LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Lose Game Dominated by Beanballs and Fisticuffs

Friday, August 25, 2017

Yankees Lose Game Dominated by Beanballs and Fisticuffs

For a moment I wished Thursday's 6th inning fight during  the Yankees 10-6 loss at Detroit followed  the rules of NHL hockey. Five minutes in the penalty box for the two fighters. Maybe two additional minutes to Miguel Cabrera for instigating.  Two guys duke it out and everybody else stays out and it's over and done.

But it wasn't over, as the two teams emptied benches and bullpens again amidst the beanball wars of the day.  And it was ugly, but not as ugly as the Yankees loss in a game they could have used to help stay in the race. Cabrera fought Yankees catcher Austin Romine, but it was the other Yankees catcher, Gary Sanchez, who may find himself suspended for throwing punches after he entered the brawl.

The Yankees did not need all that happened with this game, at this time, for many reasons.

Sanchez was the reason for the brawling in the first place, though it wasn't his fault. Chalk that up  to Tiger's starter Brad Fulmer, who hit Sanchez with a pitch in the at bat following his fourth home run of the series. Fulmer was not ejected, nor given a warning, and the game soon got out of control. Chalk that up to the umpiring crew. Cabrera may get suspended but it won't matter in the least, as the Tigers are no longer playoff material and rosters will expand in a week. The Yankees, on the other hand, may lose Sanchez in the midst of a playoff chase. At this point, it would appear the Yankees best hope is home field in the wild card play-in game, and then, go from there. The way they played on Thursday might suggest the Yankees should not expect to catch the Red Sox in the division. It was a brutal way to lose, pure and simple.

Oh, they will get one last chance at the Red Sox which is the Yankees opponent at the end of the upcoming ten game home stand. Seattle comes in this weekend for three, followed by Cleveland for three and then come the Red Sox for the final four regular season games between the two teams.  Hopefully, the Yankees left  that ugly play behind them when they left Detroit.

And yes, this game was ugly. Jamie Garcia's performance leaves us wondering why the trade with the Twins was ever made. Where the heck is Jordan Montgomery?  Maybe after a little rest to keep Montgomery's innings down the Yankees will reinstate him in the rotation in place of Garcia. And the bullpen collectively was dreadful on Thursday, yielding 4 runs in four innings. Betances threw 3 pitches and hit a batter, got ejected and took the loss, but it was Robertson who essentially gave the Tigers the game. Ugly stuff.

If the Yankees play any more ugly baseball, next time try winning ugly.

Dodgers-Pirates Lesson
No, I really do not expect the Yankees to catch the Red Sox in the division. But just when you think you know baseball inside and out, something enormous and totally unexpected happens that blows you away. I am thinking of the Dodgers-Pirates game this week in Pittsburgh. The Dodgers' Rich Hill had a perfect game going into the 9th inning when Dodgers third baseman, Logan Forsythe muffed a grounder for an error. But Hill kept the no hitter through nine. Unfortunately for Hill and the Dodgers, the game was a shutout for both teams and headed for the tenth inning. Hill with no hitter in tact but the game still scoreless, took the mound in the bottom of the 10th and gave up a walk off home run to the Pirates Josh Harrison. Shades of Harvey Haddix, for all you old timers.

But that game is a lesson for the Yankees and all of baseball. Never take anything for granted. Something totally unexpected may be right around the corner. As for the Dodgers and Pirates, nothing really changed. The Dodgers are baseball's best team and the Pirates, like the Tigers, will be headed home once the regular season is over. So maybe saying the Yankees won't catch the Red Sox is a bit premature. Stranger things have happened. Like a pitcher pitching a nine inning no hitter and losing the game in the 10th on a walk off home run as his first hit allowed. That has never happened in baseball history, though the Haddix story is even more incredible. (Twelve perfect innings in a 1959 game, before losing in the 13th.)

Will we need a catcher?
What do the Yankees do if both Sanchez and Romine are suspended? Third string catcher Kyle Higashioka is on the AAA disabled list again. They would have to open a 40 man roster spot for another catcher, especially now that Greg Bird is close to coming off the 60 day disabled list, and could claim a spot as early as tonight.

Amazing Year on the Farm
The minor league seasons will end in a little over a week or, sooner in some cases. Most of the Yankees teams have done quite well and many will be in the post season. At the beginning of the season I recommended everyone try to follow the minors this year, as some good things appeared to be on the horizon. It turns out the Yankees farm teams did well and there are many sleeper prospects who could emerge by next season, not to mention many top prospects who have had solid seasons and will move one big step closer to the Bronx in 2018. No, not all these guys will make it, but this has to be the best, or close to the best, minor league season the Yankees organization has seen in decades.

Found Montgomery
So where is Jordan Montgomery? He pitched last night for AAA Scranton but was limited to 47 pitches and three innings. One more start at AAA and Montgomery could retake his spot in the rotation after September 1st, replacing Garcia. Right now Monty is lined up to do so. Hopefully this demotion to AAA will relieve the innings concern and he can be a force for the Yankees rotation down the stretch. 

So starting with Seattle tonight, lets get back to baseball and winning, And stay out of the penalty box, please.

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