Folks, we have a mid-May INSTANT YANKEES CLASSIC in the Bronx.
With the White Sox in town, the Bombers were bound to face a significant challenge this weekend, and the series opener seemed like the most daunting task on paper.
Jordan Montgomery, coming off his worst start of the season, was set to face a White Sox lineup that crushes lefties. He was due to oppose Carlos Rodon, the breakout pitching star of this young campaign, already with a no-hitter to his name.
Predictably, the Yankees didn’t score through six innings off Rodon, whiffing 13 times.
Luckily, absolutely nothing else about this game was predictable — well, except for the Yanks blowing first-and-third, nobody out in the eighth. But we digress.
After six scoreless innings, Gleyber Torres broke the deadlock with a short-porcher that only would’ve left one ballpark in the professional ranks. Guess which one it was?
Unfortunately, in the top of the eighth, the White Sox drew even after Jonathan Loaisiga walked Adam Eaton, who came around on a Nick Madrigal check-swing plunker (Loaisiga probably gave him a break by taking 10 miles an hour off and gifting him a slider).
Following the aforementioned RISP failure in the bottom of the eighth, Aroldis Chapman walked Yermin Mercedes to open the ninth, only to see him replaced by the fastest man in baseball, Billy Hamilton. Oops. Leury Garcia tried to bunt Hamilton over, and Chapman gave him first base, too, falling on his face on the attempt. Oops.
No problem. Andrew Vaughn, who could’ve bunted again, rocketed a TRIPLE PLAY BALL to Gio Urshela.
Yankees walk off White Sox after Aroldis Chapman induces triple play.
Remember when the Yankees were defensively deficient? The team that was hit by flying baseballs in April might just be extinct. This was brilliant.
The Bombers had only one more chance to win the game prior to the dreaded extra innings rule, and Tony La Russa put in his closer Liam Hendri–oh, I’m sorry, I forgot. The old dinosaur must’ve forgotten your best pitcher is supposed to enter games that are hanging in the balance.
Instead, he left in Evan Marshall, who sports a 6.00+ ERA and had just miraculously gotten out of the inning prior with a nifty play by Tim Anderson and a Luke Voit rocket double play.
Judge single, Gio single, Gleyber walk-off. What a day.
In the most eminently lose-able matchup, perhaps of the year thus far, the Yankees weathered a locked-in superstar starter, got punched in the teeth in the eighth, had to fend off a rally in the ninth, and calmly and casually disposed of the team with the best record in the AL without making an out in the bottom of the ninth.
Stay a non-believer if you’d like, but Friday’s incredible game is certainly the closest the Yankees have come this year to proving they can hang with baseball’s upper echelon. 21-9 since April 20, the best record in baseball, and the offense has still largely been slumbering.
This win was frame-able.