The New York Yankees head to Cleveland tied at one with the Guardians in the best-of-five series. Friday’s 4-2 extra innings loss in Game 2 highlighted a few things for the Bombers.
Josh Donaldson’s miscue in the 10th turned out to be the biggest one of the afternoon, the Yankees failed to capitalize with runners on base and Aaron Judge is going through a mini-slump at a very inopportune time. On the plus side, the bullpen has shown that it can withstand a tough-hitting team like the Guardians and Giancarlo Stanton has been hitting the ball well.
Here are some takeaways from the Game 2 loss in the Bronx.
Timely hits aren’t there
The only offense the Yankees put up on Friday was the two-run homer that Stanton sent into the short porch in right field. After that New York left runners in scoring position several times throughout the game, including the third, sixth and eighth innings.
The latter may haunt the Yankees the most since they had the chance to break the 2-2 stalemate in the eighth with the bases loaded. Stanton, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Donaldson had all walked to load them up, but Kyle Higashioka lined out to the third baseman to end the chance.
“You know, (James) Karinchak and (Emmanuel) Clase, we made them work but just ultimately weren’t able to break through. And for most of the day, it was one of those days where it’s a little bit tougher for the hitters to see it up there,” manager Aaron Boone said.
The start to the postseason for Aaron Judge hasn’t been as memorable as the way his regular season had ended. The Yankees slugger is still looking for his first hit of the series after going 0-for-5 in Game 2 and did not reach base for the first time since Aug. 28 in Oakland.
With the Yankees’ offense going through a bit of a hard time on Friday, the need for Judge to be at the top of his game became even more paramount. Judge did hear a smattering of boos during the day, which Boone had attributed to nothing more than it being the Bronx.
Judge seemed confident after the loss that he’d be able to turn it around, as did his teammates.
“Man I’ve had two bad games in my career multiple times, so it’s part of it,” Judge said. “It’s part of it. You gotta learn from it, learn from the mistakes and get ready for the next one cause guess what. There’s no breaks right now. You got quite a few in a row.”
The slugger added that the pressure was nothing new since it was all there, but certainly, it’s hard not to point to the implications if he isn’t able to turn it around soon and the Yankees don’t get more offense.
Josh Donaldson’s mistakes
The play on the ball in shallow left and the ensuing throw to second base will be one that is talked about for the next 24 hours. If the Yankees win on Saturday, similar to the base running issue on Tuesday, it will be a forgotten moment. Right now it’s easy to nitpick the decision to try and make the play at second, which turned into Jose Ramirez making it all the way to third.
Ramirez eventually crossed the plate as the game-winning run and Cleveland would add one more for good measure in that inning.
“(Oswaldo Cabrera) was coming full steam ahead right there, so I kind of backed off,” Donaldson described of the play, which started when a ball was hit between Donaldson and Cabrera. “The ball stayed close. Thought I had a chance at second. Pulled the throw a little bit. Tried to make a play and Jose Ramirez does what he does. He kept running.”
Donaldson has shown he can be a good defensive player and he had that impressive play at third in Game 1 that came right after Cabrera had made a nifty catch of his own. But the third baseman also had the blunder where he didn’t hustle on a ball he hit off the top of the right field wall and thought it was a home run.
That blunder didn’t end up coming back to haunt the Yankees because Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino came up offensively later that inning. On Friday, it did. Hopefully on Saturday, he can steer clear of another blunder like those.