Game 43 Recap: Montgomery's strong start wasted in 6-2 loss to Royals

Last week, Jordan Montgomery and Danny Duffy faced off in Kansas City. Duffy overpowered the Yankees en route to a 5-1 Royals win. Tonight, the story would have been that Montgomery outpitched Duffy had the bullpen held on. Instead, the Yankees lost 6-2. Here's how:

Montgomery dominates

It was a pleasure to watch Montgomery work through the Kansas City lineup tonight. He entered the seventh inning having allowed only one hit, to Whit Merrifield in the third frame. Walks, which have plagued Montgomery this season, were not an issue. Merrifield was the only baserunner Montgomery allowed until his final inning of work.

The lefty's only mistake was a fastball that got a bit too much of the plate that Lorenzo Cain launched into the left field seats, cutting the Yankees lead at the time to 2-1. That occurred with one out in the seventh. Montgomery would retire one more batter before relinquishing the ball to manager Joe Girardi, who summoned Adam Warren. In all: Montgomery threw 6.2 innings, allowed one run on two hits, struck out six, and didn't walk a batter. A very good outing, indeed.

Warren falters

Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Girardi entrusted Warren to get the final out of the seventh. He got that final out...but not before the Royals took a 3-2 lead. Salvador Perez singled to greet Warren and Jorge Bonifacio followed up with a two-run homer to right.

This is where the Aroldis Chapman injury really hurts. We probably would have seen Dellin Betances in that situation to finish the frame and then work the eighth. Alas.

Duffy baffles the offense again

Off seven shutout innings last week against the Yankees, Duffy pitched well again tonight. I guess there was some improvement, as the Yankees scored two runs against the Royals' southpaw. Aaron Hicks and Chris Carter were responsible for each run on solo home runs.

The Yankees mustered two separate threats against Duffy, both shortly after Hicks' and Carter's solo home runs. When Hicks homered in the fourth, the Yankees put runners on first and second with two outs, but Didi Gregorius popped up to end the inning. After Carter's dinger, the offense surmised a two out rally to load the bases, but Starlin Castro flew out to left.

Other notes:

  • The Royals plated their fourth run on a Whit Merrifield home run off Jonathan Holder in the eighth. The fifth and sixth runs came on a Mike Moustakas blast to right against Chasen Shreve. Not a banner night for the bullpen, that's for sure.
  • Both teams scored all of their runs via home runs tonight.
  • Tomorrow is another 7:05pm game against Kansas City. Luis Severino takes on Jason Hammel.

Game # 43 -- Royals (18-26) vs Yanks (26-16)

Gardy sits, apparently yesterday's HR wasn't enough. I think Girardi's afraid he'll catch Judge. Sanchez sits -- easier than squatting.

Royals

  1. SS: Alcides Escobar
  2. 3B: Mike Moustakas
  3. CF: Lorenzo Cain
  4. 1B: Eric Hosmer
  5. DH: Salvador Perez
  6. LF: Jorge Bonifacio
  7. RF: Jorge Soler
  8. 2B: Whit Merrifield
  9. C: Drew Butera
  10. SP: Danny Duffy

Yankees

  1. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF: Aaron Hicks
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. RF: Aaron Judge
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B: Chase Headley
  8. C: Austin Romine
  9. 1B: Chris Carter
  10. SP: Jordan Montgomery

Game on YES.

Life in the Press Box - Vol. 1 (Lakewood BlueClaws)

On Monday, May 15, 2017, I experienced my first ever game as a writer for “It’s About The Money” from the vantage point of the press box. 

          Lakewood BlueClaws

          Lakewood BlueClaws

The game I attended featured the Columbia Fireflies against the Lakewood BlueClaws, two single-A teams in the South Atlantic League.  As a writer for a Yankees blog, I didn’t go to report on the game necessarily, as Columbia is a Mets farm team and Lakewood resides in the Phillies organization.  Rather, I attended to watch the biggest name player in the league, a former Heisman Award winning quarterback, now trying his hand at baseball, Tim Tebow.

                               Columbia Fireflies

                               Columbia Fireflies

The following is a short recap, not necessarily of the game, but of the experience as a first time sportswriter covering a game. 

***

First Energy Park, in Lakewood, New Jersey is the home of the BlueClaws.  The faculty is beautiful and easy to get to from the Garden State Parkway.  There was ample parking available.  The staff at the ballpark were friendly and welcoming.  The ballpark had a great feeling to it.  There was a good deal of energy.  I had never before been to First Energy Park, but it was a great place to watch a ballgame. 

0515171752.jpg

Many of the fans at the game were reclining on the grassy hills just beyond the outfield fences.  There were also two picnic areas close by.  The sightlines were clear from every vantage point.  Since Lakewood is at the Jersey Shore, many of the displays had a beach theme.  There were a few large sized lifeguard stands for fans to sit on as they enjoyed the ball game.  The seagulls were a natural element who flew in and of the park and added to the beachy feel. 

