Today: 21.06.2018
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Bottom fell out for Yankees after one bad Aaron Boone decision.

Well , that was weird. Oh, sure, Sonny Gray stunk again Saturday night, failing to get out of the fourth inning in the Yankees’ 11-4 loss to the Angels at Yankee Stadium. With a 5.98 ERA, with getting through five innings in only half of his 10 starts, with the idea of pairing with Austin...
Time: 03:11     Date: 27.05.2018
Last US Sport News: Bottom fell out for Yankees after one bad Aaron Boone decision. NY Post 24 - US News

Oh, sure, Sonny Gray stunk again Saturday night, failing to get out of the fourth inning in the Yankees’ 11-4 loss to the Angels at Yankee Stadium. With a 5.98 ERA, with getting through five innings in only half of his 10 starts, with the idea of pairing with Austin Romine as a cure to what ails him long behind us, the right-hander has become Exhibit A for why the Yankees must acquire another starting pitcher by July 31.

We’ll have plenty more time to address that topic, however. What left my head spinning on this night was the Yankees’ decision to let Mike Trout, the best baseball player on the planet, beat them. And lo and behold, Trout did just that en route to what might have been the finest game of his already legendary career.

“Trout’s an unbelievable player,” Gray said. “I think he kind of showed that tonight.”

And the Yankees did everything but swing the bat for the two-time American League Most Valuable Player. Up 4-3 in the top of the fourth inning, with the Angels’ Kole Calhoun on third base and two outs, Gray pitched to Trout rather than put him on first base via an intentional walk. Four pitches later, the Yankees trailed, 5-4, courtesy of a two-run, 419-foot blast by Trout — his third extra-base hit of the night — and it all unraveled from there.

Trout entered the night with not much success against Gray, his longtime AL West nemesis in Oakland. In 34 at-bats versus Gray, Trout had managed only seven hits, including three homers.

This Gray is not peak Gray, however, whereas Trout keeps climbing. His first two at-bats on Saturday produced a pair of doubles. He wasn’t getting fooled remotely by Gray.

Fast-forward to the fourth, with Justin Upton, a good hitter yet nowhere as dangerous as Trout, on deck.

Asked if he thought about giving Trout a free pass, Boone said, “Thought, yeah. But I just felt like at that point in the fourth inning, starting to turn the lineup over again and if we walk him, he’s probably on second [on a stolen base]. So we’re basically, at that point, putting the go-ahead run on second. So not really. Had we gone to 3-0 or something, we would have put him on. But otherwise, no.”

They got to 2-and-0, Trout looking at a slider in the dirt and a fastball inside. A sinker crossed the plate for a called strike one. Then Gray tried to pound a slider down and away, only it went just a little down and not enough away, and Trout destroyed it en route to a career-high five hits, four extra-base hits and 11 total bases.

“Ro and Sonny both know we’re being careful in that spot,” Boone said. “But I think to start intentionally walking guys, especially when you have a lead early in the game, I just don’t think is the right play there.”

The series of events triggered a serious case of déjà vu, back to Joe Girardi’s first year managing the Yankees: April 12, 2008 at Fenway Park. The Yankees, leading the Red Sox 2-1 in the sixth, elected to pitch to Manny Ramirez with two outs and runners on second and third and Kevin Youkilis on deck. Manny ripped a two-run double off Mike Mussina, and the Yankees lost.

For every explanation Girardi offered after that game, the automatic response was, “But it was Manny Ramirez!” Just substitute Mike Trout in that exclamation on this night.

Gray’s struggles look real and concerning for the Yankees. Their rookie manager, largely a success, can ensure that this night’s speed bump was an aberration by learning how to love the intentional walk — and how to pick your poison more carefully.

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