The Yankees have now won six straight games with this afternoon’s 5-4 victory over the White Sox. It came in pretty unconventional fashion, but a win’s a win. Aaron Judge’s ninth inning walk-off walk against Liam Hendriks was the difference in this one. It picked up a rough day for the bullpen, including Aroldis Chapman’s first blown save of the season. With that, let’s get to today’s takeaways:
A fastball-heavy approach got Jameson Taillon through Chicago’s lineup a couple times. Taillon threw 80 pitches this afternoon and 54 percent of them were four-seam fastballs (68 percent). That’s much higher than his year-to-date usage, which stood just north of 51 percent entering today. Here’s where Taillon located his heater:
This chart tracks with Matt’s piece from this morning. There were still a few too many fastballs middle-middle or not elevated enough, but it didn’t matter this time around. The White Sox had a difficult time squaring up this pitch this afternoon. Chicago fouled off the four-seamer 12 times and put it in play 10 times at an average exit velocity of 86.6 MPH. They also swung-and-missed on 7 swings (24 percent whiff rate), though that’s a lower whiff rate than Taillon’s season average on the pitch (33 percent).
I don’t think Taillon planned to use his fastball this often today. Rather, it was pretty clear that he had little control of his slider and curveball, which forced him to lean on his four-seamer.
Yeah, that’s way too many breaking balls in the heart of the zone or way off the plate. He just had little to no feel for those pitches this afternoon. It’s no wonder why he picked up just one whiff (against a slider) and 12 total swings against his breaking balls.
I’ll sign up for five shutout innings from Taillon without a second thought, but I don’t think he pitched nearly as well as his line indicates today. I know he has a good fastball when it’s well-located upstairs, but most starting pitchers aren’t going to be successful turning a lineup over with only one pitch. So to some degree, he was a bit fortunate today. I’m sure he’ll have better feel for his secondaries next time out — his curve and slider are good offerings typically.
The Yankees have needed someone other than Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela to step up. Gleyber Torres has done just that. Now, Torres isn’t exactly stinging the ball, but he’s finding holes in the defense and delivering clutch hits left and right since his return from COVID-19. With today’s 3-for-4, he’s now 11-for-18 since coming off the injured list. He’s driven in eight runs too.
Today, he had another big hit. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the first and Dallas Keuchel on the mound, here’s Gleyber getting the job done:
It wasn’t hit hard (81.1 MPH), but it counts the same as any other single. Torres also picked up a 73.5 MPH base hit against Keuchel in the third inning. In his last at-bat, Gleyber ripped a 103.5 MPH single to lead off the eighth inning.
Now, It would be nice to see Torres start scalding the ball more consistently. His average exit velocity is in the third percentile of the league this year. He’s never been a big exit velo guy, but he’s been much more closer to average in prior seasons (never lower than 45th percentile). Ultimately though, I shouldn’t complain too much because he’s picked up this offense of late.
It was just a few days ago that I wrote about how this lineup needed someone else to start chipping in. Well, Gleyber’s answered the call. Perhaps it’s not a typical hot streak in terms of lasers being hit all over the field, but it’s definitely working for the Yanks.
A rare bullpen meltdown. Three of four relievers after Taillon gave up runs today. All came on homers, too. Wandy Peralta, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman coughed up the team’s early lead. Jonathan Loaisiga was the only one to get through the day unscathed.
Peralta was first in after Taillon, but didn’t last long. He recorded just one out before a walk and José Abreu homer cut the lead to 3-2.
Green replaced Peralta thereafter and finished the sixth without any further trouble. But in the seventh, Yasmani Grandal got Green.
If only that fan wasn’t in the way. Clint Frazier was displeased after just coming up short of robbing that one. That was the lone damage against Green, but again, the bullpen kept Chicago in this game.
It’s also worth pointing out that Green struck out just one of six hitters today. He hadn’t struck out a batter in his three previous outings, either. That’s pretty strange for Green, who typically puts up high K-rates. He’s at 8.25 K/9 now this season, though he’s never posted a mark below 11.18 as a reliever in his career. He’s been pretty good in spite of that, but it’s something that’s probably worth digging into in a separate article later.
After Loaisiga’s clean eighth, Aroldis Chapman entered to close this one out in the ninth. He entered this afternoon with a 0.00 ERA and was 11-for-11 in save opportunities. You knew that wouldn’t hold up all season, but a blown save always really stinks. Here’s how the White Sox tied it:
Looks like Chapman didn’t elevate that fastball enough, but still, it’s not easy to take a 99 MPH fastball out to the opposite field. Give Andrew Vaughn some credit.
In all, this was an uncharacteristic day for the Yankees’ bullpen. You’re not gonna see this group give up three homers in a game often, if ever again, this season. Hopefully it’s now out of their system.
Thanks, Tony La Russa. As the years have gone on, many managers have started to use their closer in tie games on the road in the ninth inning. But as is painfully obvious, La Russa goes to the beat of his own drum. Rather than go to the dominant Liam Hendriks to start the ninth inning, he brought Aaron Bummer out for a second inning of work. Hendriks eventually got into this one, but not until the bases were loaded with one out for Aaron Judge. Pretty impossible situation to put anyone in, even as good as Hendriks is.
Five pitches later, the game was over. Hendriks couldn’t find the zone and walked Judge to give the Yankees a 5-4 win. The only “strike” was near Judge’s head, which he wound up swinging at while trying to avoid the pitch. Perhaps if Hendriks gets a clean inning to start this one, the game goes to extras. Instead, the Yankees complete the sweep.
I really feel sorry for White Sox fans. You get to watch a really good core of players, but the manager surely has taken plenty of joy out of this season both on and off the field. Today, it was he decision-making that proved costly.
- The Yankees’ rotation hasn’t allowed a run in its last 35 innings pitched. What a run for this group.
- The Yankees are now 2-6 in games with an opportunity to complete a sweep.
- Good to see Clint Frazier back in the lineup and pick up three base hits and two stolen bases. He led off the ninth with a single to get the winning rally going. He badly needs to get going offensively. Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.
- Gleyber Torres’ caught stealing in the bottom of the eighth inning was pretty costly. Initially called safe, replay review determined he was out trying to steal third base with one out and Miguel Andújar at the plate. He got a great jump, but he’s also not exactly fleet of foot. He would have been a nice insurance run for Chapman, but fortunately, the Yankees won it in the ninth.
The Yankees are off tomorrow before hosting Toronto on Tuesday. Have a great rest of your Sunday, everyone.