Game 19: The One Where They Break Out of Slumps

The Yankees may have lost Aaron Judge for the week today, but they sure won that baseball game. That was a thorough demolishing of the sub-par Boston Red Sox, with a final score of 10-3 (box score). Honestly, I don’t even think the game was as close as that. I enjoyed it. Also enjoyable was the breakout from Gleyber Torres (overdue) and the extremely long Gary Sánchez home run. Overall, just a great baseball game. The Yankees improved to 13-6 on the season and won their 7th in a row against their rival.

Let’s get to the takeaways.

1. Gerrit Cole is Prettay, Prettay, Good: Guys, I am so, so glad that Gerrit Cole is on the New York Yankees. He is such an unbelievably good pitcher and that was on display in multiple ways tonight. His fastball still lacked its trademark dominance – just 2 whiffs on 21 swings – but he was dominant in every other regard. Red Sox batters whiffed on 33% of their swings, and his breaking stuff was truly electric. I mean, just look at this:

That slider was out of control good tonight. Batters came up empty on 9 of their 18 swings, and it looked as good as its looked so far in New York. All told, Cole cruised through his 7 innings, allowing just 4 hits, 1 R, and striking out 8 while walking nobody.

He did give up a solo blast to Alex Verdugo – Cole is going to give up HR, it’s just who he is – but that was all the damage the Red Sox could muster against him. Here was his pitch plot, which shows how aggressive and confident Cole was all night:

He attacked the zone and got results. 10/10 start, would watch again. I already can’t wait for his next start.

2. Gleyber Torres Finds His Groove: Gleyber Torres came into tonight hitting just .161/.277/.232 (50 wRC+) on the season. He had started to turn it around in recent days, sprinkling in a few hits here and there. Tonight he really broke out in a major way, going 4-4 with 2 RBI on the night. Were it not for a great play by Red Sox second baseman Jonathan Araúz (he dove and stopped a grounder up the middle), Torres would have another RBI.

Gleyber made up for it in a later at-bat, though, driving this ball the other way for a two-run double off the wall:

It’s one of my favorite at-bats in the young season from Gleyber so far. It was a good approach to stay in his swing and drive that one to the opposite field. A good sign, that is. He also got rewarded for his good approach later on in the game, when he dunked a blooper (70.8 mph off the bat) into centerfield for a single.

All told, Gleyber went 4-4 and raised his season line to .217/.319/.300 (79 wRC+). A good reminder that this season, despite the fact it is August, is in fact very young. (And will remain young the whole time.) Anyway, Gleyber now has 8 hits in his last 18 at-bats (.444). Let’s hope he can keep this rolling because I miss watching good Gleyber Torres. (Tyler Wade replaced him once the game got out of hand in the 8th inning.)

3. Gary Sánchez Flashes His Skills: Many people forget this, but Gary Sánchez is actually good at baseball. This can be true despite the fact that Gary can – and often does – look horrible at the plate. That’s been especially true this year. Gary came into tonight hitting .104/.204/.250 (27 wRC+) with a cool 46% strikeout rate. I can understand why people forget how good he is. However, like Gleyber, Gary really showed his worth again tonight .

Here is one example:

LOL. I mean, that wasn’t even close. Dead on arrival. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, of course. Sánchez has ridiculous arm strength. Gary ranks in the top 5 of Statcast’s arm strength – which ranks catcher’s top 90% of throws – leaderboard in every year since 2016. It’s a real skill of his – and one that’s often ignored as far as conversations go about his defense. There’s a reason why the old adage “don’t run on Gary” exists, after all.

Fun as that is, though, it’s all about home runs, right? Gary had us covered here, too. Hilariously, he turned this 95-mph outside fastball:

Into this:

Ridiculous. Just ridiculous. That one left the bat at 109.7 mph and traveled 457 (!) ft. He just has a ton of power and he really let his frustration out on that pitch. He also really celebrated that pitch in a truly amazing fashion:

That’s just delicious. Remember, there is a history between Brasier and Sánchez that dates back to the 2018 ALDS. Even if there wasn’t, though, I expect that one would have tasted just as good. Anyway, Gary is now “up” to .113/.203/.302 (38 wRC+) on the season. Progress is progress.

4. Aaron Hicks’ Approach Stays Right: I know that Aaron Hicks isn’t hitting (.213 BA on the season) but I am still impressed with the way he manages to be valuable at the plate. To some degree, an early slump is expected – he’s recovering from Tommy John, and we all saw what that did to Didi Gregorius’ offensive production last season.

Still, even with a lack of results and an incredible amount of ground balls, Hicks is managing to get on base at a ~.400 clip. That’s in large part due to his patience and approach at the plate. The dude does not swing at balls. He just doesn’t do it. Check this out:

He just never swings at balls. It’s great. In any case, Hicks went 0-4 tonight, which is not great, but he did add a walk. (To be fair, Hicks laced one into the gap in the 8th, but Kevin Pillar made a nice running catch to rob him of a double.) He scored a run as a result, too. It is just another example of how on-base-percentage is the true indicator of offensive value. It’s a real skill, and Hicks has it. Even when he has nothing else working for him.

Leftovers

  • Mike Tauchman Rakes: Don’t look now, but Mike Tauchman is hitting .343/.395/.457 (138 wRC+) in 37 plate appearances so far in 2020. Ridiculous. He added to that tonight with an RBI double in the 5th and another in the 8th inning. Just the Sockman doing Sockman things. Here’s the first one:
  • Clint Frazier, Good at Hitting: Red Thunder has done nothing but hit since getting called up earlier in the week. He added a two-run double in the 7th to extend the Yankee lead. He’ll need to keep it up in Aaron Judge’s absence, that’s for sure.
  • DJLM Does it Again: Ho, hum, another multi-hit game for DJLM. It’s his 69th (nice) since joining the Yankees just a season ago. What a stud. And, yes – he’s still hitting over .400 on the season.
  • Jonathan Holder Struggles: It was another rough outing for Jonathan Holder (ever since I wrote about him, sorry), who was unable to keep the Yankees from using Adam Ottavino in the top of the 8th. He gave up 2 walks, 2 hits, and 2 runs in 0.1 innings of work. The middle relief for the Yankees has actually been pretty bad so far in 2020. It’s unfortunate.
  • Adam Ottavino is a Nasty Again: Man, when Adam Ottavino is on, he is ON. And that’s how he was tonight. He struck out two batters in a row with 2 on in the 8th inning and he was methodical in doing so. Look at this beautiful thing:
  • Ben Heller in the 9th: Ben Heller finished this one off in the 9th inning after allowing a leadoff single. Pretty good stuff, actually. Maybe he’ll get to steal some middle relief innings moving forward. Can’t be worse!

The Yanks and Red Sox will resume these series tomorrow night at 7:05 pm. Old “friend” Nate Eovaldi (1-1, 4.09) will take on James Paxton (0-1, 7.84 ERA) in the Bronx. Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone.

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3 Comments

  1. Mungo

    It’s pretty crazy that the Yankees can lose Judge and Stanton, and then plug in Frazier and give more ABs to Tauchman and Ford, while Andujar remains in reserves at the alternate site. It’s rare for a team to have this type of depth.

  2. Brian

    Boston is terrible. I wish I could go to Fenway this year just to see them get thumped by the O’s

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