The Yanks (98-53) lost to Toronto on Sunday, 6-4, in a game that marked the returns of Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances off the IL. Mixed results.
Tampa Bay lost, so the Yanks magic # for clinching the division is three. The magic # to just make it into the playoffs is 2.
They only hit 1 HR today, so they trail the Twins 287-286 in the race for the new HR record. The Twins have played two less games, so the Yanks have to get going there.
Houston won, and holds the tiebreaker. Both teams currently have the same record. The Dodgers are a game behind them.
As much as we would like the Yanks to get the best record in baseball (at least the AL) and maintain home field advantage, there are some things that Aaron Boone has to find out before the postseason begins, and finding out those things could cost the Yanks now but benefit them in the postseason.
One of them is outfield and Tyler Wade. With Tauchman and Hicks out, he needs to see how Wade is in the outfield. With Hicks out, Gardner will be in CF, and Judge in RF. Boone needs to find out if Stanton could play LF (when Stanton comes back) or if he has to DH. He needs to know who will play LF—Stanton, Frazier, Maybin or even Wade.
The question of if Stanton can play LF affects the 1B/DH spot. If Stanton has to DH, that affects Voit, Ford and/or Encarnacion, depending on who plays 1B. The best Yankees’ defensive infield has LeMahieu at 1B, Torres at 2B, Didi at SS and Urshela at 3B. If Stanton has to DH and not play LF, that takes Voit, Ford & Encarnacion out of the mix.
As for the pitchers, he has to find out if Severino, Betances, and maybe even Montgomery have anything to offer for the postseason. He also has to rest his main bullpen guys (Kahnle, Ottavino, Green, Britton and Chapman) to make sure they are good to go, and not overworked, come October.
Boone has to find out those answers NOW, and in finding out those answers, he may have to sacrifice home field advantage to do so.
Aaron Judge homered in the top of the first today (23) to put the Yanks up 1-0.
Jordan Montgomery, in his first game back from TJ surgery, was shaky, giving up two runs in the bottom of the second. Toronto up, 2-1.
The Yanks got two in the top of the third. With one out, Tyler Wade singled and scored on a D.J. LeMahieu double that tied the game. Judge walked, then Didi Gregorius singled to put the Yanks up 3-2.
In the bottom of the third, Montgomery gave up a HR to Yankee-killer Randal Grichuk.
Nestor Cortes gave up a 3-run HR to Grichuk in the fifth. Cortes appears to me to be a tweener pitcher. Better than AAA but not MLB caliber. I don’t expect him on the postseason roster.
The Yanks got a run in the seventh when Austin Romine doubled and later scored on a two-base error.
Dellin Betances, making his first appearance of the season, faced two batters and struck both of them out.
Judge solo HR (23)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.50
Montgomery 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 13.50 Season Debut after TJ surgery.
Betances 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 0.00 Season debut after shoulder trouble.
Cortes (L, 5-1, 5.54) 1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 3 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Heller 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K. 3.00
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 6.52
Note none of the “big four” of Ottavino, Kahnle, Britton or Chapman pitched since they were down in the game.
The Yankees are off Monday and Luis Severino makes his season debut on Tuesday.
Ryan Dull was DFA’d.