When I watch the Derek Jeter documentary ‘The Captain’ on ESPN, especially the first few episodes, I can’t help but get nostalgic about the late 1990s early 2000s era of baseball. The intensity was different, particularly in the Bronx, when the Yankees were in the midst of their dynasty.
A’s fans know all too well about those teams. Just say the words ‘The Flip’ and folks will still shake their heads and rue that fateful October night in Oakland.
It seems like that rabid energy is back in the Bronx. A lot of it has to do with Aaron Judge’s chase of Roger Maris’ iconic 61-homer season in 1961. On Monday night he hit his 50th of the year in Anaheim. Not to mention the Yankees are 78-51 entering play Tuesday and have a comfortable seven-game lead atop the American League East.
Judge blasted a three-run shot on Friday in Oakland to send New York to a tight 3-2 win, as Gerrit Cole outdueled former Yankees farmhand JP Sears. Then the A’s wrapped up the four-game set by taking the last two games in style, starting with Saturday’s wild affair.
Adam Oller tossed eight innings of one-hit ball Saturday, before the Yankees scored the game’s first two runs in the top of the 10th. That set up Stephen Vogt’s epic game-tying two run shot in the bottom of the frame, before Lou Trivino was on the mound as DJ LeMahieu’s throwing error eventually gave the A’s the ballgame. Considering the 36,529 fans in attendance (shoutout to the Nickelodeon drone show after the game) and all the energy Yankees fans brought, it was probably the most entertaining contest of the year.
Sunday, the A’s honored their 2002 streak team (20 years already?! Damn.) before holding down the mighty Yanks offense once again in a 4-1 victory. A classic weekend at the Coliseum, for sure.
About the only thing missing was an appearance by former A’s right-hander Frankie Montas. Despite it being a four-game set and having a 80 percent chance of facing Frankie, the A’s didn’t get to see him because of the timing of New York’s rotation. He made a start right before the A’s series and didn’t step on the mound at the Coliseum smh.
You can toil in obscurity in Oakland. You’re not afforded the same luxury in the Bronx, where the scrutiny from fans and media rise to another level.
Frankie stepped into a pressure-loaded situation when the Yankees acquired him at the deadline, for a nice haul that included three intriguing pitchers and High-A infielder Cooper Bowman. It’s been about a month and we’ve already seen Sears outperform Montas to this point.
The 26-year-old Sears has put up great numbers in MLB (2.28 ERA) and Triple-A (2.32 ERA) and looks like a steal. The 24-year-old Ken Waldichuk is a strikeout machine, MLB.com’s No. 3 ranked southpaw prospect in the game and knocking on the door of the bigs. He struck out seven straight batters at one point during his last start. Luis Medina reportedly throws over 100, but is struggling with his walks at Double-A Midland.
Some Yankees fans are down bad after Montas’ latest performance, as he gave up three dingers in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels Monday, extending the California skid to three. Many were quick to label Frankie the next Sonny Gray.
I wanna love him so bad…. I don’t want him to be Sonny Gray 2.0 https://t.co/Iin9Swj3cC
— roseanne 🥀 (@HoodieFrazier) August 30, 2022
After the game, a reporter asked Frankie why he’s been so inconsistent with the Yankees.
“I keep throwing the same pitches,” Montas said. “A little bit of luck, I would say. I’m still working. I’m still going out there and trying to give my best.”
Through his first five starts in pinstripes, Montas has given up 20 earned runs in 25.2 innings (7.01 ERA) with a 1.52 WHIP and 20/7 K/BB ratio, nowhere close to the 3.18 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 109/28 K/BB ratio he had in 19 starts with the A’s to begin the year. Sears, meanwhile, has allowed six earned runs in 21.1 innings (2.53 ERA) across five starts with Oakland, though his 1.36 WHIP and 11/8 K/BB ratio leave a lot of room for improvement.
Five years ago, the Yankees acquired Gray at the deadline for current A’s starter James Kaprielian, former A’s infielder Jorge Mateo and former A’s outfielder Dustin Fowler. Gray fared pretty well with the Yankees down the stretch in 2017 but struggled to post a 4.90 ERA in 2018 while getting moved to the bullpen late in the year.
These Yankees fans below still clearly remember the 2018 Sonny.
Brian Cashman gets fleeced AGAIN any the A’s. Frankie Montas is the second coming of Sonny Gray. What a complete failure of a GM this bum is. Dear god Hal please fire this guy.
— DnO30 (@DdNo30) August 30, 2022
Seen enough of Montas, thr guy is a worse version of Sonny Gray.
He is utter garbage away from Oakland. Pure trash.
— 2022 Yankees Collapse Tour (@reality_based5) August 30, 2022
Montas has been even worse than Sonny Gray. Absolute tire fire.
— Koby Schechter 🦞♑️✡️💙💛🌻 (@koby_schechter) August 30, 2022
Frankie Montas making Yankees Sonny Gray look spectacular. Cashman continuing to fumble. I liked Montas but Castillo was the guy.
— Dan S (@DanStallone1) August 30, 2022
— IKFEEBLE (@AMSavage62) August 30, 2022
Sonny Gray > Frankie Montas Hell give us Carl Pavano at this point. This guy wants no part of Yankee Stadium in October. #RepBX
— Tony Staffiere 🐬 (@tonystaffiere) August 30, 2022
MF SONNY GRAY AGAIN LMAO pic.twitter.com/RZXzBu4wn3
— YAH II (Where tf the dawg go??? 💀💀💀 ) (@Yankees4lifeeee) August 30, 2022
For what it’s worth, Sonny made his second career All-Star team with the Cincinnati Reds in a resurgent 2019 campaign, so the bleacher creatures are probably bitter.
At least Frankie is still smiling and doesn’t seem like he’s getting eaten up by the machine in the Bronx. Then again, some Yankees fans might not like to see him seemingly disaffected after another bad start.
He struck out six and didn’t walk a batter Monday night but clearly got burned by his eight hits allowed. I thought Montas would shine in the Bronx spotlight and Trivino would shrink, but it’s been quite the opposite so far, as Lou has a 0.90 ERA in 12 appearances with the Yankees.
This is likely just the beginning of Montas’ relationship with the demanding Yankees fan base, as he doesn’t hit free agency until after the 2023 season. It’s still too early to declare any winner of the Montas trade, but the heat is already on for Frankie da Yankee.