Yanks Get Klubered by the Indians…
Indians 6, Yankees 2…
In a potential play-off barometer, the Yankees showed they are not quite ready to compete with the big boys. The Tribe used four home runs to turn back the Yankees on Monday night.
This was destined to be a low scoring game for the Yankees with AL Cy Young contender Corey Kluber on the mound. The hope was that Luis Severino would be able to make him pitch-for-pitch. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. The top six hitters in the Yankees lineup went combined 0-for-22 with seven strikeouts and Aaron Judge wasn’t even in the lineup.
After Luis Severino cruised through the game’s first two hitters, Jose Ramirez took him deep to right center for a quick 1–0 lead. Sevy had tried to challenge Ramirez on a full count and lost.
The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd when Chase Headley led off with a homer to right. “There it goes…see ya!” (courtesy of Michael Kay).
Gary Sanchez showed off his powerful arm in the top of the 4th. After Jose Ramirez walked and stole second. A subsequent Sevy pitch got away from Sanchez. Ramirez broke for third. Sanchez grabbed the ball and fired it to third. Todd Frazier cleanly applied the tag as the runner was sliding into the base for the out. Sevy walked the next two batters before striking out Carlos Santana to end in the inning, but if Sanchez hadn’t made that play on Ramirez, it could have been much worse.
Todd Frazier put the Yankees ahead 2–1 in the bottom of the 5th. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to left with two outs, a high fly which bounced on the warning track to the wall. Frazier’s single past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor into left field scored Ellsbury. Frazier took second on the throw but he was left stranded when Brett Gardner struck out.
In the top of the 6th, Jose Ramirez clubbed his second home run of the night off Severino, a solo shot deep into the second deck in right field. The game was tied again.
The Indians got the separation they needed in the 7th inning. With one out, Carlos Santana took Sevy deep to the second deck in right to give the Indians a 3–2 lead.
The next batter, Bradley Zimmer, singled to center. Sevy struck out Yan Gomes for the second out, but that would be all for the Yankees’ ace. Joe Girardi made the call to the bullpen and brought in Adam Warren. With Giovanny Urshela at the plate, Zimmer stole second and got up and raced to third when Starlin Castro failed to catch the throw from Gary Sanchez for an error. A wild pitch by Warren got past Sanchez and allowed Zimmer to run home for the Tribe’s fourth run. Urshela ended up grounding out after watching The Zimmer Show on the bases.
Meanwhile, the Yankees couldn’t muster anything against the dominant Corey Kluber.
In the top of the 8th, the Indians added to their lead when Austin Jackson belted a solo homer to left. The Yankees challenged the call when replay showed the ball hit the hands of a fan in the first row and bounced back onto the field but the HR decision was upheld. 5–2, Indians.
Chasen Shreve replaced Warren in the top of the 9th. Like Warren, Shreve has looked very hittable in his last few outings and the trend continued. After striking out Jay Bruce, Shreve walked Carlos Santana. Big mistake. Bradley Zimmer hit a liner to the center field wall for a double to score Santana. Zimmer later reached third on a wild pitch but he was unable to score this time. The Indians didn’t need the run with the four-run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th.
Indians closer Cody Allen came on in relief of Corey Kluber and set the Yankees down in order, striking out Starlin Castro to end the game.
The Yankees (70–60) lost ground in the AL East with the loss. The Boston Red Sox held off the Toronto Blue Jays, 6–5, so the Yankees are now 3 1/2 games out of first. The Baltimore Orioles won their fifth consecutive game, 7–6 over the Seattle Mariners, to move within 4 1/2 games of the Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays, 12–0 victors over the Kansas City Royals, are 5 1/2 games behind New York. The Minnesota Twins had the night off so they were able to shave a half-game off the Wild Card Standings and trail the Yankees by 3 games.
I can’t say that I am very excited about the prospect of pitching Jaime Garcia tonight against Cleveland in a must-win situation. No, it’s not the end of the world if the Yankees lose but I’d feel so much better about the team’s chances if Jordan Montgomery was the starter (despite the innings cap). I hope I’m wrong and that Garcia delivers his best performance in Pinstripes.
Severino (11–6) looked very strong early, but the three home runs were too much for him. He finished with 6 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and four runs (three earned) with 108 pitches thrown. He walked three and struck out nine. With Corey Kluber holding the Yankees to three hits and two runs over eight innings, Sevy didn’t have a chance.
Odds & Ends…
Manager Joe Girardi has announced that right fielder Aaron Judge will take a seat for several games in an attempt to help the young slugger break out of his slump. It always makes me think of Mark Grace’s infamous slumpbuster quote about finding the most hideous looking member of the opposite sex and taking one for the team. Hopefully Judge doesn’t have to go to those extremes to find his first half swing.
Another candidate for the “have a seat” approach is Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees need an effective Chapman in September. If that means some time away from the team to clear his head, so be it. I think Chapman’s problems are more mental than physical. He did have a MRI on Sunday but the results came back clear. I want to see him reclaim his closer’s job so whatever it takes to get him back to elite status.
Have a great Tuesday! It’s a wonderful day for a win! Go Yankees!