Don’t look now, but the Yankees have won 2 of their last 3 games. Imagine that! They dispatched Cleveland 6-3 and even came back from an early deficit. They improve to 7-11 on the young season. It was a long game that started out very frustrating, but a win is a win. I doubt many fans are going to be complaining about that.
Let’s get to tonight’s takeaways after the jump.
1. Domingo Germán Delivers What the Doctor Ordered: That was a very fine performance from Domingo Germán, and it very easily could not have been. Look at how this first inning went for him:
Granted, he had a big role to play there – the bobbled ball hit back to him is an inexcusable error – but still. The rest of the defense did him absolutely zero favors. All told, it was a 26-pitch first inning for Germán in which he surrendered 4 hits (even if they were blooped). After the first, though, he was great, surrendering just 3 additional hits across the next five innings of work. All told, it was a 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 6 K, and 1 BB. He also did not surrender a home run, which is often a problem for Germán.
A lot of that had to do with his location. Check it out:
There was not a lot left out over the middle there, and he really worked the corners with a nice mix of his fastball, curveball, and change. Interestingly, Germán really didn’t miss many bats tonight (just 18% whiff-per-swing rate) but he did generate some whiffs on the fastball (30%). Here are some highlights:
The Yankees really, really, need their non-Cole starters to provide a little bit of length in the early going. It’s expected that Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon will need to be built up. That just puts even more pressure on Germán and Montgomery, and Germán certainly lived up to his part of the equation tonight. More of that, please.
2. Gleyber Torres Bounces Back: Things did not start great for Gleyber Torres in tonight’s game. Cleveland’s Aaron Civale stumbled out of the gate, walking both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge, and had a pretty high pitch count by the time Gleyber Torres came up with two on and two out. It was an opportunity for the young infielder to rebound from a tough night last night – and he didn’t seize it. Saying he struck out doesn’t do it justice. Look at the pitch plot here:
The best thing you can say about this at-bat is that he saw seven pitches, driving further driving up Civale’s early-inning workload. That’s being generous, though, when you look at their locations. Civale only threw two strikes in the at-bat, and all five balls were not even particularly close. Torres bailed him out, though, and was clearly overanxious. The swings on pitches 6 and 7 were Not Great. Hilariously, pitch 7 was a curveball. A curveball! In that location! That swing turned what should have been a bases loaded, two-out situation with a pitcher on the ropes. Instead, it was a strikeout.
Fortunately, the rest of the evening was a lot better for Gleyber. In the third, with the Yankees down 3-1, Torres connected and did this to tie the game:
That had to feel nice. He added two more singles in the game, making him 3-5 on the night with an RBI. Gleyber came into tonight hitting just .186 on the young season, but even a simple multi-hit night helped climb that average up to .219 on the season. That is still not pretty, but it should demonstrate just how quickly things can change in baseball. A few more multi-hit games and things will be back to normal really quickly.
3. Kyle Higashoika, the Home Run Stroka: Should Kyle Higashioka be playing more? You all know that I’m the biggest Gary Sánchez fan there is, but Higashioka has legitimately looked like their best hitter lately, as crazy as that is to say. Maybe Aaron Boone needs to find a way to get him into the lineup, at least until he cools off a bit. Who the hell knows. Anyway, Higgy hit not one but two extra-base hits tonight. He hit a double and then, in the 8th inning, he absolutely laced a home run:
It’s crazy to say, but you almost expect Higgy to hit the ball hard and deliver these days. I know it’s only been a few at-bats, but Higashioka sure is fun right now.
4. The Bullpen Continues to be Incredible: The bullpen is honestly just incredible at this point. Tonight, the Yankees turned the ball to Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman with a lead in the 7th inning. It is the actual formula that the team wants to follow throughout the year, but we haven’t seen it much. Here’s all they did:
- Jonathan Loaisiga: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB
- Chad Green: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB
- Aroldis Chapman: 1.0 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
I love me some Jonathan Loaisiga, as you all know, as well as Chad Green. I have written literally thousands of words about them on this website. They looked fantastic tonight but they are just dwarfed by Aroldis Chapman’s dominance right now. His new splitter is disgusting, he is throwing 100 mph, and, not coincidentally, he is striking out 70% of the batters he is facing. He is looking about as good as he ever has in New York, and I’m not sure that a pitcher can look more dominant. That will do.
- Rougned Odor With the Big Hit: With the game tied at 3 in the top of the 7th with the bases loaded, I audibly groaned when Rougned Odor stepped up to the plate. I’m not exaggerating, either. I groaned. I bet most of you did, too. But Odor sure shut us up, and I am glad for it. This was a huge, huge hit for New York. The Yankees needed this win and Odor helped make it happen.
- The Offense Packs the Bases: The Yankees, in all honesty, probably should have scored more than 6 runs tonight. They had 11 hits and 9 (yes, 9!) walks. Aaron Judge alone had 3. I am not complaining, by any means, but it’s an example of how the power shortage is hurting the Yankees. A 3-run home run here or there would really run up the scoreboard. I’m confident it will come soon. They can’t keep missing strikes all year.
- The Defense Still Stinks Up the Joint: I did not love the first inning, though. You saw the video above. The defense was sloppy and it cost them. But it just goes to show you how much of these frustrations are rooted in the offense. When they score enough runs, things are good. Funny how that works.
The Yankees will take on Cleveland again tomorrow at 7:10 pm on YES and WFAN. Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.24 ERA) will take on Logan Allen (1-2, 4.50 ERA) in that one. Have a good night, everyone.