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The schedule originally called for one game that day, but a previous rainout and scheduling forced a single-admission double header.  Since I was arriving from work, I arrived at the park in the top of the fourth inning.  As I entered the stadium, from the behind home plate entrance, Tim Tebow was batting. 

                                                 Tim Tebow - Minor League Baseball Player

                                                 Tim Tebow - Minor League Baseball Player

I didn’t see him bat for very long, he struck out looking. 

As I walked around the small stadium, I noticed a plethora of Tim Tebow jerseys – of all types.  Many fans were wearing Tebow football gear with the Florida Gators, Denver Broncos, and New York Jets jerseys the most prevalent.  A few fans wore Tebow’s Columbia Fireflies jersey.  There was a common theme at the park.  As one fan said, “We’re all here for Tebow.”

As a new reporter, I only got one “scoop” about Tebow – and it came from the guy who grilled and sold the sausages.  “I have five brots for Tebow for in-between the games,” he said.  If nothing else, I now know that Tim Tebow also enjoys ballpark food.

I spent the first game just enjoying the stadium.  Tebow only had one other at-bat that I saw – flying out in the 6th inning to deep left field.  The first game ended after seven innings, a rule followed in the minors for double-headers..

It was for the second game that I ventured to the press box.

                                                         The View From the Press Box

                                                         The View From the Press Box

The first positive experience was that all of the writers and other personnel in the press box were friendly.  I introduced myself to each and they each welcomed me.  When I shared that I wrote for the ESPN Sweet Spot Network, they seemed duly impressed.  In short, I was welcomed as a member of their special fraternity. 

Some of the writers from major media outlets, including The New York Post, nj.com, and others These writers had seats at the writing counter overlooking the field labeled and reserved for them.  It seemed that the regular writers had reserved spots as well.  As someone not part of the daily assignments, and not working for a major paper, I didn’t have my own spot and took a seat at the far right of the back row – an obstructed view seat that only allowed me to see from the pitcher’s mound to the left side of the field. 

After the line-ups were announced and it was clear that Tim Tebow wouldn’t be playing in the second game, some writers left.  As such, a seat opened that allowed me to see the whole field. 

The view from the press box was amazing.  This was a great place to watch a game.  Still, there was an interesting dynamic…of course there is no cheering in the press box, even I knew that, but even with that, there was a very real distance from the rest of the ballpark in an almost surreal way.  Were at the game, but we weren’t “at the game” in the same ways fans were.  The press box, it is clear, is a place of work.

I enjoyed witnessing a baseball game from this vantage point, but was a little frustrated with myself because while I gathered all the press notes for the game, I left my reading glasses at work and had to struggle to read anything of note. 

I made some other notes for myself (in addition to  “Don’t forget your glasses").   I came wearing a suit, dress shirt, and tie (it was a baseball tie), but I was over-dressed for the occasion.  There was more of a casual atmosphere in the press box.  I also brought a notebook and pen, and, as such, was the only guy in the box without a laptop. 

0515171754.jpg

The other interesting dynamic I observed was the seriousness that prevailed in the box.  These people were at work and work is serious.  There wasn’t a lot of banter, instead the writers were focused on the task at hand – reporting on the game.  Since this is not my profession, I was able to leave my worries at the stadium’s gate, but for the writers, they were at their place of toil. 

I most enjoyed the vantage point of observing the sky turn from afternoon to evening to night –seeing the blue sky turn grey and then black with the green outfield basking in the glow of the bright lights. 

Just as ballplayers learn their craft in the minor leagues, I was learning mine.  I learned the dynamics and expectations of the press box.  I learned what to expect and how to prepare myself for the next time. 

I plan to attend a few games this summer where I hope to report on various Yankees prospects and, as such, will focus more on the game than the experience itself.  But this first trip was necessary for me to learn what I would need to do to on future visits to ballparks.

I am at the age, not quite 50 (but I’ll be there soon) where retirement is on the distant horizon.  I’m not nearly ready, or old enough, but as I sat in that press box and took it all in, I did wonder if this might be my way of spending parts of my summers many years from now.

I do know this, I'll be back at Lakewood.  It was a great ballpark full of welcoming people. It was a great place for me to get my start!

Game # 42 -- Royals (18-25) vs Yanks (25-16)

Yanks now 3-3 in midst of 13 games versus sub-.500 teams. They need to win at least 5, preferably 6 of the next 7 games. Ells sits. Aarons back-to-back in lineup! Word of caution to infielders not named DD -- Torres is at SWB, a short trip to YS.

