Good baseball game is good. The Yankees trounced the Blue Jays 12-6 on Thursday night, winning their 9th in a row, which is their longest winning streak of the season. Their lead in the division remains huge, and their magic number creeps lower every day. Sure, the injuries have been awful and frustrating, but 2019 has been one hell of a season so far.
Let’s get right to the takeaways on this one.
1. A Tale of Two Germáns: Well that was a disappointing start for Domingo Germán. Here is his final line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. 64 of his 90 pitches (71%) were strikes, which sounds nice. But remember, in baseball, context is everything. Here is where those strikes were located:
That is bad! Those are a lot of balls way, way off the plate or right over the heart of it. Look at that cluster of orange and green on the lower/middle-middle part of the plate. Brutal. The Blue Jays, despite the fact that they cannot pitch, actually can hit–their .255/.319/.467 (106 wRC+) ranks 13th in baseball since July 1–so you cannot be making mistakes like that to them. And they have power, too. They showed it:
Even though all of Germán’s runs allowed came in the 5th inning, which was his final, it’s pretty clear that he didn’t have his best stuff. Couldn’t locate, was getting pounded, etc. Not what you want to see. His 25% whiff-per-swing rate, which not atrocious, is well below what you expect to see from Germán at this point. And yea, for those of you wondering, Bo Bichette absolutely demolished that ball off him. This recap wouldn’t do the game justice without including it:
Good grief that is majestic. That kid can play, for real. I’m telling you, if the Blue Jays don’t screw this up, they have the core of a team that can win coalescing there. They have real talent. Good news for the Yanks is that they will absolutely screw this up.
As for Germán: oh well. He’s been so good that you can excuse this start. There’s another one in 5 days.
2. Giodude Is Real, And Strong, And He is Our Friend: Gio Urshela is just, just below the threshold for qualified hitters–you need 3.1 plate appearances per team game, meaning a Yankee would need 356 plate appearances to qualify. Gio Urshela has 328 (through 5th). Why do I bring that up? Well, I think we all know: our man is hitting .322/.366/.568 (142 wRC+) on the season, with 16 home runs, 54 runs scored, and only a 15% K rate.
That he is putting up those numbers while so close to qualifying just really hammers the point home that we’re at the point now he has stopped being a fluke and begun to be a guy just having a damn good year. I mean, check out Gio’s stats and rankings among the 205 batters with at least 300 plate appearances:
- Batting Average: .319 (11th)
- On-Base Percentage: .363 (45th)
- Slugging Percentage: .547 (20th)
- wOBA: .377 (25th)
- wRC+: 136 (22nd)
- Strikeout Rate: 15.5% (44th lowest)
That is just insane. It really is just insane. That’s top 10% of the league material right there. Let’s just remember, this is a guy who hit .225/.274/.315 (57 wRC+) in 499 career plate appearances before 2019. He was a defense-first guy–please, I am begging you, do not cite his poor UZR/DRS to me–and that’s why he was around. This year he is doing this. Just amazing, really. Feels like one of those years for the Yanks.
Anyway, here’s the video of Giodude’s two home runs tonight (he also added another hit), which drove in 4 runs total:
3. LeMahieu. It’s French for “The Mahieu”: I really don’t know what else to say about DJ LeMahieu any more. I really just don’t. But he’s just so good that I have to include him, basically every night, as one of the main takeaways. He is everywhere.
Tonight, DJLM went 3-4 with a 2B, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, raising his line .339/.387/.536 (142 wRC+) on the season. He has been worth over 4 wins, per FanGraphs. DJ gets hits to start games, like he did tonight with a leadoff double. He gets hits with runners on base, like he did right here, capitalizing on a Blue Jays outfield blunder:
The moral of this story is this: do not make mistakes in front of DJ LeMahieu. You will regret it. The Machine will make you pay.
4. How is Mike Tauchman Doing This: I don’t know what to say about Mike Tauchman, either. I’ve said it so many times already. This is interesting, though. 233 players have taken 70 plate appearances or more since the Fourth of July. Here are Mike Tauchman’s statistics during that time, with his rank among those players in parentheses:
- Batting Average: .443 (1st)
- On-Base Percentage: .481 (1st)
- Slugging Percentage: .803 (4th)
- wOBA: .520 (1st)
- wRC+: 233 (1st)
- fWAR: 1.7 (6th)
I have one reaction to that list: LOL. Okay, I lied. I have two reactions. The other is that I really, really wanted to write “Mike Tauchman is the best Mike T” in baseball but, alas, Mike Trout is too damn good. He has been more valuable. In other words, you can hit .443/.481/.803 for a month still be outplayed by that guy. What a legend.
Anyway, back to Tauchman. Our guy went 2-5 tonight with 4 RBI. He made one of them really count, just absolutely demolishing this ball:
Folks: you love to see it. You really do.
- Chad Green Is Good Again, Run Be Damned: Chad pitched 1 inning, allowing 1 run but striking out the side anyway. By my count, Green has now had one (1) truly bad appearance since returning from Triple-A Scranton a few months ago. Since May 12, his return, he has a 2.43 ERA (2.51 FIP) in 37 innings pitched, fanning about 32% of the batters he faces while only allowing 4% of them to reach base via base on balls (stats from before tonight). We’ve written a lot about Green on this here website, so I won’t beleaguer the point, but what a luxury it is that he’s good again.
- Luis Cessa Has Been Good: Did you know that Luis Cessa has a 3.47 ERA in 2019? I did not. He surrendered a home run tonight, which has always been a problem for him all year, but was otherwise quite solid, pitching 3 innings and striking out 5 Blue Jays. He even made Vlad look like a fool in the 9th. In his last 24.1 IP before tonight, Cessa has a 1.11 ERA with 27 strikeouts and only 17 hits allowed. FIP hasn’t loved him, but hey. He’s basically the last guy in the bullpen. This production is welcome. It keeps the Yankees in the game and generally keeps them ahead when they have a big lead. Keep it up, Luis. Maybe someone will say something nice on Twitter about you for once. Wouldn’t that be nice?
- Austin Romine, Because of Course: I’ve long thought that Austin Romine’s one true skill is having a 3-4 night right when his defenders are about to give up on him, and while I still think that’s true, even I have to admit that the Yankee backstop has been downright impressive of late. Maybe I need to amend the rule to “will get hot right before Gary returns” because that feels like it happens all the time now. Anyway, here are his numbers during the last month, before tonight: .386/.429/.750 (201 wRC+) with 4 home runs in 50 at-bats. I do not think a single thing epitomizes the 2019 New York Yankees better than that. Not Tauchman, Maybin, Urshela, anyone. Sánchez goes down? No problem. Someone else will step right into it. He went 2-5 tonight, obviously.
- Cameron Maybin is Great: I love Cameron Maybin. He is so easy to root for, and he’s also hitting .335/.411/.555 (155 wRC+) on the season after tonight’s 3-5 performance, during which he scored 2 runs and drove in 1. The Yankees are so, so good, and the continued, steady performance like Maybin is a huge part of the reason why. If the Yankees’ season ends the way we all want it to, we’d all better remember that simple fact.
The Yankees and Jays will meet again tomorrow to play game two of this four-game set. That game will take place at 7:07 EST. J.A. Happ (9-6, 5.24 ERA) will look to turn in a strong performance against his former team, who will be led by Sean Reid-Foley (1-2, 2.49 ERA). The Yankees will try to win their 10th in a row and keep the good times rolling. Check it out on MLB Network nationally, YES locally or WFAN for he radio call. Have a good night, everyone.