CHICAGO – At one point, on a Friday night, Gleber Torres just walked up to Isiah Kinner-Falefa and put his hand around her shoulder. Torres has been there and understands the pressure of being a Yankees shortstop all too well. Kinner-Falefa has had a poor spell defensively, accusing him of three errors in the last two games and then on Saturday he made a major grounding mistake.
The Yankees tied the game at the top of the ninth inning when Joey Gallo led a walk against Liam Hendrix and moved to third on a single from Kiner-Falefa. Gallo scored on Kyle Higashioka’s sacrificial fly, but Kenner-Falefa killed the rally by being thrown out at third base. DJ Lemhieu ends the innings. The White Sox won 3–2 at the end of the innings.
“Whenever you mix your big guys with runners in a scoring position, you can’t get out there in that position,” Kiner-Falefa said. “It was a bonehead play and a bad read and I’ll learn from it and it won’t happen again.”
This comes on top of his recent defensive struggles.
On Friday night, he could be charged with two errors. Kinner-Falefa has a one-1 defensive run saved rating in Saturday night’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Park. He is in the lowest 36 percentile in above average outs.
With an out earlier on Friday, Kiner-Falefa booted a ground ball off Louis Robert and then tossed it as he tried to take it and double-play what should have been a base-loaded position for Gerrit Cole. Went. The Yankees ace knocked him out of that one. In the sixth, he could not. The shortstop carried a throw to first height, allowing Robert to advance through the innings. Kinner-Falefa was given no error in the play, but the next batsman, Sheets, was home.
It cut the Yankees’ lead to 7-3 and Kenner-Falefa immediately dropped her head and Torres went on to give her a pat on the back.
This came on the heels of Kinner-Falefa having two errors against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night – and getting discharged the next day. Saturday, however, Aaron Boone had him back there, no worries about this snowballing on him.
“No, no. Because I think he is so dynamic and athletic that he will recover from this,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “Look, the plays he didn’t do last night, he was trying to make both of them. But I think there’s a little bit of a field element that was going on. It’s really soft out there and it’s really hard to see it on either side. So I guess that played into it. Now you have to work around it. …but no, I’m not worried about it. In the long run he will get through this and continue to show athleticism as it is for most of the year.