You could tell that Yankees starter James Paxton didn’t have it in Game 2 of the ALCS. However, Chad Green was perfect for two frames and shouldn’t have been lifted for the suddenly erratic Adam Ottavino.
Manager Aaron Boone is going to get a lot of the blame for the Yankees ALCS Game 2 loss. Good, bad, or indifferent; it started with James Paxton. Luckily, Boone knew right away Paxton was off.
After allowing one earned run on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts, The big Maple’s fastball was inconsistent, and his night was done. Naturally, this is not how anyone wearing road grey envisioned Sunday night beginning, especially after Masahiro Tanaka’s dominant outing in Game 1.
That meant the bullpen would be forced to get 20 outs, with 10 men up to the task, or so we thought.
However, Chad Green, who isn’t your prototypical reliever, was downright electric for two innings. Not allowing a single hit, while striking out two, Green tossed only 26 pitches (21 for strikes) and having not been used the night before, looked as though he could have gone at least another frame.
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Why Boone called on Adam Ottavino, who has allowed five hits, one run, two walks, and three strikeouts in five postseason appearances thus far, is the question of the hour.
Even Ottavino’s final seven performances were downright pedestrian — as he allowed five runs (three earned), walked four and struck out seven.
Yes, Boone’s veteran bullpen was fresh following the ease of Game 1, but Ottavino’s usage of mainly pitching to one batter during the ALDS was already drawing the ire of analysts and fans, so why pull a dominant Green early, especially when he’s capable of pitching deeper into a tight game?
According to Tom Verducci of SI.com, Boone had already decided Ottavino would come in for Green, who threw more than 26 pitches, 23 times this season. It’s safe to say, Boone’s failure to manage on the fly changed the course of the ballgame.
Instead, Ottavino came out of his cleats, throwing a hard and high slider that barely broke — practically telegraphing itself to George Springer, who walloped it over the left-center field fence to tie the game at 2-2. Springer is a notorious first-pitch hitter. Where was that in the gameplan?
Tommy Kahnle soon came in relief and looked rock solid over 2.1 perfect innings. Britton and Chapman were their usual ‘selves.
C.C. Sabathia, making his 2019 postseason debut, was fortunate to get the only batter he faced to swing on a 3-1 ball out of the zone, inducing a pop out.
But then calling upon 24-year-old Jonathan Loaisiga, who pitched the night before, this time in a high-pressure situation was a head-scratcher. Loaisiga was all over the place, immediately walking the only two men he faced and thus turning the ball over to J.A. Happ.
After getting out of the 10th inning, Happ returned for the 11th and immediately surrendered a opposite-field walk-off home run to Carlos Correa. Happ surrendered a career-high 34 homers this season.
Now the series shifts to New York, where the Yankees could still conceivably win the now best-of-5 and avoid going back to Houston. However, they’ll need Luis Severino to match Gerrit Cole pitch-for-pitch come Tuesday night.
It won’t be easy, but it shouldn’t be; this is the ALCS.