Yankees Show Flaws and Get a First Look at Frankie Montas – The New York Times

Yankees Show Flaws and Get a First Look at Frankie Montas - The New York Times

ST. LOUIS – Late, but still holding a slight lead for the best record in the American League, the Yankees took action last Monday. before the Major League Baseball trade deadline. They sent two of their top 10 prospects and two other minor league players to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for relief pitcher Lou Trivino and starting pitcher Frankie Montas.

Although Trivino, a right-hander, has been below par this season compared to his career standards, he bolsters a bullpen undermined by injuries. He has already made four appearances for the Yankees. But Montas, the centerpiece of the trade and the kind of rotation help that other contending teams were also looking for, has yet to make his Yankees debut.

Due to the death of his mother-in-law, Montas did not join the Yankees until Saturday evening, meeting them in St. He huddled with catcher Jose Trevino at the team hotel. And a day later, he took the mound for the first time as a Yankee. But even he couldn’t stop the 2022 team’s worst slide.

Montas had his worst start of the season, allowing six runs over three innings Sunday and later admitting his delivery was “all over the place.” The 12-9 loss to the surging Cardinals capped the Yankees’ first three-game hitting streak this season and extended the team’s season-worst losing streak to five.

“I wanted to go there and show them what I can do,” he said. “That was not the case today. But this is not my last.”

On July 8, the Yankees were on pace (118) to break an MLB record for wins (116) in a 162-game regular season. They sputtered later, going 9-16. The Yankees (70-39) still maintain a considerable lead in their division, the AL East, but cracks showed and they lost ground to the Houston Astros (70-40) for the top AL seed in the postseason.

Against the Cardinals (60-48), who are in first place in the National League Central and have now won seven straight games, Montas’ command was inconsistent. In the second inning, with the Yankees leading, 4-1, he walked the first two batters. Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt each drove in a run — with another walk in between — to bring the Cardinals within one run. Then Nolan Arenado smashed a walk-off, three-run home run that earned him a curtain call.

Right fielder Aaron Judge tied the score with a two-run double in the fifth inning, but the Yankees’ bullpen squandered that in the bottom half of the frame by allowing three runs.

“We’re definitely going through it right now and frustrated with how we played,” said infielder DJ LeMahieu, the only Yankee to homer Sunday. “When we get good pitching, we don’t hit, and vice versa.”

Perhaps a reason for Montas’ struggles has been his irregular schedule of late. A right-hander, he returned on July 21 after missing nearly three weeks with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. He started again for Oakland on July 26, reaching 78 pitches, then was traded to New York. But then came the family death that delayed Montas’ arrival and affected his workload, which, according to manager Aaron Boone, was still being rebuilt from the injury anyway.

While Montas was on the bereavement list, Sam Briend, the team’s pitching director, flew to Arizona to meet with him and monitor his pitching, including a bullpen session, said Matt Blake, the team’s pitching coach.

“We didn’t want him to be out by himself for four or five days and then come in and start, so Sam went over, watched him a little bit, talked about what the expectations were, and gave us a download of what he was. does in his routine and everything,” Blake said.

Boone added: “We had about as good a week as you can get under the circumstances.”

Before the trade deadline, the Yankees added the All-Star outfielder Andres Benintendi, a left-handed contact hitter who helps further balance the lineup and withstand the absence of Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendinitis) and the struggles of Aaron Hicks (.226 batting average); right-handed reliever Scott Effross, who packs up strikeouts throwing arms; Trivina; and Montas.

Montas, 29, bolsters a rotation that has dealt with some struggles (Domingo Germano has a 5.09 ERA in four starts since returning from a shoulder injury) and that will be without Luis Severino (right latissimus dorsi strain) until mid-September.

But the Yankees also subtracted from their rotation, surprisingly sending 29-year-old lefty Jordan Montgomery — who was drafted by the Yankees in 2014, was pitching solidly (3.69 ERA) and was under team control next year — to the Yankees. Cardinals for 2021 Gold Glove center fielder Harrison Bader, who is on the injured list until possibly September. Although Bader hit .256 this season and has been out since late June with plantar fasciitis, he can help shore up the Yankees’ weakest defensive outfield position.

(Calling it emotional and strange to face his former teammates so soon, Montgomery threw five scoreless innings against the Yankees in a 1-0 win on Saturday.)

Although the baseball industry saw Montas as an upgrade over Montgomery, general manager Brian Cashman recently said he did not acquire Montas to then ship Montgomery. He said trading for Montas, who will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and trading Montgomery for Bader was done with the goal of “how we can best fly high to the best of our abilities when it matters most in October and which gives us the most quality options.”

Blake said that Montas was similar to Severino, “a bulldog on the mound who attacks you with power.” He added later: “For us, it’s a mid-to-mid-90s right-handed pitcher with a full arsenal that can shut down righties and lefties. It just fits right in at the top of our rotation and gives us another guy that we feel confident with going into the postseason.”

Montas, originally signed out of his native Dominican Republic with the Boston Red Sox, found his footing with the Athletics after being traded several times. In six years in Oakland, Montas was 35-30 with a 3.70 ERA over nearly 538 innings, was suspended 80 games in 2019 for a performance-enhancing drug and threw more than 180 innings in a season just once (in 2021, with a 3.37 ERA). ).

Before joining the Yankees, Montas had a 3.18 ERA in 104⅔ innings this season. His first impression didn’t go well, but as they plan for October, the Yankees will need to round Montas into shape.

“This is the best team right now, you know?” he said. “They have a good culture and a really good group right here. I’m really excited to be here.”

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