New York — Come on, not again.
Some version of that sentence, maybe one more R-rated, had to be going through Tigers’ starter Matt Manning’s mind after his outing Wednesday was ended in the first inning when a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton struck him in the right foot.
Yes, the same right foot where a drive by Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk broke his fifth metatarsal bone on April 11 and cost him 77 days. Kirk’s drive left the bat at 97 mph. Stanton’s exit velocity was 119 mph.
Just as he did with Kirk’s ball, Manning finished the play, ending the first inning and stranding runners at second and third.
It will be last pitch and the last play he makes this season. X-rays revealed a fracture in his right foot. It’s not the same bone, this one is a little higher on his foot. His season is over.
Manning had just started to find his groove after the long layoff. In his previous four starts he’d allowed just one earned run in 23.2 innings, holding hitters to a .128 batting average.
“If it weren’t for bad luck, right?” Manning said after the Tigers were beaten by the Yankees, 4-3. “Right when it happened I was annoyed that it was the same foot, same spot, basically. I just hoped it wasn’t broken. But I made the play, so that’s cool.”
“Incredibly unlucky,” manager AJ Hinch said. “One hundred and nineteen (mph) off any part of your body is going to put you on the IL. I feel for him. He’s worked back from a couple of different injuries that were non-arm related, which gives us a ton of confidence he going to bounce back from this.”
According to Sports Info Solutions, it was the 18th time a pitcher has been hit with a comebacker this season. Eight either left the game (Manning twice) or required a lengthy delay before they could continue.
Eight pitchers were hit with comebackers last year, six in 2021.
“There’s no positives out of this,” Manning said. “Just unlucky. Pretty cool to get hit by an MVP? I don’t know.”
His season ends with 15 starts and 78 innings. He’s not thrown more than 85 innings in any of his three big-league seasons.
“I really think the biggest thing now is staying on the field,” he said. “I’ve pitched pretty well the last two years. It’s just a matter of having a little more luck on my side and finishing a full season.”
His injury seemed to take some starch out of the Tigers.
“It’s horrible,” third baseman Matt Vierling said. “You had an idea he probably broke something. That ball is going 120 mph (119). It sucks. You have to try to move on and keep moving forward.”
Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt didn’t make moving on a simple task. He set down 16 straight hitters after the Tigers nicked him for a run in the first inning on Kerry Carpenter’s two-out, two-strike knock to left field.
“He was tough on us,” Hinch said. “Just a ton of outs in a row where we just didn’t put any pressure on him whatsoever.”
By the time the Tigers produced their next hit – a leadoff single by Spencer Torkelson in the seventh – they were trailing 4-1. But a spark was lit.
“We ended up being one hit away from flipping the game,” Hinch said. “I’m proud of our guys for playing that way. It felt like the game was a lot more in their hands than it was.”
Andy Ibanez delivered an RBI single to chase Schmidt in the seventh and a sacrifice fly by Parker Meadows off lefty Wandy Peralta made it a one-run game.
Things got interesting in the eighth. With one out, Yankees manager Aaron Boone stayed with Peralta even as AJ Hinch sent up right-handed pinch-hitters Javier Báez and Andre Lipcius. Báez delivered an infield single and after Lipcius struck out, it looked like Peralta might’ve pitched around Torkelson. He walked him with left-handed hitting Carpenter coming up, indicating Boone was targeting the lefty-lefty matchup from the start.
Walking Carpenter to load the bases was not the plan, certainly.
“First of all, Peralta is tough on everybody,” Hinch said. “And he’s been used in every type of situation. We sent our pinch-hitters up and Tork and Carp back-to-back with really good at-bats and then they made a move. For us, at that point in the order, I’ll take those guys against anybody.”
It ended up being an empty threat. Right-handed reliever Greg Weissert struck out Vierling to end the inning.
New York built its lead against right-hander Beau Brieske, who took over for Manning and struggled to find his command. The Yankees scored three runs off him in 1.2 innings, taking advantage of three walks.
After DJ LeMahieu poked a two-out RBI single in the second, rookie Jasson Dominguez launched an elevated, 95-mph fastball over the wall in right-center. It was his third home run in his five career big-league games.
It was also the 12th homer the Yankees hit off Tigers’ pitching in five-plus games.
Brieske walked the next two hitters, which set up a two-out RBI double by Oswald Peraza.
The Yankees tacked on the fourth run against Jose Cisnero in the fourth, an RBI knock by Gleyber Torres.
“Just miserable,” Hinch said when asked of the impact of losing Manning that early. “Manning is someone we lean on for quite a few innings. Then you have to go into a bullpen game right after a (scheduled) bullpen game Tuesday.”
The Tigers have lost eight straight games in the Bronx, dating to April of 2021. They also fall to 6-25 against the American League East.
“I got a lot of texts already,” Manning said. “I have a great support system and I thank everyone for reaching out. It just stinks I can’t get back out there for the boys.”