NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 03: Jordy Mercer #7 of the Detroit Tigers tags out Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees as he tries to steal second in the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium on April 03, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Yet another frustrating series capped off a frustrating opening homestand at Yankee Stadium. Much like that first series against the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees won the first game against the Detroit Tigers but dropped the next two. The lineup continued to drop like flies and couldn’t generate much against the lowly Tigers. The pinstripes pitching was on point but even they couldn’t pick up a bat.
Battered and bruised, the Bronx Bombers MASH unit rose by two with Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar out of the lineup. New York was able to hit the reset button though and sent Detroit to a 3-1 loss. The victory marked win No. 500 for the Yankees at the new house.
GARY GETS OFFENSE KRAKEN
During the second stanza, Gary Sanchez swatted a bomb for the second time in as many contests. The 1-1 smash to center off a Tyson Ross fastball posted the pinstripes to a 1-0 advantage.
Say GOODBYE to that one! 👋
Gary Sanchez crushes one 417 feet to put the Yankees on the board!
After Luke Voit coaxed a two-out free pass in the third, a sweet slicing single by Greg Bird to left played left fielder Christin Stewart, slipping away from him for a two-base error, enabling Voit, with a piano on his back, to truck on home for the second run.
Following this outing the best case is Domingo German turning a corner and the worst case being German eating innings and beating a team which he and the Yankees should defeat. Either way, German certainly kept the ball away from Tiger bats, fanning seven, walking five and yielding one run on one hit across five frames. German was feeling that curveball and used his fastball to set up his breaking pitches for out pitches.
After two innings of cruise control relief from Chad Green and Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino found himself in a jam in the eighth inning. Issuing a pair of consecutive walks to begin the frame, Ottavino appeared as if he was in jeopardy of blowing the lead on a sharp liner by Niko Goodrum to right field. Yet, Judge, who looked like he was about to rob a bank in his first at-bat, staying warm from the cold, made a sprawling, game-saving grab to rob Goodrum.
Ottavino would record two flyouts to center and Aroldis Chapman, somehow throwing 98 mph in those frigid temperatures, nailed it down in the ninth.
I mean, even with a depleted lineup, you should be able to handle the Tigers with your ace on the bump, right? Even so, it was kind of strange how in the fifth game into the season and a third of the lineup out that manager Aaron Boone would have Sanchez, Bird and Troy Tulowitzki on the bench while fielding a spring training lineup. At the very least Clint Frazier should’ve been in left field and Sanchez, who’d homered in two consecutive contests, at DH. In the end, it was a sad sack 3-1 loss for the Yankees.
The Yankees offense fared about as well as the Blue Jays did on Opening Day against Jordan Zimmerman, which is to say, not well. During the second stanza, DJ LeMahieu reached on a one-out single to left field. Ensuing batter Mike Tauchman actually did something positive by slicing a ground rule double to left. Frazier followed with a sacrifice fly to left, plating LeMahieu and the pinstripes gained a 1-0 edge.
Masahiro Tanaka was even better than Opening Day and stepped it up with runs at a premium. Tanaka picked up the lineup and gave New York length for saving the bullpen. New York’s Hiro went 6.2 frames, whiffed seven, yielded eight hits, zero walks, and one run. Tanaka also turned a sparkling double play in the fourth inning to retire the Tigers and escape a jam with two on and one out.
The lone blemish came in the sixth, yielding two consecutive two-out doubles to Jeimer Candelario and John Hicks to tie the contest at one.
Adam Ottavino came on and was an absolute witch for 1.1 flawless frames, fanning three.
In the ninth, there was no location by Chapman. Following a one-out walk to Goodrum, Dustin Peterson doubled to left, Tauchman missed the cutoff man and Goodrum came waltzing home with the go-ahead run. A Jordy Mercer single to center provided Detroit insurance at 3-1.
Blame Boone, blame the nerds in the hallway, the home half of the ninth was baffling. Facing old friend Shane Greene, the Yankees had one out following a LeMahieu flyout. Tauchman was somehow allowed to bat over Sanchez, Bird, and Tulowitzki and summarily grounded out to shortstop. Fraizer, with Sanchez now on deck to presumably pinch hit for Tyler Wade, flew out to right to end the game and Sanchez never got his opportunity to swing the bat. Unreal.
A matinee malaise closed out with a mostly blah 2-1 Yankees defeat to the Tigers. If you had strained left calf and April 3 in your Tulowitzki injury pool, you win. New York equaled a team record with 18 K’s or enough windmills to power a wind farm along the East Coast. The Yankees lineup made Detroit starter Matthew Boyd look like Mickey Lolich, fanning against him 13 times.
FROZEN PIZZA BY LASAGNA
On a positive note, Yankees hurlers were up to the task Wednesday afternoon. Incredibly, the Yankees actually out hit the Tigers but it was quality not quantity. In his 2019 starting debut, Jonathan Loaisiga was firing and dotting the black with precision. While he did nibble a bit the second time around the order, Loaisiga showed some promise with four K’s in as many frames, allowing three walks and one run on one hit. The Tigers’ run came off a Christin Stewart sacrifice fly to right center in the fourth inning.
Once again Judge was stellar at the plate and in the field, yielding the long bright spot at the dish in the third. Judge plated LeMahieu with an RBI-single to right, providing the pinstripes with a 1-0 advantage.
Aaron Judge extends his season-opening hit streak to SIX with an RBI single to put the Yankees in the lead! pic.twitter.com/aiBFLEp2oC
Tyler Wade entered the game for Tulowitzki and popped out on a bunt with two outs in the fourth inning. Why? I can not say. Wade was also allowed to bat at the end of the game, instead of say Romine or a pitcher or anyone really and made the final out of the game. Why? I do not know?
Tauchman was also allowed to start in center field again and took an 0-for-3 because Gardner needs rest five games into the season.
Speaking of Gardner, the Yankees sat him until using him as a pinch runner for Voit with two outs in the eighth and he proceeded to get throw out at second base to end the threat. Quite baffling really.
BULLPEN DOES EVERYTHING BUT HIT
It’s like with a hockey goalie, it doesn’t matter if he gives up 10 goals if you can’t score him one. The New York bullpen was solid between Jonathan Holder, Chad Green and Zack Britton. Granted the lone blemish was a big one, a Gordon Beckham home run to right field off Green in the eighth. Beckham’s first home run since Aug. 28, 2016 (yes you read that right) was the difference maker.
After a woeful homestand the Yankees at 2-4 will hit the road for a three-game series in Baltimore against the 4-2 Orioles starting Thursday.