After more than an hour rain delay, Mike Tauchman and Austin Romine decided to steal the show in the Yankees 9-4 victory of the Orioles. It’s late, so let’s get right to the takeaways:
Aaron Boone had little choice but to stretch out Jonathan Holder and Stephen Tarpley. I saw plenty of complaints on Twitter tonight about the skipper giving Holder and Tarpley too long of a leash. But really, what options did Boone have?
The Yankees bullpen situation going into tonight’s Jonathan Holder opener game pic.twitter.com/xtG98h8d8L— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) August 6, 2019
When it was all said and done, Holder, Tarpley, and Nestor Cortes combined for seven innings of work and allowed four runs. Really, you couldn’t ask for more from that trio. In particular, Cortes deserves some extra credit for stabilizing things. He pitched two-and-a-third clean innings in relief of Holder and Tarpley.
Now, there have been valid criticisms of Boone’s bullpen tactics in the past, but tonight wasn’t one of them. He was dealt a poor hand for this one. Really, the issue is that the Yankees do not have enough starting pitchers at the moment, a need they failed to address in the offseason and trade deadline.
Is there anything Mike Tauchman can’t do? First, Tauchman took Orioles’ starter Asher Wojciechowski deep to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second. Here’s the Tauchman dinger, his third in two days:
Tauchman’s wRC+ is up to 140 in 193 plate appearances, just like we all predicted.
The outfielder wasn’t done, though. In the 4th inning, he went airborne:
That leaping grab robbed Pedro Severino of a homer that would have cut the Yankees’ lead to 5-3.
Later, Tauchman pushed across an insurance run in the 8th inning. He ripped a double down the left field line to push the lead to 7-4 at the time. On the first pitch to the next batter, he swiped third base with ease.
In the spirit of the next man up mentality, Austin Romine has been excellent in Gary Sánchez’s absence. Entering tonight’s game, Romine has hit .348/.407/.783 (196 wRC+) since The Kraken went on the injured list. It’s simply remarkable how even when the injury bug bites, all of the other pieces fall into place.
Tonight, Romine delivered another big hit: a two-run double in the fourth inning to right-center.
By the way, it’s not just Romine filling in for Gary admirably. His overall numbers are nothing special, but he’s been great at the dish with runners on base and in scoring position. Look at these splits:
- Bases empty: .164/.197/.274 (18 wRC+)
- Runners on base: .353/.375/.529 (136 wRC+)
- Runners in scoring position: .342/.366/.447 (114 wRC+)
Pretty incredible, to say the least. Romine’s gotten the job done when it’s mattered most.
Of course, Romine wasn’t done yet. I’m sure he wanted to improve his bases empty split, right? Here’s what he did to lead off the sixth:
That was no cheapie. The ball carried 406 feet and left Romine’s bat at 102.7 MPH.
For an encore, Romine doubled to lead off the 8th inning. Regression to the mean with the bases empty, folks.
Maybe the Yankees should have been more careful with Gleyber Torres. There are no words for the absurdity that is the Yankees’ health this season. My first thought after Breyvic Valera took over at second base was: why weren’t the Yankees more careful with their 22 year-old budding superstar?
Then came the mid-game cryptic update:
Gleyber Torres left tonight’s game with “core pain”— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 7, 2019
I’m sure there’ll be a more detailed report later tonight or tomorrow, but that sounds no different than what he suffered Sunday.
The most perplexing thing about all of this is how they decided not to rest Torres out of precaution. They’ve done it with day-to-day injuries for other players recently: Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela have all been given a reprieve without actually going on the injured list (at least immediately). Why the Yankees didn’t do the same with Torres is bizarre. Plus, the division lead is huge right now and the Yankees could have afforded to be patient.
Granted, the tests on Torres’s core after Sunday’s exit came back clean. That said, he wasn’t given an MRI at the time. As foolhardy as this thought probably seems to medical professionals: I’m genuinely curious as to why not. I mean, given all of the fumbles and setbacks injured players and the training staff has had this season, I think it’s fair to be skeptical of the organization’s handling at this point.
Whatever the disconnect is, the optics are horrible.
- DJ LeMahieu went back-to-back with Tauchman, hitting his 18th homer of the season. Every dinger he hits the rest of the way will set a new single season career best for him.
- A couple batters after the two homers in a row, Didi Gregorius chipped in one of his own. His offense hasn’t quite taken off just yet and he’s still working to reach above average per wRC+, so hopefully this is a good sign.
- The home run barrage continued in the eighth inning: Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin went back-to-back to prop up the Yankees to a 9-4 lead.
- Adam Ottavino recorded a save after pitching the final two innings of tonight’s game. He entered in the eighth after Cortes allowed the leadoff runner aboard. It was his first save of the season.
There’s one more game in Baltimore tomorrow night before the Yankees head north to Toronto. A win tomorrow would make it eight straight wins for the Bombers.