Well, the Yankees may never play games that aren’t heart-stopping dramas, but at least they don’t lose anymore. With today’s 5-4 victory over the Braves, the Yanks improved to 74-52, a season high 22 games over .500. How things change, huh?
Let’s get right to the takeaways in this one, shall we?
This was a glorified bullpen game. Look, if it were me, I would have started Luis Gil in this one. That’s just me, though, and the Yankees went in another direction, electing to go with Andrew Heaney. Heaney, of course, was quite good in his last start – and he was fine again tonight. He threw 4.0 innings of 3-hit, 2-run ball. It wasn’t the cleanest of starts – he gave up both runs after a walk and HBP with two outs in the first. The only other Yankee pitcher (prior to Chapman, who we’ll get to) to give up a run in this one was Albert Abreu in the 5th. Otherwise, this is how the lines looked:
- Joely Rodriguez: 0.2 IP, H
- Clay Holmes: 1.0 IP, zeros, K
- Chad Green: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 K
There were minor quibbles here and there with the usage, but nothing worth getting into in any detail. This was clearly the plan all along. After some easy games against the Twins, a rain out on Sunday, and an off-day tomorrow, the Yankees had a rested bullpen and felt fine using it. I’m okay with it, and it certainly worked out. The Yanks dominated the Braves in the middle innings of this one, and Heaney really settled down. It’s not the prettiest approach, but I’ll take it.
The 9th inning was…interesting. Ooohkay. About that 9th inning, which can never – literally never – be easy these days. With a two-run lead going into the bottom of the 9th, Boone went to Aroldis Chapman, which is exactly what he should do. Unfortunately, this is how Chapman looked:
He was absolutely all over the place with his fastball – 11 pitches, 2 swings, 0 whiffs, and just one called strike – and barely used it in the final few batters he faced. Still, Chapman actually got 4 outs in this game. This is a hill I will die on. He absolutely struck out Ozzie Albies, but the umpire inexplicably said the ball was tipped. (It wasn’t, but it’s non-reviewable.)
Then, in the very next pitch, Chapman got a soft ground ball from that Rougned Odor double clutched. That allowed Albies to reach base and extend the game. Chapman then walked Jorge Soler with two outs to make it a 5-4 game, at which point Boone went to Wandy Peralta.
Now, I saw a few people calling for Boone to take out Chapman after the Albies at-bat. I don’t think that’s fair. He definitely wasn’t sharp, but he’d earned 4 outs at that point. It wasn’t his fault he only got two. I don’t know. It worked out in the end, but I don’t get killing Boone for this. I really don’t.
As for Peralta, that was a hell of a job. He came up to face Freddie Freeman with 2 outs and the bases loaded in a 1-run game and he got him out on a fly ball to left. He threw 5 consecutive changeups to end the at-bat, too. I was nervous, but it worked out. That’s how things are going these days.
The offense is clicking right now. Another day, another 5-run performance. They’ve done that in 5 straight games and in 6 out of their last 7. It’s the offense we all expected to see all season. Getting it started was Giancarlo Stanton, who is scorching hot right now. Look at this:
Love it when he gets going. There’s no other spectacle in baseball quite like it. Anyway, the power kept on coming from all sources tonight. Here is DJ LeMahieu, who decided not to go months in between homers this time:
And here is Odor, who had been struggling in August:
That’s what you like to see right there. The Bronx Bombers, bombing. Keep it up, fellas.
- A nice night for Gary Sánchez. He had a two-RBI single to give the Yanks the lead, and he had a very nice block behind the plate in the 9th. Michael Kay said it “got away from Sánchez”, but I don’t think that’s fair. It was a 45-foot breaking ball that he kept in front of him and held a runner at 3rd. It’s pretty impressive.
- A nifty throw from Aaron Judge and Andrew Velazquez saved a run. Check this out, which was upheld after a replay (although I think Freeman was safe, but there just wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it):
- Aaron Judge had 2 hits, a run, and a double in this one. He has a .900 OPS in what has been a quietly great season from the Yanks’ best player.
- Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo both continue to quietly struggle, as the pair went 0-7 with 4 Ks and a walk tonight.
The Yanks are off tomorrow, as they travel to Oakland for a huge four-game set against the Athletics. The Yanks will look to put more space between them and the A’s, and they’ll do so riding an 11-game winning streak. Enjoy your night, everyone.