Yankees Mongtomery puts finger in the dike, Castro pulls up lame

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees took another brilliant start by their rookie lefthander to the brink of defeat last night, managed to hold on, returning to their clubhouse awaiting news on the status of their All-Star second baseman. Just another day in Yankeeland these days.

The Yankees have figured out a way to lose even when they win. Their rookie left-hander, Jordan Montgomery, turned in another quality start over seven innings of one-run ball, only to watch the once heralded Yankees bullpen proceed to almost giving the game away. And if the White Sox had one more out in the ninth inning, they just might have done that.

And to make matters even more problematic for Joe Girardi, the Yankees may find themselves without the services of second baseman, Starlin Castro, who pulled up lame running out a ground ball, appearing to have pulled a hamstring.

These days, you take the positives you see from the team, and you dwell on them as a way to keep your cup half full.

Video courtesy of the YES Network

Montgomery is quietly filling that bill as once again he emerged as the stopper for a rotation that suddenly looks as shaky as everyone said it would be back in March. Montgomery is undefeated during the Yankees swoon month of June over five starts, raising his record to 6-4 while lowering his ERA to 3.53.

Moreover, in thirteen big league starts, all with the Yankees this season, Montgomery has given up four or more runs only three times, five runs being the highest on May 18 against the Royals. In brief, he’s keeping his team in the games he pitches, and that is the one thing a manager hopes for and expects when he gives the ball to one of his starters.

Speaking of managers, you have to wonder if Joe Girardi was on the phone until the wee hours of the morning lamenting his plight with fellow New Yorker, Terry Collins, seeking pointers on how you manage a team when half of your players are not in uniform.

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Just one day after Starlin Castro received a cortisone shot on his wrist to keep him in the game last night, and Aaron Hicks came up with an oblique injury that will keep him sidelined for 3-4 weeks, the team awaits news as to the fate of Castro and the possibility that Rob Refsnyder is the new second baseman, at least for a while.

Nevertheless, if you like the cup half full, all of the Yankees runs last night were driven in by Austine Romine, Tyler Austin, Ronald Torreyes, and Chase Headley – not the names you would expect to see.

Torreyes, in particular, continues to marvel and is still hitting a robust .286 for the season. Typically, he saw only seven pitches in his three at-bats last night hitting from the number nine spot.

And Headley added three more hits quietly silencing the throng who thought they had found their scapegoat during the team’s slump. Not so fast, though, as he’s moved his average back up to a respectable .262 with a .347 on-base percentage.

Still, there’s the bullpen that was only asked to fill two innings last night, and they couldn’t get the job done. Noticeably, Tyler Clippard was held out of the game, but Chasen Shreve came in to do his impersonation of Clippard, surrendering three runs on three hits, including a home run in just one-third of an inning.

Video courtesy of the YES Network

And suddenly, we are looking at a lineup that pitchers can meander their way through without the threat of the long ball, save for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. No longer listed are Hicks and, yes, even Chris Carter. Brett Gardner has cooled off in the power department, and the combination of Refsnyder/Torreyes as replacements for Castro further dilute the home run threat.

And yet, what the team needs more than anything is to win a couple of games by a score of 14-4 or 10-5, restoring the title of the Bronx Bombers who smash and thrash their opponents, and not the team that barely manages to eke out a 6-5 win as they did last night.

Tonight, Girardi gives the ball to Luis Severino (5-3, 3.30) and the Yankees will draw Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.69) in what should be a cakewalk for a team that needs back-to-back wins against a struggling pitcher.

Montgomery showed how it’s done last night. Now, it’s time for the rest of the staff to pick it up until the offense has a chance to get back in gear. Luis, you’re up.