Based on the lead image for this recap, you would assume that the Yankees lost in a shady, questionable way that was brought about as a direct result of umpire buffoonery.
Nope, the Yankees actually won this game 6-5. The “savages” from New York were just super perturbed by the fact that the umpires didn’t give them every single call under the sun despite getting the win behind four solo home runs.
But the final score was 6-5. Surely this was a close game?
Yes and no. The Tribe got off to a great start in the first inning when Carlos Santana knocked a single up the middle and brought in two runs to give the Indians an early 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, Zach Plesac used 13 pitches to get through a clean inning. All looked good.
Then innings two through six happened.
In the second, a single into left field resulted in a run for the Yankees. This run probably doesn’t score if Oscar Mercado doesn’t flub the play and give Cameron Maybin an extra few seconds to turn on the burners and race home. Thankfully, the throw to José Ramírez was relayed to Francisco Lindor to nab Mike Tauchman at second to end the inning.
In the third, DJ LeMahieu got his first hit of the day and drove in Thairo Estrada to tie the game. Tribe fans were a bit upset at this because DJ LeMahieu shouldn’t have even had the chance to knock in the tying run because he should have struck out to end the inning. Don’t believe me? Ask Baseball Savant:
See that blue dot clearly in the strike zone? That was the pitch that Kevin Plawecki nabbed and threw to second to try and gun down Estrada at second. Estrada was safe and three pitches later, the game was tied.
In the fourth, the dingers started. Back to back jacks from Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres put the Yankees on top 4-2. It should be noted that three of New York’s four homers all went over their Little League right field wall. Now, were the Indians playing in the same stadium with opportunities to also put some baseballs into the right field seats? Yes, yes they were. So I’m not too peeved by the fact that the Yankees used the stadium to their advantage. I’m peeved that the Indians couldn’t do the same.
The fifth inning saw some scoring for the good guys. After two quick outs by Plawecki and Greg Allen (on a bunt), Francisco Lindor doubled and Oscar Mercado walked. Santana and Puig then put back to back singles into left field. The result was a tie game at four runs apiece.
The tie was short-lived, however. In the bottom half of the inning, DJ LeMahieu knocked his twentieth home run of the season over the wall in right field to put the Yankees up by one. The next inning, Gleyber Torres got his second dinger of the day (this time to left field) to extend the lead to two.
So where does the “closeness” come in?
Despite the onslaught of the Yankees, the Tribe was never down by more than two runs. And that deficit was cut in half in the eighth inning when Zack Britton came into the game and promptly gave up a double (Puig) and a single (Ramírez) to put the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate. A wild pitch by Britton allowed Puig to stroll home for the Tribe’s fifth run of the day. This also allowed Ramírez to move up to second base, which was good because a grounder to Torres off the bat of Franmil Reyes would have assuredly resulted in a double play. Instead, the tying run moved to third base with just one out. Jason Kipnis worked a walk to put the go-ahead run on base. Sadly, the double play that Britton needed a couple batters ago finally came in the form of a grounder to LeMahieu off the bat of Plawecki.
The ninth inning came around, and Tom Hamilton wanted to know if the Indians could turn the clock back to November 2016 against Aroldis Chapman. They didn’t. The Indians went down in order in 10 pitches to end the game.
- Three members of the Yankees were ejected for complaining and blowing their lids at home plate umpire Ben May. Apparently, they were very upset at a called strike on Cameron Maybin:
The pitch in question is that orange dot just outside the zone. Was it a strike? Probably not, but I also don’t think it was worth throwing a tantrum about (in the words of Tom Hamilton). Oh, and the Yankees were winning at this point.
- Nick Wittgren and Phil Maton did alright out of the bullpen today. 3.1 innings of 2 hit ball and just one run scored.
The Tribe can still get a split if they can win tomorrow’s series finale. Mike Clevinger takes the mound against CC Sabathia in day baseball.