CHICAGO — At one point on Friday night, Gleyber Torres simply walked up to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and put his arm around his shoulder. Torres has been there and understands the pressure of being the Yankees’ shortstop very well. Kiner-Falefa had a bad defensive phase, accused of three errors in the two previous games in which he started and, on Saturday, he made a big mistake in baserunning.
The Yankees tied the game at the top of the ninth inning when Joey Gallo led with a walk against Liam Hendriks and advanced to third place on Kiner-Falefa’s single. Gallo scored on Kyle Higashioka’s sacrificial fly, but Kiner-Falefa killed the rally by being sent off at third base. DJ LeMahieu left to finish the entrance. The White Sox came out of the 3-2 win at the bottom of the inning.
“Anytime you have your big guys with runners in scoring position, you can’t get kicked out in that situation,” Kiner-Falefa said. “It was a dumb play and a bad read and I’m going to learn from it and it won’t happen again.”
This comes on top of their recent defensive struggles.
Friday night, he could have been charged with two mistakes. Kiner-Falefa has a rating of -1 defensive runs saved in Saturday night’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Park. He’s in the bottom 36th percentile in above-average outs.
With one out on the first Friday, Kiner-Falefa kicked Luis Robert’s ground ball and then hit it as he tried to catch it and what should have been a double-play turned into a base-carrying situation for Gerrit Cole. . The Yankees ace got them out of this. On Friday, he didn’t. The shortstop sailed a throw to the first high, allowing Robert to take the lead of the inning. Kiner-Falefa didn’t miss the play, but the next hitter, Sheets, scored.
This reduced the Yankees’ lead to 7-3 and Kiner-Falefa immediately ducked his head and Torres moved in to pat him on the back.
That came just after Kiner-Falefa made two mistakes Tuesday night against the Blue Jays — and was off duty the next day. On Saturday, however, Aaron Boone got him back in there with no worries about that snowball on top of him.
“No no. Because I think he’s so dynamic and athletic that he’s going to get through it,” Yankees coach Aaron Boone said. “Look, the pieces he didn’t do last night, he has to do those two, but I I think there’s a bit of a field element to what was going on. It’s very smooth out there and seeing it on both sides is just really tricky jumps out there. So I think that contributed to that. Now you have to get around that. …But no, I’m not worried about that. In the long run, he’s going to get over it and this athletics will continue to show up like it does for most of the year.”