About Last Night: Yankees 4 - Mets 2
by Cary Greene
August 24, 2022
The Yankees have now won three games in a row. They just finished a nifty and nice two-game sweep of the Mets.
● Winning Pitcher: Clarke Schmidt (5-2, 2.18 ERA) 3.0 IP/ 3H, 0R, 0ER / 0K, 3BB / 60-34 PC-ST (57% Strikes)
● Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodreiguez (0-3, 5.11 ERA) 0.1IP/ 3H, 2R, 2ER / 0K, 0BB / 8-8 PC-ST (100% Strikes)
● Yankee Home Runs: (1) Aaron Judge, (#48 0-on, 2 out, 4th-inning off Walker)
○ ALL RISE: Aaron Judge! Judge hit his Major League-leading 48th home run last night, a solo shot in the fourth-inning. On Monday, he had snapped a season-long 9-game homerless streak, so last night, he got back on track. He’s just the third Yankee ever and the sixth Major League player ever to hit at least 48 home runs through his club's first 124 games of a season. Judge is batting .368 with 31R, 6 doubles, 17 HR, 39 RBI, 26 BB, 5 HP and 6 SB in his last 33 games.
○ Josh Donaldson is hitting only .146 since August 9th, with a paltry OPS of .459 and a BABIP of .208. He’s not an ideal #5 hitter and in fact, he’s grossly underperforming based on his contract. The Twins appear to have easily won this off-season’s blockbuster deal, at least so far, as they are getting performance commensurate with what they are paying Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to do, whereas the Yankees are clearly over-spending for very little production.
Big Story - The final game of this year’s Subway Series concluded last night at Yankee Stadium and once again, baseball was the hottest ticket in town and the big show didn’t disappoint!
The game opened with a scoreless first-inning. First, the Yankees starter Frankie Montas, who was making his second home start for the Yankees since being acquired at the MLB Trade Deadline from the A’s, worked in and out of trouble. After he put two men aboard via a single and a walk, he got the hulking Met’s DH Daniel Vogelbach to strike out swinging. Then, Mets starter Taijuan Walker used but six-pitches to send the Yankees down in order - tying his career record for the fewest pitches he’d ever thrown in a single inning.
In the second-inning, the Mets again put two men on base on a Jeff McNeil single and a HPB, as Montas grazed Mark Canha. The Yankees escaped again though, courtesy of a slick 6-4-3 double-play on a very slow roller just to the left of second base that Isiah Kiner Falefa got to very quickly. Montas was at 35-pitches through two-innings of work. The Yankees again went down in order in the home-half of the second-inning. Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo made a highlight-reel diving catch to take a bloop-single away from Yankee DH Josh Donaldson to end the inning.
Montas’s velocity was increasing as the game progressed and by the fourth-inning he was kissing 98.2 mph on his four-seamer and really honing in with his location as he settled in, striking out Pete Alonso and Vogelbach back to back to end the fourth-inning.
Meanwhile, Walker, who was no-hitting the Yankees through three-innings, 9-up and 9-down on only 27 pitches in very dominant fashion, was finally touched for a single by Yankee left fielder Andrew Benintendi, leading off the bottom of the fourth-inning. Benny was erased on a double-play but Aaron Judge hit what I would call a home run of vengeance, smoking a low, fastball to left field that NASA might have mistakenly tracked as a UAP. The ball was scorched at 115.9 mph and for those who follow Exit Velo, as I do, it was a stunning power-shot. Walker seemed to want to have the pitch back the second he threw it, but after it landed 453’ into the bleachers, fans were absolutely buzzing about what a line drive shot it was. Even if you don’t normally look at highlights, check this hammer-shot out. You simply don’t see home runs hit like this very often in the sport.
After the Judge home run, Walker immediately got rattled, falling behind all three of the next Yankees batters as each reached base. Rizzo singled, Torres singled and then Donaldson walked to load the bases for Yankees rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, who was about to have the biggest at-bat of his life.
