Thursday, September 15, 2016
Clayton Kershaw fired five sharp innings in the first Yankee Stadium start of his career and Justin Turner belted a ninth-inning double off a shaky Dellin Betances as the Dodgers edged the Yankees, 2-0, on Wednesday.
Turner’s deciding hit down the left-field line chased home Corey Seager, who had reached on an error charged to second baseman Starlin Castro. Betances then threw wildly past catcher Gary Sanchez on a Yasmani Grandal tapper, allowing Turner to score Los Angeles’ second run.
“It was a breaking ball. That’s his bread and butter and he likes to go to it,” said Turner, who has five go-ahead RBIs in the ninth inning or later this season. “Corey did a good job on the 2-2 pitch of getting a good jump and stealing second to get in scoring position. [Betances] just left that one over the plate a little bit and I kept it fair.”
The win was credited to Luis Avilan, who recorded four outs as the Dodgers took two of three games in the Interleague set. Kenley Jansen set the Yankees down in the ninth inning for his 44th save in 50 chances. Los Angeles pushed its National League West lead to five games over the Giants, while the Yankees missed out on a chance to gain in the Wild Card race.
New York now takes its pursuit of a postseason berth to Boston, where the rivalry will be heightened with so much at stake. The Yankees trail the Red Sox by four games in the AL East and are two behind the Blue Jays for the second AL Wild Card, with the Orioles holding the first Wild Card slot, a game ahead of Toronto.
We knew that this was going to be a difficult series, but boy, it was a lot more painful than just that. WOE was in full effect. Not against Kershaw, as come on, that guy’s just otherworldly, but also against the Dodgers bullpen.
The Yankees are hanging on by a slim thread, solely because Toronto shit the bed against Tampa Bay. The Yankees honestly probably need to take three out of four against the Red Sox this weekend, and the odds of that happening are not particularly good. Oh well.
Dellin Betances, by the way, is still a very good closer. We’ve just been spoiled by top of the line closers for twenty years now. Remember John Wetteland? Steve Howe? (Howe was great in 1994, but it seemed like they were playing with fire there - he was awful in 1995 and his career was over in mid-1996)? Those were very good closers, as well, and they all had their scary moments for the Yankees. Steve Farr was the last time the Yankees had a flat out mediocre closer. So moments like tonight will probably continue as long as Betances remains the closer. He can’t hold runners on and he can’t throw to first. Some pretty embarrassing faults for a guy to have. I hope that the Yankees manage to sign a top closer and return Betances to the eighth inning next year. Clippard/Betances/Top Closer would be a lethal back end of the bullpen.
In other news, the Yankees signed Billy Butler to try to help them against the string of lefties that they’re about to be facing over the next eleven games. He’ll probably suck, but I at least appreciate the attempt to try something. Butler’s OPS is sadly higher than a goodly chunk of the Yankee lineup (Headley, Gardner, Ellsbury, Teixeira, Austin, Romine and Refsnyder).
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