BRONX, N.Y. — This might’ve been the strangest Subway Series in recent memory. The New York Yankees could’ve easily swept or been broomed by the New York Mets. Yet, in the end, the pinstripes swung from a seven-game losing streak to a three-game winning streak and took three of five contests from the orange and blue.
The Yankees started out as a high-powered choo choo but even a condensed game couldn’t cover up their flaws. You can’t blame manager Aaron Boone here, the players couldn’t execute and finish the deal in a 6-4 defeat.
A LAUGHER EARLY, WACHA, WACHA
The Bronx Bombers jumped all over Mets starter Michael Wacha in the early going. Leadoff Luke Voit lined a single to right to set the table and chugged around the bases on an RBI-double to center. A bunt single by Brett Gardner and an ensuing walk by Gary Sanchez doubled the lead to 2-0. Yet, the pinstripes would not post any more runs that inning with the bases loaded and still zero outs, which proved costly.
During the second stanza, the top two struck again with two down. Voit doubled to left and Frazier followed with a two-run oppo taco thrash to right field, making it 4-0.
The only real blip came in the fifth inning. With two out, Montgomery plunked Dominic Smith. Jake Marisnick reached on a ball booted by Miguel Andujar at third base and instead of eating it, Andujar made a wild throw past first base and enabled Smith to advance to third. Montgomery uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Smith to score.
Montgomery doesn’t have great numbers when he reaches the opposing order the third time through but you can’t blame Boone for wanting to push him with a low pitch count and considering the score. Yet, in the sixth inning, the southpaw yielded consecutive singles to J.D. Davis and Michael Conforto to end his outing.
It was deja vu all over again and absolutely brutal. The Yankees only needed six more outs with their top two relievers fresh but it wasn’t to be.
Green allowed a three-run homer to Pete Alonso to dead center to tie the contest at four. Home runs later in the frame by Smith and Marisnick made it 6-4 Mets and that’s how it would end. Completely surreal.
After a rain delay, the nightcap of the doubleheader essentially followed the same script. It was bizarre from start to finish, from the Mets hype video being played on the video board for their “home game” to the Yankees getting walked off in their own Stadium in a 4-3 loss.
METS STRIKE FIRST
With Jonathan Loaisiga on the bump, the Mets jumped on the board in the first frame. A one-out double to left by Conforto and a two-out single to left by Smith provided the Mets with a 1-0 edge.
THREE IN THE THIRD
All of the Yankee offense came during the third inning against Mets rookie southpaw David Peterson. Jordy Mercer coaxed a leadoff walk. Thairo Estrada singled to right to put runners on the corners. Eric Kratz tied the game with a single to left.
With one down, Frazier walked, Aaron Hicks plated Estrada with a single to left and a bases-loaded walk by Sanchez made it 3-1.
Unfortunately, that was all of the Yankees scoring and they left the bases loaded in the fifth frame, which was costly, as the Mets would inch closer on a Brandon Nimmo RBI-double to center off Nick Nelson in the bottom of the fifth.
LEFT CHAPPED IN THE A$$
The Yankee bullpen did manage piece the bridge to Aroldis Chapman. During the bottom of the seventh, Chapman gave a free pass to Jeff McNeil. McNeil was pinch-run for by Billy Hamilton. Chapman essentially had Hamilton picked off but his move was too slow, as Hamilton beat a Voit throw to second to swipe the bag.
Hamilton clearly had Chapman distracted because facing pinch-hitter Amed Rosario, grooved a 2-0 slider that was smashed into the left-field bleacher for the walk-off winner. Unreal.
I mean, a win is a win, right? J.A. Happ pitched lights out and DJ LeMahieu, who returned to the lineup, didn’t hit with RISP. Mercer and Tyler Wade also continued to get major league at-bats. The Yankees also forgot how to run the bases. Weird stuff huh? This one almost turned out like the last few losses but the Yankees finally got a bounce to go their way with a 2-1 victory.
The Yankee first baseman, back in the two spot, kept his bomb show going. Voit took Robert Gsellman deep to right in the first frame, staking the Bronx Bombers to a 1-0 lead. That’s 12 home runs in 26 games or close to his tear in 2018 with 14 in 39 games.
As I mentioned above there were some dubious decisions and a lack of scoring, including an 0-for-5 with RISP. During the fourth frame, Mike Tauchman singled and reached third after an errant pickoff attempt by Gsellman. With only one out, Frazier hit the ball to a drawn-in Mets infield and the third baseman Davis cut down Tauchman at the dish. A questionable move there. Later than inning on a double to center by Gardner, Frazier was barely nailed at the plate on another somewhat questionable send.
The Yankees also left the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
Happ delivered the best outing by a Yankee starter by far this season and that’s not hyperbole. The veteran lefty looked determined and provided the pinstripes a big boost. Happ tossed 7.1 scoreless frames, fanned five, and yielded three hits.
At 90 pitches and one out in the eighth, it looked like he’d be able to carry it to the ninth at the very least.
NOT SO OTTO-MATIC
Yet, after retiring Robinson Cano, Happ was lifted by Boone for Adam Ottavino. If you’re arguing for Boone, it was Happ’s third time through the order and a “right-right” matchup with Ottavino and Wilson Ramos. However, Happ was cruising and retired the heart of the Mets order the inning before, including a groundout of the power-hitting righty Alonso.
Alas, Boone tried door No. 3 and like Green and Chapman before, Ottavino failed to execute, yielding a game-tying homer off the left-field foul pole to Ramos.
YOU BET WE’LL TAKE IT
After a scoreless top of the ninth for Chapman, the Yankees faced old friend Dellin Betances with a chance to walk it off.
Frazier reached on a leadoff walk. Somewhat surprisingly, after having Betances on their team for nearly a decade and knowing he’s easy to steal on, the Yankees didn’t really force the issue of pressure in that respect.
With one down, Mercer bought himself another month visa vi Stephen Drew, with a hit to right to put runners at the corners.
Then with Kratz at the plate feigning a squeeze bunt attempt, Betances uncorked a wild pitch allowing Frazier to score the winning run.
The Yankees bounced back in the home half as Ford doubled home Tauchman on a ball that left Smith twirling around like a discarded peanut bag in left. That knock squared the contest at two.
It was a rough 1.1 frames for Brooks Kriskie. I’m not even sure why he was left out there for 41 pitches beginning in the fifth inning. The big blow in the fifth frame was a two-run laser to right by Cano. Kriskie was mercifully pulled in the sixth after loading the bases with three consecutive free passes.
Ben Heller came on and yielded a two-run double to left to Conforto. Later in the frame, Heller would plunk Alonso with the bases loaded to let in another run. It was tough to watch.
METS GONNA METS
The improbable rally in the seventh inning was something to behold. Facing Jared Hughes, Ford reached on an errant throw from Andres Gimenez. With two down, Ford advanced to second base on defensive indifference. Wade walked. Estrada was hit by a pitch. Voit followed with an excuse me single to right, which plated Ford and Wade. The Yankees were fortunate Gimenez couldn’t field the throw cleanly at third with Estrada almost dead to rights at the bag. The Mets brought on Edwin Diaz, who promptly unleashed a wild pitch that enabled Estrada to score.
After finally receiving a scoreless frame from Green, which included striking out the side around an intentional walk to Cano, the Yankees finished the job in the bottom of the eighth.
He had the first four innings off but Urshela finally entered the game for Mercer in the fifth. With Tauchman on second and Ford having walked around two outs, Urshela delivered with an RBI-single to left, as Tauchman evaded the tag at the plate. Comeback complete!
Garcia had poise, deceptive motion, and some nasty spin and break on his curveballs. The rookie righty was lightning, quite economical, and pitched with a nice rhythm like he was double-parked and had a dinner date.
Garcia retired the first nine batters he faced and struck out the side in the third inning. He would fan six across six innings, scattered four hits, walking zero, and allowing one unearned run. It was the best debut by a Yankee rookie starting pitcher since Sam Militello in 1992.
While Garcia was the beneficiary of some nice defensive plays, most notably Estrada and Frazier, he would be victimized by a two-base error in the sixth by Voit, allowing McNeil to reach second. McNeil would later score to tie it on a one-out single to left by Smith. Garcia would rebound by getting J.D. Davis to ground into an inning-ending double play to put a cap on his evening.
With the bases loaded in the eighth, Boone pulled the trigger and pinch-hit Sanchez for Kratz. Sanchez finally delivered with some thunder. El Kraken crushed a 2-2 fastball from Drew Smith, into the left-field stands for a grand slam that would stand up as the eventual game-winner. Hopefully, it lifted the black cloud hovering around him essentially all season thus far.