September 30, 2021

G159: Orioles 6, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 100 000 100 - 2  5  1 
Orioles - 003 003 00x - 6 9 0

Enrique Hernández hit the first pitch of the game over the fence in left-center for his 19th home run of the season. And that was pretty much the highlight of the Red Sox's night.

With three games left in the regular season, the Red Sox and Mariners are tied for the second wild card spot.

Nick Pivetta (4.2-4-3-2-8, 87) walked the leadoff batter in the third inning, threw a wild pitch, allowed a single, and threw another wild pitch. (It's like he was auditioning for the Yankees.) He then appeared to get his shit together, striking out the next two hitters . . . but Ryan Mountcastle jumped on a first-pitch fastball and hit a three-run homer. It was first time the Orioles had hit a lead-flipping 3- or 4-run dong at home against the Red Sox in more than 13 years (August 20, 2008).

In the sixth, three singles, two more wild pitches (both by Garrett Richards), a throwing error from Alex Verdugo and a sac fly resulted in three more Baltimore runs. It was the third game in Red Sox history in which two pitchers each threw two wild pitches:

Brad Penny and Michael Bowden, August 21, 2009 vs MFY
Brian Johnson and Marcus Walden, June 16, 2019 at Orioles

The Red Sox scored a meaningless run in the seventh. J.D. Martinez led off with a double and eventually scored on (what else?) a wild pitch.

The MFY beat the Blue Jays 5-2.

As the calendar turns to October, the American League Wild Card standings look like this, with three days remaining in the regular season:

Yankees    91-68  +2.0
Red Sox    89-70   ---
Mariners   89-70   ---
Blue Jays  88-71   1.0
October 1-3:
Red Sox at Nationals
Rays at Yankees
Orioles at Blue Jays
Angels at Mariners

Pedro: "The Umpires Don't Know Shit About What They're Doing"

I figure I love Pedro as much as possible.

Then I see a clip like this . . .

September 29, 2021

G158: Red Sox 6, Orioles 0

Red Sox - 010 002 021 - 6 13  0
Orioles - 000 000 000 - 0 4 2

J.D. Martinez led the Red Sox on Wednesday night, going 3-for-4, with a single, double, and home run, two runs scored, and three runs batted in. Alex Verdugo added a lead-padding two-run single in the eighth inning.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-4-0-1-7, 90) was sharp, recording five of his first six outs by strikeout. He wriggled out of a jam caused by a leadoff double in the third, stranding the runner at third. He began the sixth by allowing a double and a walk, but retired the next three batters: F8, K, F8.

The Red Sox shot themselves in the foot early on, hitting into double plays in the first, third, and fifth innings.

Up in Toronto, the Blue Jays slapped Gerrit "The Ace" Cole around (6-9-5-0-6, 96), taking a 2-0 lead after two batters and expanding the score to 4-0 after three innings. The Yankees rallied and tied the game at 5-5 in the seventh. But Bo Bichette bopped his second home run of the night in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Canadians a 6-5 lead. The MFY had a one-out single in the ninth, but Gio Urshela and Tyler Wade were not clutch, both flying to center.

The Wild Card standings have four teams within two games of each other, with only four games left in the regular season (three for Seattle):

Yankees    90-68  +1.0
Red Sox    89-69   ---
Mariners   89-70   0.5
Blue Jays  88-70   1.0

Ohtani Walked 13 Times In A Span Of 21 PA (September 21-25);
He Also Hit Two Triples And A Home Run, And Scored Six Runs
Then He Pitched Seven Innings, Allowed One Run, Struck Out 10

In 19 plate appearances spanning four games last week, Shohei Ohtani walked 13 times!

0921 vs HOU -  F8  13   1B  HR
0922 vs HOU -  BB  BB   3U  BBI  BBI  K
0923 vs HOU -  K   BB   BB  BB
0924 vs SEA -  K   BBI  BB  BB   BBI
0925 vs SEA  - 3B  3B   BB  BB   K

In the bolded entries, Ohtani came to the plate 21 times. He went 4-for-8 with 13 walks. His on-base percentage was .810. Three of his four hits were for extra bases. He also scored six times, drove in four runs, and stole his 24th base of the season.

Then, on September 26, Ohtani pitched seven innings, allowing only five hits and one run (a solo home run in his final inning). He walked no one and struck out 10.

Most Walks In A Three-Game Span (Since 1901)

11 - Bryce Harper (2016)
11 - Shohei Ohtani (2021)
10 - Tris Speaker (1912)
10 - Babe Ruth (1930)
10 - Max Bishop (1934)
10 - Eddie Stanky (1950)
10 - Pete Runnels (1959)
10 - Reggie Jackson (1969)
10 - Barry Bonds (2002)

Most Walks In A Four-Game Span (Since 1901)

13 - Babe Ruth (1930)
13 - Shohei Ohtani (2021)
13 - Yasmani Grandal (2021)

Ohtani was also the first player since Barry Bonds (2003) to have at least three walks in three consecutive games. (The MLB record is four consecutive games: Mickey Mantle (1957) and Babe Ruth (1930).)

Ohtani has walked four times in a game twice this season, joining Fred Lynn (1984), Chris Iannetta  (2013), and Mike Trout (2018) as the only Angels players to do so.

Ohtani leads the American League with 17 intentional walks (five more than Matt Olson). (Juan Soto of the Reds leads MLB with 22.)

Only 37.7% of pitches thrown to Ohtani this season have been in the strike zone. It's the fourth-lowest strike percentage among all major league batters. Despite seeing so few strikes, Ohtani ranks fourth in MLB in slugging, fifth in OPS, and tied for fifth in total bases.

Players With 45+ HR, 20+ SB, 6+ Triples In A Season

Willie Mays (1955)
Shohei Ohtani (2021)

No player in the last 100 years has pitched in more than 15 games and hit more than 4 triples in a single season.  Well, except for Shohei Ohtani (23 games, 7 triples). Exploding head

Players Pitching In 15+ Games And Hitting 4+ Triples In A Season (Last 100 Years)

Bullet Rogan (1928, Negro National League I): 17 games, 5 triples)
Shohei Ohtani (2021, American League: 23 games, 7 triples)

Here are the only known occasions (AL/NL) in which a pitcher has been intentionally walked in back-to-back pitching appearances:

Babe Ruth
August 17, 1918 vs Cleveland
August 20, 1918 vs Cleveland

Shohei Ohtani
September 10, 2021 at Astros
September 19, 2021 vs Athletics

Ohtani has hit five home runs with an exit velocity of 116+ MPH, the most in MLB.

Ohtani is only the sixth major league pitcher to make 13+ starts at home with no losing decisions and an ERA under 2.00. In 13 Anaheim starts, he's 6-0, 1.95.

