Game 110: Sinking the Mariners

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The Yankees get yet another comeback win against the Mariners to assure the series win! Things are looking pretty great in Yankee World right now. They’ve won their last 5 games in a row and are 10-2 since that Red Sox series we don’t want to talk about.

To the takeaways:

Heaney has a rocky start but delivers

There has been a lot of talk about the Heaney acquisition, and not in a good way. He’s most definitely not a great pitcher but they acquired him for this: eat innings and deliver a still winnable game. Today he did just that, after a rocky start allowing 4 runs in the first two frames he settled down and gave the Yankees a much needed 6 innings and 4 runs. He even struck out the side in his last inning of work!

The overall line: 6 innings, 4 runs (all earned), and 9 strikeouts while allowing 4 hits and 3 walks. Not an out-of-this-world good performance, but solid. He kept the game reachable for the offense. Personally, I’ll take that most of the time from him.

He was also a little bit lucky, the M’s hit a ton of balls hard today. Take a look at this:

Exit velo’s against Heaney taken from Baseball Savant

That’s a lot of red there, those numbers work out for an average exit velo of 95.4(!!!) against him. The weird thing was, thanks to launch angles and hit directions, those hard hit balls didn’t carry too much trouble. The M’s offense combined for a measly .195 xBA against Heaney. A lot of hard-hit balls, but right at people luckily.

Another interesting tidbit is that Heaney has a very clear plan of attack. Check it out:

Heaney’s Pitch Chart taken from Baseball Savant

He busts fastballs up and away on righties while keeping the curve down and in. The changeup looks like he wanted it to throw it down in the zone but didn’t manage to, that explains most of his hard-hit balls against because that pitch had a ridiculous average exit velo against of 103.4 (!!!) mph. You couple that with no swings and misses or called strikes on the changeup, and it’s easy to say that was a big part of the problem today.

The offense scuffled against Flexen but came back to life in the 6th

First things first, Flexen doesn’t have the best stuff ever, but he was commanding all of his pitches pretty well. Overall, his pitch chart looked like this:

Flexen’s Pitch Chart taken from Baseball Savant

A lot of pitches painting the borders and very few in the middle. Even without the greatest stuff, he mirrored the 4-seamer with the cutter to different borders, and he seems to be into the Giolito-like high changeup that he threw in the same general area of the fastball letting the velo-difference do the work. Even with average stuff that is tough to hit.

Through the first 5 innings, he allowed just an Aaron Judge majestic bomb in the first on a curve down that was golfed into the left-field bleachers. The necessary evidence:

In the sixth, they finally got to him for good. Big G started it off hitting one of those high change’s to left field for a line-drive single. And then, Rougned did this:

He also went down and golfed a low changeup this time for the short-porchiest of short porch homers this season. I’ll definitely take that thank you very much. That took Flexen out of the game and allowed the Yankees to do some damage against the M’s bullpen.

A Haniger error on a Gleyber bloop to RF (that was very very much an Orioles-like play we saw in the last series) allowed him to take third. Higgy immediately blasted a 108.9 mph double and brought him in to tie the game. Finally, as hoodied Matt said the Yankees went up in the most 2021 Yankees way possible:

Seriously, take a look:

In what looked like yet another double-play RISP-fail by the Yankees offense, they managed to take take the lead. That made me laugh a little (even though I’m really done with all the double plays this season).

Clay Holmes is naaasty.

Holmes looks like a righty version of Zack Britton right now, getting either K’s or groundouts. He has a ton of talent, which was evident since he was on the Pirates. The problem for him was the command, although in his small sample Yankee stint so far that hasn’t been an issue at all.

He’s yet to allow his first walk for the Yanks, and today he threw 15 pitches and only three were clear balls. I’m not ready to say that the guy with the career 14.4 BB% has magically found pristine command now, but it’s definitely a thing to watch for the future. Even a slight upgrade in command would make him a really big weapon out of the pen.

Today, he struck out the side looking in the 7th and got the first groundout of the 8th. He was Bartolo Colón-ing backdoor two-seamers without a fear in the world against the M’s hitters. Look at these beauties:

He also got some love from the Pitching Ninja himself:

The quality of the stuff is pretty evident. And he’s been focusing on the sinker-slider combo as this random dude said when he got acquired:

Hey, sometimes we get one right!

Anyways, I’m absolutely loving what I’m seeing from Holmes and hope he keeps it up!

Leftovers

  • Loaisiga got the save with just 8 pitches, allowing two easy grounders and a lazy flyball out to Gallo in LF. Loaisiga: still very much awesome!
  • Brett Gardner really wanted a replay when he was called out in a force out at second in the 8th, take a look at this awesome way to ask for a replay:

LMAO, he might not be playing really well but he still gives 200% for this team.

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10 Comments

  1. Moooooooooooooose

    Jaime!!

    • Moooooooooooooose

      Great call on Holmes thus far. Can i get you on retainer to scout the future leagues of my unborn child?

  2. Marek

    Was at the Stadium today and enjoyed the win. Seager’s homer was a short porch cheapie – if Judge had been playing RF he might have made the play – so I was pleased when Odor got one (two!) back the same way.
    As already stated, if they hadn’t had so many crap games in the first half of the season they’d be at the top of the division. Maybe they’ll catch up!

    • MikeD

      No chance Judge, or anyone, would catch that home run.

      I initially thought the fan in the front row might have blocked Stanton, but the replay shows that the ball flew into the next row. Wasn’t catchable.

  3. DZB

    Sort of amazing to see the standings for the entire AL at this point given that a few fewer blown leads and the NYY could have been right up there near the top. One loss behind Boston is particularly amazing after where they were, but still makes me think too much of what could have been. Let’s hope they can play well enough that I no longer look back with regrets.

  4. dasit

    odor and holmes: two more examples of why we should never doubt the pro scouting department

  5. Joey Galleddardo

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Jamie. This club is reminding me a lot of the ’09 club with the deep lineup, great pitching and penchant for comebacks. And except for Gen Z we all know what happened in ’09. Heaney had a rough start. The 0-2 pitch to Seager in the first was the worst 0-2 pitch I’ve ever seen. But give the guy credit, it’s hard to keep a good man down. The Yankees probably have the best analytics department in baseball history. The scored on Heaney and Clay Holmes. Both have great peripherals and Joley has looked great as well. Stanton is hot, Judge is hot, Rizzo has turned into a pumpkin but the breaks our finally going our way with the dropped fly ball and DP that scored a run.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re headed straight to the postseason and then the World Series. Sox are sinking like a stone. We’ll catch the Rays by month’s end. Jays are probably our biggest threat but this is the best Yankee ballclub we’ve had in my lifetime.

    • Jshep12

      Were you not alive in 2017? 2009? This team still can’t hit itself out if a wet paper bag and it’s pitching staff only has 4 starters and one of them is Heaney! This team is playing well right now, but until they get healthy and start to hit with RISP, they’re pretty average.

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