Cabrera worked the count full and the Subway Series was suddenly crackling with energy. Cabrera wound up drawing a bases loaded walk, garnering his first big-league RBI in the process! That brought Kiner-Falefa to the plate and he wound up rolling out slowly to Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. It was 2-0 Yankees!
The top of the fifth-inning was a really fun part of the game. The Mets put runners on second and third, thanks to a Canha double, that went over Judge’s head and off the wall. Then, Baty reached on catcher’s-interference, which was called on Kyle Higashioka. The runners advanced on a beautiful bunt by Tomas Nido to set the stage, runners on second and third and one-out.
Brandon Nimmo then drilled a line drive right at Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu, who had him played perfectly. Then, Mets right fielder Starling Marte lined a bouncing single through the right-side of the infield and into to right field and Yankees rookie Oswaldo Cabrera charged the ball and made a near-perfect throw to the plate to pick up an assist, gunning down Met’s Brett Baty, who was a dead-duck! Cabrera is clearly demonstrating his defensive aptitude and versatility.
In the top of the sixth inning, Gleyber Torres made one of the most bone-headed plays you will ever see in a baseball game. With the lumbering Pete Alonso running, the red-hot Jeff McNeil laced a double to the right-center field gap. Aaron Judge fielded the ball cleanly and threw a perfect strike to the cutoff-man, Torres, whose back was to home plate as he received the ball. Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner Falefa, who is technically responsible for providing direction to Torres on the play, was laying on the ground just watching Torres, who was trying to figure out where to go with the ball. The lead runner should have been the priority, but Torres seemed to not know the base runner situation and he appeared completely kind of inexplicably lost on the play. Instead of throwing home, he indecisively ran to second base and tried to apply a diving tag on McNeil, who had rounded second base and was retreating back to the bag.
Unbeknownst to Torres, Alonzo had stopped running toward the plate (after stumbling and ignoring the third base coach’s signal to continue running and retreated to third base) before starting again to run towards home plate. The play was the All-State Mayhem moment of the game! Torres should have thrown Alonzo out by 25 feet or more on the play. The score was 2-2 after that. I was disgusted with Torres, Kiner Falefa, and even Aaron Boone. More on that in a moment. There just isn’t a viable reason for such a mental lapse. Even middle school kids during a kickball game at lunchtime know where the lead runner is.
Moving on while shaking our heads, in the bottom of the seventh-inning, after Oswaldo Cabrera reached on single to center field, Kiner Falefa put down a terrible bunt that quickly bounced back to the first-base side of the mound that former Yankee Joely Rodriguez fielded and simply blindly threw to first base, despite an easy opportunity to pick off the lead runner.
As a result, the Yankees had a rally mounting, with Cabrera reaching second base with one out. Then, Jose Trevino singled to shallow right field to put runners on the corners for Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single. It was a thing of beauty. All the Yankees needed was a single in that spot and that’s exactly what Benintendi did for the third game in a row. He did what was necessary at the plate, shooting the ball into the hole on the left side of the infield! The Yankees led 3-2
Aaron Judge than drove in Trevino with a clutch two-out single and the Yankees were now in front 4-2!
In the Top of the ninth-inning, Aaron Boone just decided to leave Clarke Schmidt in the game, despite runners on the corners and the dangerous Starling Marte at the plate - righty on righty, mano a mano! 61-pitches!! Schmidy was clearly struggling with his slider, which was wilting under the high-leverage pressure and gravity of the situation. After all, he’s not a closer and he has zero experience with MLB stakes that high, especially in a subway series. But no matter! Yankees manager Arron Boone is basically pretty clueless with regards to handling a pitching staff and last night, guess what? It worked out for once! The Yankees won in spite of Boone!!
