After an ugly loss in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Yankees were looking to get back to their winning ways in front of the ESPN viewing crowd. While Luis Severino did his part with seven scoreless innings, Michael Kopech was perfect for 5.2 innings on his way to matching that length, and the Yankee bullpen blew the tie in disappointing fashion. The Chicago White Sox were able to complete their doubleheader sweep and series victory, punctuated by a Tim Anderson home run. It was the Yankees’ first series loss since Easter.
Severino was coming off a very strong outing against the Baltimore Orioles. He picked up right where he left off, striking out Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert swinging in a dominant first inning before allowing a mere Gavin Sheets single in the second. Keeping the White Sox off the board felt especially important considering the fairly lackluster bottom half of the lineup, which was affected by Joey Gallo’s COVID-IL stint and the doubleheader itself.
Kopech was able to stifle the Yankee bats in his last start but got a loss due to a whopping four walks. Through the first inning, he didn’t show any issues in that realm, dominating the top of the lineup, including striking out Aaron Judge looking. It would be a running trend.
Kopech made incredibly quick work of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Marwin Gonzalez, and Rob Brantly in the third. The first time through the Yankees batting order took him only 32 pitches, and he remained perfect through five innings. He dispatched DJ LeMahieu, Judge, and Anthony Rizzo in the fourth on eight pitches, though the Yankees nearly got their first hit in the fifth when Estevan Florial hit a screaming line drive that Moncada was able to catch at third.
Meanwhile, Severino faced two on with one out in the third after a ball after Anderson appeared to hit a ball into his foot, but it was ruled an infield single when a foul wasn’t called. Severino also slipped while running to try to field the ball, but didn’t suffer any injury. Oddly, pitching coach Matt Blake was thrown out of the game after apparently arguing the call. A fielder’s choice and strikeout ended the Chicago threat, and while Sevy plunked José Abreu with a pitch to start the top of the fourth, he was erased from the bases when Yasmani Grandal hit into a double play. Sevy wasn’t looking as dominant and effective as Kopech, but he was still keeping the game scoreless.
Severino got into trouble to start the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs after two singles and a hit by pitch. The second single probably could have been caught by Florial, playing center field. But Anderson hit a ground ball to LeMahieu at third that he was able to throw to Brantly at home for a force out, then Rizzo was able to do the same following a Moncada ground ball. With rain starting to fall, Sevy then struck out Luis Robert swinging to complete the escape act, unleashing a well-deserved yell in the process.
Abreu led off the sixth inning with a double (that would have been a single had Judge not slipped on the grass while fielding the ball), but Severino once again bent and didn’t break. Grandal grounded out, moving Abreu to third base with one out, but Sevy struck Gavin Sheets swinging out, then induced a Leury García fly out to Florial.
With two outs in the sixth, the Yankees were finally able to break up Kopech’s perfect game. As we all expected, new addition Brantly hit a double into left-center field to give New York a baserunner. Unfortunately, LeMahieu wasn’t able to drive him in.
The Sox again threatened to score their first run in the seventh when they got two runners on the following singles from Andrew Vaughn and Anderson. Once again, Severino was able to work out of it by getting Reese McGuire, Moncada, and Luis Robert to fly out.
It was in the bottom of the seventh that Kopech finally looked human – he walked Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres with two outs. Unfortunately, the weaker half of the lineup proved to be an issue, as the rookie Florial couldn’t stop himself from swinging through multiple high fastballs and struck out.
Jonathan Loáisiga replaced Severino to start the eighth. Abreu kicked things off with an infield single that was very nearly an out – Torres ranged far to pick it up, but his throw was low and got past Rizzo at first base. Grandal struck out, and then Sheets somehow snuck a broken bat single right down the third base line with the Yankees defense shifted. García hit a hard line drive that looked destined for the outfield, but IKF made a leaping catch to nab it.
Just when it looked like Loáisiga might get out of it, Vaughn and Reese McGuire followed up with singles to make it 2-0, White Sox. He was replaced with Miguel Castro, who gave up the big hit to Anderson that felt predestined all day – a three-run home run to the porch, making it 5-0.
The only New York bullpen relief on the night came from newcomer David McKay, who made his pinstriped debut in the ninth and threw a clean inning. By then, though, it hardly mattered.
Matt Foster replaced Kopech in eighth, and the Yankees’ hitters still couldn’t muster anything. Then, the offense went down quietly in the ninth to close out their second series loss of the season. In 18 innings on the day, they scored just one single run, and none in the nightcap. Rough.
The Yankees begin yet another series with the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow at 7:05. Gerrit Cole will face Jordan Lyles on YES and try to snap the sudden mini-losing streak – hopefully with some help from the offense that didn’t avail itself to Severino or Jameson Taillon on Sunday.