A promising start from Derek Holland fell to pieces in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee at the hands of a second-string Yankees squad that made the Giants first-string squad appear in over their heads.
Missing a baker’s dozen of players on the injury list, including marquee names like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Troy Tulowitzki, New York bats bludgeoned Holland in a single cringeworthy inning, while veteran southpaw J.A. Happ muted San Francisco bats for seven strong to take a 6-4 victory over the Giants.
In the early innings Holland (L, 1-4, 5.34 ERA) was efficient, tossing just 48 pitches through the first four innings. So the run he allowed in the third on a walk that came back to haunt him was, for all appearances, no nail in the coffin.
But everything came crashing down around Dutch in a 34-pitch fifth inning, during which the Yankees batted him around mercilessly before Gary Sánchez ultimately put a comeback well out of the Giants reach.
Holland loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a LeMahieu walk, prompting skipper Bruce Bochy to heat up Trevor Gott in the ‘pen, though the southpaw had thrown just 60 pitches. With one out, Holland plunked Luke Voit to force home a run and bring Sánchez to the plate, but Bochy didn’t yet pull the plug on Dutch’s afternoon, which ultimately spelled doom for the Giants chances.
The manager took responsibility for the catastrophe that followed:
“I tried to get him through the inning, that’s my fault. I had Gott up in the ‘pen, but it looked like [Holland] still had his stuff, [and was] making good pitches against those guys, so I gave him a chance to get through this and he made a mistake there twice on one-two and that did damage. That was me showing some confidence in Holly.”
With that, New York’s catcher launched a 90-mph, middle-in sinker deep into the left-centerfield bleachers (7) with a 110.8-mph exit velocity for a grand slam, burying San Francisco in a 6-0 hole.
Giants starters have struggled to get through the opposing dugout’s lineup the third time in 2019, and that may have played a part Saturday.
“I took this one, I own it–trying to get him through that. I look back and that’s a game I wish I would have brought Gott in, but I’ve also seen Holland make good pitches and get out of jams like that with his experience.”
At just 78 pitches and with not much left to lose, Bochy let Holland get out of the inning on his own, and 14 pitches later he got his team off the field, putting an end to his afternoon.
Holland said the pitch to Sánchez was located where he and Buster Posey meant to put it–Holland doublechecked the film later–but he felt he pitched too much on the inner-half of the plate during the outing Saturday, giving the Yanks the opportunity to adjust accordingly. He said:
“[The pitch] was in a good spot, just obviously he was waiting for it and it’s kind of easy to just look one side of the plate if that’s where you’re at the whole time, so that’s on me. I gotta do a better job of executing more [pitches] away.”
Happ (W, 1-2, 4.68 ERA), meanwhile, shut out the Giants, holding them to five hits over seven innings and never allowing more than two in a frame.
The orange and black finally got on the board with a pair of dingers—a three-run shot from Yangervis Solarte (1), and a solo jack from Erik Kratz (1)—in the ninth off of Luis Cessa, prompting Yankees manager Aaron Boone to bring in elite closer Aroldis Chapman (S, 5, 0-1, 2.38 ERA).
Holland said the way his teammates scratched and clawed back made defeat even more bitter in some ways. He said:
“That’s why I’m upset the most, those guys fought back and they put up the runs and you take away that grand slam and it’s probably a different ballgame for sure.”
Chapman shut the door on the San Francisco, assuring a series victory ahead of the series finale.
“One pitch takes you out of the game. That’s something I was always told by an old pitching coach–you know you’re one pitch away from greatness and one pitch from humility, this was just one of those times it was humility.”
The Giants close out the three-game interleague series with the Yanks at Oracle Park Sunday. Dereck Rodríguez (3-2, 3.54 ERA) will toss the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. as he takes on New York righty Domingo Germán (4-1, 1.75 ERA).
Outfielder Steven Duggar had Saturday off after tripping over the visiting bullpen mound beyond the right-field foul line as he chased down a flyball in the first inning of Friday’s matchup and landed awkwardly on his right wrist. He said:
“I peeked early and I thought I had another two steps before I hit [the mound] and I just felt my right toe kind of clip that
backpart of that mound and after that I just kind of fell. [My wrist] was just really sore this morning, I had a hard time trying to move it around but it’s been better throughout the day so that’s good.”
Bochy and Duggar both said Saturday morning radiographs were negative for any significant injury, though they had divergent opinions as to the plan for Sunday. Duggar said he expects to play, but according to Bochy, the 24-year-old is likely to have the day off.