Most lunch moderators could have made the pitching change a few batters prior, ‘ya know, to avoid the drama and all. But not Boone! He made things interesting!! Needless to say, Marte walked to bring up the switch-hitting shortstop Brain Cashman, in his infinite wisdom, decided not to trade for when he was available during the 2021 offseason. What would the Yankees want with a switch-hitting speed demon who plays elite defense and is worth every penny of a long term deal after all? Fortunately, the move the lunch-lady would have made on the playground while dishes were being washed panned out. Wandy Peralta, a proven high-leverage MLB veteran, got out of the jam by getting Lindor to fly out to center field.
The Yankees had swept chapter two of the subway series, thanks in part to Brian Cashman (more on that in a moment), Frankie Montas, Aaron Judge, Andrew Benintendi, Oswaldo Cabrera, Clarke Schmidt, Wandy Peralta and especially, Joelly Rodriguez!
Player of the Game - I struggled here. It’s a toss up. On one-hand, Brain Cashman clearly gets the award, after all, he’s the one who traded Joely Rodriguez to the Mets to begin with! So, if it wasn’t for his glorious contribution, pitching ⅓ of an inning, tossing 100% of his pitches for strikes but allowing 3-hits and 2-earned-runs and getting the loss, the Met’s might have snuffed out the Yankees 7th-inning rally, only to take the game into extra-innings and potentially win it. Thankfully, Cashman is “THE MAN” though!
Then we have Aaron Judge’s home run in the bottom of the fourth, which was one of those “once a season” moments. What stood out was that he hit a low fastball and literally made it look like a golf ball. The ball had to be dented. I hope no one was hurt on that shot. It was an absolute missile. And “oh by the way” he drove in another run in the seventh inning and did I mention? This kid can “pick-it.” He even stole a base, though it hardly counts since it came off Adam Ottovino, who may have the slowest delivery to home plate of any MLB pitcher.
Judge also made a number of “plus” defensive plays, most notably, he made a great running catch on a Brandon Nimmo shot, with a man on second into the right field gap, 400 feet from home plate. If Aaron Judge isn’t the Yankees MVP, who is?
● Straight-up, the Yankees don’t win the game without Jose Trevino’s very subtle, but massively important contributions. Not only did he come up with a clutch single during the winning rally, advancing Oswaldo Cabrera to third base so the next man up, Andrew Benintendi, could drive him in and thus, plate the winning run – but “Trevy” also blocked a Clarke Schmidt breaking ball that bounced in the dirt with the tying run on third base in
● Probably the player of the game should have been Clarke Schmidt, he and his 2.18 ERA on the season, he who the Yankees were “forced to promote” due to Albert Abreu and newly acquired Scott Effross both recently being placed on the 15-day DL - Effross due to a right shoulder strain and Abreu due to right elbow inflammation! “Forced to promote!” Sheesh!
WHAT exactly is Brian Cashman thinking? The man is not a good pitching roster manipulator. Schmidt should NEVER have been demoted this season to begin with and neither should Ron Marinaccio have been sent down. Cashman’s priorities are a bit off if you ask me, too many so-so veterans in the Yankees universe are blocking promising talent in need of big league experience! Memo to Cashman forthcoming.
In any event, “Schmidty” as he will be called from this day henceforth and forthwith (if he isn’t already) was just left in the game by a seemingly bumbling Boone. It was as if Boone just said, “I dunno, I called my dad and he said to just leave him in there, that’s what they did in the 60’s and early 70’s and besides, he’s stretched out!” Personally, all of that stuff is above my pay grade. I’m just content to order my #86 Jersey ASAP! Let’s GO SCHMIDTY!!
I do know that if Schmidt had lost the game, Boone would be roasted by Yankees fans today, but instead, his lack of bullpen manipulation ala 1973, was an old-school flashback, a stroke of Billy Martinesque genius I do declare!
● Oh, and Boone did have to go to lefty Wandy Peralta, who also must get due recognition after all, seeing as how he easily recorded the save by getting the dangerous Lindor to fly out harmlessly to Aaron Judge in center field to end the game!
● Andrew Benintendi, who went 2-4 with a clutch RBI out of the leadoff spot in the lineup, came through with a huge run-scoring single on yet another masterful piece of situational hitting. THIS is the kind of player the Yankees lineup needed and boy - does he compliment DJ LeMahieu. I’m loving it!! I’m also hoping Brian Cashman extends Benintendi on a long term deal ASAP (along with signing Judge).
