June 18, 2024

Former Yankees starter Frankie Montas was on a roll, leading the Reds with a strong pitching effort.

The New York Yankees have had a good year in 2024, as they are tied with the Philadelphia Phillies for the best record in the MLB at 43-19 after 62 games. And it appears that turning things around after a disappointing 2023 isn’t unique to the current Yankees roster. Even former franchise members appear to be benefiting from the fresh start that a new season provides. Former Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas had one of his best performances of his career on Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Despite pitching away from home in Coors Field, one of the most hitter-friendly grounds in the MLB, Montas was on a run. He went seven innings, allowed one hit and two walks, struck out nine, and blanked the Rockies. And in doing so, the former Yankees pitcher created some history.

According to OptaSTATS on Twitter (X), Frankie Montas became the first visiting pitcher in MLB history to throw at least seven shutout innings at Coors Field, striking out at least nine and allowing no more than one hit.

Prior to his electrifying start in Coors Field on Tuesday, the 31-year-old former Yankees starter had not had a particularly good season. Montas was pitching for the Reds in 2024 with a 4.60 ERA, which was mostly supported by his terrible peripheral statistics. But with one standout outing, he reduced his ERA to 4.00.

Montas certainly has the velocity to confuse hitters on times, and it just so happened that he found his stride in a decisive 4-1 Reds victory, moving them to 28-33 on the season, just two games shy of the third Wild Card slot in the NL.

Frankie Montas pitches one of the best games of his career out of nowhere

As previously stated, Frankie Montas had an ERA in the high 4s entering Tuesday night. The Reds starter has struggled in his last few starts. Montas’ ERA over the last four games is 5.82, with 14 earned runs allowed in 21.2 innings of work. In fact, he has only allowed fewer than three runs in three of his ten starts this season, and one of those starts ended with only two outs due to an injury.

Montas’ peripherals on the mound have been poor as well. Prior to his masterpiece against the Rockies, he had only struck out 33 batters and walked 18 in 47 innings, for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.83, his lowest since 2017. Thus, his 4.60 ERA for the season was justified, as evidenced by his fielding-independent pitching of 5.07 and xFIP of 4.95.

But on Tuesday, Frankie Montas had everything together. In the first inning, it appeared that he would lead the Reds to victory with his fastball. He struck out two Rockies hitters with his heater in the first inning, laying the groundwork for his strong performance.

Overall, Montas struck out six with his fastball, one with his cutter, one with his splitter, and one with his slider, demonstrating his complete pitch mix. The Reds starter kept everyone off balance throughout the night, and as a result, he pitched the second-best game of his career in terms of game score, but it’s worth noting that he accomplished it all while pitching in Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly venue in the majors.

As good as Montas was, the Yankees are still in great shape

A's Pitcher Frankie Montas Is Suspended 80 Games - The New York Times

 

The Yankees acquired Frankie Montas from the Oakland Athletics in 2022 as part of their playoff preparations. However, Montas struggled while wearing the pinstripes. In eight starts with the Yankees in 2022, Montas had a 6.35 ERA in 39.2 innings. As a result, the Yankees called him up from the bullpen for the playoffs, where he tossed one inning.

Montas faced considerably more challenges in 2023. Last season, he pitched only 1.1 innings due to a shoulder ailment that necessitated surgery. Montas then entered free agency, and the Yankees released him, allowing the Reds to sign him to a one-year, $16 million agreement with a $20 million mutual option for 2025.

Despite losing Montas, the Yankees have thrived. Luis Gil and Clarke Schmidt have been outstanding, while Nestor Cortes, Carlos Rodon, and Marcus Stroman have all performed admirably, allowing the Yankees to hold the fort despite Gerrit Cole’s absence.

Now that Cole is getting closer to returning to the mound, things for the Yankees can only get better from here.

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