October 3, 2021

Schandenfreude 321 (A Continuing Series)




Ken Davidoff, Post:

You want drama, you got drama.

Oh, you didn't want drama? You would've been perfectly content with Yankees victories over the Rays on Friday and Saturday . . . and cruising into a home playoff game Tuesday?

You picked the wrong team and wrong year, friends.

How much damage was caused by the Yankees' vomitous 12-2 loss to the Rays on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, which combined with the Blue Jays' 10-1 blowout of the Orioles ensured they'd head into the season's last day without a playoff spot secured?

Time for the scene-of-the-mayhem assessment:

1. Aaron Boone is back on the griddle. . . . For the team's 5-1 road [trip] . . . to turn into a two-game home losing streak against a team prioritizing playoff preparation over winning, falls on the manager, who happens to not have a contract for next year.

Gleyber Torres' seventh-inning failure to run out a two-out strikeout that got away from Rays catcher Mike Zunino, given Torres' personal roller-coaster ride of 2021, also presented a terrible look in such a big game. . . .

2. Jordan Montgomery . . . [N]ot only did he take the loss, but also he pitched so poorly, lasting a mere 2²/₃ innings, that he impacted the team's bullpen supply for Sunday's critical game. . . . [T]he Yankees [will] start a hobbled Jameson Taillon [on Sunday] . . . and very likely will need plenty of bullpen help. . . .

3. If they somehow advance to the AL Division Series, Boone's bunch will face this same Tampa Bay team, which of course ended the Yankees' 2020 campaign and enters Sunday's Game 162 with an 11-7 edge in this season series after Saturday's 19-hit attack, which featured three homers by Brandon Lowe. . . .

Torres and Gary Sanchez went through the wringer yet again. This season's biggest lightning rods couldn't escape this final weekend unscathed. Torres earned his boos for his seventh-inning brain cramp, and Sanchez went 0-for-3 with a walk, including a strikeout and a game-ending double play, to extend his slump to 6-for-31. . . .

So here the Yankees go . . . It's time for more damage control. If they can't clean up this mess, you just wait for the drama and damage to come.

Dan Martin, Post:

With a chance to secure a wild-card spot with a win Saturday, the Yankees got pounded by Tampa Bay, 12-2 . . .

Thanks to Boston's win over Washington later on Saturday, the Yankees and their rivals head into Game 162 with the same record — and chaos still very much on the menu for the coming week. . . .

The Yankees need a win over first-place Tampa Bay on Sunday to secure a spot in the AL wild-card game — and if Boston beats the Nationals again, that elimination game would be at Fenway Park on Tuesday. . . .

They barely showed up Saturday, as Jordan Montgomery gave up a pair of three-run homers to Brandon Lowe to put them in an early hole.

Lowe hit three home runs for Tampa Bay, who have already sealed the AL East title and the top seed in the AL playoffs. Saturday's victory was their 100th of the season.

It was an ill-timed clunker from Montgomery, who had perhaps the worst start of his career. . . . 

It started when the left-hander gave up a three-run homer to right to Lowe with two outs in the top of the first. . . . Lowe hit another three-run shot off Montgomery in the third to make it 6-1.

Mike Zunino followed Lowe with another homer off Montgomery, putting the Yankees in a 7-1 hole. . . .

Lowe homered for a third time in the game when he led off the seventh against Michael King . . . as the Yankees gave up a season-high 19 hits and five home runs. . . .

[The Yankees] have put themselves in a precarious position in this wildly inconsistent season that's left them no margin for error.

Greg Joyce, Post:

[I]n his biggest start of the year, [Jordan Montgomery] went off the rails for the worst outing of his career.

With the Yankees still fighting for a wild-card spot on the penultimate day of the regular season, Montgomery allowed a career-high three home runs and seven earned runs . . .

Montgomery lasted just 2²/₃ innings in a nightmare of a start. By the time manager Aaron Boone finally pulled him in the third inning, the Yankees trailed 7-1 and Montgomery was booed off the mound as he took the long walk to the dugout. . . .

Both of Lowe's homers went to the short porch in right field — at estimated distances of 349 and 344 feet — but both were smoked. . . .

The abbreviated start put a strain on the Yankees' bullpen, needing to cover 6 ¹/₃ innings with another critical game looming Sunday — and either a possible tiebreaker Monday or a wild-card game Tuesday.