Mike Trout, on Ohtani:

He's the MVP. He's just a truly amazing talent. What Vladdy is doing over there is unbelievable and he's in the race. His [offensive] numbers might be a little bit better than Ohtani but then you look at Vladdy's pitching. . . . I haven't seen him pitch.

With 5 Games Remaining, Checking In On 2021 W-L Contest

With only five games remaining in the regular season, the Red Sox are 88-69. They currently hold the second spot in the Wild Card standings, but two teams are breathing down their necks: the Mariners (0.5 GB) and Blue Jays (1.0 GB).

Here are the still in-the-running entries for this year's Red Sox W-L Contest:
               W-L    Team ERA
Jacob L.      91-71     4.14
Jeffrey M.    90-72     4.52
Jere S.       90-72     4.44
Ezra R.       89-73     4.25
Matthew B. 88-74 3.82
Sean M. 88-74 4.10
Warren S. 88-74 4.75
The W-L winner has to be exact. The tiebreaker (if needed) will be the Red Sox's team ERA, which at this moment stands at 4.29.

The winner will receive a copy of Mitchell Nathanson's Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original.

September 28, 2021

G157: Orioles 4, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 010 001 000 - 2  3  2
Orioles - 000 003 01x - 4 9 0

Three hits. Three.

The Red Sox, owners of the third-best batting average and second-best slugging percentage in MLB, could gather only three hits against the majors' absolute worst team in hits allowed, H/9, and ERA. The Orioles, losers of 106+ games in each of the last three full seasons, won 4-2 on Tuesday night, beating Chris Sale for the first time in more than seven years.

Kyle Schwarber and Hunter Renfroe hit solo home runs, giving Boston a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. But in the bottom half, Sale allowed a leadoff single to Kelvin Gutierrez and a one-out dong to Ryan Mountcastle and the game was tied. Austin Hays singled and Sale's night was through. Two more singles off Hansel Robles put the Orioles on top 3-2.

Sale had not been charged with a loss against the Orioles since August 18, 2014. Before tonight, Sale was 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 11 starts for the Red Sox against Baltimore. 

Renfroe's home run leading off the sixth was the Red Sox's fifth and last player to reach base on Tuesday. The Orioles' bullpen retired the final 12 batters. After the Red Sox were set down in order on only four pitches in the eighth, Baltimore added an insurance run off Tanner Houck.

After winning their seventh consecutive game last Thursday, the Red Sox have:

fallen behind the Yankees 0-7 in the third inning and lost 3-8

blown a 2-1 lead by allowing four runs in the eighth and losing to the Yankees 3-5

blown a 3-2 lead by allowing four runs in the eighth and losing to the Yankees 3-6

blown a 2-0 lead by allowing three runs in the sixth and losing to the Orioles 2-4

It's pathetic, maddening, and embarrassing. And because tonight's late-in-the-season loss in a game it behooved the Red Sox to win was played against Baltimore, it caused at least one sportswriter to knee-jerkedly dredge up 2011.

It was the sixth game this season in which the Red Sox had three hits or fewer. One of those six games was Opening Day, when they went 2-for-29 in a loss to Baltimore.

The Yankees, after trailing 0-1 and 1-2 in the first four innings, beat the Blue Jays 7-2 (I noticed Toronto finished with only three hits), so the Wild Card standings look like this:

Yankees    90-67  +2.0
Red Sox    88-69  ----
Blue Jays  87-70   1.0
Mariners   87-70   1.5

The Mariners are hosting the Athletics and will be either 1.0 or 2.0 GB at the end of that game.

Red Sox Hold Second WC Spot By One Game As Season's Final Week Begins

After a horrid weekend losing three games to the Yankees, the Red Sox need to pound the shit out of the Orioles and Nationals in the last six games of the regular season. Boston has a much easier schedule than the Yankees, who will be playing the Blue Jays and Rays.

Boston (88-68) is currently in the second Wild Card spot, one game behind New York (89-67), and one game ahead of Toronto (87-69) and 1.5 games ahead of Seattle (87-70).

The Red Sox should be able to get into position to host the WC Game a week from tonight. Then again, the Red Sox should have won at least one game last weekend.

Chris Sale starts tonight in Baltimore.

September 25, 2021

After 4 Shutout Innings From Starter, Reliever Allows 4 Runs In 1.2 Innings - And Gets The Win

The Cardinals and Cubs played a doubleheader yesterday. 

Game 1:

Cardinals - 002 042 0 - 8 10  0
Cubs      - 000 005 0 - 5  6  0

St. Louis starter J.A. Happ pitched four scoreless innings. Alex Reyes was the first man out of the bullpen; he gave up four runs while recording only five outs.
Happ    4.0-2-0-4-6, 17-74
Reyes   1.2-2-4-2-3,  9-33
Reyes was awarded the "win".

Even though doubleheader games are officially seven innings, MLB has kept the outdated starter-must-go-five-innings-to-get-a-win rule in place. In a normal, as-God-intended, nine-inning game, a starter must record 15 of the 27 outs (55.6%) to qualify for a win. In a seven-inning game, a corresponding percentage of the 21 outs would be 11.7 (or, to make things simple, four innings).

In what universe is Reyes (5 outs, 4 runs) more deserving of the win than Happ (12 outs, 0 runs)?

If baseball was being invented in 2021 and the rules were being hashed out, suggesting that the above scenario made any amount of sense would get you laughed out of the room.

Also in this DH: Infielder Sergio Alcantara became the first Cubs position player (since at least 1901) to hit a home run in one game of a doubleheader (G1) and pitch in the other (G2).

More factoids from Friday, courtesy of Doug Kern:
Rafael Devers hit his 10th three-run homer or grand slam of the season in last night's loss to New York. It's the most by a Red Sox player since Manny Ramirez hit 13 such dongs in 2005. It was the fourth three- or four-run homer Devers has hit against the Yankees in 2021. No other Boston batter has hit even one.

Last night's debacle was the first time the Yankees scored 7+ runs by the third inning at Fenway since posting an eight-run second inning on September 2, 2015. The Yankees banged out 15+ hits at Fenway for the first time since August 10, 2016.

Faced one batter and gave up a triple, Orioles/Browns history:
Bullet Joe Bush at CLE, June 4, 1925
Hal Brown vs WSH, September 22, 1956
Tyler Wells vs TEX, September 24, 2021

Single, double, triple, walk, 3 RBI as #9 batter for ANY team, live-ball era:
Rip Collins, DET, June 24, 1927 at CHW*
Steve Buechele, TEX, April 25, 1989 at CLE
Eric Byrnes, OAK, August 3, 2004 at NYY
Kevin Kiermaier, TBR, September 24, 2021 vs MIA*
* Did not score a run.

Cleveland was shutout at home for the eighth time this season. The only other season at Jacobs/Progressive Field with more shutouts was 2009 (nine).
Kern's use of "Met" as a verb was amusing:
I thought the Mets might find new ways to Met, but Brandon Nimmo is actually the SIXTH player in team history to lead off the game with a triple, come around to score, and have that be the only Mets run in the game.
Now you want the others.
Billy Cowan at CIN, June 15 1965
Cleon Jones vs CHC, August 27, 1967
Mookie Wilson at PIT, September 7, 1981
Jose Reyes at COL, June 21, 2008
Juan Lagares vs WSH, April 2, 2014

September 24, 2021

Red Yellow Sox, Winners of Seven Straight, Host Yankees For Three Games


The two American League Wild Card teams most likely will not be decided until next weekend, perhaps on the final day of the regular season. The teams currently holding those two top spots will begin a three-game series tonight at Fenway Park: the Red Sox and Yankees.

            W   L    GB    RS   RA  DIFF  EXPWL
Red Sox    88  65  +2.0   794  710  + 84  84-69
Yankees    86  67  ----   668  634  + 34  80-73
Blue Jays  85  68   1.0   796  630  +166  93-60
Mariners   84  69   2.0   654  707  - 53  71-82
Athletics  82  71   4.0   697  637  + 60  83-70

(Man, if I was a Blue Jays fan, I'd be furious at trailing the Yankees. The Blue Jays have scored 128 more runs and allowed four fewer runs than New York -- and they still trail them in the standings instead of being (theoretically) 13 games ahead of them. Of course, I am very happy not to be a Blue Jays fan. While I may not be furious at the Yankees (ask me again on Monday morning), I do despise them and wish them the most catastrophic, harmful, and humiliating luck.)

Starting Pitchers:

Friday, 7 PM ET: Gerrit Cole / Nathan Eovaldi
Saturday, 4 PM ET: Nestor Cortes / Nick Pivetta
Sunday, 7 PM ET: Jordan Montgomery / Eduardo Rodriguez

Two of Cole's last three starts have been stinkers. He lasted only 3.2 innings against the Blue Jays on September 7, allowing five hits, two walks, and three runs. Cole managed to tame the Orioles for five innings on September 14, but Cleveland slapped him around five days later: 10 hits and seven runs in 5.2 innings.

In June and July, Cole made three starts against Boston and posted a 5.06 ERA. 16 innings, 19 hits (including four dongs), six walks, and 10 runs. The Red Sox have batted .292/.342/.538 (.881) against him, the highest average, on-base, and slugging numbers of the nine teams that Cole has faced more than once this season.

As Matthew Kory noted in Thursday's Sox Outsider, it would be ideal for the Red Sox to hold onto the top wild card spot, so the Wild Card game is played at Fenway Park:

1.    This applies more strongly if the Red Sox are facing either Toronto (likely) or Tampa (extremely unlikely) rather than New York, but the Red Sox should strive like heck to avoid playing on turf. Both Toronto and Tampa play in ballparks with turf fields. The ball moves much more quickly on turf than it does on grass. This is a bad thing for an already leaky infield defense. Playing on a grass infield helps minimize this Red Sox weakness.

2.    Playing at Fenway means the Green Monster will be in left and that means there's a much smaller left field to patrol. This is good for a team that will likely feature a well below average defender in left field most of the time in either JD Martinez or Kyle Schwarber. Minimizing defensive requirements for left fielders helps the Red Sox far more than whichever team they end up playing.

3.    The Red Sox often have a large home/road split when it comes to hitting, and this year is no exception. At home the Red Sox have a 118 wRC+ (100 is league average, 101 is one percent above, etc.), while on the road Boston has a 96 wRC+. In other words, they're one of the best offenses in baseball at home, but a slightly below league average one on the road. Neither Toronto nor New York has anything close to that kind of split.

Also: The Red Sox have won 15 of their last 20 home games (and 30 of their last 42).

The Red Sox are 13-6 in September and they are 10-6 against the Yankees in 2021. They have also won their last seven games, scoring 8, 9, 7, 9, 8, 6, and 12 runs (the bats have a .964 OPS in those games).

It's their third winning streak of at least seven games this season. After starting the season 0-3, they won nine straight and from June 25 to July 1, the Red Sox won eight consecutive games (a streak kicked off with a three-game sweep of the Yankees). Alex Speier tweeted out a list of the other Red Sox teams in the last 30 years that had three winning streaks of 7+ games:


That's the list.

After this weekend, the Red Sox hit the road for three games against the Lowly Orioles (48-104), whom they have beaten 12 out of 16 times this year, and three games against the Nationals, who are last in the NL East and own the fifth-worst record in MLB (64-89).

If all goes well, they will return to Fenway for the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday, October 5.

September 23, 2021

Baseball In The 1970s

Actual game action, Cubs at Cardinals, September 22, 1974, top of the ninth inning:

Bruce Markusen, The Hardball Times, March 17, 2020:

With the score remaining tied heading to the ninth, [Cardinals relief pitcher Al] Hrabosky decided to make the Cubs wait by going through his trademark routine, which he called "The Psych." Hrabosky walked behind the mound, furiously rubbed up the ball, muttered a few words to himself as motivation, and then slammed the ball from his bare hand into his glove before stomping back onto the mound. The Cubs' first batter of the inning, future batting champion Bill Madlock, had little interest in waiting patiently for Hrabosky to carry out the gestures of The Psych. As "The Mad Hungarian" primped his way through his pre-arranged maneuvers, Madlock stepped out of the batter's box and walked back toward the on-deck circle.

Once Hrabosky returned to the mound, Madlock made his way back to the plate. As Madlock stepped in to the batter's box, Hrabosky repeated his psych-up routine. He again walked behind the mound, rubbed up the ball, and then slammed it into his glove. So once again, Madlock stepped out of the box and returned to the on-deck circle.

Home plate umpire Shag Crawford, a veteran of National League games beginning in 1956, grew irritated by the delays. According to an interview in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Crawford yelled at Madlock, "Bill, get back here!" After the game, Crawford explained the situation further. "I thought maybe he didn't hear me because of the crowd noise. So I went after him and said it again."

The Cubs were furious, feeling Crawford was essentially placing the blame on Madlock for the delay and not Hrabosky. Cubs manager Jim Marshall charged out of the third base dugout and ran to a point between the dugout and home plate, where he was met by Crawford and also joined by the Cubs' on-deck batter, Jose Cardenal. Marshall and Cardenal began to argue with Crawford, but the umpire had little patience with the discussion. After only a few seconds, he walked away back to home plate. As Marshall and Cardenal continued their arguments with him, Crawford crouched behind home plate, pumped his first toward Hrabosky, and ordered the left-hander to deliver the next pitch.

It was an odd decision by the respected Crawford, a veteran of three World Series, and it only seemed to exacerbate the situation. With no one standing in the batter's box, Hrabosky threw a fastball to Simmons, who caught the ball well above the plane of the strike zone. The pitch was clearly a ball, but Crawford called it a strike, further angering the Cubs.

Realizing Hrabosky now had the advantage of pitching against a phantom batter, Cardenal waved at Madlock before suddenly stepping into the batter's box himself . . . [M]aking a frantic dash from the on-deck circle, Madlock tried to push Cardenal out of the way and take his own place in the batter's box. All the while, Marshall was standing just to the right of Simmons, who pushed the manager away as he moved into his crouch to receive the next pitch . . . [thus] creating one of the most unusual sights in baseball history: two batters in the box at the same time. To make the situation even more chaotic, there were now five men within the vicinity of the home plate area: Madlock and Cardenal, along with Simmons, Marshall, and Crawford. Meanwhile, the crowd at Busch Stadium observed the surreal setting in confusion, unsure of exactly what was happening. . . .

Schwarber Leads Red Sox In 12-5 Rout Of Mets; Replay Review Upholds Incorrect Call

In the top of the fifth inning of last night's game, Brandon Nimmo of the Mets hit a little trickler in front of the plate. Chris Sale ran in from the mound, grabbed the ball, and fired a seed to first base, where Kyle Schwarber made a nice catch, but ended up pulling his foot off the bag to avoid a collision. The screen shot above shows the baseball going into Schwarber's glove, with "daylight" between his left foot and the bag.

Umpire Phil Cuzzi called Nimmo out, which was (once NESN got around to showing a proper replay in which viewers could see Schwarber's left foot and its position to the bag) very obviously an incorrect call.

Cuzzi was in poor position to make an accurate call on this play. Even if he had been looking specifically at Schwarber's feet, he likely was far enough out of position to not see the left cleat lose contact with the bag. The ball beat the runner, so he called the runner out.

The Mets asked for a review, which ended up taking much longer than this clear open-and-shut case should have. Finally, the umpires in Fenway Park received the official ruling "from New York".

OUT! They upheld the blown call?!?

What is the point of having replay review if the people running the review give the thumbs up to blown calls?

(Also, Schwarber went 3-for-4, with a double, two home runs (in each of the first two innings), a walk, four RBI and four runs scored.)

More evidence for Robots!!

September 19, 2021

Schadenfreude 320 (A Continuing Series)

Ken Davidoff, Post:

In what could be his final Yankee Stadium appearance of 2021, Gerrit Cole walked off the mound to a sixth-inning chorus of boos.

Not platinum-level boos, mind you. Gary Sanchez gets booed louder for using the interpreter to which he is entitled. Nevertheless, undoubtedly, boos.

It's what happens when you lose a huge game to the embarrassing tune of 11-1, their second straight embarrassing defeat to the sub-.500 [Clevelands]. And fair or not, unless the Yankees (83-67) — now 1¹/₂ games behind the Blue Jays (84-65) for the American League's second wild-card slot — can pull off one hell of a revival and save their season in these final two weeks, Cole's first full season in the pinstripes . . . will be remembered . . . for the handful of pivotal games in which he performed quite poorly. . . .

The same situation occurred June 27 at Fenway Park, when Cole got hammered for six runs (five earned) by the Red Sox as the Yankees tried and failed to avoid a weekend sweep. And June 3 in The Bronx as the Yankees attempted to register a series win over the Rays and instead saw Cole give up five runs over five innings. And July 29 at Tropicana Field when the Yankees hoped to sweep past the Rays, only for Cole to allow eight runs (seven earned) in 5¹/₃ innings. . . .

[I]t didn't help that Cole's teammates with bats greeted [Cleveland] starter Eli Morgan, who began the day owning a 6.03 ERA, with minimal firepower. . . .

This is New York, where spending the most money in the league (and ranking among the highest average ticket price) is supposed to get you at least a seat at the October dance. And where Cole took them further away from that with time running out.

Where Cole, his next assignment Friday night at Fenway, surely hopes he gets another 2021 opportunity to improve the soundtrack of his season.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News, September 18, 2021:

This is why Gerrit Cole is here. The Yankees gave the right-hander a record-setting contract for a pitcher in December 2019 for the games he will start down the stretch. The ace will take the ball on Sunday against Cleveland looking to get the Yankees back on track after a bad 11-3 loss Saturday. . . . 

"[Y]ou can challenge yourself to rise to the occasion," Cole said Saturday . . .

Joel Sherman, Post, September 18, 2021:

[Gerrit] Cole needs to be a hero Sunday . . .

The Yankees' final six regular-season series of 2021 had set up as nine games against weak foes — the Orioles, [Cleveland] and [Texas] — followed by three at both Boston and Toronto before three to end the year versus the Rays. If Cole does not help the Yankees beat [Cleveland] in the series finale Sunday, they will have split six games against Baltimore and Cleveland. And the Yankees are 19-29 against the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays. . . .

That's why these are playoff games now for the Yankees . . .

On Sunday . . . they need a hero.


CLE - 203 011 121 - 11 16  0
MFY - 001 000 000 -  1  8  2

Cleveland (a team that has been no-hit an unprecedented four times this season) is the first team to score 11+ runs against the Yankees in consecutive games (11-3, 11-1) since the Phillies did it on June 22-23, 2015 (11-8, 11-6).

The Yankees have allowed 11+ in three consecutive games only once, when the Red Sox beat them 15-8, 11-3, and 13-2 (G1) on June 20-22, 1912. The Red Sox beat them in G2 on June 22, but came up one run shy, 10-3. Those games are also the only time the Yankees have allowed 10+ runs in four consecutive games.

Peter Botte, Post:

The Yankees couldn't even count on Gerrit Cole to keep them in a game they sorely needed to win, and the antsy Bronx fans let him and this flailing team know about it.

The $324 million pinstriped ace heard boos while exiting the Stadium mound Sunday after getting pelted for a season-high tying seven earned runs, as [Cleveland] blasted the sloppy Yankees for a second consecutive day, 11-1, at the Stadium.

After getting outscored Saturday and Sunday by an ugly 22-4 aggregate, the Yankees have slid 2½ games behind Boston and 1½ behind Toronto in the AL wild-card picture. . . .

[The Yankees] lost for the 15th time in [their last] 22 games . . . 

Cole . . . cough[ed] up seven runs on 10 hits (his most in 40 starts as a Yankee) over 5²/₃ innings to raise his ERA from 2.75 to 3.03. He was booed as he headed to the dugout . . .

Cole had pitched to a 1.35 ERA while giving up just five earned runs over his previous six outings . . . He matched that run total over Sunday's first three innings, however, surrendering two runs in the first and three in the third.

Harold Ramirez accounted for four of those early RBIs, with a two-run single to right in the first and another to left-center — between diving outfielders Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge — two innings later. . . .

Jose Ramirez and Perez took Cole deep in the fifth and sixth, respectively . . . 

The Yankees managed just one run . . . on six hits over six innings against Cleveland rookie Eli Morgan, who came in with a 2-7 record and a 6.03 ERA in his first 15 career starts.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Gerrit Cole talked about how much he enjoyed pitching in games like this. On Saturday, he compared these must-win regular-season games to the playoffs and said he enjoyed the challenge. A day later, the Yankees ace was not enjoying it at all. Cleveland embarrassed Cole with a season-high 10 hits off him and the Yankees 11-1 at the Stadium. . . .

The Yankees (83-67) are losing ground fast in their pursuit of a playoff spot. With both the Red Sox and Blue Jays winning Sunday, the Yankees are now 1.5 games out of the final American League wild card spot. . . .

Cole gave up seven runs, including two home runs. He walked one and struck out four. It was the sixth time this season Cole allowed multiple home runs and the first time since he gave up three in Fenway on June 27.

Cole was supposed to be the firewall against losing streaks and the horse that would carry the Yankees down the stretch. Instead, he put their struggling offense into a hole early and cost them one of their most disastrous losses of the season. . . .

It was pretty clear early it wasn't going to be Cole's day. He began the game by getting ahead of Bradley Zimmer 0-2 and then hitting him. Then with a one-out walk to Jose Ramirez, Cleveland scored on Harold Ramirez's single. After a clean second inning, the top of Cleveland's order pounced on him again. Zimmer and Jose Ramirez singled this time to be driven home again by Harold Ramirez.

Cole pitched a clean fourth, but gave up a lead off homer in each of the next two innings to Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez. He left to boos in sixth inning . . .

Cleveland was taking comfortable swings against Cole, leading to speculation he might have been tipping his pitches. Two scouts in the ballpark felt like Cleveland had figured something out, because they were hunting the fastball down and sitting on the sliders and changeups. . . .

[T]he Yankees were held to three runs Saturday and outscored 22-4 over the two games. . . . [T]hey looked lifeless as they went down quickly at the end with eight of the last nine Yankees batters striking out, including all three in the ninth inning.

AL East

Rays       92  58  ----
Red Sox    86  65   6.5
Blue Jays  84  65   7.5
Yankees    83  67   9.0
Orioles    47 102  44.5

AL Wild Card
Red Sox    85  65  +1.0
Blue Jays  84  65  ----
Yankees    83  67   1.5
Athletics  81  67   2.5
Mariners   80  69   4.0

Chris Sale Is An Excellent Pitcher. He's Also A Grade-A Moron.

In November 2020, Chris Sale became a father for the third time. His other children were ages nine and three.

Sale contracted COVID-19 two months later, in January 2021. He did not get vaccinated.

Sale contracted COVID-19 for the second time in September 2021. He remains unvaccinated. And he lives in Florida, which has been a COVID petri dish for months. In July, the state accounted for one out of every five new cases in the US.

At least 120,000 children in the US have had parents or caregivers die during the pandemic.

A few stories from the last few weeks:
Texas Couple Who Declined To Get Covid Vaccine Die Eight Hours Apart, Leaving Four Children
August 18, 2021

Though Young And Healthy, Unvaccinated Father, 36, Dies Of Covid
August 21, 2021

Unvaccinated Mom, 32, Dies Of Covid Days After Giving Birth
August 25, 2021

Unvaccinated Father Asks Family To Get Covid Vaccine Before He Dies; "Make Sure You Guys Take The Shot."
September 9, 2021

Unvaccinated Parents Of 7 Children Died Within Hours Each Other
September 11, 2021

Unvaccinated California Couple Die Of Covid Two Weeks Apart, Leaving Behind 5 Kids, Including Newborn
September 13, 2021

Girl, 8, Loses Unvaccinated Parents To Covid
September 16, 2021

Florida Woman Loses 6 Unvaccinated Family Members To Covid-19 Within 3 Weeks (Uncle, Grandmother, Four Cousins)
September 17, 2021
June 2021: Nearly All Covid Deaths In US Now Among Unvaccinated

COVID cases in fully-vaccinated people accounted for 1,200 of more than 853,000 hospitalizations in the US (0.1%). Only 150 of more than 18,000 Covid-19-related deaths were fully-vaccinated people, (0.8%).  CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky: "Nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19, is, at this point, entirely preventable."

August 2021: CDC Study: Unvaccinated People Are 29 Times More Likely To Be Hospitalized With Covid-19

September 2021: People who are not fully vaccinated are 11 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those who were fully vaccinated, according to one of three major studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Schadenfreude 319 (A Continuing Series)

Gary Maniloaf is the gift that keeps on giving . . .

Greg Joyce, Post:

Gary Sanchez reached back to catch a foul pop-up, only for the ball to drop behind him. 

That sparked an inning that dropped the Yankees out of a playoff spot with 13 games to go. . . .

[H]is error greased the way to a seven-run inning that sank the Yankees in a stinker of an 11-3 loss to [Cleveland] on Saturday afternoon in The Bronx. 

"He just missed it," manager Aaron Boone said. . . . "[C]atchers are usually prepared for that." . . .

On a day when they also lost Joey Gallo after three innings due to neck tightness, the Yankees (83-66) dropped a game further behind the Red Sox and Blue Jays, who both won. The Red Sox moved 1½ games ahead of the Yankees for the first wild card while the Blue Jays leapfrogged them into the second spot. . . .

The crowd of 39,088 gave Sanchez a Bronx cheer when he caught a foul pop-up by Austin Hedges for the [inning's] second out. But the next batter, ex-Met Andres Gimenez, pounded a three-run homer that put the Indians ahead 8-0.

Sanchez's misplay continued his rough couple of days behind the plate. On Thursday in Baltimore, Sanchez failed to stop two wild pitches (including one when the Yankees were one strike away from a win) in the ninth inning of what turned into a crushing loss to the Orioles.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Oscar Mercado was already heading back to the visitors dugout at Yankee Stadium. But Gary Sanchez lost the high pop-up behind home plate in the fifth inning and that kept the door open for Cleveland. They cashed in on that error and beat up the Yankees in a devastating loss 11-3 on Saturday at the Stadium.

This is the second costly loss in a week for the Yankees, who were one strike away from sweeping the Orioles on Thursday when a wild pitch got past Sanchez as they went on to lose to the worst team in baseball. It's a missed opportunity for the Yankees (83-66), who dropped behind the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the race for the two Wild Card spots in the American League. . . .

Sanchez lost his starting job last season and ended up with just nine at-bats in six playoff games. . . .

"I'm here to help this team play every day," Sanchez said . . .

[I notice he didn't say "to help this team win"]

Luis Gil . . . wasn't able to get out of the fifth inning. . . . He had gotten one out and looked like he had Mercado too when the foul pop up dropped off Sanchez's glove.

After hitting Mercado [with his next pitch], Gil walked Jose Ramirez to end his day and the wheels came off.

Fellow rookie Albert Abreu gave up an RBI-double to Franmil Reyes and then hit Harold Ramirez before giving up a two-run double to Chang. Owen Miller singled in another run before former Mets prospect Andres Gimenez crushed a three-run home run . . .

