Calling a game between the Yankees and Twins a goal line stand probably isn’t fair. The history between these two clubs is so one sided, it’s more like a D-line from the NFL overpowering a collegiate O-line. Terrible analogy, but whatever. Once again, the Yankees beat the Twins, this time by the score of 7-5.
Tonight’s game had the makings of a laugher. Jameson Taillon was dominant through five and the Yankees had a 6-0 lead. Yet, as this year’s Bronx Bombers are wont to do, the game had to end with a save situation. I won’t complain too much, though. They keep winning (seven straight now) and are getting healthier. Maybe one game this weekend will be a blowout, but perhaps that’s too much to ask. Anyway, let’s get to tonight’s takeaways.
Jameson Taillon was great again. The box score doesn’t do the righty’s performance justice tonight. He may have given up three runs in 5.1 innings, but he was absolutely cruising until the sixth inning. Taillon had great stuff and great command basically all night long.
Yup, that will do. Four-seamers up, everything else down.
Now, Taillon did fall off a cliff after recording the first out of the sixth inning. It was a bit of an unconventional out, I might add. Ryan Jeffers hit a soft pop-up between Taillon and third baseman Tyler Wade. Taillon hauled it in awkwardly. I wonder if that difficult play falling to the ground took something out of Taillon.
Doesn’t seem like it, though. His fastball velocity was fine through the end, which seems like a decent proxy. Besides, two of the three runs came across on a weakly hit bloop double that hit the chalk. In all, another good performance from the emergent righty.
Wandy Peralta is the latest to adopt the sinker. The lefty reliever will always be a changeup artist — it’s clearly his best pitch — but the sinker is becoming a weapon for him. Where have we heard this before with the Yankees?
Tonight, Peralta threw 13 changeups and 8 sinkers and retired all five batters he faced. He worked out of Taillon’s sixth inning jam and then delivered a clean seventh. The southpaw has been absolutely terrific since returning from the COVID-IL, by the way. He’s given up just one run (an unearned run) in 10.1 innings. An emphasis on the sinker and changeup is clearly working for him.
Peralta picked up two whiffs on two swings against his sinker tonight, but this offering appears to be more of a soft contact option for him, as he came into tonight with an 83.7 MPH average exit velocity against the pitch.
Now, the reason why his sinker appears to be a great choice in tandem with his already good changeup? They appear to tunnel very well:
Pretty similar release points, speed differential, and the changeup dropping more than the sinker will do the trick.
The Yankees’ bullpen has been hit-or-miss lately — look no further than Chad Green tonight — so it’s important that the Yankees have a multitude of relievers pitching well so Aaron Boone has options (Randy spoke about this on the podcast we recorded tonight, out tomorrow). Peralta seems to be emerging as another high leverage arm.
The goal line package offense got production from top to bottom. Okay, in fairness, most of that production actually came from two of the smaller guys in the lineup in Andrew Velazquez and Kyle Higashioka. Both went 2-for-3, with the big blow being Higashioka’s two-run homer.
The man who coined the goal line package lineup had a big moment himself. Luke Voit, who led off as the designated hitter, went 1-for-4 with a two-run double.
Voit’s getting hot at the right time. Coming into tonight, he had six hits in his last 13 at-bats dating back to August 15th. As he mentioned before Anthony Rizzo returned, Voit deserves to play and the Yankees can easily accommodate both. Giancarlo Stanton is more than capable of playing the outfield, allowing Voit to DH quite frequently from here on out.
The other linemen chipped in a little bit too. Rizzo and Aaron Judge were 0-for-3 each, but Rizzo did deliver a sacrifice fly. Joey Gallo scalded a double early on and Stanton ripped a solo shot into the short porch in the eighth. Stanton was robbed of what could have been a two-run double, too.
Hard not to love a lineup that includes Voit, Rizzo, Judge, Gallo, and Stanton right in the thick of things. Sure, Velazquez and Higashioka did most of the table setting in this one, but this offense will be carried by the big fellas on the line.
- Zack Britton didn’t look as sharp as he did yesterday. He gave up a run in the eighth. Chad Green wasn’t great in relief either, surrendering a solo homer in the ninth while notching the save. His curveball just doesn’t look very good, at least not right now.
- Sorry for jinxing what appeared to be a game headed for a blowout. The 2021 Yankees just love to play close games, though this one never really felt that close to me.
Same time, same place for these two teams tomorrow night. See you then.