Montgomery delivers start the Yankees’ weary bullpen had to have

Montgomery delivers start the Yankees’ weary bullpen had to have

Before the Yankees trounced the Blue Jays, 9-1, at the Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Aaron Boone offered a blunt assessment of the state of his bullpen.

Abbreviated starts from CC Sabathia (4.1 innings) and Sonny Gray (3.1 innings) on back-to-back days had left the Yankees bullpen in dire shape. Boone all but pleaded for a strong outing from lefthander Jordan Montgomery, who took the mound for Saturday’s home matinee.

“For our bullpen to be what we know they are,” Boone said before the game, “we’ve got to be able to protect them with innings from our starters.”

Montgomery delivered.

The 25-year-old southpaw allowed just one earned run over six solid innings, weaving his way in and out of trouble with a crisp, diving changeup, a sharp curveball and consistent fastball command. Montgomery did allow three walks, one of which led to a run in the fifth inning, but he struck out five and came through with huge outs in high-leverage situations to limit the damage.

“He was great,” Boone said after the win. “Really proud of his effort.”

It was Montgomery’s best start of the season and helped steady a rotation littered with question marks 19 games into this 2018 season. Masahiro Tanaka (6.92 ERA) has allowed six earned runs in consecutive starts, and Gray (8.92 ERA) is completely lost, leading some to question whether the haul the Yankees sent to the A’s last season was truly worth it.

But if Montgomery can be the pitcher he was Saturday, the Yankees’ rotation looks considerably better, with Sabathia returning from the disabled list and Luis Severino, who starts Sunday, continuing to pitch like an ace.

“He’s hard to hit,” Boone said of Montgomery. “He has a knack for making pitches.”

With plenty of help from his offense, Jordan Montgomery helps give bullpen a break with strong outing.

With plenty of help from his offense, Jordan Montgomery helps give bullpen a break with strong outing.

(Julie Jacobson/AP)

After a perfect opening two innings, Montgomery pitched himself into a bases loaded jam in the third when he walked Steve Pearce on six pitches. But he responded by striking out Teoscar Hernandez swinging in the next at-bat, burying a curveball into the dirt on 3-2, before forcing No. 3 hitter Yangervis Solarte into a pop up to end the inning.

Montgomery cruised through the fourth before encountering another threat in the fifth. He issued a leadoff walk to the struggling Randal Grichuk, who entered the game hitting .088. Montgomery then allowed back-to-back singles to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Pearce, which brought home the Jays’ first run of the game.

“Can’t walk Grichuk on four pitches,” Montgomery said.

Again, though, Montgomery battled. With runners on first and third and nobody out, the lefthander struck out Hernandez in a second straight at-bat, this time on three pitches. He then retired Solarte and Kendrys Morales, protecting a 2-1 Yankee lead.

“I was really impressed,” catcher Austin Romine said of Montgomery’s performance under pressure. “There’s a better demeanor about him this year. Not that it was bad last year, but he’s got more confidence. He’s been in higher-leverage situations. So I think it speaks volumes for his character that he was able to keep the game slow and make pitches when he needed to.”

Montgomery spun a 1-2-3 sixth inning before the Yankees exploded for seven runs in the bottom half. Boone said he was considering sending Montgomery back out for the seventh inning considering his hampered bullpen, but because the bottom of the sixth dragged on for 35 minutes, he opted to bring in reliever Chasen Shreve instead.

“It looked like he was tired, and he comes out and has a really clean, really fast sixth inning,” Boone said. “It was huge. It was a huge effort and one obviously we really needed.”

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet
Devils season ends with 3-1 loss to Lightning in Game 5

Devils season ends with 3-1 loss to Lightning in Game 5

In the end, defeating the top team in the East was simply too much of an ask for the Devils, whose season will be remembered as one of progress and returning to the playoffs ahead of schedule.

The Devils seem to have a bright future, something they can take solace in during the offseason. In the short-term, the pain of losing this first-round series to the Lightning 4-1 after dropping Game 5 Saturday afternoon in Tampa, 3-1, will be at the forefront of their minds.

The what-ifs will especially weigh heavily, though even if they had gone the Devils way it might not have changed much. Those what-ifs being how Sami Vatanen, who left late in the first period in Game 4 with an upper-body injury suffered on a Nikita Kucherov hit and missed Game 5, could’ve helped their chances; another being how differently Game 5 might’ve played out if they didn’t take so many penalties.

New Jersey had to kill off four penalties in the second period and another to begin the third, poor discipline keeping the puck on the Lightning’s sticks. The Devils had hope because of Cory Schneider, who after a trying season regained his form in this series. He made 18 saves in the second, 11 of which came on Tampa Bay power plays, while New Jersey had just four shots in the second.

With Schneider on the bench for an extra attacker, Kyle Palmieri cut the deficit to one with 3:00 remaining but the Devils couldn’t find another goal to extend their season before ex-Ranger Ryan Callahan’s empty-netter.

John Hynes can’t be second-guessed for going with Keith Kinkaid to begin the series given Kinkaid’s play down the stretch and that Schneider hadn’t won a game since Dec. 27, but it’s hard not to wonder if Schneider could’ve stolen one of the first two games of the series had he started and played this well. He entered in the middle of Game 2 and stopped 113 of 119 shots in the series after making 35 saves Saturday.

