice, but it's not everything
Jose Trevino: 3-4, Run, K
Gleyber Torres: 2-5, 2 Runs, Home Run, 2 RBI's, K
Anthony Rizzo: 1-4, 2 Runs, Home Run, 1 RBI, BB, K
Other Notable Performances - Some good all-around performances
Aaron Judge: 1-3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 2 BB's, K
Ron Marinaccio: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's
Scott Effross: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R (the ghost runner), 1 BB, 2 K's
Estevan Florial: 0-2, K, but made this great play to save some runs
Better to Forget - Definitely not the debut he was hoping for
Aroldis Chapman: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, Win
Domingo German: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 6 K's
Oswaldo Cabrera: 0-4, 2 K's
Isiah Kiner-Falefa: 0-3, 1 K
My Take - All these words and I haven't even really touched on the game itself yet. And, truthfully, I don't think I really need to say that much. The game spoke for itself and if you want to watch the highlights, they're right at the bottom of this post.
Domingo German was not great last night. The Rays- as they did on Monday and Tuesday- got out of the gates first and the Yankees were caught floundering against Corey Kluber. That about sums up the first 5.5 innings as the Yankees fell behind 4-0.
Then- and I give him a ton of credit- Gleyber Torres hit a solid 2-run home run in the bottom of the 6th. He showed that same swagger that can get him into trouble as I referenced before, but even in the moment I was okay with it. For whatever feeling I had, I was confident. Then, the inning ended, the game got caught in a rain delay, and we moved onto the 7th.
Bases loaded for Aaron Judge, and what does he do? He doesn't overdo it. Takes 4 straight balls and gets the Yankees within 1 of the Rays. (Ultimately, Gleyber grounded into a double play while swinging at the first pitch, ending the inning immediately afterwards. Ugg! And I jsut gave you credit again, Gleyber!)
Then comes the 8th, as the Yankees- for the first time since the 5th inning on August 13th- scored their way into a tie as Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot. Things were looking up, even amidst a nothing-doing 9th on both sides of the ball.
...and then, they almost blew it in the 10th. Scott Effross got a groundout before Boone brought in Aroldis Chapman...who walked the first two batters he saw, got a bases-loaded strikeout, and then allowed a bases-clearing, 3-run double before ending the inning. Ugg. Yankees back down 7-4.
But, the game wasn't over.
Gleyber Torres started the 9th inning with a single to get Aaron Judge to 3rd. Anthony Rizzo then worked a 4-pitch walk.
And Josh Donaldson took the 2nd pitch of his at-bat over the right field wall to end it, just like that.
Next Up - The Yankees will start a 4-game weekend series tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays, starting at 7:05 PM (EDT). The Blue Jays have been in a slump in August (they've gone 5-9), are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and are coming off a 6-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles from yesterday afternoon. They are set to start Jose Berrios (8-5, 5.61 ERA) as the Yankees- also with a shaky August, who are also 3-7 in their last 10 games, and are also coming off an important win from last night- will start Frankie Montas (4-9, 3.59 ERA).