Can’t win ’em all. Boy did the Yankees not win this game.
Up against Justin Verlander on a sunny Sunday June afternoon at the Stadium — Old Timer’s Day so a 2pm start — the 4th game of a 4-game set with the Yanks having taken the first 3 — it was time for Houston to win one. To make sure, the Yanks sent J.A. Happ to the mound with his off-speed pitches not working.
It was immediately 1-0 Houston: on the 3rd pitch of the game Jose Altuve hit a homerun. Houston scored another in the 3rd making it 2-0. Verlander was mowing down the Yanks — except for DJ LeMahieu (who led off the bottom of the first with a single) and Brett Gardner (who walked in the 3rd).
And then came the 4th. Three straight singles loaded the bases to start the inning (Yuli Gurriel, Robinson Chirinos, Josh Reddick), and in just enough time to tweet “if Tyler White hits a grand slam here, i’ll get a tattoo of a dick on my lower back,” like Ava @aveyp64 did — Tyler White hit a grand slam. Houston 6 NY 0.
Happ got the last outs of the 4th but wasn’t finding ‘it’ any time soon — he allowed a lead-off single in the 5th then a homerun to red-hot secret-weapon homerun hitter Yordan Alvarez — 8-0 Houston.
J.A. Happ: "I take full responsibility … Not a whole lot went right today." pic.twitter.com/QNlBf4fFEE
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 23, 2019
Poor Luis Cessa came in and immediately allowed a homerun and Yankee Twitter exploded on him, calling for him to be shot to the moon. But he proceeded to pitch 4 shutout innings after that to put out the fire.
And the Yankees began their comeback. A 3-run homer by DJ LeMahieu off Verlander in the 5th gave the Yanks a glimmer of hope. But Verlander settled back down and got them out in order in the 6th and 7th and that was ballgame.
HR Streak: 2⃣6⃣
Thanks to #⃣2⃣6⃣ pic.twitter.com/vXB6PZQTUc
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 23, 2019
The Yanks plated a run in the 8th on an Aaron Judge check grounder, scoring guess who DJ LeMahieu who had hit a 1-out triple, to make it respectable.
Seeing DJ LeMahieu do so well against an elite pitcher like Verlander had me wishing that Clint Frazier was still in this lineup, instead of being in the minor leagues due to ‘no room’. While it’s understood that Edwin Encarnacion leads the AL in homers, plays good Defense at 1st, and the Yanks acquired him in part to play #KeepAway from Boston, “Machine Gun” Frazier was/is a difference maker vs good pitchers with his quick bat and constant line drive contact.