If New York, New York is a helluva town, Yankee Stadium is just plain hellish. Not so much a stadium as a fart turned into a building, it’s a concrete monster, plastered with ads (truly, so many ads, even for a baseball stadium) and surrounded by nothing by concrete. Inside, no charm, only more concrete.
So inside are the Yankee fans. New Yorkers are a loud bunch, quick to share their opinions. And with the Mariners having beaten the Yankees tonight, I worry about what they’ll do to my mentions. So as a gesture of good will, I’m going to suggest we all listen to New Yorkers a bit more.
For instance, when looking at Logan Gilbert’s performance, maybe we should take our cue from New Yorkers Pete and Trudy Campbell.
To be fair, Logan’s first inning was fine, working around a perfectly reasonable walk of Aaron Judge with a reasonable pitch mix of just 9 fastballs to five curveballs, four sliders, and two changeups. But after that first inning, he had no command of his offspeed pitches, tying his career high with four walks. Constantly behind in counts, Logan nibbled and became predictable with his fastball, which the Yankees punished with three home runs, another career high. With just two whiffs and two strikeouts, there was little good to balance this out. It’s an outing I’m sure he and the rest of us would like to forget. So let’s take another New Yorker’s advice and move on.
Having dumped the bad news, we can get to what went well, like the defense behind Logan that regularly bailed him out. The Mariners turned three double plays tonight, most impressively one started by Eugenio Suárez, who made a very slick dive to nab a hard-hit ball while playing out of position in the shift. When you’ve impressed JP Crawford with your defense, you’ve really done something right.
And yet my favorite play tonight was not one of the double plays but rather an failed double steal. With DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge on base, they took off too early and got caught. With both runners leaving in a high-pressure moment, it’d be easy to get trapped by indecision, but Logan committed to making the throw to second base. The infielders then did the exact right amount of checking the lead runner and trying to nab the trail runner. This is an out that Major Leaguers need to get, but the Mariners executed it flawlessly, and after flubbing a similar play on Sunday, it was a pleasure to see baseball fundamentals carried off.
And on the other side of the ball, the Mariners matched the Yankees’ three home runs with three of their own. Suárez got things started with a 432 footer to plate two runs (which, combined with his defense gets him his first Sun Hat Award of the year). The next inning, Cal Raleigh hit his 17th Beef Boy Bomb. But the highest-leverage one was from Sam Haggerty. You may recall that Swaggy’s last game was, in the words of New York icon Jenna Maroney, “a disaster, and not the good kind where I get to sing at a benefit.”
Well we know Swaggy relates to the Corelone family of Long Island, so maybe he took Clemenza’s advice: “When you come back, you come in blasting.” It would explain why in his first plate appearance since Saturday, pinch hitting in a tie game, he did this:
Sewald locked down that one run lead with an easy ground out from LeMahieu and impressive strikeouts of Judge and Anthony Rizzo. Erik Swanson and Matt Brash were less dominant, but nonetheless combined to allow just one runner in the eighth to get the game to the ninth with the Mariners still in front 7-6.
And in the top of the ninth, Haggerty got on base again by beating out a throw, and then took second on a wild pitch. That brought up Adam Frazier, who was riding a hot night, having already reached base three times and stolen a base. I know we dragged on Frazier a lot in June, but since the calendar flipped to July, he’s hitting .312 and is four for four in stolen bases. An archetypal spray hitter, he’s been slapping balls all over lately. So let’s see if the Yankees prevented a run by asking Brooklynite Mona Lisa Vito to look at a picture.
What do you think Mona Lisa?
With Andrés Muñoz coming in to lock down the bottom of the ninth, things should have been settled. And with two strikeouts to begin the inning, it looked settled. But then LeMaheiu somehow managed to hit a 102-mph fastball running in on his hands. As the broadcast booth said, you have to just tip your hat on that one. But it seemed to get Muñoz unsettled, as he then had to face the tying run in Aaron Judge. Muñoz threw four uncompetitive sliders and a meatball that Judge somehow didn’t swing at.
Muñoz then couldn’t get close against Rizzo either, walking him on four pitches. With the bases loaded, the winning run now on first base, Muñoz buckled down and got the pinch-hitting Gleyber Torres to end the game with a swing-and-miss on a perfectly placed slider.
The Mariners did ultimately win 8-6, just not without some heart-stopping plate appearances in the bottom of the ninth. I guess Muñoz was just listening to Upper East Sider Charlotte York.