Worst loss ever. Worst regular-season, late-game blown-lead loss ever. Yankee fans were sent spinning trying to remember the worst Yankee losses in their memory and comparing them to this one after this devastating defeat at 1 am in the morning on a thunderstorm-soaked Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Yanks entered the 9th inning with an 8-4 lead and watched their ace reliever Aroldis Chapman walk the bases loaded, then give up a grand slam to tie the game — and when slow-moving manager Aaron Boone finally yanked him and brought in another reliever, that reliever — Lucas Luetge — gave up 3 more runs for the Yanks 11-8 loss. A game where NY had a 7-2 lead after scoring 7 runs in the 1st inning off Angels’ ace superstar Shohei Ohtani in what seemed like a lifetime earlier — the game delayed twice by hour-long rain spouts.
Depths of Nadir
It was more than a loss — given the 41-39 Yanks’ season-long crappy play, and having just been swept by the Red Sox at Fenway over the weekend — it was the last straw for many. It spun the Yanks to 8.5 behind first-place Boston which won its game.
Worse — it showed clearly that ace reliever Aroldis Chapman doesn’t have “it” right now — maybe forever more — whether it’s due to the new no-sticky-substance rule or lack of velocity. And Domingo German the Yanks’ #2 starter, is right behind him in the same boat. And ps Gerrit Cole had a 4.65 ERA in June.
If the Yanks weren’t at their nadir for the 2021 season before they are at it now.
1. Yanks CRUSH Ohtani
And this was a game where the Yankees absolutely destroyed Shohei Ohtani as a starting pitcher.
Ohtani had just hit 2 home runs against the Yanks the night before, and a homer against them on Monday night — but now took the hill as the starting pitcher. Coming in he had a 3-1, 2.58 record and had allowed only 39 hits in 59.1 innings, striking out 82.
Suzyn Waldman was mentioning on radio beforehand that Aaron Judge said the Yankees had a game plan against Ohtani — which was to go after his one achilles heel — his propensity to walk batters. They would be patient at the plate. But Aaron Judge wasn’t playing — manager Aaron Boone giving him a day of rest because, Boone’s intuition told him he needed one — riling some Yankee fans who wanted to see the Judge-Ohtani matchup.
- DJ LeMahieu walked on 6 pitches.
- Luke Voit took a strike, then 4 straight balls.
- Gary Sanchez fouled off two 3-2 pitches then walked.
- Giancarlo Stanton ripped a single to left to make it 2-1 LA.
7 in the first frame 🔥 pic.twitter.com/s27EDRT6V0
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 30, 2021
- Gleyber Torres singled to left to tie the score 2-2.
- Miguel Andujar grounded out for a run after Rougned Odor struck out, making it 3-2 NY.
- Clint Frazier was hit by a pitch by Ohtani.
- Brett Gardner walked with the bases loaded to make it 4-2 NY — knocking out Ohtani.
- DJ LeMahieu then doubled down the 1st base line off reliever Aaron Slegers, clearing the bases for a 7-2 NY lead.
Ohtani’s final line: 2/3 inning, 7 earned runs on 2 hits, 4 walks — his ERA jacked to 3.60 from 2.58.
2. Another Poor Start by German
But Domingo German looked like he was going to give it all back. Top of the 2nd, a single, strikeout, walk, and double made it 7-3 with 2nd and 3rd, 1 out.
German got a HUGE (at the time) strikeout of Scott Schebler and then got 3rd baseman Anthony Rendon to line out to left. PHEW. The Yanks were going to need more runs.
German got a line out to start the 3rd, then a groundout, a walk — and was about to get out of the inning on a comebacker — but he threw a little up the line to Luke Voit at first and Voit pulled his arm back rather than risk his arm colliding with the runner — and the ball went past him. Not Don Mattingly.
German hit the next batter with a pitch to load the bases, before finally getting out of the inning on a popup.
German was gone after 3 innings — his pitch count up to 72 — meaning he could have pitched another 20 pitches but Boone pulled him and brought in Justin Wilson instead.
