Oh, New Yankee Stadium. A billion dollars apparently gets you this concrete monstrosity (but sadly no revenge game):
BEN GAMEL REVENGE GAME HERE WE COME pic.twitter.com/esVmAof1JZ— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) June 19, 2018
While the “jet stream” narrative in its debut year hasn’t been brought up since, the fact remains that this stadium is a bandbox. 314 feet to right field? 318 to left? And no high wall at either spot? Come on now. The Yankees are running a 116 wRC+ - tied with Houston for the Major League lead - but the M’s aren’t far behind at 106, good for fifth. And hitter-friendly ballparks usually work both ways, right?
Dee Gordon did get the game off to a good start, smacking a line drive up the middle and hustling to second for a leadoff double. After Jean Segura reached on an error, Mitch Haniger smoked a line drive that Miguel Andújar somehow deflected, and although they got Jean at second, Dee scampered home for a quick 1-0 lead.
While Nelson Cruz popped out and Kyle Seager went down on strikes to end the frame, Marco Gonzales started out on the right foot. Aarons Hicks and Judge were quickly sent down on strikes, and all that stood between Marco and a clean inning was one Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton has run drastic home/road splits this year, putting up just an 81 wRC+ at Yankee Stadium against a 157 mark everywhere else. One of the best power hitters in this generation struggling in such a hitter’s park is confounding, but hey, we’ll take it today. Gonzales threw a first-pitch curve, hit his spot, but alas...
Oh yeah, he’s still absurdly strong. Marco did work out of the first with no further damage, and with Domingo Germán laboring early, maybe the M’s would get things going?
It wasn’t meant to be tonight. Germán racked up nine strikeouts over seven innings, retiring eighteen straight after the first inning. His curveball showed video game movement, his fastball hit 96, and seemingly every hitter had at least one silly-looking swing. Germán’s last start saw him strike out ten Tampa Bay Rays, a team whose strikeout rate is right around middle of the pack. The Mariners, on the other hand, are running the sixth-lowest K% in baseball, and Germán was legitimately dominant today.
To Marco’s credit, he matched Germán through four, working out of a few jams thanks to a timely double play and a great catch from Mitch:
Everything unraveled in the fifth, though. Greg Bird worked an obnoxious eight-pitch walk to lead off the frame, and Andújar somehow hit out a curveball that was near his ankles:
Clint Frazier followed with a hard base hit through the right side of the infield, and Aaron Hicks jumped all over a first-pitch hanging change to suddenly make it a 5-1 game. Marco would thankfully right the ship, and was able to pitch into the seventh inning despite allowing the four-spot. Although he gave up a ton of hard contact - none more than a screaming lineout off the bat of Gary Sánchez at 121 (!!!) MPH - his curve and cutter both looked sharp today, and two of the three dingers he gave up were off of good pitches. His final line isn’t pretty, but there was plenty to be encouraged about - his fastball hit 92 several times, and he also collected a dozen swinging strikes.
Nick Rumbelow finished the game, allowing his inherited runner to score and serving up a meatball to Gleyber Torres in the eighth:
On the bright side, he did strike out three in his 1.2 innings of work, hitting 95 on his fastball and showing good movement on his secondary pitches. If that isn’t enough of a silver lining (and really, I don’t blame you if it isn’t), we were also treated to Neli hitting a giant home run:
This didn’t feel like a must-win game going in. I don’t think anybody would be disappointed with a .500 record in this ten-game stretch against the two best non-Astros teams in baseball, and while the road to that goal got a little bumpier, it’s still very much attainable. After the split with Boston, a 3-2 record the rest of the way gets them there. This team can do it. Félix squares off against Jonathan Loaisiga - now that’s a name - tomorrow. May the King harness his past dominance here.