Pitching misery from Montas, Holmes hurt the Yankees again in walkoff loss.  What about October?

Pitching misery from Montas, Holmes hurt the Yankees again in walkoff loss. What about October?

MILWAUKEE – Eight starts in his Yankees career, Frankie Montas didn’t look like a No. 2 starter ready to enter the postseason as Gerrit Cole’s wingman.

In fact, Montas has outperformed a No. 5 starter on a non-competitor.

And that’s not how the Yankees envisioned their new right-hander, who continues to climb on their list of concerns.

Friday’s performance was arguably the most disturbing of all.

Montas led 5-0 early and descended on the mound, threw from behind and was eliminated in the fourth inning, enabling the Milwaukee Brewers to come back all the way.

“I know what I can do. I know what I’m capable of,” Montas said after the Brewers’ 7-6 win at American Family Field.

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A cause for concern

Clay Holmes did not regain his first half, All-Star form, and he delivered the winning run in the ninth, after Josh Donaldson’s tying homerun to lead off the visitor’s ninth inning.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, September 16, 2022 in Milwaukee.  (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, September 16, 2022 in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

But “I take the blame for the loss,” said Isiah Kiner-Falefa, whose 16th foul of the year at shortstop — a missed backhand attempt — allowed Milwaukee’s lead run in the eighth.

With 18 games to go, the Toronto Blue Jays came within 5.5 games of the first-place Yanks, who must be wondering where Montas fit in a postseason rotation.

Montas’ ERA with the Yankees is 6.35, after being charged with four runs in 3.1 innings on Friday.

Since taking over from the Oakland Athletics on trade deadline when he suffered from shoulder inflammation, Montas’s ERA has risen from 3.18 to 4.05.

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At one point in the second inning, amiable Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake made an animated mound visit, seemingly scolding Montas for his plodding pace.

The signature sinker stopped working, “nor did I feel like I had my splitter,” said Montas, consistently lagging behind in counting.

“Just struggling to find that consistency,” said manager Aaron Boone, who was ejected in the ninth inning, arguing – what else – a questionable third strike for Miguel Andujar.

Meanwhile, Montas walked four batters and two of them were unforgivable.

Frankie Montas: Things have to turn around

Leading 5-0, Montas walked Jace Peterson to open the second inning and eventually served a three-run homer to Willy Adames.

With 72 pitches to start the fourth inning, Montas was eventually pulled after walking rookie No. 9 hitter Garrett Mitchell, who hit .138 in his 14e career MLB game.

Of course, it was Mitchell’s ground single in the middle that gave Holmes the winning run.

Boone believes in Montas’ track record, and what else can he do at this point?

Montas doesn’t seem to lack confidence, just command.

“Things have to turn around, get better for me so I can go into the playoffs and show what I can do,” said Montas.

He probably has three regular season starts to get things back on track, against the Red Sox, Blue Jays (in Toronto) and Rangers.

Sorting the October rotation

But if the playoffs started today, will Montas be the No. 4 starter behind Cole, Nestor Cortes and Luis Severino?

After three minor league rehab, Severino will return to the Yankees’ rotation on Wednesday, at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with a limit of approximately 65 pitches.

Would Jameson Taillon ever get the nod for Montas? And remember, this was the organization that didn’t think Jordan Montgomery would be among their postseason starters, so they split him to St. Louis.

And is Domingo German, one of the seven relievers for the Yanks on Friday, on call in the bullpen in case Montas doesn’t have him in October?

This is the scenario Yankees Universe feared when the Yanks failed to secure their number 1 trade target, Luis Castillo, and landed on Montas.

And it didn’t come cheap, with highly regarded pitching prospects Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuk (along with JP Sears) in the deal.

Part of that prize was the ability to keep Montas under the control of the Yankees until next season, but they desperately need him now to get back to his old form.

Aaron Judge’s batting average is rising

With two hits, Aaron Judge (2-for-4) saw his run average increase to .311, in his outside run at the AL Triple Crown. After Friday’s game, Luis Arraez of Minnesota led the AL at .319.

Judge got another at bat and was walked once by the Brewers intentionally, with first base open and two outs in the third, while the slugger was left on 57 home runs – four behind Roger Maris’ single-season franchise and AL-record 61 .

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Jose Trevino (bruise of the right knee) and Marwin Gonzalez (dizziness) left Friday-evening’s game, while versatile rookie Oswaldo Cabrera (2-for-2, double, walk three) saw his first action at first base.

The Yankees are hoping Anthony Rizzo (back pain, migraine) will be activated as early as Sunday, after his practice on Friday, which includes hitting live against reliever Scott Effross (expected to activate Tuesday).

Trevino took a foul ball off his knee and played a few innings before being eliminated after the sixth. Boone was due to start Saturday with Kyle Higashioka and it was hoped Trevino would be available as a backup.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NY Yankees: Montas, Holmes grapple with loss to Brewers again

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