Luke Voit and Edwin Encarnación hit early homers, Chad Green picked up J.A. Happ and Encarnación is now injured as the Yankees won, 10-4, to start Thursday’s doubleheader (Box Score). The Yankees now have a magic number of 7 to clinch the division and 15 to clinch homefield advantage.
Some brief takeaways before Game 2 is over:
1.Encarnacion’s oblique injury a big blow
Ugh. The Yankees can’t go a series without bad injury news. Encarnación hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-0 and then walked to load the bases in the fifth. Throughout his AB in the fifth, he grimaced and was apparently feeling the oblique injury that he’d felt earlier in the game.
He would be lifted for a pinch hitter — Mike Ford — before his next at-bat as the DH, so that was his day. After the game, Aaron Boone relayed that Encarnación said he didn’t feel it when swinging.
As Boone said, this could be just a minor injury, but there are just 22 days until ALDS Game 1. If Encarnación has an injury equivalent to an IL stint (With September rosters, no need for an IL move), then he would be left with little time and only the Arizona Fall League or instructs to get rehab games. That, or late season regular-season games if he’s back in time.
The Yankees can adjust with Luke Voit or Gio Urshela DH’ing and allowing the Bombers to put their entire rest of the infield rotation in the starting nine. It could also open up DH for Giancarlo Stanton if Encarnacion can’t return by the playoffs, putting Cameron Maybin in left field. Therefore, this injury might leave a postseason roster spot open for one of Tyler Wade, Mike Ford and Clint Frazier.
Hopefully, this is truly minor and the Parrot will be walked again in short order. Encarnación doesn’t have to play the field or do much running anyway. But this is a major concern.
2. Fine Happ and Great Green
J.A. Happ got himself into and out of trouble for 4 2/3 innings today, allowing 10 baserunners. It wasn’t pretty.
He didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning and allowed multiple baserunners in every frame but one. Still, he held the hapless Tigers without a run until his second-to-last batter, ending his scoreless at 20 1/3 innings. What a run!
After the game, it was revealed that Happ has been pitching through biceps tendonitis for multiple starts and will go for testing to New York while the rest of the team goes to Detroit. He convinced the team he could pitch today and he did fine.
Boone says he’ll be fine moving forward, and he’ll get extra rest before his next start. With a bullpen day Sunday and day off Monday, Luis Severino moves into the rotation Tuesday, pushing back his next start until Wednesday at the earliest.
Meanwhile, there was a game to be played and Happ left with the tying run at the plate. Green came in and served in what will likely be his postseason role: The early-game fireman. He easily got a pop out, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning and allowed a run after a leadoff triple in the seventh.
That triple was the only hit allowed by Green, who threw 22 strikes out of 31 pitches. He struck out two and overpowered the Tigers. Good stuff.
3. Oh right, the offense
After all that from Encarnación, Happ and Green, we haven’t gotten to the 10 runs the Yankees scored.
Matthew Boyd was on the hill, and he’s allowed the most home runs of any pitcher since the All-Star break. The Tigers’ defense put him in a bad spot with two errors in the first inning to have a man on (one was a dropped foul pop out) for Luke Voit. Voit … well, he blasted one to center field. 2-0
The Yankees loaded the bases in the fifth and got Boyd out after five after giving up two homers and four runs. The Bombers then took their licks against the Tigers’ bullpen, putting the game away.
In the seventh, Voit and Maybin came up with the big hits around a few walks. They each doubled as the Yankees extended the lead to 7-2 before Green allowed a run.
An inning later, Austin Romine, Aaron Judge and Voit each singled to add a run before Didi Gregorius put things away with a two-run triple.
- Ben Heller gave up a solo homer, a single and a walk while striking out a batter in his first game back from Tommy John surgery.
- Cory Gearrin put two guys on and got one out in the ninth before Tyler Lyons cleaned up his mess with two easy outs to end it.
- Maybin stole two bases back-to-back to give him nine for the year.
- I barely mentioned him here, but Romine went 3-for-4 with a double, run and walk. Voit also had three hits while Judge went 1-for-2 with three walks, four runs and reaching on a hard-hit error.
- DJ LeMahieu took an 0-for-6, falling further behind Tim Anderson in the batting title race.