The New York Yankees arrived in Buffalo, only with the momentum of losing games. Tonight, the dead bats of the Yankees will face one of the better pitchers in baseball. On Saturday, Gerrit Cole took the mound and faced a triple-A pitcher, and lost the game. It was the fourth game in a row, lost with Cole on the mound. Yesterday Masahiro Tanaka faced another triple-A pitcher, making his major league debut, with the same result, the Yankees lost the game. The Yankees going into this series tonight, have lost 13 of their last 18 games.
This will be the first time ever that the New York Yankees have played a game at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, the new home park of the Blue Jays, while they can’t play in Canada. The game-time temperature will be about 70 with threatening skies. There will be scattered thunderstorms, all day today, in the Buffalo area. The weather will be much better for games two and three. Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the YES Network and in Canada on SNET.
In the first inning tonight, at 6:37, the Yankees will face one of the better pitchers in baseball, the recently acquired Hyun Jin Ryu who is 3-1 on the season, with an ERA of 2.51. Ryu started his career with the Dodgers with two winning seasons, going 14-8 and 14-7. Then had a couple of mediocre years before going 14-5 last season for the Dodgers. During the offseason, Ryu was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. In his seven-year career, this will be Ryu’s third start against the Yankees. He has yet to win a game against the Yankees.
Facing Ryu will be the New York Yankees Jordan Montgomery, who is coming off his worst game of the season. In his game against the Rays, he faced nine batters, and allowed four runs without scoring an out, in just 2/3 of an inning, before being removed in the eventual Yankee loss. Although Montgomery has not performed as well as the Yankees had hoped, previous to this game, he did have the best fWAR of any Yankee pitcher, including Gerrit Cole, who also has missed expectations.
In Montgomery’s six starts, he has only averaged 4.1 innings per game, only going into the sixth inning once. Going into tonight’s game he is 2-2 in six starts with an ERA of 5.76. In his career, he is 13-9 with the Yankees, with an ERA of 4.12. After undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season, he only had one no-decision start in 2019.
In tonight’s game, without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gio Urshela, who are all on the IL, the Yankees have to find a way to kick start their hitting, to have any chance of winning the game. The game may also be missing Gary Sanchez again, as he has been admonished by the Yankees for his poor play. Sanchez has the lowest batting average of any catcher in baseball. Tonight fans might see Kyle Higashioka or the better hitting Erik Kratz as the backstop.
The New York Yankees’ poor hitting has taken them from hitting 5.82 runs per game in 2019 to just 3.8 runs per game in their last eighteen games. The Yankees have a batting average as a team of .236, which is the lowest batting average of any Yankee team since the horrible 1968 team.
The Yankees need Montgomery to pitch well and give the Yankees a chance to win tonight. The Yankees are already a game behind the Blue Jays in the East. With the postseason just three weeks away the Yankees have got to stop their slide. In the past weeks, they have gone from number one in baseball to being 6.5 games behind the East-leading Tampa Bay Rays with only twenty games left to play in the regular season. With each game they lose, their chances of reaching the postseason are diminished.