Yankees 5, Tigers 3: That could’ve gone a little better

Bless You Boys

After Friday night’s offense-less debacle of a walk-off loss, Saturday afternoon brought some early fireworks, some horrific and impactful ball-and-strike calls, and a 5-3 Tiger defeat.

Alabama’s own Casey Mize made his sixth start for the Tigers. He’s been solid this year so far, coming off injury, with a typical outing seeing him pitch five or six innings and give up a pair of runs or so. He’s been generally good with the walks; regaining one’s command after Tommy John surgery can be a challenge, but that hasn’t been a big problem this season so far. Coming into today he’d only given up one home run… would his luck change in that ridiculously-dimensioned excuse of a stadium the Bronx Bombers call home?

Summitting the hill for the Pinstripes was Clarke “Griswold” Schmidt, making his seventh start of the season. His outings have looked a lot like Mize’s, actually: pitch into the sixth, give up a couple of runs, limit the dingers. Where Schmidt has gotten himself into trouble, though, is with the walks; on April 13 in Cleveland he walked five of the 20 batters he faced, but the Yankees ultimately won the game 3-2. I mean, last time I checked, the standings don’t list anything of real consequence other than wins and losses.

Riley Greene got things going right off the hop with a leadoff home run to right field, because baseball outfield dimensions both give and take away.

The Yankees got that run back in the bottom of the first: with two outs, a trio of singles scored Aaron Judge to even up the score.

In the third, a walk and a single put runners on the corners for New York with none out, and a Judge double scored a run to put the Tigers down 2-1 and runners on second and third. A groundout and a strikeout made it look like Mize might put out the fire, but Anthony Rizzo parked a home run in the right-field stands to put the home team up 5-1, and that would ultimately prove to be the game-winner.

The Tigers narrowed the lead in the fourth with a Wenceel Pérez single to right, and a stand-up triple to right for Matt Vierling scored Pérez to make it 5-2.

Colt Keith brought home Vierling with a sacrifice fly, closing the gap to 5-3.

Mize then settled down through the fourth and fifth, setting down six in a row after a leadoff single in the fourth.

The Tigers got two on with one out in the sixth, via a Kerry Carpenter walk and a Vierling infield single, and looked like they might have something cooking. But an Andy Ibáñez strikeout and a Spencer Torkelson popout let the Yankees wiggle off the hook.

Things kinda settled down for the next little while, with Tyler Holton coming in and having a very nice outing, but things got spicy when Judge got ejected by home plate umpire Ryan Blakney for arguing a strike-three call. Naturally, the fans in the Bronx voiced their opinions on the matter, and their verdict was: displeasure.

Blakney made up for that absolute banger in the top of the eighth, with this horsefeathers strike-three call on Carpenter with a runner on first.

HORSEFEATHERS. There, I said it again, if you’ll pardon my French. Blakney then followed up that gem of a call with an almost-as-bad strike-three call against Vierling, ending the inning. Should AJ Hinch have calmly come out of the dugout and handed Blakney a pair of binoculars, served on a silver platter?

Ibáñez led off the ninth with a single to right against Yankee closer Clay Holmes, who has been tough as nails. But then… le sigh… Torkelson hit the first pitch into a tailor-made double play, and a Zach McKinstry strikeout ended the proceedings.

No sir, I don’t like it.

BYB’s Peter Kwasniak found this graph on Baseball Savant.

I know AJ Hinch always talks about not naming an official closer, but Foley’s been getting a lot of ninth-inning assignments, and they haven’t looked great lately. Perhaps it’s time to try someone like Alex Lange or, perhaps, hear me out, Andrew Chafin in that spot.

Numbers and Observations

  • Riley Greene’s slash line (OBP/SLG/OPS) in the eleven games from April 21 through Friday night: .420/.674/1.094. That’s 50 plate appearances, six walks, four home runs, two doubles, and a .349 batting average. And then a home run to lead off today’s game. I can dig it.
  • The average Major League team is hitting .239. A grand total of seven teams (out of 30) are hitting .250 or over. Five teams are collectively hitting under .220. So, no, the Tigers aren’t hitting the cover off the ball this season, but it appears few other teams are either.
  • I saw the Jerry Seinfeld movie, “Unfrosted,” on Netflix last night. It’s funny, packed with jokes soaked in nostalgia. And for those of you who wanted to get some sort of deeper meaning, wanting to analyze the overarching metanarrative or some other film-school stuff… I mean, c’mon, it’s a movie about Pop-Tarts.
  • On this day in 1961, the first Freedom Ride left Washington, DC on its way to New Orleans. It was the first of a series of Civil Rights protests that wanted to raise awareness that the laws desegregating interstate travel on public buses weren’t being enforced, especially in southern US states. John Lewis, a future US Congressperson, was one of the Riders, and he was attacked in South Carolina for his participation in the protest, and a chapter of the KKK later attacked the bus in Alabama, aiming to kill everyone inside. The protesters were all under the age of 30, some still in their teens. Now that’s courage.

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