The Tuesday Takeaway
Most games have one definitive narrative that emerges after a period of time. Sometimes it’s a brilliant pitching duel, or yeoman’s work by a bullpen that’s forced into action early. Sometimes it’s a multi-home run game from one player.
Tuesday’s game in the Bronx was a tapestry woven from many threads. The Yankees and Blue Jays exchanged volleys of dingers, four of them hit by the teams’ catchers. There was a rain delay, which necessitated pitching changes and led to a gaping crater in the New York bullpen.
Michael Pineda was uncharacteristically effective in his brief outing. He was half of what allowed the Yankees to jump out to a 5-0 lead before the pause in the action. The other half was a barrage of homers from Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez.
Sanchez, along with Aaron Judge, has stormed onto the scene in a proud display of what the future of the Yankees could hold. The 2017 Yankees will be a cocktail of spare parts and young prospects. If they’re going to win, they’ll need Sanchez to mash.
Then the rains came, and with them came waiting. Both starters escaped the obligation of warming up again. Joe Girardi turned to Anthony Swarzak to soak up innings, instead of the recently re-acquired swingman Adam Warren.
It did not go well.
Swarzak surrendered four runs while recording just two outs, and then later on Warren and Chasen Shreve would cough up the lead and then some later on. What could have been a night to revel in and celebrate the promising youth movement of the franchise instead turned into the business end of a laugher for the Yankees.
The rain washed away any chance of victory for New York. It was a boon for Toronto.
That’s baseball, Suzyn.
Quick Hits from Tuesday
There are some players who were born with God-given talent. This is a select few, a cabal of prodigies and generational heroes.
Mookie Betts may be a member of this group.
Betts is now hitting .315/.355/.571. Nobody could have forecasted that level of power production from the 5-foot-9 Betts, who now has 28 home runs on the season. He can field, he can run, he can hit for average, and now he can hit for power. Betts may very well be the MVP if voters deign to punish Mike Trout for his teammates’ incompetence.
The feats of Mookie Betts are undoubtedly worthy of recognition.
The technical term for a walk-off walk is “Shrimp.” It’s a good bit of internet baseball fun.
Now, there isn’t an established code for a walk-off hit-by-pitch.
It feels like we should alleviate that. The crustacean theme is a good one, so let’s start there. Shrimp are small and relatively harmless, but also kind of goofy-looking. A hit-by-pitch demands something a bit more garish and large. Crawfish, perhaps? Lobster? King crab?
We’ll put the research team on this.
Chase Utley is synonymous with the last great Phillies dynasty. Alongside Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, he was everything that Philadelphia fans could have dreamed of. Utley was a brilliant hitter, a slick fielder, a sneaky-fast runner who once swiped 23 bags in the same year he shot 31 balls over the wall. He was fabulously handsome.
Utley was The Man.
Father time claimed the Phillies, and for a moment, it seemed as if he had claimed Utley too. The end of an era came when he was traded to Los Angeles. Yet this year, Utley entered Tuesday’s action with 2.2 WARP of value. He is no longer a superstar, but merely useful.
Don’t tell that to Utley. He returned home to Philadelphia, and put on a show.
The fans in Philadelphia may have once shown their disdain for Santa Claus, but that’s only because it’s Chase Utley who delivers the presents in that city.
Defensive Play of the Day
Simone Biles is a freakish athlete. She just spent a week and change showing the world just how easy gymnastics can be made to look. Apparently Anthony Rizzo was watching the balance beam event.
The dismount was a little shaky. 6/10.
What to Watch on Wednesday
Normally, I would be fired for advising you to watch a Kyle Gibson/Marc Foltynewicz matchup. The Twins and Braves are both special levels of bad. Brain-melting levels of bad. That doesn’t mean diddly for today. Dansby Swanson, the Braves’ top prospect and last year’s top overall draft pick, is coming to the Show. You can stomach one night of bad baseball for that.
Before that, Stephen Strasburg and Jon Gray will face off in a good little pitcher’s duel at 3:10 EST. That duel will take place in either a minefield, Death Valley, or Coors Field. Viewers will be able to decide which anti-pitching environment will host the game. Coors seems to be leading in early polling.
For you night owls, the Tyler Skaggs comeback tour pulls into Seattle for an evening. Skaggs has shown signs of the promise he once displayed before his Tommy John surgery. A full return to form would be huge for the future of the Angels. Cody Martin will get the spot start for the Mariners, apparently. We can’t confirm that Cody Martin is an actual human being who exists, and not a name crafted to hide a 15-year old in the Witness Protection Program.