Double Played to Death; Florida 4 NY 3, 10 Innings — 4 Reasons Why

Another day, another loss to a team that clinches the playoffs with the win.

In this one, the Yanks lost because of:

1. The Double Play

  1. Gleyber Torres grounded into a double play in the 2nd inning,
  2. Clint Frazier grounded into a double play in the 3rd inning,
  3. Gio Urshela grounded into a double play in the 7th inning,
  4. Luke Voit grounded into a double play in the 9th inning,
  5. and in the 10th, with bases loaded and the tieing run on 3rd base, DJ LeMahieu, leading the American League in Batting Average — grounded into a double play to end the ballgame. It was prophetic.

2. Alcantara Shuts Down Yanks

The first 3 double plays were hit against Florida starter Sandy Alcantara — who gets batters to hit the ball on the ground a lot with a nasty sinker. Alcantara pitched a terrific game into the 8th and finished 7.1 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, and 9 strikeouts. The 25-yr-old, 6’4 righty ends the year 3-2 3.00.

3. Happ Couldn’t Overcome 3-Run Mistake

J.A. Happ pitched another strong game — but the Yanks couldn’t overcome a 3-run mistake he made in the top of the 1st inning: after getting the 1st two batters, Happ walked two in a row and allowed a homer to former Yankee Garrett Cooper to make it 3-0 Florida. The 6’6, 29-yr-old Cooper plays right field for Florida these days and is at 6-20-.287 (.359 OBP) on the year. Cooper gained the right field job last year for Florida, putting up 15-50-.281 (.344) in 381 at bats.

Happ settled down after that, pitching 5 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts and leaving after 95 pitches. The Yanks got 2 runs back right away in the 3rd (despite a double play in that inning — could have been more) — and so the game stood at 3-2 throughout the middle innings.

Happ was helped by some usual spectacular defense by Gio Urshela behind him in the 4th.

4. Higgy & the Man-on-2nd-to-Start-Extras Rule

Because of the double play LeMahieu hit into, the Yanks weren’t able to execute and score the leadoff runner automatically placed on 2nd base, like Florida did. Coronavirus rules makes extra inning games similar to the shootout rule in hockey overtimes — where teams are not given a real loss if they lose; they are given a special “Overtime Loss”.

Higgy Fails on Defense

Florida executed in the 10th, sacrificing their runner to 3rd. But then Chad Green got centerfielder Starling Marte to hit a grounder to shortstop and the drawn-in infield — and the Yanks had Monte Harrison in a rundown between 3rd and home. However, Yank catcher Kyle Higashioka made a poor throw to 3rd, hitting Harrison in the back allowing Florida to have 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Green threw smoke to get 2 strikes on the next batter, 1st baseman and #3 hitter Jesus Aguilar. But with 2 strikes Aguilar lifted a fly ball to right for the sac fly and run.

Higgy Fails on Offense

In the Yanks’ 10th, with Tyler Wade on 2nd and Gleyber Torres having walked — Higashioka bunted but popped the ball up to 1st base for an out. The Yanks then had Wade and Torres successfully do a double steal of 3rd and 2nd. With 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, Clint Frazier walked to load the bases and set the stage for LeMahieu’s game-ending double play grounder to 2nd.

Higashioka had entered the game in the 9th after Gary Sanchez was lifted for a pinchrunner after leading off the 8th with a single. The pinchrunner, Mike Tauchman, would eventually score the tieing run on an Aaron Judge single.

Good News

Although DJ LeMahieu went 0-4 his average is at .348. Tim Anderson is at .337. Two games left.

Aaron Judge seems to be heating up — he got the huge RBI single in the 8th to tie the game 3-3 and send it into extra innings. He also scored the 1st run of the game after doubling in the 3rd inning. He went 2-4.

This is good for 2 reasons: 1) we need Judge to get hot for the playoffs; he’d still been finding his way after coming back from injury; 2) a second, less important reason is that we’re at a stage of the season (2 games left) where players are cementing their batting averages for the year and you don’t want to see a player saddled with a .259 etc. Judge was in the .280’s before going out with injury and since coming back had dropped to .267. With the 2 hits Judge is at .271.

Gary Sanchez went 2-3 and was lifted for a pinchrunner, causing Higgy to be playing in the 10th when he made the error in the top of the inning, and unsuccessfully bunted in the bottom of the inning. We’ll never know what would’ve happened had Sanchez been still playing.

Luke Voit is heating up. He had dropped to a .276 average but last game went 2-5 and in this game went 2-4 — he is at .283. Voit still leads the AL with 21 homers; Jose Abreu remains 2nd with 19.

Aroldis Chapman threw SMOKE again in pitching a shutout 9th — struck out and retired side on 12 pitches, 10 of them strikes. It was the 2nd straight game where Chapman threw SMOKE: the night before against the Blue Jays, he pitched a shutout inning on 10 pitches, striking out 2.

Zack Britton pitched a shutout inning and Jonathan Loaisiga pitched 2 shutout innings. Chad Green did not allow an earned run and pitched well. So the Yankee Bullpen is looking good heading into the playoffs.

The Boxscore

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