ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Yankees 7, White Sox 5
The Yankees are in hot waters after Josh Donaldson made racist comments toward Tim Anderson throughout today’s game. D.J. LeMahieu celebrated reaching 10 years of service in MLB with a short-porch grand slam in the second inning off Dallas Keuchel that put the Yankees up for good. The path to this win was far from straightforward, as José Abreu answered in the next inning with a three-run bomb off Nestor Cortes Jr, who racked up seven strikeouts in five tough innings. The bullpen made that lead stand up just long enough, as Clay Holmes completed his 19th-consecutive scoreless outing with 1.1 innings to wrap up another win over the White Sox.
THE DONALDSON INCIDENT:
Josh Donaldson has tempted fate far too often against the Chicago White Sox over the last few years. The bad blood continued this year after he pushed Tim Anderson off third base in an argument just last week.
And he found a way to cross a line today. Yasmani Grandal had some words for Donaldson as he stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning, and then the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, and no players were ejected, but Anderson had to be restrained but multiple players.
The nature of those comments came to light in the postgame. White Sox manager Tony La Russa alleged Donaldson said something racist to Anderson. The shortstop elaborated further here, as Donaldson did so multiple times:
Donaldson said that he did in fact call Anderson “Jackie” during the game as a “joke.” Needless to say, Anderson’s reaction makes it hard to believe that the Yankees’ third baseman was “joking.” He did say he’d apologize and meet with Anderson, but the damage has been done. Donaldson should know better than to talk to an opponent with language like that, especially at a time when Black people in America have to deal with this nonsense on a daily basis.
The Yankees and Donaldson need to handle this carefully, learn from this, and be better.
As far as the game went, The Yankees and White Sox put a lot of players on the bases. Chicago batters racked up 11 hits, with nearly every starter recording a knock in a three-hour and 40-minute game. Meanwhile, New York only reached eight hits but picked up six walks. The Bombers recorded the win because they took advantage of their opportunities better than the White Sox. Both teams recorded three hits with runners in scoring position. The Yankees reached that mark in seven at-bats, while the White Sox got there in 13.
The White Sox had two chances late to pick themselves back up. They had Michael King on the ropes in the sixth as A.J. Pollock, Leury García, and Josh Harrison all doubled to cut the Yankees’ lead to just one run. Tim Anderson (who we’ll discuss more in a moment) walked with two outs and Harrison on the second, sending Andrew Vaughn to the plate with a chance to give Chicago its first lead. Vaughn chopped a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a forceout to end the frame.
Jonathan Loásiga faced a similar situation the next inning. Luis Robert blooped a single to right and Abreu reached on a fielder's choice after Isiah Kiner-Falefa chose to go to second on a weak ground ball. The right-hander buckled down and struck out Yasmani Grandal, Pollock, and García to escape trouble.
Stanton had another great game, hitting the ball hard and finding holes. Cortes battled, allowing the White Sox to extend at-bats with 28 foul balls in 100 pitches. Nevertheless, he re-found his form in the late innings to get the job done. Also, Holmes has just been dealing, only needing 12 pitches to rack up three whiffs on six swings against him today while averaging 98.3 mph on his sinker.
BETTER TO FORGET:
King had a lesser outing today, as mentioned earlier. Higashioka had his fourth passed ball of the season already, but he did hit two balls hard to the outfield – including one that traveled over 400 feet. So, maybe some positive steps forward?
On the field, the Yankees got the job done as they have. The pitching staff certainly struggled, but this is a strong White Sox lineup in theory. A team with Anderson, Abreu, and Robert as its core should still work every at-bat as they did today. Also, Clay Holmes has a strong case to be the Yankees' closer.
Now, the Donaldson situation puts the game in a bit of a different light. The Yankees and the league have to at least suspend Donaldson. Major League Baseball has long had issues addressing systematic racism within the sport along with the number of Black players in the sport dropping since the early 1980s. The ball’s in MLB’s corner. Will they handle this appropriately?
The Yankees host a double-header against the White Sox to wrap up the season series. Jameson Taillon faces Johnny Cueto in the first game, and then Luis Severino goes up against Michael Koepech in the nightcap on Sunday Night baseball.