Pitching, Pitching, Pitching & Back in 1st — June 15, 2019: Yankees 8 White Sox 4

Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. It makes the world go round. In this game, the Yankees got pitching. The final score of 8-4 didn’t reflect the Yankees dominance most of the game — a 7-0 lead entering the bottom of the 8th. The White Sox made it respectable with a 3-run homer by James McCann (no relation to Brian) but were never really in it.

Pitching Pitching Pitching

Chad Green ‘opened’ and was dominant — striking out EVERYONE for 2 innings (sans a single by Eloy Jimenez) — and everyone who struck out, struck out swinging. It was an impressive whiff fest.

And then Nestor Cortes Jr. came in and laid down the kind of dominant off-speed, master-of-many-pitches and iron-will pitching that made him a 3-time All Star in the minor leagues. Cortes struck out the first two batters he faced, and 5 of the first 8. He struck out the side in order in the 4th, and then started retiring the side on easy groundouts and flyouts with occasional strikeouts. He was masterful and in command. “He is fun to watch pitch”, said David Cone, who added that with all the movement to pitchers who throw 99 MPH this last 10 years, maybe baseball will go the other way now, and start embracing the masterful off-speed pitchers, since batters have gotten used to hitting high heat but are confounded by the off speed stuff.

Strategy Behind “The Opener”

The strategy behind the “Opener” is to send a good relief pitcher against the top of the other team’s lineup for the first two innings, then change the pace with your starter, who only goes thru the lineup two times — by the time the lineup swings back to the 3rd time facing that starter — you bring in your closers.

It makes sense. The Yankees worked it to near perfection in this game. But finally in the bottom of the 8th, with Cortes facing the Chicago lineup for the 3rd time, two leadoff singles sent him to the showers for Jonathan Holder, who — couldn’t hold ’em. He got the first two batters, but then a single (and throwing error by DJ LeMahieu) and the homerun to catcher James McCann (again no relation to Brian McCann) made it 7-4. Didi Gregorius walked with the bases loaded and two out in the 9th to add an insurance run, 8-4.

Aroldis Chapman pitched an uneventful 9th (one single) for the save.

The Offense

There was another side to this game — the Yankee offense. Gary Sanchez led off the scoring with a blistering double down the 3rd base line in the 4th inning with 2 on and nobody out to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead.

Gleyber Torres followed with a 2-run homer to center later in the inning to make it 4-0. The Yankees kept adding to their lead — Cameron Maybin hit a homer in the 7th, and other runs were driven in by sac flies (Torres) and groundouts (Sanchez).

Encarnacion.. and Frazier

Early in the game, news broke on YES Network and across twitter that the Yankees had traded for Edwin Encarnacion, who currently leads the American League in Homruns for Seattle with 21! The players the Yanks are to give up was not yet named (later announced as right-handed pitcher Juan Then and cash consideration). This could only mean Clint Frazier was on the trading block for a pitcher, possibly in a package with other players. In the 8th inning, Clint Frazier hit into a double play and didn’t run it out much to first — Michael Kay said it was “not a good look for Frazier” but clearly Frazier was playing like a player who had been disillusioned. The previously red-hot Frazier went 0-4 and struck out once.

Back in First

Before the night win, Tampa had lost in the afternoon putting the Yanks back into a virtual tie for 1st place (pct points ahead of Tampa). With the win, the Yanks are back a half game in 1st by themselves. Boston, winners of 4 in a row, remains 5.5 games out.

The Boxscore





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