The Yankees finally won a game. And it was an easy win. What a beautiful thing to write. The Yankees avoid the sweep against Toronto by a score of 7-2. There were some nice positives from tonight so let’s get into the takeaways.
1. Deivi The Stopper: The emergence of Deivi García is one of the few bright spots during this horrific run for the Yankees. It feels like Deivi became an afterthought in Spring Training with the emerging focus on Clarke Schmidt. Outside of his hiccup in AAA last year, Deivi has been nothing but impressive since joining the Yankees organization. We all know how bad these last twenty games have been. There has to be a moment where a struggling team can point to and say that is when things changed. The 21-year-old may have delivered that moment tonight.
Deivi’s aggressiveness immediately stands out in his starts. He is looking to attack the zone with his fastball. There are stretches this season where the Yankees pitchers nibble too much around the zone. They could have two strikes in a count and instead of attacking the pitchers will throw too many chase pitches. Deivi García is having none of that. He wants to challenge hitters and dictate the at bats. It starts with his fastball. Here is his pitch-type chart with the corresponding location:
There is a clear plan in place here. Deivi wants to go after hitters up in the zone. He doesn’t have electric velocity but he has fantastic deception and ride on the four-seamer. A lot of hitters are late on his fastball because of that. It also helps Garcia to live up in the zone. It makes it that more difficult for hitters to square up that velocity and it sets up his breaking stuff. He didn’t get a ton of whiffs on the four-seamer but the hitters were struggling to barrel it up. Out of his 49 fastballs, hitters fouled off eleven of them while putting eleven balls in play. The majority of those balls in play were soft contact. The Blue Jays offense only averaged an exit velocity of 90.9MPH. There weren’t many barrels from the Toronto lineup.
Deivi’s breaking stuff was filthy all game long. It felt like the longer the game went on the better his curveball became. It was clear from the beginning he had a good feel for the pitch. The Toronto batters were off balance all night. This was evident from the seven swings and miss Deivi induced from his 28 curveballs. He was also able to mix in a few filthy changeups as well. This one to Vlad Guerrero Jr. is a beauty:
That is how you go after hitters when you’re ahead in the count. Vlad Jr. didn’t have a shot on either pitch. What was even more encouraging about this start is the four-pitch mix. David Cone mentioned this on the broadcast and it is worth mentioning here. The longer Deivi’s start went on the quality of his slider also improved. This was a dominant performance from one of the youngest players in the league.
We can’t move on without touching upon Deivi’s presence. His confidence and poise are qualities we’ve heard about time and time again. Those characteristics have been crucial in his starts. He feels like the only Yankee having fun. He’s displaying great body language. There is a great rhythm. He has the audacity to smile. It has been great to see. There is also this nugget courtesy of Seth Rothman from the YES Network:
2. The Return of Gleyber Day: There is plenty of focus on the offensive failures of Gary Sánchez, Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford, and Tyler Wade. This is with good reason. They’ve been awful. Some of the brand names haven’t been very good either. This includes Gleyber Torres. Coming into this game, Gleyber only had one home run on the season. Yes, there was an IL stint in there but it’s not like he was tearing the cover off the ball prior to the injury. His return so far was more of the same. Tonight was a different story.
Gleyber’s aggressiveness on strikes in the zone is a key ingredient to his success. Prior to two strikes, he’s hunting for a pitch to drive as soon as he steps in the box. His walk rate has jumped up this year. Of course, this is a good thing but in a season where the offense is struggling to knock in runs, the team needs Gleyber to be more aggressive. He was able to do that tonight:
Now, the homer came on two strikes but there was an adjustment. Normally, Gleyber will go to his two-strike approach where he abandons his leg kick. He didn’t do that in this at bat. He was still hunting for a pitch to drive. It appeared Gleyber knew he had to jump start the offense in some way. He was out of character with the leg kick on two strikes and it paid off. Gleyber also added a double for good measure:
The key here? He jumped on the first pitch. This was a big moment in the game and Gleyber didn’t waste time. It just feels like the team overall lacked an aggressive and urgent attitude during this slide. They didn’t make competitive decisions. Deivi provided the aggression on the mound. Gleyber provided it in the batter’s box. This needs to continue.
3. Keep The Faith: This is a little easier to say after a nice and clean win. We have to remain positive about this Yankees team. Has the last few weeks been awful? Yes. Did I rant the last time I did a takeaway post? Absolutely. The faith in this team still remains. There is no way this team can sustain this horrific performance for the rest of the season. There is way too much talent on the roster for that to happen. Keep in mind, they had the best record in baseball up until mid-August.
They are going to make the playoffs. They will go on a run. Hopefully, they actually get healthy and stay that way. The season isn’t over. The sky hasn’t fallen. There is still a little bit of time to make this right. I believe they will do that.
- He is scuffling big time at the plate but Gary Sánchez is doing a great job behind the plate with the pitchers. He helped JA Happ’s great start yesterday and he did the same with Deivi García. Some people are never going to give him credit but he is doing the job with the pitching staff.
- It is nice to see the Yankees starting to slug the ball a little bit more. They’ve had huge RISP woes but the drop in power was alarming. The Toronto series may be a turning point in that area.
- The Yankees start a big four-game series against the Orioles tomorrow. I can’t believe I’m typing that. Gerrit Cole will get the start. He needs to follow Deivi’s lead. The game starts at 7pm. Have a good night.