The (Partial) Inning: August 18, 2017

The Inning

Friday, August 18, 2017


Three Up…


  1. The Yankees spin a gem in Flushing. The New York Yankees needed a pitching performance like this.


Or they needed to face an offense like the New York Mets.


Carlos Villanueva took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, yielding a solitary single, as the Yankees defeated the Mets, 4-0.


“He was on his game,” said Cameron Gallagher after the game. “They all were.”


Gallagher was referring to Rich Thompson and Chris Perez, who got the final five outs without yielding a hit.


The loss was the latest indignity for an offense that can barely hit its weight. Travis d’Arnaud hit that single; he’s been one of the team’s most consistent hitters. He’s also hitting .242-6-16 in 189 plate appearances.


“This is the lowest,” said Matt Den Dekker after the game. Den Dekker, a three-time All-Star and 2015 Silver Slugger recipient, is batting .237-14-55 on the season.


The team was without Jefry Marte, who was taking in a rest day. Marte is batting .275-18-63, which is superb for a rookie. But he’s cooled off considerably since July; in August, he’s hitting .159-1-3.


The Mets’ woes were on full display against Villanueva. He wasn’t overly sharp, getting more fly balls than grounders. But the Mets consistently swung at bad pitches. They were also impatient; Villanueva threw 98 pitches in his work, throwing 65 for strikes.


“I’d say there were another twelve that would have been balls, had (the Mets) been patient,” said an advance scout in attendance. “They swung at some crap.”


The Yanks didn’t light it up entirely against emergency starter Janelfry Snover, making his yearly start. (In his two other appearances with the Mets, in 2014 and 2015, he started one game each season.) In this one, he went 5.1 innings, giving up six hits and two runs, while striking out four. He induced seven ground ball outs.


The only blip was giving up Mariano Gonzalez’ homer in the first. Gonzalez, a 22-year-old rookie who jumped from rookie ball to AA, spent three games there, and came up, is definitely not known for his power. He had hit just one this year, before arriving in the Bronx. He now has two.


“You leave a fastball up to any professional hitter, you’ll pay,” said Snover after the game.


With the loss, the Mets now find themselves 2.5 back of the Braves. The Yankees, meanwhile, are 4.5 back of the Orioles, and six back of the Tigers for the second wild card spot.


  1. Kershaw’s brilliance and the Cards’ 7-spot. After being much maligned during the month of August, Clayton Kershaw found his groove.


It was in Pittsburgh.


Kershaw, who saw his ERA rise to 3.72 after a 5-4 loss to Kansas City on August 7th, got it back under 3 (2.99) with a two-hit performance over eight innings Thursday evening. He walked two and struck out eight.


Yet, he got a no decision. That’s because Gerrit Cole was just as dominant.


Cole tossed seven innings of five-hit ball, striking out ten with nary a free pass.


“For fans who like pitching,” said manager Mike Matheny, “this was your game.”


The game went into extras knotted at zero. It went into the twelfth, still no score. That’s where things drastically changed.


Ced The Butcher hit a one-out single off Pirates reliever Tyler Hanks. Evan Longoria, he of a mighty stick lately, broke the scoreless struggle with a double down the left field line. Ruther slid under the tag at the plate.


After Justin Upton was intentionally walked, Matt Wieters doubled to right, scoring Longoria. Andrew Douglas was intentionally walked, and Drew Carpenter brought in to face Juan Espinoza.


It was, most definitely, a one job situation.


Carpenter walked Espinoza on four pitches.


His fifth pitch, the first to Trayce Thompson, had, at least in terms of this game, nuclear results. Thompson took the first offering to him over the right field wall; the grand slam made it 7-0, absolutely putting any doubt out of reach for this one.


The Cardinal duo of Huston Street and Mark Lowe (3-3) were solid, going four innings, giving up five hits, and striking out eight against no walks.


Longoria led all hitters with a 3-5 night, in addition to the RBI and run scored. He also registered a walk. Rutherford went 3-6 with a run scored. Yugoro Kouki and Michael Conforto each had two hits for the Pirates.


  1. The answer to the Reds’ rotation situation is…Darin Gorski. Because of course.


There has been much speculation as to who the Reds would use to replace the fallen Brian Matusz and John Hellweg. They acquired Martin Perez, who makes his debut tonight, to alleviate the loss of Matusz. But the replacing of Hellweg, who tore his rotator cuff and will miss eight months, was up for more conjecture.


So, the Reds tabbed Gorski, at least for one night, to quell the Cubs’ offense. The league-best Cubs’ offense. The patient, irritating, never-goes-away Cubs offense.


So, Gorski did just that.


The 29-year-old lefty scattered six hits in six innings, yielding a pair of runs, while leading the Reds to a 5-4 win over the Cubs. The win gives the Reds an eight-game lead over Chicago in the NL Central.


“Make pitches,” said Gorski, when asked how he achieved success. “You guys know I’ve done this before, right?”


He has. Gorski went 12-3 with the Mets in 2014, though that came with a 4.29 ERA. He was sparkling in 2015, his first with Cincinnati, going 5-5, but with a 1.12 WHIP. He gave up 104 hits in 124 innings, while striking out 2014. He gave up 17 homers, which has always been his issue.


This year, he’s 6-4 with three saves and a 4.48 ERA. He’s served up 82 hits—10 homers among them—in 74 innings. That’s why it’s speculated that this will be on a start-by-start basis, if the Reds don’t go to Duffey first. For the record, Duffey was brought up to the roster, but placed in the bullpen. He recorded one out in this one, but also gave up a hit.


Against the Cubs, Gorski wasn’t overly efficient—he threw 104 pitches in his six innings, 64 for strikes—but for the most part, he got the Cubs to swing at his pitch. The only real mistake he made was a two-out, two-run homer he served up to Steve Winter.


The Reds were served by the common, an Aaron Altherr homer (no, he did not walk), and the flat-out absurd: a home run by Ben Revere. This was his second of the year, and only the eleventh of his career.


The Reds still have the Midas touch.