● Credit to Frankie Montas. The Mets pretty consistently put a lot of pressure on him but he seemed to get better as he got deeper into the game.
● Oswaldo Cabrera, Susan Waldman’s player of the game (not really deserved, but okay Susan!), impacted the game offensively, taking the pitch detailed above to provide the Yankees with a free run and he also impacted the game defensively and then, he even singled and scored the go-ahead run. I know he’s started slowly offensively, but he sure is looking like a long term fit for the Yankees super utility role.
The question for our readers is: Is Oswaldo Cabrera a future full-time regular player or, is he destined to be a utility-man? Perhaps I should submit this question to Andy Singer and the “Weekly Mailbag?”
Better to Forget:
● Gleyber Torres’s bone-headed mental lapse.
My Take - Gleyber Torres made an awful play last night, which I described above. As a second baseman, he could actually be characterized as a good defender (+6 DRS, +2.7 UZR/150, 0 Outs-Above-Average and a Fielding Percentage of .981). He’s having a good season but this wasn’t one of his better fielding plays. He kind of made up for it by stealing second and then third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, but wow. Aaron Boone has to get his infielders more prepared, so they know where to go in what situations. I would think Boone would be good at this, but alas, he wasn’t a middle infielder in his professional career after all. In a close game, blunders like that are extremely detrimental.
Given the Yankees current roster, I loved last night’s lineup with Benintendi leading off, followed by LeMahieu, then Judge, followed by Rizzo as it put a few hitters with high OBP’s immediately in front of Aaron Judge. The logic of dropping Judge and Rizzo down was sound, as Boone was attempting to lengthen the lineup against Walker.
Speaking of Walker, every time the Yankees face Taijuan Walker, I’m reminded of an affordable starter that Brian Cashman mysteriously wasn’t in on, at the time of his free-agency. Walker has been quite a bargain for the Mets, who signed him during the 2021 offseason to a three-year, $23 million dollar deal, per Sportac.
Though Giancarlo Stanton has the hardest hit ball in MLB this season, a June 11th 119.8 mph home run against the Cubs, Judge’s line drive last night was a darn fun blast to watch - a perfect example of why Yankees fans will call for Cashman’s head if Judge isn’t extended. Fans come to baseball games these days to see this sort of thing, they love it! We’ve said it countless times here on SSTN this season and I’ll say it again: Just Pay the Man! **(Phrase courtesy of our own Fuster, who I believe was actually the first to coin that phrase by the way)
In the top of the eighth inning, for those of you misguided souls who don’t value base-running and team speed, Daniel Vogleback illustrated why you should -um, value base-running. He grounded into a double play with Lindor on second and Alonso on first. Put a faster runner on first base in that situation, it’s second-and-third with one out. Put a faster runner at the plate also and it’s second and third with only one out. Alas, Vogelback, the slowest runner in MLB (I “assume,” but actually, StatCast says he’s “only” in the bottom 2% of the League, so there ARE slower players…..”ehhhem Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, you guys couldn’t outrun an Ice Cream Truck!” Thoughts here?
Next Up - The Yankees are off tonight as they travel out to the Oakland’s Ring-Central Coliseum to begin a 4-game series with the A’s that will begin with first-pitch tomorrow night at 9:40 EST. Neither team has announced its starting pitcher for the game. Jameson Taillon (11-4, 4.00 ERA) is “in-line” to open the series, as is James Kaprelian (3-7, 4.29 ERA) for the A’s.
It should be a very interesting series because not only could the Yankees face their former prospect in Kaprelian, but J.P. Sears, who the Yankees recently traded to the A’s, is actually lined up to potentially pitch game two of the series. I’ll find it very hard to root against J.P. Sears in that game, so hopefully he pitches shutout baseball over six or seven-innings but the A’s lose the game late!