2017-08-15 23:46:03
Yankees 5, Mets 4: Sonny Gray Gets First Win With Yankees at the Mets’ Expense

23:46, August 15 206 0

A simple truth in baseball is that the healthiest starting rotations are often the most effective. The logic is straightforward: The starter holds the ball more than anyone else on the field and thus controls the game.

The Yankees and the Mets, two teams going in different directions, provide a fitting case study of this truism and the lengths that certain teams will go to address it. Going into the Yankees’ 5-4 win on Tuesday, only three teams had relied on more starting pitchers this season than the Mets, who have used 12. The Yankees were a step behind with 11 starters.

Before the season began, the Mets appeared to have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, along with depth behind it. But that notion soon crumbled, as injuries and poor performance ruined their National League playoff chances.

The Yankees, who sit atop the American League wild-card standings, also suffered injuries but took immediate action to address them, such as acquiring Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia.

“It’s really become important now just because of the injuries that we’ve had,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “When you talk about spring training and you go to camp and people said, ‘You have five healthy starters.’ Well, you’d better have nine or 10.”

Gray, the Yankees’ marquee addition at the July 31 nonwaiver deadline, won his first game in pinstripes on Tuesday, this time getting the run support that eluded him in his previous two starts.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez hit home runs off Jacob deGrom, the Mets’ ace and the only one of their starters not to land on the disabled list this season. DeGrom coughed up five runs over seven and a third innings.

With a power-hitting lineup backing him, Gray tossed six stout innings, allowing his only runs when the Mets’ rookie first baseman Dominic Smith hit his first homer, an opposite-field, two-run blast in the seventh inning.

Yankees relievers Tommy Kahnle and Dellin Betances held the Mets scoreless for two innings, and then closer Aroldis Chapman gave up a two-run homer to Amed Rosario before inducing groundouts from Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares to end the game. Chapman grimaced as he came off the mound to cover first base on the final out, but it was unclear whether he was injured.

When the teams switch venues from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field on Wednesday, the Yankees will turn to Garcia, another rotation Band-Aid acquired via trade. The Mets, on the other hand, will watch the revolving door of their pitching staff spin again.

Seth Lugo, who was originally scheduled to start opposite Garcia, landed on the disabled list on Tuesday with what the Mets called an impingement in his right shoulder. He had been pitching with a partly torn elbow ligament this season.

To take his place, the Mets activated starter Robert Gsellman, who has been out since late June with a strained left hamstring. Gsellman made four minor league rehabilitation starts and was nearing a return anyway.

While Gsellman was back, the Mets still had several other rehabilitation schedules to juggle. Closer Jeurys Familia, who has been on the disabled list since mid-May because of surgery for blood clots, was slated to begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday. Starter Matt Harvey, out since mid-June with a stress injury in his right scapula, was set to make his second minor league rehabilitation start the same day, with short-season Class A Brooklyn.

Noah Syndergaard, whose injury was arguably the biggest setback to the Mets’ season, is further behind than Harvey, but took another step toward his return. On Tuesday, he threw off the mound for the first time, a 20-pitch bullpen session, since tearing his right latissimus on April 30.

“I felt really good,” he said. “It felt like I didn’t take any time off.”

While Syndergaard’s return to the major leagues is many weeks away, he and Mets Manager Terry Collins said it would be important for him to return before this lost season is over.

“Regardless of what our future is the rest of the season, I haven’t pitched in a game since April 30, so I don’t want to just shut it down for the rest of the season,” Syndergaard said, adding later: “I definitely want to go out there. I’m getting anxious.”

The Mets are not alone with injuries. The Yankees, who are without starters C. C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka, also placed a starter on the disabled list before Tuesday’s game.

Luis Cessa, who exited his start early on Monday, was found to have a rib-cage injury after a magnetic resonance imaging examination. Girardi said Cessa was suffering from muscle discomfort that extended into his upper back.

A recent bullpen session by Sabathia, who has been out since Aug. 9 with knee inflammation, was encouraging. Girardi said the Yankees hoped Sabathia could return from the disabled list when Cessa’s next turn in the rotation came up this weekend.

INSIDE PITCH

Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, who had right ankle surgery in mid-July, told reporters that he was set to begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment on Wednesday with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Joe Girardi said Bird has looked “really good” in batting practice. … The Mets acquired outfielder Travis Snider from the Texas Rangers, and assigned him to Class AAA Las Vegas. Snider, 29, a former first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006, was hitting .294 with the Rangers’ Class AAA affiliate.