Mike Lupica, Daily News:

The Owner Of The Yankees Needs To Finally Act Like The Owner Of The Yankees

The Yankees might surprise us one more time this season . . . if they can get to the Wild Card game . . .

But if they do fall short of the postseason, or get bounced out of it in a division round the way they did last season against the Rays, a team spending about $130 million less on baseball players than they do, then the Yankees will arrive at a crossroads when this season is over, if they haven't arrived at one already.

And then we find out what kind of an owner Hal Steinbrenner really is, and just how detached he is from his own fan base. . . .

[Lupica actually refers to Yankee Stadium as "the home office for the World Series", despite no World Series games being played in that ball park for more than 11 years; could someone tell Mike it's not 1953 anymore]

[T]he next month-and-a-half will go a long way to determining not just the future of Brian Cashman and not just the future of Aaron Boone, but the direction of this organization going forward. . . .

[I]f the 2021 Yankees don't play deep into October, if they don't get close to winning the dozen games that means they've won it all, then where are they, really, with the current vision of the team? Where are they with a program that never ever seems to have enough starting pitching, and has a plodding swing-and-miss offense that lacks both versatility and speed and even flair, and is joined at the hip with Giancarlo Stanton forever? . . .

One more Yankee thing:

Sanchez does know that the position of catcher requires him to actually catch, right?




September 17, 2021

Chris Sale Returns To Start Red Sox's Final Homestand

The Red Sox begin their final homestand of the season tonight, eight games against the Orioles (3), Mets (2), and Yankees (3).

Chris Sale returns to the team and the mound this evening.

Matthew Kory (Sox Outsider) looks at the team's remaining 14 games and estimates a 10-4 record (which seems a bit optimistic to me; a more likely finish is 8-6, which is also their record so far in September):

That would put them at 93 wins and give them an overwhelming shot at one of the Wild Card spots. According to FanGraphs, they have a pretty good at pulling that off. FanGraphs has Boston with the second best chance to make the playoffs of any AL East team behind the Rays, who are at 100 percent. FanGraphs has the Red Sox at 75.1 percent, ahead of Toronto (68.3 percent), New York (51.8 percent), and Baltimore (0.0 percent).

Why? Likely due to the Red Sox remaining schedule as much as anything. . . . [T]he average winning percentage for all remaining Red Sox opponents is .468, the equivalent to facing a 76-86 team every night. The Yankees remaining schedule offers them a .513 opponents average winning percentage.  . . .

Right now, the Yankees are playing for their playoff lives. If they don’t do very well in their next six very winnable games, they're in some serious trouble.

The Red Sox have the easiest schedule of the three AL East teams battling for an invitation to the Wild Card Game, with the Yankees being the only one of their four remaining opponents with a winning record.


Blue Jays  82-64  ---   vs Twins
Red Sox    83-65  ---   vs Orioles
Yankees    82-65  0.5   vs Cleveland
Athletics  79-67  3.0   at Angels
Mariners   78-68  4.0   at Royals

Schadenfreude 318 (A Continuing Series)

Yankees - 020 000 000 0 - 2   7  0
Orioles - 000 001 001 1 - 3  10  0


Blue Jays  82-64  ---
Red Sox    83-65  ---
Yankees    82-65  0.5
Athletics  79-67  3.0
Mariners   78-68  4.0

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

No one said it was going to come easy for this Yankees team, but no one imagined a loss this hard. The Bombers were just one strike away from escaping Camden Yards with a sweep when it absolutely fell apart. Clay Holmes coughed up the one-run lead on two wild pitches in the ninth and then Wandy Peralta gave up an RBI-single to Austin Hays in extras as the Orioles rallied for a 3-2 win, 10-inning upset of the Bombers at Camden Yards.

"I thought Clay threw the ball well . . .", Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. . . .

The loss . . . was a blow to their playoff hopes. They are now half a game behind the Red Sox and Blue Jays in the American League wild card race and currently out of a playoff spot. With 15 games to go . . . the road gets tougher with nine games to end the season against the Red Sox, Blue Jays and American League East-leading Rays.

At least the Yankees are done with the Orioles, finishing the season series 11-8. . . . Baltimore has no more than four wins against any other team this season. . . .

Holmes could not work around a one-out single from DJ Stewart in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch runner Kevin Gutierrez advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on another, a 98-mile an hour sinker that he yanked and it got away from catcher Gary Sanchez.

That was the 16th blown save for the Yankees in the second half of the season, the most in the big leagues over that span.

Orioles shortstop Richie Martin laid down a perfect bunt along the third-base line to lead off the 10th, advancing the ghost-runner to third base. Wandy Peralta intentionally walked Cedric Mullins to load the bases. He struck out Ryan Mountcastle on a change-up away for the first out. Austin Hays singled through the hole at shortstop to score the winning run.

The Yankees have been riding their bullpen hard this season because their offense has underperformed and it's showing down the stretch. . . .

As has been the case all year, the Yankees failed to support Montgomery with any runs. The lefty came into Thursday's game with 3.64 runs per start, which is the fourth-worst run support for a starter in AL and the sixth-worst in the majors. . . .

[T]he Yankees were unable to score again. The Bombers went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners.

In the top of the 10th, ghost-runner Brett Gardner was stranded at second when Aaron Judge grounded out, Anthony Rizzo flew out and Gleyber Torres lined out to shortstop.

Dan Martin, Post:

One of these losses is bound to be one too many.

The Yankees, a strike away from a fourth straight win that would have moved them back into the AL wild-card lead over the idle Red Sox and Blue Jays, instead added to their list of ugly endings with a 3-2, 10-inning loss to the lowly Orioles on Thursday night at Camden Yards.

"It sucks,'' starter Jordan Montgomery [who had a career-high 12 strikeouts in just 5⅔ innings] said. . . .

Manager Aaron Boone said Gary Sanchez should have done a better job of getting to the high pitch on which Gutierrez scored [the tying run], but Holmes took the blame for the sinker that got away.

After the Yankees failed to score in the top of the 10th, Wandy Peralta gave up a bunt hit to Richie Martin that sent the extra runner — pinch-runner Jahmai Jones — to third.

An intentional walk to Cedric Mullins loaded the bases for Ryan Mountcastle, who struck out.

Austin Hays hit a chopper past third to end it. . . .

[T]he Yankees didn't score after the second inning.

Greg Joyce, Post:

There was no doubt in Joey Gallo's mind that he had hit a grand slam in the fifth inning Thursday night, only to see his fly ball land in the glove of Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins on the warning track.

Five innings later, that stung even more. . . .

"I didn't even think about that ball being caught, so that was kind of heartbreaking to see it get caught," said Gallo . . . 