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

If the Yankees don't start playing better, it won't matter what backdoor they find into the playoffs. It will only lead to an early exit.

Saturday, they not only squandered another chance to punch their own postseason ticket, but were completely embarrassed by Brandon Lowe and the Rays. Yankee pitchers gave up a season-high five home runs, including three to Lowe, in a 12-2 loss at the Stadium in front of 41,648 angry and booing fans. . . .

The Bombers announced [Jameson Taillon] will be able to start on regular rest against the Rays on Sunday . . . But that's a risk considering Taillon is dealing with an injury and the Bombers had to dip into their bullpen heavily Saturday. . . .

While the pitchers allowed a season-high 19 hits and five home runs, more disturbing is the lack of offense. . . . They managed just four hits against the Rays factory line of power-throwing pitchers and have just five runs to show for it over the last 18 innings.

That's concerning after they broke out the big boy bats on their last road trip . . .

But this is the 2021 Yankees, and nothing goes as planned.

Matthew Roberson, Daily News:

Whatever the Yankees have been doing against Tampa Bay this year, it is absolutely, positively, not working.

The Yankees' mortifyingly bad loss to the Rays on Saturday dropped their 2021 record against the AL East champs to 7-11, and the season series hasn't even been that close. Tampa Bay has now outscored the Yankees 98-49 after putting a 12-2 whupping on the Bombers in front of a despondent crowd of 41,648 . . .

Brandon Lowe [became] the second opposing player in less than a month to smack three home runs against the Yankees in the same game. Francisco Lindor did the same on Sept. 12 at Citi Field. Even without Lowe's seven RBI, the Rays still would have had a comfortable win on Saturday. . . .

In putting a measly two runs on the scoreboard, the Yankees' bats continued their ineptitude against good pitching, particularly when it's wearing a TB hat. Coming into Saturday's massacre, the Rays' pitching staff had a 2.37 ERA against the Yankees this season, supported by a 1.02 WHIP and 170 strikeouts to 53 walks in 155.2 innings. . . .

In last year's American League Division Series, the Yankees' season came to an end in similar fashion, scoring just one run in the Game 5 loss that eliminated them. With two losses to open the weekend, the Yankees now have to treat Sunday like an elimination game as well.

If Saturday was any indication — especially Gleyber Torres' strange and inexplicable lack of hustle on a dropped third strike that sums up the Yankees' lifeless experience against the Rays in recent years — they can start planning their offseason vacations now.

Daily News Sports Desk:

The pressure of the moment is getting to everyone associated with the Yankees.

Veteran broadcaster Michael Kay was hit with an error for his call of Anthony Rizzo's solo home run in the bottom of the first inning against the Rays at the Stadium.

"That one is driven deep to right. See ya! TIE GAME!" Kay bellowed for his audience watching the matinee on the YES Network.

The only problem was the Bombers had fallen into an early 3-0 hole on a day they have a chance to clinch a wild card spot win a win over their AL East rivals.

Kay quickly caught his mistake.

"No. No. It's a solo home run. I got ahead of myself. It's 3-1."

Dan Martin, Post:

Gleyber Torres . . . heard it from the crowd — and Aaron Judge — in the seventh inning. Torres failed to hustle down the line and was thrown out jogging to first after a third strike got away from Tampa Bay catcher Mike Zunino for the final out of the seventh.

Torres was booed as he walked off the field and Judge spoke to him briefly. . . .

It's not the first time the Yankees have had to deal with this issue from Torres, who was pulled from a game on Sept. 14 for not running out a ground ball in a win over Baltimore. . . .

It's a bad time for bad Sanchez to show up. Sanchez, whose pinch-hit strikeout helped squander Friday's ninth-inning rally, had another miserable afternoon Saturday to extend a woeful stretch for the catcher. He struck out, and was booed, to end the bottom of the second and popped to shortstop to end the fourth, stranding Gio Urshela at third. He also grounded into a game-ending double play.

Things weren't much better behind the plate, as Jordan Montgomery had arguably the worst start of his career and Randy Arozarena stole second and third after his two-out single in the sixth.

Sanchez entered the game 2-for-16 with a pair of walks and 10 strikeouts since his eighth-inning homer on Sept. 22. And Sanchez had also whiffed in five of his previous six plate appearances.

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