Brian Gibbons and the Devils couldn't overcome costly penalties in Game 5 loss in Tampa Saturday.

Brian Gibbons and the Devils couldn’t overcome costly penalties in Game 5 loss in Tampa Saturday.

(Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Schneider stopped two more shots on Tampa Bay’s fifth power play early in the third, and the Devils never had a man-advantage of their own until 9:02 of the third. They went a stretch of 11:57 without a shot until Will Butcher put a long wrister on net which was no trouble for Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Kucherov provided the dagger with 7:33 left in the game, putting the Lightning up 2-0 on a shot from the blue line which got through J.T. Miller and Mirco Mueller, who replaced Vatanen, in front.

Tampa Bay’s first goal came from Mikhail Sergachev at 8:07 of the first period after a fierce forecheck against Travis Zajac and Andy Greene, the two players left from the Devils team which reached the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, forced a turnover behind the New Jersey net. Sergachev’s shot found its way in through a handful of bodies obstructing Schneider’s vision.

The Devils’ season ends with them scoring just twice over their final two games, Taylor Hall unable to recreate the magic which dragged them into the playoffs and lifted them to a Game 3 win. The MVP candidate’s first taste of the playoffs came and went in two weeks.

If trajectory holds, there will be more postseasons ahead for Hall and the Devils. For now, they lament their feel-good season coming to a close.

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet
Stallone sways Trump to consider pardon for boxer Jack Johnson

Stallone sways Trump to consider pardon for boxer Jack Johnson

Rocky Balboa’s latest fight isn’t taking place in a ring.

Actor Sylvester Stallone phoned President Trump on Saturday, encouraging the President to posthumously pardon boxing legend Jack Johnson.

Johnson, who became the first black heavyweight champion of the world in 1908, spent a year in prison thanks to a racially motivated conviction by an all-white jury.

He was charged with transporting a white woman across state lines for “immoral purposes.”

A 1932 FILE PHOTO

Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, spent a year in prison for transporting a white woman across state lines for “immoral purposes.”

(AP)

Johnson died in 1946.

Trump tweeted Saturday that Stallone, famous for playing the fictional Balboa in seven films, turned him on to Johnson’s tale.

“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson,” Trump wrote. “His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial.”

Advocates, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have petitioned the Justice Department to move forward with a pardon for Johnson for years.

“Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Tags:
sylvester stallone
donald trump

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet
White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar suffers brain hemorrhage

White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar suffers brain hemorrhage

White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar is in critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage during Friday night’s game, the club announced Saturday.

Farquhar had passed out in the dugout during the sixth inning and was rushed to a local hospital during Chicago’s home game against the Astros.

“Tests have revealed that Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage during the sixth inning of (Friday) night’s game,” the White Sox said in a statement, “and additional overnight testing at RUSH University Medical Center revealed that a ruptured aneurysm caused the brain bleed.”

The 31-year-old pitcher is continuing to receive treatment in the neurosurgical IC unit at the medical center. The team said he is being closely monitored by Dr. Demetrius Lopez and the neurosurgical team at RUSH.

“The White Sox will provide additional updates on Farquhar’s health over the coming days as appropriate, but the club also asks that you respect the privacy of the Farquhar family at this time.”

Farquhar had recorded the last two outs of the top of the sixth before the incident occurred. He was attended to by team medical personnel and on-site EMTs.

“Baseball gets pushed to the side when something like that happens,” right-hander James Shields said after the game. “You never want a teammate to go down or anybody for that matter. Our prayers are with him. We got some good news that he’s responding. We’ll know a little more later, but hopefully, he’s all right.”

The White Sox announced after the game that Farquhar had regained consciousness before he was taken to the hospital for further testing.

With The Associated Press’s game, the club announced Saturday.

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage during Friday's game.

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage during Friday’s game.

(Carlos Osorio/AP)

Farquhar had passed out in the dugout during the sixth inning and was rushed to a local hospital during Chicago’s home game against the Astros.

“Tests have revealed that Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage during the sixth inning of (Friday) night’s game,” the White Sox said in a statement, “and additional overnight testing at RUSH University Medical Center revealed that a ruptured aneursym caused the brain bleed.”

The 31-year-old pitcher is continuing to receive treatment in the neurosurgical IC unit at the medical center. The team said he is being closely monitored by Dr. Demetrius Lopez and the neurosurgical team at RUSH.

“The White Sox will provide additional updates on Farquhar’s health over the coming days as appropritate, but the club also asks that you respect the privacy of the Farquhar family at this time.”

“Baseball gets pushed to the side when something like that happens,” right-hander James Shields said after the game. “You never want a teammate to go down or anybody for that matter. Our prayers are with him. We got some good news that he’s responding. We’ll know a little more later, but hopefully, he’s all right.”

Farquhar had recorded the last two outs of the top of the sixth before the incident occurred. He was attended to by team medical personnel and on-site EMTs.

The White Sox announced after the game that Farquhar had regained consciousness before he was taken to the hospital for further testing.

With The Associated Press

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet