You can’t win ’em all. Especially when your manager leaves a pitcher in too long. Like 2 innings too long. Punts the game. The Yankees blew a 3-0 lead and lost to the Indians on a Sunday afternoon in Cleveland. NY ended up winning 3 of 4 in the series, but Sunday left a bad taste as it was a lost opportunity.
Reason #3 below is the main reason why this game was lost, but here’s 1 and 2 on how it went down:
1. Yanks Jump On Top with Homers in 4th
Because this one looked like it was going to be another win, and sweep of the 4-game series, when Yankee bats exploded in the top of the 4th for 3 runs on 2 homers, to give Jameson Taillon a 3-0 lead.
Gio Urshela! The most happy fella!
Ohhh there's a Ford in the Yankees' future. That Mike is Ford tough.
He and Urshela hit home runs back-to-back and belly-to-belly! pic.twitter.com/Ujilcbs5IB
— John Sterling Calls (@JSterlingCalls) April 26, 2021
2. Taillon Pitches Great for 3; Loses It in 4th
Visions of a 10-11 record were dancing in the head. Taillon had been brilliant through 3 innings. But then in the bottom of the 4th, he lost it — a single, and then another single — a bloop to right — put two on. A single by Eddie Rosario scored a run and brought up big bad 6’5 DH Franmil Reyes. He hit a high fly to right that JUST made it over the short porch for a 3-run bomb.
Franmil had his first career stolen base earlier this afternoon.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 25, 2021
Taillon rediscovered his stuff and struck out the next 3 batters to end the inning but damage was done; Cleveland had a 4-3 lead.
3. Boone Punts the Game
Yank manager Aaron Boone has inexplicably gone to reliever Nick Nelson early in games this year — even starting him in a bullpen game a few days ago. This despite the fact that Nelson continues to be hit, and the Yanks were 0-5 in games he pitched going into this one.
With Luis Cessa, who has been brilliant this year and is a long reliever, sitting in the pen (not to mention Michael King who is a starter and also been brilliant, sitting there), Boone went to Nelson again. Boone gushed poetic about Nelson’s fastball in Spring training — 98 MPH with movement.
So there was Nick Nelson to pitch the 5th. He walked the first batter, got a lineout to shortstop, a single to move the runner to 3rd, and a sac fly to make it 5-3 Cleveland.
And there was Nick Nelson out there for the 6th — Franmil Reyes led off with a Triple — it took a crazy carom off the wall and went away from the Yankee outfielders (Mike Tauchman and Brett Gardner) allowing the big 6’5 lumbering Reyes to make it all the way to 3rd.
Is Franmil Reyes the fastest player in baseball?
Our column: pic.twitter.com/b5G3JPXHdR
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 25, 2021
Laying Off the Fastball; Ripping the Off-Speed Pitch
On the radio Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling pointed out that Cleveland was laying off Nelson’s fastball and ripping his off-speed pitch, which wasn’t breaking.
All the while Yankee Twitter couldn’t figure out why Nick Nelson was still in there, let alone in there at all. Speculation was that Aaron Boone had punted the game.
If this were the 1980’s — the era of Pete Rose as manager — one might speculate Boone had bet the ‘over’ in the under/over portion of the bet, and was running up the score once the Yanks started losing, to win the second under/over-total-runs part of the bet so no money would be exchanged. As Pete Rose‘s ‘runner’, John Franco has stated, Rose used to tell him how easily a manager could affect the score of a baseball game — just bring in a bad pitcher or leave a pitcher in too long to run up the score, or bring in your ace reliever an inning early to keep the score low.
Boone was clearly not doing this but it is why Pete Rose can never sniff the Hall of Fame.
PS: the Under/Over Total for this game was 8, according to fanduel. Yanks losing 4-3 = 7; Yanks losing 7-3 = 10. Those betting the Over, won.
Cessa to the Rescue, Too Late
Finally in the 7th Luis Cessa came in and pitched 2 no-hit, shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.77.
After the game, Nick Nelson was designated to the alternate site.
4. Cleveland Bullpen Shuts Yanks Down
And then Cleveland’s bullpen shut the Yankees down. Sam Hentges got the win; Paul Quantrill‘s son Cal Quantrill pitched a shutout inning; James Karinchak struck out all 3 batters he faced in the 8th, and Emmanuel Clase closed.
Emmanuel Clase, 100mph Cutter. ✂️💯 pic.twitter.com/BDRAhOXzLs
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 25, 2021
The Yankees got 6 hits on the day. Besides the homers by Gio and Ford,
- Aaron Judge got a hit (1-5, batting .246),
- Giancarlo Stanton got a hit (1-5 batting .186),
- Gleyber Torres got a hit (1-3 with a walk, batting .213) and
- Michael Tauchman got a hit (1-3 with a walk batting .214).
Clint Frazier came in for Defense late and made yet ANOTHER spectacular diving catch — he just made one yesterday. This one was an over the shoulder Superman catch of a ball hit over his head to left center in the 8th.
Clint Frazier shows why he was a Gold Glove finalist in 2020. pic.twitter.com/zk5uDZDBQL
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 25, 2021
After the game Frazier said he’s feeling like he’s found something in batting practice and looking forward to a chance to start again. He said he’s had 500 batting stances during his career; he is constantly modifying when he feels a stance isn’t getting it done.