Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Subway Series: Yankees, Led By Judge & A Stifling Schmidt, Take Pair At Stadium

Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt pitching to Tyler Naquin in the ninth inning. Photo by Jason Schott. 

On Tuesday night, the Yankees, backed by a big night from Aaron Judge, in which he hit #48, and a big outing from Clarke Schmidt in relief, beat the Mets, 4-2, at Yankee Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of 49,217, the largest of the season. 

This gave Yankees wins in both games of this part of the Subway Series, and a split of the four that they played overall, as the Mets won the two at Citi Field in late July.

This was the Yankees' third straight win with a 4-2 score, as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday and both games with the Mets by this margin. It puts a nice cap on a homestand that began with the Yankees losing five of the first six games of it, and they improved to 76-48, eight games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays (67-55) in the American League East.

For the Mets, it ends a 4-6 road trip to bring their record to 79-45, as they see their National League East lead go down to 2 games over the Atlanta Braves, who improved to 77-48 with a 6-1 win Pittsburgh. It's the closest Atlanta has been to the Mets since July 26, which ironically was the first night of the Subway Series at Citi Field.

The Mets came out swinging against Yankees starter Frankie Montas, who has struggled since arriving in The Bronx after they acquired him at the trade deadline, who was winless in his first three starts with the Yankees entering this one.

In the first inning, Starlng Marte got a one-out single, followed by a Francisco Lindor walk, but Montas battled back to get Pete Alonso to foul one off by the Yankee dugout that Anthony Rizzo tracked down, and then he struck out Daniel Vogelbach.

Starling Marte connecting in his first-inning single. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets came right back at it in the second, as Jeff McNeil led off with a single, and then Mark Canha was hit by a pitch, giving the Mets two runners on and none out. Once again, Montas escaped trouble, as he got Brett Baty to hit into a force out and got Tomas Nido to hit into a double play.

Getting out of those two jams emboldened Montas to strike out the next five Mets hitters and pitch perfect third and fourth innings.

Meanwhile, Mets starter Taijuan Walker (it could have been Jacob deGrom, but that's another day and another cup of coffee, as Niles Crane would say) sailed through the first three innings, retiring the Yankees nine up, nine down.

That streak would end in the fourth when Andrew Benintendi singled, but he was then erased in a double play hit into by DJ LeMahieu.

Aaron Judge was up next, and he broke the ice with a massive blast into the bleachers in deep left field for his 48th home run of the season, and that gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.

The Mets reacting to Aaron Judge's home run (Alonso and McNeil watched, Walker didn't). Photo by Jason Schott.

Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres followed with singles, and then Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases before Oswaldo Cabrera drew a walk to bring in Rizzo and make it 2-0. Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded to short to end the inning.

The Mets broke through in the fifth. Canha led off with a double and Baty reached on a catcher's interference to open the inning, and then with two outs, Marte laced a single to bring in Canha, but Baty was thrown out at the plate, preventing the Mets from tying it.

The Amazin's wouldn't have to wait long to do that. In the sixth, Alonso got a one-out single and came in to score on a double by Jeff McNeil that tied it at 2. That was the end to Montas' night, and his final line was: 5 2/3 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 1 walk, 6 strikeouts.

The Yankees then turned to Clarke Schmidt, and he got Canha to ground to short to end the inning.

Walker would not come out for the bottom of the sixth, so his final line read: 5 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 2 walks, 3 strikeouts.

Seth Lugo was first out of the Mets bullpen, and he struck out two (Judge and Rizzo) and worked around a walk to Gleyber Torres.

Schmidt responded by pitching a perfect top of the seventh, as he worked around a leadoff hit by Baty.

The Mets brought on left-handed Joely Rodriguez for the bottom of the seventh, and Cabrera greeted him with a single before Kiner-Falefa moved him over with a bunt.

Jose Trevino was up next, pinch-hitting for his fellow catcher Kyle Higashioka, and he hit a towering fly ball down the right field line. Alonso was tracking it as it kept going out, and ended up in foul territory before turning around into fair ground, but it was too late, and the ball came down in front of him. 

Pete Alonso walking back towards first base after losing track of the Trevino pop-up. Photo by Jason Schott.

Trevino reached, so he was on first, and Cabrera raced over to third, giving them two on base and one out for Benintendi. The new Mr. Clutch, as he had the game-winning RBIs on Sunday and Monday, laced a single to left field to bring in Cabrera, and then with two outs, Judge hit a line drive to center field to bring in Trevino and give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. That brought Judge’s RBI total in the season up to 105. 

Schmidt came back out for the eighth, which began with a walk to Lindor and a single from Alonso, but he got Vogelbach to hit into a double play and got McNeil to fly out to right field.

Since the Yankees don't have a closer or any real rotation to the bullpen at the moment, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone stuck with Schmidt for the ninth inning. He opened it with getting Canha to ground out to second base and Baty to hit a lazy fly ball to left field. 

Tyler Naquin then pinch-hit for Nido, and he drew a walk, and Brandon Nimmo then singled. Marte worked out a walk to load the bases. With Schmidt hitting the 60-pitch mark, that closed the book on a night in which he pitched three innings.

Clarke Schmidt pitching to Starling Marte in the ninth. Photo by Jason Schott.

In came left-hander Wandy Peralta for Francisco Lindor, which switched the Mets' shortstop around to the right side. Lindor hit a rocket down the left field line that just missed hitting the chalk, and then he hit a blast to center field for the final out.

Schmidt didn't get to finish it, but he did earn the win to improve to 5-2 on the season, while Peralta earned his second save. 

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone was asked about his decision to stick with Schmidt afterwards, and he said, "Well, he's built up like a starter, I got no (Ron) Marinaccio, no (Lou) Trivino, no (Jonathan) Loaisiga. You know, I had Wandy up there for their lefties, but I know they're gonna shoot (Darin) Ruf, who's really tough against lefties, and I just felt like I was riding with Clarke, and then I just felt like, obviously, it got long there, three long at-bats in a row, and got to a point where it felt like I had no choice, but I was pretty resolved, unless it really started to get away from Clarke, which at the very end maybe it did a little bit, I was riding him."

Francisco Lindor at bat in the bottom of the ninth against Wandy Peralta. Photo by Jason Schott.

Boone then said of how long he can go with the bullpen like this, with no real set pieces, "As long as we got it, we'll keep working to figure it out. You know, I mean, the last couple days, we've been a little bit up against it, having three guys down today, a couple guys down yesterday. You know, I think it's important to know a lot of really good things are happening down there with a handful of guys, that I feel like we're building soem really quality, important roles for them, we're gonna get Clay Holmes back on this trip, we're gonna get (Scott) Effross back at some point, so you know, for as much as we're trying to figure it out a little bit right now and kind of find these roles, I'm very optimistic because I feel like those good things are happening and more help's on the way."


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