Letdown in Motown

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

On the day before the Yankees top two prospects, Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells are being called up to make their Major League debuts, the Yankees got some late inning lightning from a current highly touted rookie, but they couldn’t get the “W.”

Gleyber Torres’ throwing error in the 10th inning allowed the winning run to score as the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers, 4-3 at Comerica Park. Anthony Volpe hit a dramatic, two out, three run home run in the ninth to tie the game, but the Yankees couldn’t capitalize and complete a rare four game sweep in Detroit. The last time the Yankees swept a four game series in Motown was 1926.

We didn’t mount much on the day. Great finish there in the ninth inning, disappointed we couldn’t finish it off,” Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said after another walk off loss, the 13th of the season.

With the game tied at three in the tenth, Jonathan Loaisiga started the inning and faced future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera with Kerry Carpenter as the auto runner and winning run on second.

Cabrera grounded out to short for the first out without Carpenter advancing to third and Parker Meadows was intentionally walked to bring up Tigers shortstop Zack Short, who had homered earlier in the game. Short hit a comebacker to Loaisiga who threw to Torres at second for the first out, but the relay throw was way wide of first base and Carpenter scored the game winner.

The Yankees immediately asked for a review, claiming there was an illegal slide that caused Torres to make the wild throw. The call was confirmed that Meadows’ slide was legal and the game was over. “I just challenged it right away just in case, I saw the errant throw, so I first thought maybe it was a take out slide or something, simply that,” said Boone.

The Yankees were trailing 3-0 and had only two hits entering the ninth when Oswaldo Cabrera made a smart baseball play by beating out a bunt to get the inning started.

After Kyle Higashioka struck out against Tigers’ closer Alex Lange, D.J. LeMahieu blooped a single to center to bring the tying run to the plate. Torres hit a sharp grounder to shortstop on the first pitch, but Short initially bobbled the ball and was only able to get an out at second to keep the inning alive.

Volpe took a strike and then hit a ball towards the right field corner that kept carrying and cleared the wall to tie the game. “I told the guys in the dugout I just wanted to get ‘Big G’ [Giancarlo Stanton] up and give him a chance so I tried to put a good swing on it and pass it along. It was crazy how that type of stuff goes out of the park,” Volpe said.

For Volpe, it was his 20th home run and he becomes the first Yankee rookie in franchise history and the 15th in Major League history to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in his rookie season. “I never really had goals or anything like that going into the season numbers wise but when you can put yourself in Yankee history, maybe that’s pretty crazy, pretty cool,” he said.

Volpe has been playing a lot better in the second half of the season and, according to his manager, is a candidate for an AL Gold Glove award because of his steady work on defense.

It’s been fun watching him play the game,” Boone said. “He’s gotten a lot of big hits for us, today included. He’s been really special in the field for us and I just think with all that’s come with him and the expectations, he’s just managed everything so well.”

Volpe has shown an ability to hit in big spots. 11 days ago, Volpe hit a three run home run in the 8th inning to tie the game against Boston that they eventually lost in the ninth.

I feel like over the course of the season as I have gotten opportunities in big spots to come through, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from those experiences,” Volpe said. “Just stay in the moment, try to put together good at bats, put together good swings.”

Clarke Schmidt blanked the Tigers through the first four innings but he did run up his pitch count and ran into trouble in the fifth.

Short led off the inning with a home run into the left field stands to give Detroit a

1-0 lead. After Schmidt walked the #9 hitter, Carson Kelly, he got Zach McKinstry to hit a potential DP grounder but Torres initially bobbled it and could only get the out at first as the runners advanced to second and third.

Riley Greene’s broken bat single into RF scored the second run. Andy Ibanez then lined a hard shot up the middle that was knocked down by Torres, but Volpe was late getting to second base and Greene was safe at second. Kerry Carpenter singled in a third run and Schmidt was relieved by Kenyan Middleton after 4 2/3 innings pitched.

After an outstanding outing against a tough Tampa Rays team, Schmidt gave up three runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. “They made him work a little bit and just some extended at bats and pitch count kinda made it a shorter day,” Boone said.

The Yankees could only get four baserunners (2 hits, 2 walks) in six innings against Tigers’ 25-year old starter Matt Manning, who is starting to develop into a reliable arm for Detroit. In his last 23 2/3 innings pitched, Manning has allowed one earned run.

Overall, the Yankee pitchers have not gotten much run support. The Yankees are 11-52 this season when they score three runs or less.

So while the Yankees will debut their top two prospects Friday in Houston, Harrison Bader is moving on. Bader was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds from waivers and will join the team in time for a Friday doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs.

An emotional Bader met the media and appreciated his time, as short as it was, with the Yankees. “It just means so much to me to being a NYC kid playing in the Bronx for the Yankees. It’s just really speciall for a lot of reasons,” he said.

Bader wouldn’t rule out a potential return to the Pinstripes.

Growing up in Manhattan, family lived in Bronxville, I went to Horace Mann on 242nd street, Yankee Stadium is on 161st street in the Bronx. I never thought I’d ever play in the big leagues, let alone in the Yankees uniform. I have no idea of what’s to come for the future but I certainly hope it’s a Yankee uniform again.”

So, as Bader leaves, here comes “The Martian” [Jasson Dominguez] and top catching prospect Austin Wells to make their Major League debuts this weekend in Houston.

The Yankees’ future success could be directly tied into these prospects. The fans and the organization are anxious to see what they’ve got but of course, there are no guarantees. “Hopefully they [Dominguez and Wells] can get off to a good start but I’m really looking forward to seeing them and going up against a really quality opponent,” Boone said.

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