Win Turned Into Loss in 5 Pitches. Reasons Why Minn 7 NY 5 on 6-10-21

Jesus Christ what a terrible loss. Aroldis Chapman turned a 5-3 win into a 7-5 loss on 5 pitches in the 9th inning — single, homerun, single, homerun — and just like that, in 9 minutes, an evening of winning baseball was ruined. On top of it, the game-tying homerun was by Josh Donaldson. The walk-off game winner was by Nelson Cruz. Horrific turn of events for the Yankees and Yankee fans. NY drops to 33-30, 6 games back of Tampa.

“It clearly wasn’t Chappy’s night,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards in the understatement of the year. “Obviously he’s been as good as there’s been in the sport; I just think his fastball lacked a little bit of life tonite, and he was up against obviously — at the top of their order — some really good fastball hitters.”

1. Yanks Pounced on Happ

It had all started out so well. The Yankees crushed J.A. Happ in the top of the 1st — with one out Aaron Judge singled, Gleyber Torres singled, and Giancarlo Stanton hit an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile to center for a 3-0 NY lead.

Then Gio Urshela tripled to right field and it looked like NY might knock out Happ early. But Gary Sanchez struck out looking and Happ got out of it.

He then settled down — as Happ tends to do — and ended up pitching 5 innings — escaping trouble: 8 hits allowed and 4 runs.

Happ allowed at least one hit or a walk in every inning, including a Gio Urshela  bomb in the 4th for a 4-1 Yankee lead.

2. King Pitched OK — Lifted Early

Michael King pitched ok — he started off with some control issues in the first inning which got him into trouble. He walked Donaldson, allowed a single and then a sac fly to Cruz for a run. He walked another before getting out of the inning, then settled down and got ‘into his lanes’.

King pitched a 1-2-3 2nd inning, and then a scoreless 3rd despite a walk and single. In the 4th, a leadoff single and 1-out double scored a run and made it a 4-2 game, He got a groundout for the 2nd out but Boone lifted him for Lucas Luetge.

It seemed that Boone could have stayed with him longer. And in the post game interview, it seemed King felt he could have gone longer.

Lucas Luetge came in and hit switch hitter Jorge Polanco before striking out Donaldson looking.

King finished wit 69 pitches, 40 of them strikes; 3.1 innings, 2 runs allowed.

“I felt like I nibbled a little in that first inning. I got a lot of walks, that gets me pulled from a game a lot earlier,” said King afterwards. “I felt like I was in my lanes, pretty close, but missing a ball off a ball down, whatever it is. I started kind of getting into a groove in the 2nd and 3rd inning, but then I’ve got to get another shutdown inning after Gio hit the bomb in the 4th. So I’m disappointed in myself for not getting out of the 4th inning scoreless or clean.”

King Likes Being a Starter

When asked to assess the season for him so far, King replied, “I started off hot, but I felt like it was almost a lucky hot. I didn’t feel great in my mechanics, and was working my way out of some jams, and then those jams kind of caught up to me a little bit in the middle so far of the season.”

King added, “As of late I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable. I like getting into that starter’s routine of throwing a bullpen in between and knowing I’m going to be on the mound and it’s that routine that gets me where I can work on some things and get some more meaningful mound time because if I’m coming out of the bullpen I might have to be hot that day so it’s a lot easier to work on things in this setting so I feel I’ve been making strides but it still hasn’t been perfect yet.”

3. Bullpen Did It’s Job

Going to the pen so early stretched the bullpen. Luetge got out of the 4th but ran into trouble in the 5th — but Jonathan Loaisiga came in with 1st and 2nd, 1 out, and retired the side without trouble.

Loaisiga pitched a shutout 6th and the Yanks reached for Wandy Peralta in the 7th. Peralta got groundout, single, double for a run, and groundout and was lifted for Chad Green.

That made the score 5-3 with two innings to go.

The Yankee bullpen is very stretched with Zach Britton and Darren O’Day out, and even Justin Wilson out. The good news, as reported by Jed Weisberger, is that Britton is close — pitching well at AAA Scranton-Wilkes-Barre.

4. Missed Chances

The Yanks ended up with 5 runs on a night that it looked like they’d get a lot more; and it is easy to look back at those missed opportunities as ‘what if’s’.

For example, Chris Gittens got his first major league hit — a 2-run homerun in the 4th after Urshela’s homer (above) — to make the score 6-1 NY at the time. But after he circled the bases it was called back on challenge review — ruled a foul ball.

In the 6th, DJ LeMahieu singled in a run to make it 5-2 NY.

In the top of the 8th, LeMahieu hit a shot to right that had RBI double written all over it but it was caught at the wall.

5. Green Got Thru the 8th

Chad Green got through the 8th with help from Miguel Andujar in left field — when with 2 out, Celestino doubled off the left field wall, but Andujar threw a strike to get him at 2nd. It was the second time in days Andujar threw someone out from left field.

6. Chapman Blows It

Then came the 9th and Chapman didn’t have it from the start — going 3-1 on Polanco before he singled. Then the Homerun by Josh Donaldson on the 2nd pitch, a single by pinch hitter Willians Astudillo on the first pitch to him, and homerun by Cruz: 5 pitches — blown game.

“It stings,” summarized Boone. “No two ways about it. Especially on a night where we did a lot of things really well.”

The Boxscore


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