After rolling over the Orioles, the Yankees were set to begin a big four game series with the red hot Cleveland Indians last night in the Bronx. Cleveland had been winners of ten of their last 15 games. Not to be out done, the Yankees had won their previous five games in a row, and were 13-2 in August. The game, many felt, would be a preview to an eventual post-season match-up. It promised to be an exciting game to begin what should be an exciting series.
It wasn’t to be.
The Yankees sent out Chad Green to be the opener. He had been brilliant in that role.
On this night, it just wasn’t to be.
José Ramirez’ first inning grand slam off Chad Green got the Indians out in front and they never looked back. After only recording one out and giving up five earned runs on five hits, Aaron Boone was forced to go to the ‘pen and bring in Jonathan Loaisiga for his first appearance since May as he returned from a long injury.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Loaisiga’s return was not all that the Yankees hoped for. He pitched 2.2 innings allowing four runs off four hits including allowing two more runs in the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Yankees, down 7-0, actually showed some life. For a brief moment, albeit a very brief moment, it looked like the Yanks just might make a game of it. DJ LeMahieu led off with a single. Aaron Judge, who is mired in a terrible slump, took a first pitch ball before striking out on the next three pitches including a called strike three that looked to be a low strike - a pitch that umpires have been ringing Judge up on for far too long. All was not lost though. Didi Gregorius then singled. Gio Urshela then also singled scoring LeMahieu. With one out, the Yanks were rolling…
Up came Gary Sanchez…
Gary worked the count to 2-0 before taking a called strike that looked outside. Two pitches later, on a 3-1 pitch, he lined out hard to left. Brett Gardner then walked to load the bases for Gleyber Torres. On the first pitch, Torres lined a hard shot to third - that was caught. Inning over. The Yankees had come close to making it a game.
In the top of the second, the Indians ended any charade that this would be a close game. Jose Ramirez hit a two-run shot to make it 9-1 Cleveland.
Loaisiga left the game after a perfect third inning, but the score was still 9-1 in favor of the Indians.
Chance Adams then came in to relieve Loaisiga, and in 3.2 innings served up ten hits, allowing five more earned runs. Adams’ ERA in 2019 is 7.48. After the game, he was optioned back to Triple-A.
Nestor Cortes, Jr. also pitched. He faced one batter to close out the seventh inning.
Yankee first basemen Mike Ford then came in to pitch. In the eighth, he gave up another five runs on six hits. Ford, who pitched in college at Princeton, threw around 85 mph and occasionally sported a curveball. When he pitched in the ninth, a perfect inning, Ford racked up one strikeout.
One bright spot for the Yankees were the three home runs they hit. Didi Gregorius hit his tenth of the season, while Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres each hit their 27th. In a game that was mostly a power show for the up-and-coming Indians, the Yankees did score five runs on nine hits.
Of concern is Aaron Judge who looks completely lost at the plate. Judge struck out looking in the first, grounded out in the second, and then struck out in the fifth (swinging), seventh (looking) and ninth (looking). On August 6, Judge was batting .281. His batting average is now at .257. In his last three games, he is 1 for 14 with eight strikeouts.
Tonight, Masahiro Tanaka toes the slab against rookie Aaron Civale. The Yankees are now 81-42, still out ahead of Tampa Bay by 9.5 games (nine in the loss column) as they fight for the top seed and home field advantage in October with Houston (78-44).