How to snatch defeat from jaws of victory
The Yankees kicked off their week-long homestand with a frustrating loss to the White Sox, a spectacular crash back to reality, another late lead blown thanks to sloppy defense and baserunning mistakes.
It was a very winnable matchup based on the historical stats and the game conditions, facing Chicago southpaw Carlos Rodon, racing out to a 2-0 lead and Masahiro Tanaka completing seven innings. Consider that entering Monday, the Yankees this season were …
- 26-9 against left-handed starters, the best record in MLB
- 19-5 vs the AL Central, the best record by any team against another division
- 60-10 when scoring first, the best record in MLB
- 51-7 when their starter goes at least six innings, the best record in MLB
But that’s baseball, that’s why you play game the game on the diamond and not on paper.
The ugliest stat was the fact that the Yankees had as many hits as errors (3) in the game. Unsurprisingly, teams are 0-20 this season when the number of errors they make is the same or more than the number of hits they get. The last time the Yankees won such a game — while getting at least two hits — was June 2, 2004 against the Orioles (3 errors, 3 hits in a 6-5 win).
The lone highlight was Gleyber Torres’ two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 20th of the season. Torres is the third Yankee age 21 or younger to hit at least 20 home runs in a season, joining — shockingly — Mickey Mantle (1952, ‘53) and Joe DiMaggio (1936). He is also the only second baseman in MLB history that young to hit 20 homers in his rookie season. And combined with Miguel Andujar’s 20-plus longballs this year, we get a trio of #FunFacts:
- First set of rookie teammates in franchise history to hit 20 homers
- 10th team in major-league history to have rookie teammates reach 20 home runs in the same season, and the first since the 2008 Reds (Jay Bruce, Joey Votto). The last AL team to do it was the 1982 Twins (Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek)
- Fourth team in MLB history with rookie teammates age-23 or younger to hit 20 homers, along with the 1982 Twins, 1975 Red Sox (Fred Lynn, Jim Rice) and 1938 Indians (Jeff Heath, Ken Keltner)
Gleyber also was the sixth Yankee to reach the 20-homer mark in 2018, the most such players in MLB. This is the fourth Yankee club to have six (or more) players hit 20 bombs; the other seasons it happened were 2009, 2004 and 1961.
”Neil Walker, the Home Run Corker” – John Sterling
From massive disappointment to mammoth jubilation, the Yankees quickly rebounded from Monday’s crappy loss with a thrilling comeback walk-off win 24 hours later. It was their seventh walk-off win of the season, two more than last year, and tied for the second-most among AL teams in 2018 (through Tuesday).
The rally started in the sixth with the team trailing 4-0, when Miguel Andujar blitzed a two-run shot deep into the leftfield seats. It was his 22nd homer and 61st extra-base hit of the season, putting him alongside a couple Yankee legends:
Yankees Most Extra-Base Hits in Rookie season Age 23 or Younger:
Joe DiMaggio (1936) – 88
Miguel Andujar (2018) – 61
Tony Lazzeri (1926) – 60
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) August 29, 2018
This was the Yankees fifth comeback win when facing a deficit of at least four runs, their most in a season since 2012 (also 5).
The Yankees were still down by two runs until Aaron Hicks evened the score with his own two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth. This was the first time in his career he tied a game in the eighth inning or later with a homer. It also paved the way for the Yankees fifth win this season when trailing by multiple runs at the start of the eighth inning, the second-highest total in MLB this season behind the A’s (7).
Neil Walker capped the rally when he ambushed the first pitch he saw as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning and deposited it into the rightfield bleachers. It was just the second career walk-off homer for Walker, and the first time he ever went deep in a game as a pinch hitter.
Walker’s dinger was the 10th pinch-hit walk-off home run in franchise history and the first since Brian McCann delivered a game-winner off the bench on August 24, 2014 in the 10th inning against the White Sox. Only six others have done it in the ninth inning, like Walker:
|Neil Walker||8/28/2018||White Sox|
|Jason Giambi||6/5/2008||Blue Jays|
|Mike Easler||9/28/1987||Red Sox|
|Curt Blefary||9/15/1970||Red Sox|
It’s been a while …
The comeback mojo disappeared on Wednesday as the Yankees dropped the rubber game, 4-1. This is the first time the Yankees lost a series to the White Sox at the new Yankee Stadium; the White Sox were the only AL team that had never won a series at the current ballpark in the Bronx.
The last time the Yankees lost a series to the White Sox at home was August 8-10, 2005 (lost 2 of 3 games). How long ago was that? The White Sox — on pace to lose nearly 100 games this season — won the World Series in 2005. And the three starters for the Yankees in that series more than 13 years ago were Mike Mussina (win), Shawn Chacon (loss) and Aaron Small (loss).
White Sox outfield Ryan LaMarre was the Yankees kryptonite on Wednesday, and one of the most unlikely guys to play that role this season. LaMarre went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a homer, and drove in all four runs for the visitors. Entering the game, in 165 career at-bats, LaMarre had compiled six doubles, one homer and 11 RBI.
Ronald Torreyes made sure the Yankees wouldn’t get shut out when he delivered a bases-loaded one-out RBI single in the fifth inning. Torreyes definitely has a knack for bringing home baserunners that are 90 feet from home plate. Since the start of last season, in 23 plate appearances with a man on third and less than two outs, Torreyes has driven in the runner 19 times (82.6%) and has struck out zero times; the MLB average for scoring the runner from third with less than two outs is 50 percent.