Game 44: Pinch hitting heroics and Germán pave way to another series victory

Embed from Getty Images

Outside of Domingo Germán’s dominance on the mound this afternoon, this game wasn’t pretty. Fortunately, mostly quiet bats and atrocious baserunning didn’t matter in the end. Hey, not allowing a run can make a world of difference, and that’s exactly what Germán and the bullpen did in today’s 2-0 victory over Texas. To the takeaways:

The offense unsurprisingly struggles without Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela in the lineup. So naturally, on the day the two are given a breather, both are responsible for driving in the team’s two runs in the seventh inning. Judge and Urshela have been banged up of late, so they are going to need time off here and there. At least they got six innings off in this one before getting called upon:

Those pinch-hit singles gave the Yankees the 2-0 lead that would ultimately be the final score. It just would be nice if someone else could step up and get going.

We’re still waiting on DJ LeMahieu to hit consistently. He went 0-for-4 and stands at .267/.353/.358 (106 wRC+) in 190 plate appearances this season. That’s far off from the production we’ve gotten used to from him. Same with Gleyber Torres, though in fairness, he just got back from the COVID-19 IL. Luke Voit is still getting his feet wet.

Double plays and bad baserunning continue to be a theme for this offense, and today was quite the display of that. It’s one thing to be slumping — but it makes matters worse when you give away outs or make two outs in one play. And today, we saw far too much of that. Once in the same play, in fact. Mike Ford got caught too far off third base on a DJ LeMahieu groundout that turned into a bizarre double play:

Gary Sánchez also chipped in a GIDP. The team now has a league-leading 48 GIDP. And we know there have been other non-GIDP double plays, too. Ugh.

To top it off, Gio made some very questionable baserunning gaffes after driving in the go-ahead run. I’m not sure what he was doing getting caught between second and third on Judge’s RBI single, as you can see in the earlier video. I’m also not sure what he was doing trying to get to third base in the ninth, even if he looked safe on replay.

Hopefully Urshela is OK.

The fundamentals absolutely need to get better. That’s a given. But it’s also important that hitters in the non-Judge, Urshela, and currently injured Giancarlo Stanton division start producing. It can’t just be those three.

Domingo Germán tosses a gem of his own and the Yankees’ rotation is looking pretty impressive. Look, Texas doesn’t have a particularly good offense, but Germán followed up Corey Kluber’s no-hitter with a great outing this afternoon. The righty blanked the Rangers across seven innings and dropped his ERA to 3.05 in 43.1 innings pitched this season.

Germán had plenty of success with all four of his pitches this afternoon, but wouldn’t you know: he used his changeup more than any other offering today. OK, barely (once more than his curveball), but the point is that he’s yet another example of a pitcher making the most of the team’s pitching philosophy. The 28 year-old picked up 3 whiffs on 13 swings against the pitch (23 percent), but more impressively: the eight batted balls allowed on the pitch averaged a 78.5 MPH exit velocity. And look at this location:

Yup, that’ll do. Plenty of green dots at the very bottom of the zone. It seems like the changeup really helped his fastball play up too. The Rangers whiffed on 7 of 12 swings against it.

Including today, Germán has allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his eight starts this season. No one knew what the righty would bring to the table this year after his domestic violence suspension kept him off the field last year. He’s now rounding out what’s been a pretty formidable front three with Gerrit Cole and the aforementioned Kluber. So much for big concerns about the Yankees’ rotation. In all, entering today, the rotation’s ERA- (89) and FIP- (84) were both 7th-best in MLB.

And sure, there is still room for improvement in the staff. Jameson Taillon is still trying to figure things out and Jordan Montgomery has been inconsistent (but fine for a back-end type). At least a hopefully effective Luis Severino isn’t far from a return. And there’s always Deivi García as an option. So not only has the rotation been very good as a whole, but there are plenty of depth options.

Leftovers

  • I’m not sure why Aaron Boone didn’t use a replay review on the last out of the top of the top of the seventh. It was the play that Urshela was thrown out trying to return to second base on Judge’s RBI single. The crew chief can initiate reviews in the eighth inning or later, so why hold on to it? Just in case something happened in the bottom of the seventh? Meh.
  • The bullpen did its thing again. Chad Green threw a 1-2-3 eighth and Aroldis Chapman worked around a walk in the ninth to pick up the save.
  • On the bright side offensively, at least Brett Gardner tallied a couple of hits and a walk. Both hit hard, too. One was a double. His batting average is at .200 and hopefully won’t dip below the Mendoza line again this year.

So, another series win. Now, the Yankees head back home to take on the White Sox in a weekend series in the Bronx. Have a good rest of your day, everyone.

Advertisements

Previous

Corey Kluber: The same, but different

Next

DoTF: Otto and Medina combine to strike out 25

4 Comments

  1. Terry from LA

    It would be good to see some solid, fundamental baseball for awhile. Pitching has been great. Judge and Gio and G are the only guys hitting. And they still win. I think the disconnect with the fans is that we all see that these fundamental breakdowns will eventually cost us in the playoffs. So the guys who say, relax, you’re winning are not taking into account what we all see. Bad fundamentals will cost you in October.

  2. Mungo

    The league-leading double plays absolutely is a key contributor to the offense underperforming.
    Add in free outs on the bases, and they are not doing themselves any favors in a year when offense is depressed and runs is harder to come by.

    On the flip side, the pitching has been great and is keeping the Yankees in the hunt.

    Can’t argue with the results. Going into any team’s home park in a four game series often ends in a split. Taking 3 of 4 is cool. I wouldn’t have guessed the one game they’d lose was on the one that seemed the most winnable with Cole on the mound. Baseball.

  3. Gerreddardit Cole

    I thought it was the worst win of the season, Derek. It was a win but only because the Rangers have the worst offense since the ’99 Spiders. I’m tired of watching DP after DP, and I never thought I’d say that. And the only reason they didn’t hit into more DPs today was because they ran into outs instead. Mike Ford just needs to slow jog to a base and anchor there, or better yet send him back to Scranton. Gio was probably safe at 3rd but why not just stay at 2nd. And he’s probably broken a finger and is out for the year. Stupid stupid stupid. German was great as was the pen and the defense. I’m just tired of watching this futility at the plate and on the bases. The White Sox won’t be as easy to beat playing like crap. And more than 2 guys need to hit higher than .180. Baseball has a real problem on its hands if this is their product now. Even those creepy people with great seats behind the plate weren’t watching the game or eating their free popcorn.

    • Rocky

      The Rangers offense is 17th in runs and 18th in wRC+. It’s not great, or even good – but it’s way, way better than you’re suggesting you absolute crouton.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén