Sunday, August 6, 2017

Yankees Get Just Enough Scoring (and Defense) to Beat Indians

The Yankees went into last night's game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on a 4-game losing streak. Things were looking grim. They were so grim...

"How grim were they?"

They were so grim, we were asking Jordan Montgomery to pitch well enough to not have to use the bullpen. That's how grim they were.

The Yankees did give him a lead right off the bat, literally. Brett Gardner led off the game with a walk. Aaron Judge singled. And Didi Gregorius missed hitting a home run buy a foot, settling for a double off the wall, which scored Gardner.

Joe Girardi only let Montgomery pitch 5 innings, throwing just 65 pitches -- an average of 13 pitches per inning. At that rate, he could have made it to the 7th, and still have gotten under Girardi's usual "Oh my God, he's thrown so many pitches his arm might fall off!" threshold of 95. But in those 5 innings, he allowed only 1 run on 3 hits and no walks. He struck out 7. The only run he allowed was a solo home run by Carlos Santana (no, not the guitarist) in the 2nd inning. David Robertson pitched the 6th and 7th Innings, and Dellin Betances pitched the 8th, in each case without any further damage.

In the top of the 8th, inning Chase Headley hit a home run, his 6th of the season, to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Girardi sent Aroldis Chapman out to pitch the bottom of the 9th and close it out. Just 9 months ago, Chapman pitched there in Game 7 of the World Series, and nearly blew it for the Cubs against the Indians. Now, he nearly blew it for the Yankees against the Indians.

Michael Brantley led off with a single, bringing the winning run to the plate. But Chapman dug in, battled, and got Jose Ramirez to fly to left (with Gardner making a diving catch), got Edwin Encarnacion to pop up to 2nd (with Ronald Torreyes making a great play), and struck Santana out looking for the final out.

Whew. Yankees 2, Indians 1. WP: Robertson (5-2). SV: Chapman (14). LP: Zach McAllister (1-1).

The series concludes this afternoon. Luis Severino starts for the Yankees, and Carlos Carrasco for the Indians.

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