Royals

  1. SS: Alcides Escobar
  2. 3B: Mike Moustakas
  3. CF: Lorenzo Cain
  4. 1B: Eric Hosmer
  5. C: Salvador Perez
  6. DH: Brandon Moss
  7. LF: Jorge Bonifacio
  8. RF: Jorge Soler
  9. 2B: Whit Merrifield
  10. SP: Jason Vargas

YANKS

Gardner, CF
Sanchez, C
Holliday, DH
Castro, 2B
Judge, RF
Hicks, CF
Gregorius, SS
Headley, 3B
Carter, 1B
Pineda, P

Game on YES.

Game # 41 -- Yanks (24-16) vs Tampa Bay (23-22)

3-7 in last 10 games. To quote Tom Petty, the Yanks are "Free Fallin'." CC will try to be the stopper, but it's a tough assignment against this lineup and Archer. Yanks have lived by the sweep this year, will they now die by it?

YANKS

Gardner, CF
Sanchez, C
Holliday, DH
Castro, 2B
Judge, RF
Ellsbury, CF
Headley, 3B
Gregorious, SS
Carter, 1B
CC, P

TAMPA BAY

Beckham, SS
Dickerson, DH
Longoria, 3B
Weeks, 1B
Souza, Jr. RF
Kiermaier, CF
Norris, C
Robertson, 2B
Bourjos, LF
Archer. P

1922 -- Jacob Ruppert pays Col. Huston $1.5M for his share of the NYY.

Game on YES

Game # 40 -- Yanks (24-15) vs Rays (22-22)

After a torrid spell the Yanks have returned to mediocrity going 3-6 over the past 9 games. The pitching has really been rather poor for the past 19 games, giving up 5.42 runs per game. They are in the midst of a 13 game stretch of playing sub-500 teams, but so far are only 2-2. It is critical that Tanaka step up his game this afternoon.

Yanks playing with only one Aaron in the OF -- and it ain't Judge. Holliday at 1B, Judge at DH.

YANKS

Gardner, CF
Sanchez, C
Holliday, 1B
Castro, 2B
Judge, RF
Ellsbury, CF
Headley, 3B
Gregorius, SS
Hicks, RF
Tanaka, P

RAYS

Dickerson, DH
Keirmaier, CF
Longoria, 3B
Morrison, 1B
Souza, Jr, RF
Rasmus, LF
Beckham, SS
Robertson, 2B
Sucre, C
Andriese, P

God willing and the Disqus does rise, I'll be commenting during the game.

Game on YES.

Game Recap: Yanks Drop a Tough Loss to the Rays 5-4

The Friday opener of the series brought Severino to the mound, trying to bounce back after a rough start, and Rob Thomson to fill in for manager Joe Girardi, but unfortunately, the Yanks were not able to start the series on a high note, dropping a back and forth contest 5-4to the Rays.

Severino looked shakey, at best, to start the game. Given a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first, Luis promptly surrendered a run in the bottom frame and burned thirty pitches in the process. As with his previous start, where he surrendered 3 runs in 2.1 innings, Severino struggled with his command throughout his five innings of work. His slider gave him the most trouble throughout the evening, frequently starting out of the strike zone and failing to entice the strikeout-prone Rays to chase his pitches out of the zone. After a rough start to the game, though, Severino did find his way to pitch a gritty 5 IP, surrendering only the one run and keeping the Yanks in the game.

The Yankees entered the seventh with a 2-1 lead, but unfortunately, that would be their last lead of the game. Warren relieved Holder and promptly gave up three consecutive singles. After a sac-fly, Thomson pulled Warren for Shreve, who gave up a double to Weeks to plate two more runs.  Blown save for Warren. Yanks down 4-2 heading into the eighth frame.

Side note: the Weeks "double" was some generous scoring from the home team. It would have been a tricky play, but Torreyes tried to backhand a soft grounder to third on a short hop, and the ball skipped under his glove. The grounder probably caught him in between an aggressive attempt to catch the runner running from third base and the safe force play at first. As usual in baseball, if you try to make two plays, you normally come away with neither. Surprising result though for a typically solid fielder in Torreyes.

Holliday made it an interesting game in the eighth with a two-run game-tying home run, but Clippard could not keep the Yankees in the game, surrendering two walks and Longoria's go-ahead RBI single. Game over. Yanks lose 5-4, and Longoria once again is the dagger.

Game notes:

Severino's final line of 5 IP 7 K's 1 ER represented a nice effort for the young righty. He clearly did not have his best stuff last night, but battled to keep his team in the game. This is as good of an "off-night" as a young pitcher can have.

Tyler Clippard now has 7 BB in 17.2 innings pitched. For perspective, Pineda has 8 BB in 47.1 IP. You can't walk two batters in an inning and expect to escape without damage. This was a bad night for the Yanks' setup man.

Props to Joe Girardi for taking a night off to go to his daughter's graduation. I'm not surprised that he has his priorities in order, but it's still nice to see.

