BOSTON – Frankie Montas said he “can’t wait” to take the mound at Fenway Park Saturday night.
The reasons are two-fold for the newest edition to the Yankees rotation.
There is, of course, the desire to quickly wipe away the taste of his first start as a Yankee: Sunday in St. Louis when Montas lasted all of three innings, giving up six runs in a 12-9 loss.
“I want to go out there and show them what I can do,” Montas said.
But there is also this, perhaps, first and foremost: Montas grew up in the Dominican Republic watching Yankees/Red Sox games on plenty of Sunday nights and other days of the week. He became hooked on the idea of one day experiencing “the energy and competitiveness” of the rivalry that he said more than came across on television.
Saturday brings that opportunity.
“I’m a really competitive guy,” Montas said Wednesday morning in the visitor’s clubhouse at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, looking ahead to his Saturday start at Fenway Park. “I like the big moments, the big games. I like the big crowds and the energy. So I’m really looking forward to that.”
Montas has limited experience pitching against the Red Sox – he’s 0-2 but with a 1.83 ERA in five career games (three starts) – with not much of that experience coming at Fenway. Montas has appeared in one game there -- April 29, 2019 when, as a member of the A’s, he allowed seven runs (one earned) and eight hits in a loss.
But the righthander said he “loves” Fenway and anticipates loving it even more as a member of the Yankees.
Montas, like many players who arrive to the Yankees from losing situations, feels reborn coming through the doors of a clubhouse where the expectations are to win on a daily basis as opposed to the complete opposite.
Montas felt the difference almost immediately upon reporting to the Yankees after being with an A’s team that has languished in last place (41-71 going into Thursday) in the AL West pretty much all season.
“This is the best team right now,” Montas said of the Yankees who, even with their recent struggles, took a 10-game lead over the Blue Jays in the AL East into Thursday. “So going from where I was to this is a big jump. It’s (what you want) as a player. It’s exciting.”
All of which made last Sunday’s debut so much of a disappointment for the 29-year-old. Though he was taking the mound for the first time in 11 days and arrived to the Yankees late Saturday night after being on bereavement leave following the death of his mother-in-law, those were not alibis in Montas’ eyes for his poor performance.
“You still have to go out and do your job,” Montas said.
It's a job Montas has done well far more often than not this season – 4-9 but with a 3.18 ERA when he got to the Yankees. And it, in his words “(ticked) me off” that his first impression Sunday wasn’t a good one when it came to results.
“Everybody knows when I was in Oakland I wasn’t really getting run support,” said Montas, who Sunday was unable to hold the 1-0 lead he was given after the first half-inning and the 4-1 lead he had after 1 ½ innings. “And here in my first one they scored runs right away and I’m (ticked) at myself. It’s like, I’m finally getting runs and I’m not performing at my best.”
Montas continued: “I didn’t have the results I wanted to have. I want to go out there Saturday and show these guys (new teammates) what I really can do. I want them to say, ‘that first one (last Sunday), that’s not really him.’ I want to show them who I am.”