The Yankees bludgeoned the Orioles 8-3 tonight because of course they did. They improve to 80-41 on the season and their lead remains enormous. Things are good. Every Yankee had a hit tonight, which makes sense because they’re playing a glorified Minor League team.
Let’s get right to the takeaways.
1. Domingo Germán Keeps Rolling, But Could Use a Break: What a performance–again!–from Domingo Germán tonight. Here is the line for the Yanks’ fill-in ace: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, with 65 of his 93 pitches (70%) going for strikes. He attacked the Orioles Quadruple-A lineup with authority tonight and he was rewarded for it:
That’s how you should approach a team that is as absolutely atrocious as the Orioles: just throw it over the plate and make them do something with it. Odds are they can’t. It also excuses the 2 HR, in my opinion. Yes, Germán gives up too many of them (he’s in the top 5 by HR/9) but tonight is excusable, at least to me.
Despite the success, though, it’s going to be essential that the Yanks give Germán a spell of rest as they prepare for the postseason. As Mike Axisa pointed out this morning, his velocity is really dropping as the season goes on. Check it out:
It is worth noting that Germán was sitting 93-94 on his fastballs tonight, topping out at just over 95 mph. His vertical release point, too, is also changing:
The release point stuff really worries me. I wrote about how the changed release point on his changeup helped make him a much more effective pitcher so far this year, so this is something I’ll be watching closely moving forward.
But hey, the Yanks can help get Germán get the rest he needs because of the fact that they have a huge lead in the division. That lead, of course, is there in large part because of Germán’s fantastic performance. A virtuous cycle, this is.
2. DJ LeMahieu, Leadoff Hitter Extraordinaire: Another game, another section devoted to DJ LeMahieu. The 2019 Yankees, as we all know, often feel like an unstoppable freight train–and a huge, huge reason for that is because of LeMahieu’s presence atop the Yankee order. Coming into tonight, DJ had led off 88 of his 107 games played (82%), hitting .321/.398/.551 with 4 home runs as the Yankees’ first hitter. If you’re wondering, that is a 107 tOPS+, which means that, when compared against himself, LeMahieu is performing 7% better than expected as the leadoff guy.
That is such a luxury. It really is. A leadoff guy who gets on base and keeps the pressure on the opponent right away is a huge luxury, and honestly, it reminds me a lot of 2009 Derek Jeter’s leadoff presence. Check it out:
- 2009 Derek Jeter: .381/.415/.547 (.962 OPS)
- 2019 DJ LeMahieu: .321/.398/.551 (.949 OPS)
So, yeah. Jeter was otherworldly good in 2009, but LeMahieu isn’t too far off his mark. Here’s how his overall season, not just limited to leading off, compares to Jeter:
- 2009 Derek Jeter: .334/.406/.465, (.871 OPS)
- 2019 DJ LeMahieu: .338/.386/.530 (.916 OPS)
Pretty good company, if you ask me. Anyway, this little diversion is brought to you by the trainwreck that is the 2019 Orioles, because, honestly, it was more interesting to look up this imperfect comparison than it is to watch the Orioles. To bring this all home, these figures for LeMahieu are only going to go up, because DJ did this to start off the game (on the very first pitch!):
That baby traveled 446 feet and left the bat at 110 mph, with a Statcast xBA of .990, the highest possible. Just another thing that LeMahieu does well. What a signing.
3. Hammerin’ Cameron Keeps it Rolling: These Yankees are extremely fun, extremely good, and extremely easy to root for. But I’m not sure I have an easier time rooting for anyone on the team than I do for Cameron Maybin, who just seems like a genuinely awesome guy that his teammates love. It sure doesn’t hurt that our man is absolutely crushing it right now. Check this out from YES’ stats guru and Friend of the Blog™ James Smyth:
Amazing. Remember, Maybin is a career .257/.325/.376 (94 wRC+) hitter in over 4,000 plate appearances including this year. Everyone knew who Maybin was. This wasn’t a minor league hideaway or a player who hadn’t ever really been given a chance. Maybin was a known commodity. And yet, despite that, he is hitting .314/.389/.529 (142 wRC+) in about 200 plate appearances as a Yankee. He got hurt and returned without missing a beat. It’s incredible. It really is. The 2019 Yankees, man.
Anyway, Maybin extended the Yankee lead from 1-0 to 3-0 when he did this with two on:
You just love to see it. The “next guy up” mantra is a bit cliche, but it’s absurdly true when it comes to this year’s Yanks. They simply don’t ever miss a beat. I think it’s time for Marcus Thames to get a raise.
4. Gio Urshela Keeps it Going: Much like I almost always am with LeMahieu, I just feel compelled to include Gio in one of these takeaways basically every single night despite the fact that I am a broken record when talking about him. What more can you even say? I wrote last week about how incredible he is in one of these, so check that out for some context. For now, though, let’s all just marvel at how insane Giodude really is. Honestly. Just look at how beautiful this is:
As good as Giodude was early on in the season, you can really just see how capital-I Insane he has been over his last 75 plate appearances or so. He continued his hot streak tonight, going 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored, bringing his season line to .335/.379/.588 (150 wRC+) on the season. Yep. That’s yet another 3 hit game for Gio Urshela. What a just absolutely incredible storyline this has been so far. I hope it never ends.
- Austin Romine, Perfectly Cromulent?: The Yankee backup catcher now has an 83 wRC+ on the season, which isn’t fantastic by any stretch, but is a far cry from where he was a few weeks ago. Romine, who is far from my favorite Yankee, has been extremely solid of late, hitting .333/.369/.600 (149 wRC+) in 65 plate appearances since July 1. He went 3-4 tonight, obviously.
- The Return of the Kraken: Sure was nice to see Gary rip a double in the 4th inning, wasn’t it? He split the gap over short and drove in Gio to make the score 7-1 Yankees. He added another bullet single in the 6th inning, and he hit the ball hard all night. It’s no secret that Gary was struggling mightily before his injury–he fell all the way down to basically league average after his torrid start–but hopefully the time off got him healthy. The Yankees are rolling, but a healthy, effective, and locked-in Sánchez is vital to their championship hopes. Here’s the video of the double:
- Aaron Judge, Slump Buster: Judge’s recent struggles have drawn a ton of attention, obviously, so there’s no need to dive deeper into them here. Judge, who will be fine, showed a glimpse of his true self tonight as he drilled a 2-run double to make the score 6-1 Yanks. He went 1-5, but he also hit the ball hard a few times, too. Check out the video of the double, simply because it rules watching Judge look like Judge:
- Mike Tauchman, just LOL: Mike Tauchman is now hitting .296/.378/.571 (147 wRC+) on the season. He went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored, adding this RBI double:
- Adonis Rosa’s MLB Debut: The 24-year-old Rosa made his MLB debut tonight on the back of a 1.69 ERA in his last 3 Triple-A starts, and he retired the side in order in the 8th inning. He struck out the first man he faced. He did surrender a home run with an out in the 9th, but whatever. Who cares. A nice debut for the kid.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, tomorrow’s matinee will be the final matchup against the Orioles in 2019. J.A. Happ (9-7, 5.48 ERA) will take on Dylan Bundy (5-12, 5.04 ERA) at 1:05 pm tomorrow in the Bronx. As usual, you can catch the game on YES locally or on WFAN for the radio broadcast. Have a great night, everyone.