After the Yankees scored two runs in the second inning . . . Orioles pitchers recorded eight straight innings without allowing a run for the first time since Aug. 27-28, according to YES Network.

That included 5¹/₃ shutout innings from a bullpen that entered the day with the highest ERA (5.71) in the big leagues.

Doug Kern says:

Jordan Montgomery & Clay Holmes: Second Yankees teammates ever to uncork multiple wild pitches in the same game.  Terry Mulholland & Donn Pall at CLE, Jun 24 1994.

Jordan Montgomery: First pitcher in Yankees history to strike out 12 opponents but also throw 2 wild pitches in the same game.

Jordan Montgomery: First Yankees pitcher with 12+ strikeouts in a game they lost since Luis Severino at CHW, Jun 27 2017.

Clay Holmes: First Yankees pitcher to blow a save by wild-pitching in the tying run when down to last out since Aroldis Chapman at TB, Jul 4 2019.

Of course he does.
The Post has begun putting some columnists behind a paywall. (And football is now crowding baseball off the back pages of the tabloids.)

September 16, 2021

Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees Tied For Two AL Wild Card Spots

A six-run tenth inning on Wednesday night gave the Red Sox a 9-4 win in the rubber game of their three-game series against the Mariners. It was the first time Boston had come out on top in a series in Seattle since 2013.

No series wins in almost eight seasons? That doesn't sound very good. But how bad was it?

You can check all-time head-to-head games at Baseball Reference. Here is Red Sox-Mariners.

2013: July 8-11: Lost the first game 4-11, won the next three 11-8, 11-4, 8-7 (10).

2014: June 23-25: Lost the first two games 3-12 and 2-8, won the finale 5-4.

2015: May 14-17: Split a four-game set: 2-1, 1-2, 4-2, 0-5.

2016: August 1-4: Split a four-game set: 2-1, 4-5, 1-3, 3-2 (11).

2017: July 24-26: Lost the first two games 0-4 and 5-6 (13), won the finale 4-0.

2018: June 14-17: Split a four-game set: 2-1, 6-7, 0-1, 9-3.

2019: March 28-31: Lost three of four: 4-12, 7-6, 5-6, 8-10.

2021: September 13-15: Won two of three: 4-5, 8-4, 9-4 (10).

In the games between those two series wins (i.e., 2014-19), the Red Sox went 9-13 (.409) in Seattle, splitting three of the six series.

They also played a series at Fenway in each of those seasons. From 2013-21, Boston went 16-9 (.640).

Total record against Seattle, 2013-21: 30-24 (.556).

The Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Yankees are tied for the two AL wild card spots. All three teams are 8 GB the Rays.

AL WC                         RUNDIFF  EXPWL
Blue Jays  82-64  .562  ---    +175    90-56
Yankees    82-64  .562  ---    + 34    77-69
Red Sox    83-65  .561  ---    + 60    80-68
Athletics  78-67  .538  3.5    + 60    79-66
Mariners   78-68  .534  4.0    - 65    66-80

The Blue Jays are eight games worse than their expected record. Toronto's run differential is second-best in the AL (Houston +190) and 4th best in MLB (Dodgers +244, Giants +184). Toronto "should" have a one-game lead over the Rays (+169) right now. Instead, they might not make the postseason. (The Mariners, 12 games better than their expected record, have no business being where they are.)

Boston, New York, Oakland, and Seattle are all 4-6 in their last 10 games. Toronto is 8-2.

The only AL East game today is MFY at Orioles. At 6:00 PM ET, New York leads 2-0 (T3).

September 15, 2021

RIP Norm Macdonald (1959-2021)

"That's a draw."

September 14, 2021

Most Games With 3+ Hits & At Least 1 RBI

Doug Kern tweeted this information on Monday night:

Most games with 3+ hits and at least 1 RBI, Cardinals history (incl post):
Stan Musial     251
Rogers Hornsby  160
Albert Pujols   133
Jim Bottomley   124
Enos Slaughter  121
Lou Brock       116
Joe Medwick     107
Frankie Frisch  105
Yadier Molina   100 (incl Mon)
Ken Boyer        99

There is such a difference between #1 and #2 in that list, I wondered who the career leaders in all of MLB were. This list is regular season only.

Ty Cobb         304
Stan Musial     250
Al Simmons      243
Pete Rose       237
Lou Gehrig      228
Rogers Hornsby  226
Henry Aaron     224
Willie Mays     215
Harry Heilmann  210
Goose Goslin    209
Alex Rodriguez  206
Paul Waner      203
Tris Speaker    201
Miguel Cabrera  201

That's the Top 14, everyone with 200+ games with 3+ hits and at least one RBI.

Babe Ruth and Roberto Clemente are tied for 15th with 197 games. Albert Pujols leads all active players with 185 (he's 23rd), two behind Ted Williams.

Red Sox Top 10:

TSW               187
Carl Yastrzemski  174
Jim Rice          161
David Ortiz       124
Wade Boggs        123
Bobby Doerr       106
Dwight Evans       98
Dustin Pedroia     91
Nomar Garciaparra  87
Mike Greenwell     81

Xander Bogaerts is 14th with 73.

What about 3+ hits, 2+ runs scored, and 2+ RBI?

Lou Gehrig      111
Babe Ruth       101
Alex Rodriguez  100
Stan Musial      93
Willie Mays      93
Al Simmons       92
Ty Cobb          92
Albert Pujols    85
Henry Aaron      85
Ted Williams     81
Jimmie Foxx      81

Manny Ramirez is 18th all-time, with 71 games.

How about reaching base five times in a game (excluding reaching on an error)?

Ted Williams      65
Ty Cobb           51
Barry Bonds       50
Lou Gehrig        49
Stan Musial       48
Babe Ruth         45
Jimmie Foxx       41
Wade Boggs        41
Pete Rose         38
Charlie Gehringer 37

If you include reaching base on an error, TSW still leads with 69. Gehrig moves up to #2, with 58, followed by Cobb (54), Ruth (53), Musial (53), and Bonds (53).

Reaching base six times in a game (excluding ROE):

TSW tops this list also, with nine games. (Three of those games came within a three-month stretch in 1946.) Jimmie Foxx had seven games. Williams hit .821 (23-for-28) and Foxx  hit .875 (28-for-32). 

Larry Walker had five games and he batted 1.000 (14-for-14). Kiki Culyer had four games and he went 19-for-19.

Red Sox Tied With Yankees For Second Wild Card Spot With 16 Games Remaining

The Red Sox lost to the Mariners last night 5-4.

Boston had trailed 0-2 early, but rallied to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Mitch Haniger, who went 4-for-4, hit a three-run homer off Ryan Brasier in the bottom of the seventh. Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers hit back-to-back dongs in with two outs in the eighth, but the Red Sox went down in order in the ninth.

