NYY 2, MIN 1: Garcia, Yankees Bullpen Dominate Twins
Image courtesy of Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via Fangraphs)
Old friend Jaime Garcia … wait, can we even call him that? I mean, it was really just a one-night stand, right? Anyway, the guy the Twins traded for and then traded away after just one start absolutely killed them tonight.
Since the trade, Garcia had struggled to find his footing with the Yankees. Over six starts he had a 4.60 ERA. There were no such struggles tonight. The veteran lefty gave up one unearned run over 5.2 innings and struck out nine batters. Below is a breakdown of Garcia's pitches on the evening via Baseball Savant. While he may have gotten a couple of generous called strikes, Twins hitters swung through a ton of pitches outside the zone.
The Twins got a leadoff double from Jorge Polanco in the second inning, but failed to score. They got their first two batters on in the fifth. Eddie Rosario had gone first-to-third on an Eduardo Escobar single, with an error being charged to Aaron Judge. The Twins managed to scratch across a run that inning on a Robbie Grossman fielder’s choice.
The Twins went down in order in both the sixth and seventh innings. The dominant Dellin Betances came in for the eighth inning and led things off by hitting Grossman with a pitch. Luckily it was an 84 mph curve and not a 100 mph fastball.
Now one thing to note about Betances is that while he has been just as overpowering as ever, his control has been all over the place. After averaging 3.5 BB/9 last season, that number has spiked to 6.6 this year.
Jason Castro was due up next, but Paul Molitor opted to bring in Zack Granite to bunt. The first pitch was high, but Granite got the bunt down on the second pitch of the at bat. Per Fangraphs, the Yankees’ win probability actually increased from 65.9 percent to an even 70 percent as the result of that bunt.
Max Kepler pinch hit and was walked on four pitches to turn over the lineup. With Brian Dozier batting, Betances threw a wild pitch that advanced both runners. Dozier ended up walking after a nice eight-pitch battle.
Betances exited, leaving the bases loaded. Just six of the 17 pitches he threw went for strikes and the only out he recorded was on the Granite sac bunt. Aroldis Chapman came in and struck out Joe Mauer on three pitches and got Byron Buxton to fly out to end the threat. Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
It was a shame, too, because the Twins pitched pretty well tonight. Ervin gave up a pair of runs over 5.2 innings, but Trevor Hildenberger and Taylor Rogers pitched out of jams they inherited and Tyler Duffey had a scoreless appearance.
The Yankees got their first run on Judge’s 44th homer of the year. In the sixth, they had back-to-back one-out singles. Santana threw a wild pitch that allowed the runners to move up to second and third. After intentionally walking the next batter in hopes of setting up a double play, Todd Frazier hit a sac fly to score what went down as the game-winning run.
AL Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 83-67 (+5.0)
WC2: Twins 78-72
Angeles 76-73 (-1.5)
Mariners 74-76 (-4.0)
Postgame With Molitor
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Tue: Twins (Jose Berrios) at Yankees (CC Sabathia), 6:05 pm CT
Wed: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka), 12:08 pm CT
Thu: Twins (Adalberto Mejia) at Tigers (Myles Jaye), 6:10 pm ET
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