Game 21 Recap: What a comeback!

I think most of us were ready to chalk this one up as "one of those games" and turn the page when the Orioles were up 9-1. Baltimore's sluggers were battering CC Sabathia, and outside of Aaron Judge's performance, there wasn't much to write home about. Well, the Yankees' offense was clearly wasn't ready to turn the page. Here's the anatomy of the comeback:

  • After Didi Gregorius' RBI groundout cut the lead to 9-2 in the sixth inning, Judge came to the dish seeking his second home run of the game. OK, he probably wasn't trying to hit another dinger, but he did anyway. Of course, it was the hardest hit home run in the statcast era. No biggie.
  • The Orioles avenged those two runs Judge put on the board, tacking on two against Bryan Mitchell to make it 11-4 in the seventh. Though a five run lead appeared relatively comfortable for the O's, the extra two seemingly put to rest any momentum the Yankees had. That is, until Jacoby Ellsbury came to the plate with the bases juiced in the bottom half of the inning:
  • Down 11-8, the Yankees were back in the game. But now, instead of dealing with the likes of Vidal Nuno, the Yankees would need to beat Mychal Givens, Darren O'Day, and Brad Brach. Even without Zach Britton, that's a tough group to beat. Givens worked out of the seventh after Nuno departed, and O'Day completed a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Brach came in for the save in the ninth.
  • The first two batters in the bottom of the ninth reached: Chase Headley on a walk and Matt Holliday on a single. Ellsbury followed with an RBI groundout to make it 11-9. The next batter was Starlin Castro:
  • Just like that, it was tied. With the score deadlocked at home in the ninth or later, Joe Girardi of course went to his closer, Aroldis Chapman. More on him a bit later. After Chapman threw a clean top of the 10th, Buck Showalter brought in Jayson Aquino. It was going to be difficult to stave off the Yankees' offense with Givens, O'Day, and Brach already gone, so Showalter didn't have a much better option. Aquino's command was clearly no good, as he walked Aaron Hicks to open the frame. Kyle Higashioka, looking to bunt Hicks over with no one out, eventually reached on a free pass as well. Aquino caught a break when he struck out Chase Headley, who flailed at a couple of pitches seemingly out of the zone. That was the only break he'd get before he'd get broken. Enter Matt Holliday:

Comebacks are good. Wins are good. Home runs are good. More of all of those things, please. Some parting notes from tonight's affair:

  • Judge may have hit the hardest home run in the Statcast era tonight, but earlier, Manny Machado hit perhaps the most impressive home run of the evening. He hit a 470 foot shot over the restaurant in dead center off CC Sabathia; it was an absolute bomb. Looking forward to him doing those things in pinstripes in a few years.
  • Speaking of Sabathia, tonight was not his finest performance. In 5.2 innings, he surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks. Aside from Machado's blast, he also gave up a 2-run shot to Welington Castillo. Meh.
  • Welcome back Didi Gregorius! Two hits in five at bats is a nice 2017 debut. Not to mention some stellar plays at shortstop.
  • Ellsbury's grand slam wasn't the only salami of the night. Mark Trumbo cracked one in the sixth against Bryan Mitchell.
  • Kudos to Jonathan Holder tonight. After Mitchell exited, Holder delivered 1.2 perfect innings to keep the Orioles in check.
  • Chapman looked back to normal tonight. After a shaky go in Fenway a couple of nights ago, Chapman had an easy 10th inning. There was a minor scare on a Mark Trumbo comebacker that nicked Chapman's hand, but he remained in the game and struck out Chris Davis to end his outing.
  • Quick turnaround for tomorrow's game. First pitch is at 1:05pm; Ubaldo Jimenez and Michael Pineda are the pitchers. Fun fact: the winner of tomorrow's game will be in sole possession of first place in the AL East. Tonight's win evened both teams at 14-7.
  • Final thing: below is tonight's win probability graph. Good stuff.

Source: FanGraphs