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Jordan Montgomery Explains Difficulty of Playing for Yankees: 'Pinstripes Are Heavy'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 13, 2022

Scott Kane/Getty Images

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who was traded from the New York Yankees to the Redbirds in August, went on the R2C2 podcast and explained the difficulties of pitching for the Yankees.

R2C2 @R2C2

We had to get <a href="https://twitter.com/Gumbynation34?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GumbyNation34</a>’s raw reaction to the Yankees trade and how unleashing his fastball has led to early domination with the Cardinals. Full episode is live! 📺🎧 <a href="https://t.co/0a4lt9d4gc">pic.twitter.com/0a4lt9d4gc</a>

"I was always worried about getting booed off the mound in New York," Montgomery told ex-Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and broadcaster Ryan Ruocco, per Justin Tasch of the New York Post.

"The pinstripes are heavy. Not everyone can handle it. I feel like I handled it OK. I could’ve been better, but there was a lot of things going into that I guess. But here [in St. Louis], I’m just being myself and pitching the way I want to. I guess the fans have kind of embraced me so far."

Montgomery is thriving in St. Louis, going 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 0.90 WHIP through seven starts.

His outings include a one-hitter against the Chicago Cubs and five shutout innings in a 1-0 win over his old team. Montgomery has allowed one run or fewer in six of seven starts.

The left-hander, who played at USC, may have turned into a bona fide All-Star in St. Louis. However, he did well in pinstripes, going 22-20 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in five-plus seasons.

Montgomery had a 3.69 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the Yanks this year before being moved to the Cardinals in a deal that sent outfielder Harrison Bader to New York.

Still, Montgomery is much-improved in St. Louis, and he credits increased faith in his fastball as one of the reasons.

"I didn’t really have much faith in my heater at the Yankees," Montgomery said.

"I had been told that it wasn’t that good compared to my other pitches and if I was gonna get hit, it was gonna be on a curveball or changeup, which isn’t how you can pitch."

However, renewed confidence in his heater has led to more options when facing a hitter, specifically with two strikes.

"So if I got two strikes on a guy, he was probably auto-taking because I was gonna throw a curveball or a changeup. He was trying to just foul a changeup off or see a curveball down. I’m throwing my fastball in two-strike counts, I’m throwing anything in any count now, so it’s definitely opened up."

New York's loss has ultimately been St. Louis' gain, as the Cardinals have gone 7-0 in Montgomery's starts. Thanks in part to his efforts, the 83-58 NL Central leaders have an eight-game lead on the second-place Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cardinals appear well-positioned to succeed in the playoffs with a powerful lineup led by Triple Crown candidate Paul Goldschmidt, a rotation buoyed by Montgomery, Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas and a bullpen backed by closer Ryan Helsley.

Montgomery's next turn on the hill will occur Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

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