Sumter's Montgomery finishes strong; waiting on NY's, his postseason fate

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 10/3/17

Jordan Montgomery ended his first regular season in Major League Baseball on a high note on Sunday. Now the Sumter native is just waiting to see if he has anymore season left.

The rookie left-handed pitcher started the New York Yankees' season …

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Sumter's Montgomery finishes strong; waiting on NY's, his postseason fate

Posted

Jordan Montgomery ended his first regular season in Major League Baseball on a high note on Sunday. Now the Sumter native is just waiting to see if he has anymore season left.

The rookie left-handed pitcher started the New York Yankees' season finale, pitching 5 1/3 innings of 1-run ball and getting a no decision in the Yankees' 2-1 loss to Toronto on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Now Montgomery has to wait and see if New York can win its American League wild card game against Minnesota today to advance to the AL Division Series against Cleveland. He won't be on the roster for today's game against the Twins since he just pitched on Sunday. Should the Yankees win though, he will be available for the ALDS against the Indians.

The 6-foot-6-inch, 225-pounder allowed just two hits and one walk against three strikeouts against the Blue Jays.

"Just the consistency of all of his pitches again," Yankees manager Joe Girardi responded about what impressed him with Montgomery in his postgame press conference posted on www.newyorkyankees.com. "I thought he had everything working for the most part today. And we knew we weren't going to extend him too far, but really he threw the ball extremely well."

You could always do better, but it's a fine start," Montgomery said in a New York Daily News story following the loss. "You definitely think of the big leagues and 'Oh wow, it's going to be hard,' and it lived up to that. I've just got to settle in and trust my stuff."

Montgomery, who won the Yankees' fifth starter job coming out of spring training after going to camp as a non-roster invitee, finished the regular season with a 9-7 win-loss record and a 3.88 earned run average in 29 starts. Montgomery pitched 155 1/3 innings, striking out 144 while allowing 140 hits and 51 walks.

"We're really encouraged by what he's done and the progress that he's made," Girardi said. "His schedule was somewhat interrupted in the middle because we were trying to cut back on his innings and I thought that he handled that really well. So I thought he had an impressive year."

The Yankees also acquired veteran starting pitchers Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia to give the starting rotation five vets coming down the stretch for the postseason. That limited Montgomery's pitching opportunities as well.

When he did get a chance to pitch down the stretch though, Montgomery performed well. The former Sumter High School, Sumter P-15's and University of South Carolina standout allowed just two runs in his final three starts covering 17 1/3 innings. He allowed just 12 hits and three walks -- one in each outing -- while striking out 14.

That strong finish came after a 4-game stretch in which he worked just 17 innings and gave up 13 runs.

Girardi said he was impressed with the way Montgomery maintained his composure when he did have difficulties.

"When he did have a bad start he was able to rebound," Girardi said. "The improvement of his slider I thought was pretty big for him down the stretch. For the most part, he was fastball, curveball, changeup. He had a slider, but he didn't throw it as much and I think that improved a lot."

Should the Yankees make it to the ALDS, Montgomery would more than likely be on the roster as a long reliever.

Girardi said Montgomery was under consideration for a roster spot should the Yankees advance, according to the Daily News.