It was German’s 4th straight poor start — he had a 7.27 ERA in June.
3. Yanks Blow Chances for More Runs
The Yanks loaded the bases in the bottom of the 2nd with 1 out on a walk, single, walk — but Miguel Andujar hit into an inning-ending double play.
NY got 2nd and 3rd, 1 out in the 3rd inning, with Luke Voit up and the count to him at 2-1 when the rains came. And so Yankee fans had to sit back and digest the 2nd & 3rd, 1 out situation, with 2-1 count to Voit, for the next hour.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 1, 2021
After a 45-minute delay the game continued and Voit struck out for the 2nd out. The Yankees never scored and it remained 7-3.
4. Yankee Bullpen Did Well in Middle Innings
But the Yankee bullpen held the fort in the middle innings. Boone did well by yanking German — Justin Wilson came in for a 1-2-3 fourth inning.
5. Second Rain Delay
The 2nd rain delay came at 10pm in the 5th inning. The game didn’t resume until 11:30pm. With 4 innings left to go this was going to be a long night for Yankee fans in attendance. You could imagine them traveling home on the subway at 2 am, still wet from being soaked at some point by the rain. Perhaps a fun, memorable evening for them one thought at the time. It turned out to be memorable. Our tweet at the time didn’t age well.
Some fans are going to be getting home very late tonite.
Hopefully a fun, memorable time! https://t.co/TDwo7RRFRK
— Yankees.Blue (@Yankees_Blue) July 1, 2021
I spent the rain delay wondering what Ohtani was thinking .. He really fucked up as a pitcher, but did hit 2 homers the night before and 1 homer on Monday and leads the league with 28…
6. Gardy Insurance
Brett Gardner got an insurance run with a homer in the bottom of the 8th and this was going to be an easy win.
Late-night Gardy Party 🎉 pic.twitter.com/Xmat72riGY
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 1, 2021
7. Angels Score 7 Runs in the 9th
So all was looking good heading into the 9th, despite Aroldis Chapman‘s recent struggles.
And then it was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
- Chapman walked the first batter on 5 pitches.
- Chapman got a groundout, but then went 3-0 on catcher Max Stassi, came back with 2 strikes, then walked him on a 3-2 pitch.
- He went 2-2 on Rendon before walking him.
- Up stepped Walsh who had hit the homer in the 5th off Cessa. Grand Slam to center.
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 1, 2021
Finally, Boone came out of the dugout and pulled Chapman. Lucas Luetge came in and allowed walk, single, strikeout (for 2 outs), single (to give the Angels the lead 10-8), and double (to put the game away, 11-8).
It was officially twilight zone at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees went out 1-2-3 in the 9th.
Chapman Says It’s the Control of the Fastball
“Yea tonite I was struggling with command of my fastball,” said Chapman afterwards. “It’s tough when you’re trying to control your fastball, and trying to get strikes with it — but you’re not getting it.”
Chapman was asked why he was so good at beginning of the season and sucked so bad now — and thru the translator said: “The big problem is the control of my fastball. That’s the main difference — the recent control of the fastball. When you’re trying to locate and use that pitch, and it’s not where you want it, you’re going to get into trouble. You have to find your level point again; I have to find myself again with that pitch and return to the champion I was at the beginning of the season.”
Worst Regular-Season Blown-Lead Loss Ever for Yanks?
According to baseball-reference.com, the Angels comeback win was almost pedestrian — they had a 1.23 wWE (winner’s Win Expectancy) — which put the game way down on the list of all-time comebacks. Consider the 100th best comeback of all time was a team with a 0.32 wWE.
Of course that list doesn’t account for other factors — such as the Yanks’ current losing streak, disappointing season so far, being swept by the Red Sox last weekend, or the future success of top Yankee pitchers coming under doubt now with the sticky-substance ban.
To have all of that going on, and then to have a win in your pocket that you blow — is quite devastating. We need a new statistic that takes into account these other “big data” factors.
- Jared Walsh ended up with 5 RBI’s off the 2 homers, and now slashes 20-58-.282 (.345 OBP).