The Blue Jays beat the Rays 8-1, running their September record to 12-1. The Yankees had been 0-35 this season when trailing by four or more runs, but they rallied from 0-5 to beat the Twins in ten. Craig Calcaterra notes that history has shown "if the Yankees need any help with anything even remotely related to the playoffs, the Twins are always happy to oblige".

All this means is that Boston and New York are now tied for the second wild card spot.


TOR 81-63 +1.0
MFY 80-64  ---  (.5555555)
BOS 81-65  ---  (.5547945)
SEA 78-66  2.0
OAK 77-66  2.5

WalkingTaako tweets that if the Blue Jays end up winning the first Wild Card spot, "the day before the game Canada should lift the waiver and require all players entering the country to be vaccinated, to gut the other team's roster".

I love this idea – and I love it even if the Blue Jays end up hosting the Red Sox. The players who have refused to get vaccinated but lack the courage to tell the public are cowards. I'd like to know who they are.

* * *

RIP, Norm Macdonald, one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all-time, who died at 61, after dealing with cancer for nine years.

September 13, 2021

Schadenfreude 317 (A Continuing Series)

Deesha Thosar, Daily News:

Francisco Lindor stole the show and the game with his signature Mets moment – a three home-run night – to send the Amazin's to a 7-6 win over the Yankees on Sunday at Citi Field. Lindor became the first player to crush three home runs in a Subway Series matchup, and he settled a heated feud between the Mets and Yankees by letting his bat do the talking.

Lindor's solo home run off Chad Green in the eighth inning went to the second deck in right field to break the tied game and give the Mets the lead. . . .

The benches cleared in the top of the seventh inning after Giancarlo Stanton mashed a game-tying two-run home run off Brad Hand. Stanton rounded second base and stopped to say something to Lindor at shortstop. The two All-Stars jawed at each other as dugouts and bullpens emptied. Stanton eventually turned around and finished his home-run trot while his teammates crowded around Lindor and Javier Baez. Brett Gardner gave a thumbs down in Baez's and Lindor's direction, referencing the controversy that took place late last month. . . .

Lindor started the taunting on Sunday in the sixth inning, after he crushed his second home run of the game to extend the Mets lead. He blew a whistle at the Yankees during his trip around the bases, apparently mocking the Bombers for blowing whistles during Saturday's game. The Yankees reportedly picked up on Taijuan Walker tipping his pitches in the first inning Saturday before third baseman Jonathan Villar alerted the Mets pitcher of the opposing team's tactics. . . .

Lindor said he wasn't accusing the Yankees of whistling, but felt like something out of the ordinary was going on, and he "took that personally." And that's why, as Lindor passed Gleyber Torres on his second home run, he told him: "Keep on whistling." Stanton, though, said it was pitcher Wandy Peralta on Sunday who was whistling.

Greg Joyce, Post:

The Yankees whistled while they worked, and the Subway Series turned testy as a result.

It came to a head during the seventh inning of Sunday's 7-6 Mets win, when Giancarlo Stanton hit a game-tying, two-run home run and slowed down after he passed second base to exchange words with Francisco Lindor, leading to the benches clearing before Stanton even touched home.

Lindor had jabbered at the Yankees as he rounded the bases during his second home run of the night in the bottom of the sixth, delivering a whistling gesture towards their dugout and then appearing to do the same toward pitcher Wandy Peralta. . . .

While the Mets believed the Yankees may have been whistling to identify pitches that Taijuan Walker was tipping on Saturday, according to ESPN, the Yankees pinned the whistling to Peralta. . . .

After both dugouts and bullpens cleared, players got face-to-face in a crowd around third base, but they left with only words and more gestures being exchanged.

Brett Gardner appeared to mock Lindor by flashing him two thumbs down — two weeks after Lindor and Javier Baez created a stir by using the gesture as a celebration to boo back at the fans. . . .

Stanton and Boone both said the Yankees were not whistling to identify pitches.

Mike Puma, Post:

Francisco Lindor silenced the Yankees in a manner even stronger than attempting to mock their whistling from the dugout. . . .

It marked the 15th time in franchise history a Mets player homered three times in a game. Lindor finished with five RBIs in helping the Mets win four of six games against their city rival this season. . . .

This 4-hour 6-minute drama wasn't complete until Edwin Diaz retired Giancarlo Stanton on a pop-up to Lindor with runners on second and third. . . .

The Yankees lost for the eighth time in nine games and fell one game behind in the race for the AL's second wild-card berth.

Ken Davidoff, Post:

The Yankees displayed a lot of fight here, in multiple ways. Can they carry that forward? . . .

It is a grueling stretch, the Yankees (79-64) now 3-11 in their last 14, and with the Blue Jays (80-63) winning and Red Sox (81-64), they stand outside the October dance at the moment. Yet in their past two games, the Yankees defied their image, crafted by many of their own spoiled fans, of being a bunch of robots.

For when Giancarlo Stanton tied the game with a two-run blast in the seventh inning . . . he didn't make it around the bases without a pit stop, offering some words to Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor . . . that sparked both benches to clear.

Brett Gardner, feisty until the end, gave the thumbs-down signal to the Mets, a hilarious reference to Mets' recent decision to turn on their fans. . . .

With 19 games left, the Yankees' schedule features some oases, specifically their next 10 games . . . Then it closes murderously: Three at the Red Sox, three at the Blue Jays and three at home against the Rays. Wow. Talk about a final exam.

Which means that the Yankees, having lost 11 of their last 14 tilts, had best prey on the weak. They failed to do that over Labor Day weekend when the Orioles came to The Bronx and took two of three. Yet if this weekend produced another series loss, their fourth straight, it produced some better vibes . . .

Vibes don't pay the bills, though. The Yankees can't afford many losses . . . It's on them to keep bringing the fight.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Gleyber Torres came into this season with many questioning whether he was the Yankees shortstop of the future. . . . [On Monday] Torres was moved to second base for the foreseeable future because of how the pressure of his all-too frequent mistakes weighed on him. . . .

That comes on the heels of Torres committing two errors over the three-game series in Queens against the Mets. He has 18 errors this season, the third most by a shortstop in MLB in 2021. . . .

Torres had a breakout season playing almost half the year at shortstop in 2019 . . . [That] was enough for the Yankees to overlook his defensive woes [and] let Didi Gregorious walk in free agency . . .

[Torres] showed up after the COVID-19 spring training shutdown [in 2020] out of shape . . . This season he is slashing .252/.323/.352 with a .676 OPS.

Dan Martin, Post:

The freefalling Yankees are remaking their infield on the fly with three weeks left in the regular season, finally moving Gleyber Torres over to second base. . . .

With Torres at second — at least for the time being — DJ LeMahieu will see more time at third base . . . Tyler Wade is starting at short on Monday . . . [manager Aaron] Boone added Gio Urshela would get more time at short for the time being. . . .

Boone is also looking for something — anything — to turn his team around after losing eight of nine and seeing them fall out of a playoff spot