The Yankees beat up on Boston in tonight’s 11-3 win. This one came against the Red Sox one reputable starting pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi. As good as it was to watch Gio Urshela, Gary Sánchez, and Clint Frazier sock dingers, this victory was bittersweet. DJ LeMahieu departed early with a thumb injury. More on that and everything else from this game below.
Paxton’s still not himself, but was good enough tonight. I don’t really like the “one bad inning” baseball trope because every inning counts. And yet, I can’t help but think that tonight was a tale of two different James Paxtons. He was bad in the third inning but decent otherwise.
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Paxton just couldn’t put anyone away in that third frame. It all started with a leadoff walk against the nine-hitter, José Peraza. That’s always a no-no (even moreso since the Yankees had a 2-0 lead at the time). A Rafael Devers double and JD Martinez two-run single later and this one was leveled at two-all. Xander Bogaerts came up next and quickly fell behind 0-2, but Paxton again couldn’t finish the job. On the seventh pitch of the matchup, Boston’s shortstop went yard to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
Tauchman was oh so close to bringing that one back, by the way. Seemed like he lost it in the sky momentarily, which cost him a chance to get better positioned for his leap.
Other than a first inning threat that Paxton worked out of, Boston didn’t string much together against the lefty. Now, I wouldn’t say that The Big Maple was mowing down Boston hitters. He only struck out two batters in this game, but was pretty efficient and had solid command. He only walked one batter, and aside from that third inning, didn’t leave too many pitches over the heart of the plate.
Command will remain key for Paxton as long as he’s searching for his velocity. In terms of pitch speed, tonight was the lefty’s best performance of the season. He averaged 92.8 MPH on his fastball, still a far cry from the old Paxton, but 0.4 MPH higher than his previous top mark this season. Additionally, Paxton threw his hardest pitch of the season (94.8) tonight when he struck out Michael Chavis in the second. Take a look:
Alright, now we’re talking pic.twitter.com/CXzfGiHM1J— Lucas A (@DBITLefty) August 15, 2020
In all, he looked better in his last start vs. the Rays. This certainly wasn’t a bad start by any stretch, though. That said, he’s still not the same guy we saw down the stretch last summer. He’s got two-thirds of the regular season to rediscover that form.
Red Sox Pitching is just what the doctor ordered for Gary Sánchez. Make it three straight games with home runs for the Yankees’ backstop, who’s look better in the box. Gary took Nathan Eovaldi deep in the top of the fourth, a two-run shot that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. It came against a 2-2 splitter that sat right in the middle of the zone.
Gary got a little bit of a break on the pitch before the dinger. He check swung against a curveball at the bottom of the zone — that blue dot n the plot above — but he didn’t go around. Pitch probably should have been called strike three and Eovaldi looked disappointed. Even more disappointed on the next pitch:
Sánchez still has a long way to go to bring his numbers back to respectability, but that’s neither here nor there. Can’t be worried about the full-season numbers in a 60 game season, anyway. Let’s just hope this is the beginning of a hot streak.
Clint continues to shine. Clint Frazier had a nice game on both sides of the field today. Offense is usually the name of the game for Clint, but Frazier actually made a pretty nice play in right field in the first inning.
This catch helped preserve a 0-0 score. Look, maybe other right fielders make that play look a bit easier, but it’s nice to see Clint appear more comfortable in the field. His defense has been an adventure in the past, particularly last year. Perhaps he finally feels more confident out there now that his concussion woes get further and further away from him.
Of course, it’s the bat that keeps us coming back to Frazier. Tonight, he reached base in all four plate appearances, including a double and a home run. His three-run blast blew this one open, by the way. With the Yankees up 4-3 and Eovaldi still on the mound in the sixth, Frazier went oppo taco:
Frazier drove in two more runs in the eighth when he singled against Matt Barnes. He’s making the most of this chance, to say the least.
The injury bug strikes again. All of the curse words. Ugh. DJ LeMahieu exited tonight’s affair after spraining his thumb on a swing. We’ve grown accustomed to an array of soft tissue and muscle injuries since last year, but this is different. Injuries in the hand/thumb/wrist area are not good for hitters. LeMahieu still needs further testing before we know the prognosis, but all we can hope for at this point is that it’s nothing more than a sprain.
This means we could see a lot of Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada if LeMahieu is out for an extended period. Or, if the Yankees want to get creative, they could shift Gio Urshela over to second and bring Miguel Andújar back up to play third. Urshela played a little bit of second base with Cleveland in 2017.
- Another nice game for Gleyber Torres. He had two hits in four at-bats follow yesterday’s four hit game. He’s been swinging the bat well for about a week now. Since August 8th (against Tampa Bay), Torres is 10-for-22 with six walks. The power isn’t back just yet (he has two doubles in this stretch), but this is good no less.
- I was going to give Gio Urshela his own section after his two-run homer gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead early in this one, but then again, what more is left to say about him? He’s just so, so good. Entering this season, I was concerned that 2019 was a fluke for Gio. But that just isn’t the case. Not only is he getting results, but his Statcast numbers are top-tier once again. Entering tonight, he was in the 96th percentile for xwOBA, 87th percentile for exit velocity, and 86th percent for hard hit percentage. He’s just terrific.
- Jonathan Loaisigia had his first short burst appearance of the season as Bobby called for earlier this week. He struck out one and allowed one hit in a scoreless sixth inning.
- Brett Gardner crashed into the center field walk attempting to make a running catch in the ninth inning. It appears he’s alright as he remained in the game, but if there’s anything more we’ll keep you posted.
These two sides square off again tomorrow night in the third of this four game set. It’s a national broadcast once again (ESPN). JA Happ starts for the Yanks and Chris Mazza goes for Boston. See you all then.