The Yankees take the series from The Guys In Beantown. They win the final game of the season series by the score of 5-0. The Team Named After Colorful Laundry are officially eliminated from the division chase. The Yankees are a season high 45 games above .500 with a record of 95-50. Their magic number to clinch the AL East is 9. You can check out the box score here. Here are the takeaways.
1. See Ya!: The Yankees broke the Team From New England’s front office last night and now they officially end their division hopes. Damn, that feels good as hell. The Yankees doing this in Fenway Park makes it even more satisfying. Outside of their home field pursuit, the Yankees main goal of the series was to push The Guys Who Wear Ugly Red Jerseys At Home closer to elimination from postseason consideration. The Yanks did exactly that.
I cannot tell you how satisfying it has been to see the Ex-Dave Dombrowskis turn into a dumpster fire. Over the last couple of years, they’ve turned into media darlings. They could never do wrong. They were the lovable winners. Now, they’re a disaster. They’re not making the playoffs and there is a very difficult offseason on the horizon. It is self-inflicted turmoil and I am here for it. Maybe they can sell tickets at Fenway and show the Yankees World Series run on the scoreboard in October. They won’t have any games to play so why not get that extra revenue. In any case, you can stick a fork in the Former World Champions. Good riddance.
2. Paxton Shines: James Paxton is now the Yankees ace. This is the pitcher the Yankees traded for in the winter. He is working with great tempo and confidence. James was fantastic against a strong lineup on the road. The key to his late season surge is the decision to mix up his pitches with more frequency. Paxton went with an interesting collection of pitches tonight that led to efficiency and great effectiveness.
James relied upon his four seamer, two seamer, knuckle curve and cutter tonight. He didn’t throw one slider according to MLB Statcast. I’m not sure if Paxton lasted an entire start without using a slider prior to tonight. He primarily relied on his four seamer and curve to mow down the Red Sox lineup. This approach may be a response to the terrible start he had in Boston back in July when the rotation was going through that rough patch. Whatever the reason, this largely two pitch mix was working tonight. Paxton had great command as well. Look at this chart:
This is a pitcher’s work of art. It is one thing to change your approach, but it’s not effective if you can’t locate the pitches. He kept the Red Sox hitters off balance all night because he had great command. David Cone made a great point that the unpredictability of Paxton’s pitch selection is making the fastball a more impactful pitch.
The lack of hard hit contact is a great sign for Paxton. His average fastball velocity was 95.8. The average exit velocity off that pitch was 88.6. This is a pretty significant difference. One under the radar result of Paxton’s new approach is the lack of quality contact he’s inducing. This is really important for Paxton’s playoff run. We all know the offenses the Yankees will see in October. A pitcher’s ability to limit damage will be key. Paxton is rounding into ace form at the perfect time. Here is a note from Seth Rothman:
Is that good?
3. Romine? Yeah, Romine: Austin Romine isn’t the most popular player around these parts. It is a testament to…something…that he has stayed with the Yankees for so long. To his credit, over the last couple of season he does have a stretch where he is a clear contributor. He had a good game offensively tonight and led the charge for the lineup. Eduardo Rodriguez was making quick work of the Yankees until Ro stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning:
It is important for Romine to contribute heading into October. There is a possibility that he gets a start behind the plate in one of the playoff games. A lot of things will depend on player health and postseason roster construction, but we do know the Yankees trust Romine behind the plate. If this does happen, Romine has to be productive in the batter’s box. He has been putting up pretty good numbers for a while now:
This will do from your back up catcher. Hopefully, he can keep this up. It just opens up a few more options for Boone if he wants, or needs, to be creative.
The Yankees continue this long road trip tomorrow in Detroit. The Yankees currently have their started listed as TBD. They will face Edwin Jackson. The game will start at 6:40pm. Have a great night everyone.