Holmes hit his first rough point of September in the ninth inning of a must-win game at Tropicana Field on Sunday (of course), and needed every inch of umpire Vic Carapazza’s strike zone to finish the job and salvage the final game of a difficult three-game set in Tampa.
Facing a full count to Yandy Diaz after allowing a two-out double to set the Rays up with the winning run at second and the tying run at third, Holmes went back to his fastball, dotting the outside corner low and away with a 102 MPH running sinker.
Or … did he dot it? The pitch was certainly borderline, but not quite borderline enough with two strikes and two outs in the ninth inning of a one-run game.
Diaz didn’t protect the plate. He just ensured that Carapazza might need protection heading back to the locker room, tossing his helmet in a fit of fury.
Yankees’ Clay Holmes secures win, creates Yandy Diaz freakout after Vic Carapazza call
What a pitch. Better luck next week.
Holmes’ 101.7 MPH sinker was the fastest pitch he’s ever thrown, and he uncorked it at the perfect time. For what felt like the 25th straight game, the Yankees’ pitching staff didn’t have an inch of margin for error, and this time, Holmes (and Jose Trevino’s fantastic framing) didn’t get squeezed when it mattered most.
According to the all-knowing dots, Holmes’ final pitch did nick the corner. And the dots never lie.
It’s understandable why Diaz showed so much emotion. Nobody wants the bat taken out of their hands in a situation that huge.
That said, the Rays were the ones who gained on the Yankees this weekend. This was just one final bit of perfectly-executed revenge.