About Last Night: Yanks Walk It Off, Defeat Red Sox 5-4
by Paul Semendinger
September 23, 2022
About Last Night:
The Yankees won again, in ten innings, defeating the last place Boston Red Sox and clinching a spot on the playoffs. Step One has been accomplished.
Of course, the big story last night was also Aaron Judge's quest to reach 61 homers. Baseball is a game of inches...or feet. Aaron Judge hit a fly ball, a possible would-be walk-off home run 404 or so feet, but he hit it to the wrong part of the ballpark and instead of reaching a milestone with a game-winner, he just flew out.
Baseball is also a game of irony. On a night when Judge didn't homer, a guy named McGuire did. (I know, I know, Mark McGwire spelled his name differently.)
In the end, the Yankees won on a walk-off single from Josh Donaldson who began the year with a similar such hit against the Red Sox. I guess we can also say that baseball also comes full circle. Quick Team Stats:
Last night was the 16th time the Yankees walked-off a win. That's the second most in team history trailing just the 1943 squad and now just ahead of the 2009 team. For the record, the 1943 and 2009 teams won the World Series. (From Jason Catania on Twitter)
Of course, there are stats for everything. The Yankees also tied the 1904 team for the most extra inning wins at home. The 1904 team didn't win a pennant or a World Series. (From Katie Sharp on Twitter.)
There was no World Series in 1904 (The NY Giants refused to play the Boston Americans.)
The Yankees have now reached the post season 58 times in their history. That's 58 times, really, since 1921 when they won their first pennant. 58 times in 101 years.
Since 1921, the Yankees have a 57.4% chance of reaching the post season.
The Yankees have reached the playoffs in 24 of the last 28 seasons. That's 85.7% of all seasons since 1995.
The job is just beginning. The Yankees have won no World Series since 2009. That's 0% of all World Series since then.
Jameson Taillon: 6 innings, 4 hits, zero runs
Clay Holmes: 6 batters faced, 6 outs
Aaron Judge went 0-2, but he walked three times
Josh Donaldson went 3-for5 with the game winning hit
Giancarlo Stanton had three hits including a home run
Giancarlo Stanton is hitting just .215 for the season
Harrison Bader, who looks to be 100%, had another hit and another RBI
Aaron Judge is still leading the A.L. in all three Triple Crown areas
There are just 13 games left in the regular season
The Big Story:
At this point, the big story is that the Yankees have turned it all around, again. They have won four games in a row, two in walk-off fashion. They are enthusiastic, they are exciting, and it is clear that they are having fun again.
I know there is there is a narrative that the Yankees mailed it in in July and August because they had a huge lead and they could rest players and such, but I don't buy it. To watch the team as it played in those months was to watch a team that was slowly dying and facing tremendous pressure. This was a club was saw its huge lead dwindle. They were on the verge of blowing it. Athletes, at any level, don't just mail it in, especially for long periods. The Yankees were not enthusiastic - they were lifeless. They were not exciting - they were listless. And they were not having fun. For two months, they played a horrible brand of baseball. Excuses can be made, and were, but they were, quite simply, a very bad baseball team.
But, if life, we always move forward and forward the Yankees have looked. One excuse the Yankees had for their poor play was that many of the players were injured. Those players are coming back now. The team is getting whole and they are winning again.
Last night, the Yankees and the Red Sox matched scoreless innings through the first four frames. The Yankees scored one run in the fifth inning on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Kyle Higashioka. The bases were loaded with no outs, so scoring just one run there was a disappointment.
The Yankees then scored two runs on a wall-scraper homer by Giancarlo Stanton to deep right-centerfield. The 3-0 Yankees lead looked strong.
Jameson Taillon pitched six scoreless innings. Clarke Schmidt relieved him and allowed two homers that allowed the Red Sox to take a 4-3 lead.
The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. Giancarlo Stanton began the frame with a single. Tim Locastro pinch ran and stole second. (He was initially called out, but the call was challenged and overturned.) Locastro moved to third on a groundout by Oswaldo Cabrera and then scored on a Harrison Bader sacrifice fly.
Of note, in the top of the inning, Aroldis Chapman came in, struck out the first batter he faced (Alex Verdugo) and then completely lost the strike zone and walked the next two batters. Lou Trivino came in, walked the first batter he faced (he looked totally out of sorts), but gathered himself and got out of the bases loaded jam with an infield popout and a strikeout. This, to me, was the turning point of the game.
Clay Holmes pitched two perfect innings of relief (the 9th and the 10th).
In the bottom of the tenth inning, Gleyber Torres was intentionally walked to set-up a double play infield with the ghost runner on second base. (I still cannot believe that we are talking about ghost runners in Major League baseball.) Josh Donaldson drove home the imaginary runner with a single to win the real game. Player of the Game:
Lou Trivino came out of the bullpen. looked wild for a moment, but got the Yankees out of a jam that could have cost them the ballgame.
Better to Forget:
Clarke Schmidt gave up four run (two homers) in one inning of work
Aroldis Chapman walked two of the three batters he faced
Well, they did it. The Yankees are in the post season. Next, the Magic Number to clinch the American League East is now 6. The long road, the big task to get to the World Series, is just beginning. A few weeks ago, the Yankees looked like they might never win another game. Right now they look to be back. A few weeks ago, it was no fun (for me, at least) to be a Yankees fan. They're now making it fun again to watch the games.
Of course, the Yankees are on Apple or Prime or some streaming service tonight so I won't see the game. I hate that the Yankees have taken the game away from so many fans by doing this. Many elderly fans do not have the skills, knowledge, and/or technology to even watch the games - and these are, by definition, some of the team's longest and most loyal fans. That the Yankees have done this all season has been wrong on so many levels.
But now there is this new narrative that while the game has been taken away from so many fans, that the game can't be taken away from Michael Kay who must be the voice for Aaron Judge's 61st home run. I'm sorry, I find this take to be absolutely absurd. If Michael Kay is in the booth for the game, because he's that outlet's announcer, great, good for him, but to put him on another outlet, that's just wrong. Whoever the announcer is for that platform should get to make the call. Why does it have to be Michael Kay? This whole narrative, this whole, "He deserves it," is nonsense. On many levels, it's insulting to so many. "You can't watch it fans," and "You, Mr. Announcer Guy, can't call it," but God Forbid we take a moment away from Michael Kay?! Come on. Give it a rest. If Michael Kay must call the game, put the game on the YES Network and give it to the fans for goodness sake. Better yet, put the game on Channel 11. Give the game to all. So often baseball, and the Yankees in particular, get so wrapped up in themselves, that they lose sight of what really matters. It is It's a bad look. Michael Kay is not bigger than the game. It is also not his moment. It will be Aaron Judge's moment.
Also of note, Miguel Andujar was DFA'd yesterday to allow Zach Britton to be activated from the Injured List. I know he was a poor fielder. I know he was injured. But Andujar joins a long list of Yankees prospects who did not pan out. There was a time when Andujar was considered a would-be star. There was a time when the Yankees felt he was untouchable. He's another, on a long list, of players who just fade away. I wish him well. I hope he finds a new team and hits a ton. He'll be only 28 next year. He still might have a future.
Gerrit Cole pitches to turned off television sets across the area as the Yankees are streaming tonight's game.