Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Long Day's Journey Into Night

In the bottom of the 9th tonight, Brett Gardner launched a ball into the right field seats, meaning the Yankees had outscored the Mets on the day, 16-15.

Hooray!  If this were international soccer, we actually would have won something.

It was the very first game I had attended in person at Stadium III since September 23, 2014, Derek Jeter's penultimate game as a New York Yankee.  The weather was glorious, the best I've ever enjoyed at a Yankees game.  The crowd was large and friendly.  Everyone, even Mets fans, seemed to be in a good mood.

Then James Paxton started pitching.

The Mets were hitting ball after ball so hard off Mr. Pettitte Times Five that the Yankee fielders barely moved.  When the first inning ended with the Flushlings up 3-0, I turned to the fan next to me and said, "Gee, I guess if Pettitte were pitching it would now be 15-0."

Being a Mets fan he merely smirked, in that way they have.

Still, the Yanks seemed to be almost breaking through on Vargas.  They kept getting men on base and Sanchez just missed a homer.  So did Gardy, when the game was still in reach.

Going into the third, still down 3-0, I thought that Ma should've yanked Five Times Pettitte at the first sign of trouble, and tried to see if we could climb back in it.

After all, the Yanks had managed to avoid using any of their top relievers in the afternoon game.  Monday had been a washout, and they have Wednesday off.

What would have been so bad about risking an inning from, say, Chad Green, to see if they could still steal this one?

But no.  Ma and the Yankees had, as always, a set plan, and they were going with it come hell or high water.  The Metsies proceeded to pummel Five Times Pettitte for another three runs before Ma finally went to the pen, apparently out of fear that the line drives might seriously maim an infielder.

Chance Adams was brought in to mop up, and while he wasn't awful—allowing one run on another, disturbing error by Gio—he pitched in general like a man guaranteeing himself a career in another city.

With the Yanks down 8-3, they were still threatening to make a game of it in the bottom of the 4th with two on and two out, and Vargas desperately seeking the plate.  Whereupon The Red Menace stood up and swung at the very first pitch, weakly grounding out.

After that, play grew so turgid that both Luis Cessa and Jeurys Familia actually threw scoreless innings.  Well, you really can't expect 20-something millionaires to do two shows a day, not when there are still songs to be sung and bells to be rung on the evening.

My real shock, though, was when I got home and found that Five Times Pettitte had not already been placed back on the DL.  (I had predicted as much to my Mets neighbor, who merely smirked some more.)

I would say you should expect that announcement any day now, which makes the whole idea of the Yankees picking up one more starter wholly irrelevant, I think.

But beyond that, I still don't understand the failure to aggressively manage the bullpen.  I know, I know, it has to last the whole season.

But it seems to me that there are more and more opportunities when Boone could at least see about holding a game close for an inning or so.  If nothing develops, then fine, give us the Cessas of the world.  ("Cessa and desist"?)

The sheer number of relievers takes up a disproportionate part of the roster, precluding any useful bench.  If you're not going to use that to push for wins, you might as well mail in the rest of the season the way the Yanks mailed in most of the game tonight.


JM said...

Bullpen management continues to be a murky, mysterious dark art beyond the powers of our dugout leaders. So it has been, and so, sadly, it shall remain.

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