For those tuning into this game after watching the Knicks get beat squarely in their playoff game against Atlanta to fall behind 3-1 in the series — and expecting the Yanks to be the cavalry of good news — they fell squarely into Custer at Little Big Horn waiting for Major Reno to arrive.
As the Knick game ended, the Yanks were down 6-0 in the 8th to Detroit. NY having lost the first two games of the series to Detroit. Last place Detroit. On a dreary, Rainy (pouring rain all day for the most part) Memorial-day-weekend Sunday in NY.
The Yanks were in Detroit so the weather was fine there. And in this one Major Reno did arrive — to the tune of the Yanks cutting the deficit to 6-2 and loading the bases with 2 outs in the 9th, and sending Aaron Judge up as the tying run.
But Aaron Judge struck out looking.
1. Cortes Could Not Right the Sinking Ship
King allowed an infield single to shortstop to leadoff the game, then hit a batter with 1 out, and both runners came around to score on a 2-out double by right fielder Nomar Mazzara.
Bringing 'em home. pic.twitter.com/r75FGZnlwO
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 30, 2021
King got in trouble in the 2nd — loading the bases in between 2 outs, with a single, hit by pitch, and walk — but got out of it.
In the 3rd, King allowed a leadoff walk, but then got a fly out and ground out — but an error by Gio Urshela made it 2 on, 1 out. And just like that King was gone after 63 pitches.
2. Cortes Could Not Right the Sinking Ship
And then Nestor Cortes Jr. came in to mix metaphors and right the sinking ship. It was as if Nestor Cortes Jr. was sleeping in his bed, unemployed in the morning and the Yankees called him on the phone, signed him to a contract, and had him drive to The Stadium where they thrust him into the game in the 3rd inning.
The Yankees PR had just tweeted hours earlier, “Signed LHP Nestor Cortes Jr. (#65) to a ML contract and selected him to the 26-man roster from Triple-A SWB.” If you read ML as Minor League (vs Major League which one might assume would be MLB) — then it seemed the Yanks had just signed him, assigned him to AAA as a formality, and sent him to the bigs.
Cortes Jr had resigned with the Yankees in January and then seemed to disappear; presumably cut. In actuality he had been pitching at AAA Scranton.
In any case Cortes got the same treatment from his infield that King did — plus some bad luck. Gleyber Torres made an error on a grounder to score a run, and then Cortes walked a batter to load the bases.
Castro hit a sharp grounder that hit the 3rd base bag past the range of a diving Gio Urshela, and went down the line for a bases-clearing double and it was 6-0 Detroit.
Bases were loaded, but Castro decided it was time for everyone to come home. pic.twitter.com/c8cVBs0c09
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 30, 2021
Cortes settled down to pitch 3 scoreless innings — finishing with 3.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned.
Nick Nelson was back up and pitched 2 shutout, no-hit innings, striking out 2 so that was good (although he walked 2).
3. Rookie Skubal Shuts Out Yanks
The Yanks were going up against Detroit rookie Tarik Skubal, a 24-yr-old 6’3 lefty who entered with a 1-7, 5.23 record.
And so there was an expectation the Yanks would score some runs. But Skubal shut the Yanks out — 6 innings, 3 hits, 8 strikeouts, 3 walks. He improved his record to 2-7 4.59.
Skubal’s record was deceiving. In his previous 2 starts he had struck out 9 batters against Seattle on May 19, and struck out 9 batters vs Cleveland on May 25 — making him the first rookie pitcher in Tigers history to have 3 straight 8-or-more-strikeout games.
Skubal is a top prospect in Detroit’s organization — considered by some to be the biggest breakout prospect of 2019.
4. Late Yankee Rallies
The Yanks got their 2 runs in the 8th on a DJ LeMahieu single, Aaron Judge walk, Gleyber Torres 2-out, RBI single, and Gary Sanchez infield RBI single. But Sanchez was out by a mile trying to stretch the infield single into a double.
In the 9th, Miguel Andujar led off with an infield single, and Clint Frazier singled to put two on with nobody out. But Tyler Wade struck out and LeMahieu flied out before Giancarlo Stanton walked to load the bases for Judge. Alas it was not to be.
- Aaron Judge went 1-4 with a walk — his average is at .301 (.398 OBP).
- Gary Sanchez went 2-3 with a walk and is at .202 (.326 OBP — 4th amongst starting catchers in the American League).
- Clint Frazier went 2-4 and is at .182.
- DJ LeMahieu went 2-4 and is at .267 (.352 OBP).