Next up: The Yanks look to even the series against Tampa with Tanaka against Andriese. First pitch 4:10 EST.

Game # 39 -- Yanks (24-14) vs Rays (21-22)

Sevy on the mound to reverse the losing streak. However, he'll be without Hicks, Sanchez, and Headley.

Due to the totally bizarre nature of MLB scheduling, the Rays have played 5 more games than the Yanks.

Yankees

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  3. DH: Matt Holliday
  4. 2B: Starlin Castro
  5. RF: Aaron Judge
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. 1B: Chris Carter
  8. C: Austin Romine
  9. 3B: Ronald Torreyes
  10. SP: Luis Severino

Rays

  1. DH: Corey Dickerson
  2. CF: Kevin Kiermaier
  3. 3B: Evan Longoria
  4. 1B: Logan Morrison
  5. RF: Steven Souza Jr.
  6. LF: Colby Rasmus
  7. SS: Tim Beckham
  8. 2B: Daniel Robertson
  9. C: Derek Norris
  10. SP: Erasmo Ramirez

Game on WPIX.

Not sure what's going on, I can't seem to get Disqus to work.

Game 38 Recap: Duffy overpowers Yankees offense in 5-1 loss

There was no sweep of the Royals in Kansas City thanks to the spectacular performance of Danny Duffy. Two of three on the road ain't too shabby, though. The key takeaways:

No answer for Duffy

Sometimes, you just have to hand it to the opposing pitcher. It's annoying when it's the opposing fifth starter mowing down the offense, but in this case, it was Kansas City's ace dominating the Yankees. In seven innings, the lefty only allowed three hits and two walks while striking out 10 Yankees.

Duffy was perfect through three. He struck out the side in the first, fanned two of three in the second, and whiffed one more in the third. In the fourth, he finally ran into a little bit of trouble. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a bunt single (originally called an out before replay overturned it) to start the inning and two batters later, Matt Holliday walked with one out to put runners on first and second. It was no sweat for Duffy, who punched out Starlin Castro and induced Aaron Judge to fly out to right.

In the fifth, the first two Yankees reached on an error and a walk. Duffy quickly erased the threat when Aaron Hicks bounced into a double play and Chris Carter went down on strikes. The Royals' lefty also worked around a single a piece in both the sixth and seventh innings. Duffy bent slightly after coasting through the first three frames, but never broke. And really, he barely bent. There weren't many hard hit balls off the Yankees' bats tonight.

Montgomery was meh, Green was good

The old adage is that a leadoff walk always comes around to score, and while that's been pretty much debunked for obvious reasons, it's still not a good thing to do on the mound. Yankees' starter Jordan Montgomery gave Eric Hosmer a free pass to open the second inning, and things didn't get much better from there. He did retire Salvador Perez before allowing another walk, this time to Jorge Bonifacio. There was a chance to escape the runners on first and second jam with a potential 5-4-3 double play off Jorge Soler's bat, but Chris Carter couldn't handle Starlin Castro's throw at first. Whit Merrifield and Drew Butera followed with back-to-back singles to make it 2-0 Kansas City.

That second inning was Montgomery's lone problem inning until the fifth, as he retired the Royals in order in the first, third, and fourth frames. In the fifth, with runners on first and second, Mike Moustakas changed what could have been a good outing into a poor one. He belted a three-run homer to right, just out of the reach of the leaping Aaron Judge. That made it 5-0.

On the positive side, Chad Green was lights out once he entered the game. He pitched three innings after Montgomery departed, allowed one hit, and struck out six. It looks like he could be an asset in the bullpen, but I have to imagine he'll get another chance to start soon.

Too little, too late

In the ninth, Royals' manager Ned Yost brought in Kelvin Herrera, his closer, for some work. It was a struggle, as we seem to see fairly often for closers in non-save situations. Starlin Castro opened the inning with a double while Aaron Judge beat out a deep grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar. Chase Headley then struck out, but Didi Gregorius put the Yankees on the board with a RBI single to cut the lead to 5-1. No shutout! The Yankees haven't been blanked yet this year. Didi's single was the last gasp, as Hicks and Gardner went down to end the game.

Parting notes

  • Tonight's game was on FS1 and was Alex Rodriguez' debut in the broadcast booth as a color commentator? What did everyone think? He seemed a bit nervous and not completely comfortable. Understandable for a first go.
  • Of course, right after I wrote about Hicks earlier today, he goes 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. When I wrote about Brett Gardner's struggles earlier this year, he quickly turned it around. Maybe I should stick to penning pieces about scuffling Yanks.
  • The Yankees are in Tampa Bay tomorrow night for a 7:10pm game at the Trop. Luis Severino gets the ball and will square off against Erasmo Ramirez.