The Monday Takeaway
New York's baseball teams are going in different directions, and nothing illustrated that point more than their contests on Monday night. One team was victorious and riding high as their magic number to make the playoffs decreased by one, while the other team was on the wrong side of a laugher in which their beleaguered starter was knocked out early.
It was the best of times … for the Yankees, as they battled with the Twins in what could be a preview of the American League Wild Card game. The Twins were four games in back of the Yankees in the standings heading into the series and a win would be important for each team. While the Yankees are still trying to catch the Red Sox in the American League East, the Wild Card is a more realistic goal as the season winds down.
Jaime Garcia, who was a Twin for all of six days before being traded to New York and never even made it Target Field, made the start for the Yankees and was dazzling as he struck out nine of the first 13 batters he faced.
Aaron Judge got the scoring started with his 44th home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning.
After that, Ervin Santana settled down and kept the Yankees off the board. Garcia would match him until the fifth inning. Minnesota tied it after Judge made an error, but Garcia got out of further trouble by inducing a double play to end the inning. The Yankees would go ahead on a Todd Frazier sac fly in the bottom of the frame and the teams traded zeroes for the rest of the game. It was a close contest throughout, with some nerve-wracking moments late that gave it an October feel.
Dellin Betances, who’s having another rough September, loaded the bases with one out in the eighth with Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton waiting in the wings. Joe Girardi summoned closer Aroldis Chapman to get the last two outs and he only needed four pitches to get them, striking out Mauer on three and getting Buxton to fly out to end the inning on the first pitch.
Chapman pitched a clean ninth and the Yankees won the first game of the series. The game had an October feel to it and there were tense moments late, so if this was a preview of the Wild Card game, it will be a fun one.
It was the worst of times … for the Mets and starter Matt Harvey, who were pummeled by the Marlins in Miami. Harvey, who was making his fourth start since coming back from the disabled list after undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. When his night was done, he was on the hook for seven runs on 12 hits with two walks and two strike outs.
He gave up Giancarlo Stanton’s 55th home run in the fourth inning.
After Harvey was taken out, things didn’t get better for the Mets' pitching staff. Three pitchers (Harvey included) combined to give up seven runs in the fifth inning.
The Marlins went up 12-1 and it stayed that way until the seventh inning, when Marcell Ozuna went deep for his fourth hit of the day and his 34th home run of the year.
After the game, Harvey was asked about the most frustrating part of his last four games in which he’s pitched to a 13.19 ERA since coming back. He replied: “Everything.” He then went on to say: “Everybody’s watching. I don’t really know what there is to say except for there is nothing to say. It’s terrible. It’s not fun. There’s really nothing to say. There’s no reason for questions. There’s no answers. There really isn’t. You’re going to write what you want to write anyway. Obviously, it’s deserved. So whatever you want to write, there’s nothing to say.”
Say what you will about Matt Harvey—and there’s a lot to say—but he’s obviously frustrated with how this season has played out, and if you want to look at the bigger picture he’s probably not very happy with how his career has turned out. The one-time phenom who was the next best thing is now 28 years old and owns a career record of 34-34.
Baseball can be tough and it be unrelenting. Some major leaguers can get stuck in a rut and never recover or come out of it, especially pitchers with multiple injuries and surgeries to their arm like Harvey. Hopefully for Harvey, the Mets, and their fans, he can rest and recover in the offseason and come back strong in 2018.
Well, okay, it’s not that unusual for the Dodgers to score two runs against the Phillies, at least not now that they’ve remembered how to win again. And they had Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Everything was going LA’s way until the bottom of the sixth inning. And then this happened …
Aaron Altherr hit a two-out grand slam off Kershaw, the first of its kind off the lefty, to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead. The Dodgers scored a run in the top of the ninth when Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run but it’s all they’d get.
The A’s don’t have a lot to be excited about this season, but rookie Matt Olson sure is hitting a lot of home runs. And he’s hitting them in bunches. He hit three in three consecutive games this weekend in Philadelphia and he didn’t slow down when the team got to Detroit on Monday. He hit his fourth home run in four days for his 22nd of the year.
Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his face, but unlike Wilmer Flores of the Mets, who was shut down the rest of the season with a broken nose after doing the same exact thing, Pedroia only had to leave the game with a nasal contusion. After that, the Red Sox mounted a comeback. They scored one run in the fourth inning and then six in the fifth.
The game went into extra innings because it’s the Red Sox and they always go into extra innings. This is not an exaggeration. They’re now 13-3 in extra-inning games this season. Oh, I guess I spoiled it. They won thanks to an RBI single by Benintendi in the top of the 11th inning.
Out west, the Indians, who clinched the AL Central, are visiting the Angels, who are still trying to make some noise in the Wild Card race. They’re currently a game-and-a-half behind Minnesota for the second Wild Card spot. Mike Clevinger (10-5) will be matched up against Tyler Skaggs (2-5). (10:07 pm ET)