The Yankees completed their three-game sweep of the Mariners with a 7-3 victory in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon. Gary Sanchez, Mike Ford, Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu all went deep while James Paxton overcame a brief loss of control to get the win (Box Score).
With the Astros and Dodgers set to play, the Yankees are tied in the loss column with both teams and have the most wins in baseball. Their magic number to win the division is 18.
To the takeaways!
1. Yankees’ power too much for Sheffield
Justus Sheffield looked about as sharp as he ever has on a Major League mound, but that wasn’t enough against the Yankees. The southpaw had low-to-mid 90s velocity with a sharp slider, striking out LeMahieu and Judge to start his outing.
Two batters later, Sheffield trailed. After a Gleyber Torres single, Sheffield left a slider up and in for Sanchez, who made him pay with a majestic blast that just stayed fair.
From there, Sheffield refocused and settled down for three innings. Between Sanchez’s homer and the top of the fifth inning, he allowed just an infield single and struck out four Yankees.
With the game tied at two in the fifth, Ford struck on a 1-2 count, hitting his seventh home run off lefties in his brief MLB season. It’s Truck Month and the Yankees are getting quite the deal.
A double to Tyler Wade and RBI single from LeMahieu finished off Sheffield’s day. Reliever Matt Wisler poured some gasoline on the fire by leaving a ball up to Judge on the next AB, and Judge homered for the fifth time in six games.
In all, he went 4.1 IP with six hits, no walks, five strikeouts and two homers. Against a team other than the Yankees, his stuff today could have gotten him close to a quality start.
2. Bizarro Paxton gets it done
As we’ve detailed for a few months, Paxton has had a first-inning problem this season, yet he proceeds to settle in and excel afterward. He had an ERA above 11 in first innings before his dominant performance in Los Angeles.
Well, today was not the normal 2019 Paxton. The southpaw cruised through three hitless innings, allowed two runs in a walk-filled fourth inning and finished strong in the fifth inning to get a win.
That completes an impressive August for the former Mariner. He went 6-0 with just 24 hits in 35.1 innings while striking out 39. After the concerns over his performance that lingered into July, he best resembled Seattle Paxton this month.
Paxton’s line, though, was bizarre: In five innings, he gave up just one hit, a two-run homer to Kyle Seager in the fourth, walked a season-high five batters and struck out just four. He threw 45 strikes to 41 balls and all five free passes came within a seven-batter span in the 3rd and 4th innings.
Paxton went more fastball-heavy in this game, throwing his four-seamer 63 percent of the time. He got just eight swings and misses, five on the fastball and three on the curve.
One gets the sense that Paxton had to battle through this one, particularly as his command escaped him in the middle of his start. The Yankees pulled him early with a rested bullpen and day off tomorrow. After consistently going deep in other starts, he got a deserved early shower.
3. Urshela on the shelf
ICYMI: Gio Urshela exited the game with groin tightness in the fifth inning. He was replaced by Didi Gregorius. Urshela has been a rock for the Yankees this season, hitting .331 so far as the fill-in for Miguel Andujar.
The Yankees have Luke Voit coming back Friday with September call-ups Sunday, so they would be able to survive any absence. However, we’re a little over a month away from the postseason. We’re at a point where an injury could prevent a player from the postseason. Hopefully, similar to Gregorius, it’s just a day-to-day thing.
Meanwhile, Gregorius went 0-for-1 with a walk in his return while Cameron Maybin went 0-for-4 and had a pair of sliding grabs in left field as he started. This team just can’t get to full strength.
4. Ho-hum, good bullpen again
Chad Green walked one in two scoreless innings. Adam Ottavino worked around a leadoff walk by getting a double play. Cory Gearrin allowed a pair of hits and the lone run as he put Monday’s funny business behind him.
In 10 innings during this three-game series, the Yankees’ bullpen gave up just two runs, a solo homer off Nestor Cortes Jr. on Monday accounting for the other one. Gearrin was the only pitcher to throw twice (Kahnle warmed up today), so the group will be extra rested coming home.
- LeMahieu’s homer came in the ninth inning off soft-tosser Wade LeBlanc. The ever-dangerous hanging curveball. He now has 23 for the season, eight more than his career-high.
- Judge went 3-for-5 with two doubles and the homer. The homer was 106.5 mph while the doubles were 109.7 and 105.6 mph off the bat.
- Tyler Wade produced a run by himself. Doubled after Ford’s homer by going the other way and hustling into second and then stole third. His steal drew the infield in and LeMahieu easily hit a grounder past.
- Sanchez’s homer was 112 mph, the hardest-hit ball for the Yankees all day. He also had a bloop single. Ford drew a walk, and that’s it for the Yankees’ offense after what’s mentioned above.
- Almost forgot! The Mariners tried to steal two bases off Sanchez and he nailed both runners for outs. Don’t Run on Gary!!!!
The Yankees have a day off Thursday and start a homestand Friday against the Athletics. CC Sabathia (5-8, 4.99 ERA) will oppose Brett Anderson (10-9, 4.08) on Gleyber Torres bobblehead day. It will be a 7:05 p.m. start on YES and MLB Network.