The Yankees are absolutely on fire right now. I love it. They destroyed the Blue Jays yet again, winning 13-2 – they have 33 runs in their last 18 innings – and won their 7th consecutive game. They are now 1.5 games ahead of the Jays for second place and last week’s freefall feels like a lifetime ago. The Yankees are now 28-21. It is great.
This was an easy game to watch. The Yankees smashed 7 home runs – Kyle Higashioka had 3 of them! – and Gerrit Cole was dominant. It was a laugher very early on and it never wavered.
Let’s get right to the takeaways.
1. Gerrit Cole is So Damn Good: Remember a few weeks ago when fans were frustrated with Gerrit Cole because he was mediocre for about 10 innings? Friends, I do remember that, and I hope everyone who was frustrated feels as silly as they should. The dude is an absolute freak on the mound and it was only a matter of time before he started doing this:
With regularity. And that’s exactly what he did tonight. For the second consecutive start, Cole was absolutely masterful. Cole attacked the zone, threw everything for strikes, and overpowered the Blue Jays with a blistering fastball. It was everything the Yankees could have wanted. Here’s the pitch plot:
Cole peppered the zone with his fastball, which averaged 97 mph (lol) and got 14 swings on 46 swings on the night overall. That’s 30% which, as they say, will do. Another interesting item is that Cole threw 51 fastballs (54%) and got 13 called strikes and 6 swings-and-misses. Again, that will do.
All of this is why Cole carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning. He was an absolute ace in every way. Cole allowed just one run, and it came on this wild pitch:
As you might expect from a dude with Cole’s intensity, he was absolutely livid about this run. Still, I’ll take this performance. It was 7 innings of 3-hit ball with 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, and just the 1 run. He now has a 3.00 ERA (3.99 FIP) with nearly 12 K/9 in 66 innings on the season. What a stud.
2. The Bronx Bombers are Back: The Yankee bats are back in full force right now. There’s no denying it. They slugged their way to victory tonight, and it all started in the first at-bat of the game…
…because of course it did. DJ LeMahieu is a freak who makes every single Yankees fan feel like an idiot with each hit he gets. I’m cool with it, personally. I bet you are too. But this was just the first of many. Kyle Higasioka, the home run stroka, joined in on the fun in the third inning:
This made it 3-0 Yankees in the third. The next big blow came in the 4th inning courtesy of Clint Frazier:
This made it 4-0 Yankees. More to come on this one in a minute, but first: more home runs. DJ LeMahieu wasn’t satisfied with the just one home run tonight, so he did this:
That made it 6-0 Yankees. The Yankees actually added a non-HR run (more on that in a minute) before Kyle Higashioka decided to join DJ LeMahieu in the multi-HR parade:
That made it 8-0 Yankees. This was not enough, by the way, as the AL home run leader had yet to join to join in on the fun. You didn’t think the Yankees could hit a bazillion home runs tonight without Luke Voit hitting at least one, did you? Of course not. Here it is:
That made it 11-1 Yankees. But the most improbable and fun home run was saved for last, and it came – again! – from Kyle Higashioka. Here is his third home run of the day:
What can you even say about this? Truly, truly ridiculous stuff. Higashioka couldn’t hide his smile as he rounded the bases and he shouldn’t have anyway. It’s a once in a lifetime night. Smile all you want, Kyle. (Also, and I just have to add: this is one of the most glorious takeaway sections I’ve ever written on this site.)
3. Clint Frazier’s Bat Speed is Ridiculous: Clint Frazier’s bat speed is the stuff of dreams, let me say. It is just tantalizing. It’s evident on the HR I highlighted above, but it’s also evident on this swing, which was the only non-HR RBI of the night for the Yanks:
Just look at that. It really, honestly doesn’t get much sweeter than that. Nor does it get much sweeter than Clint’s .303/.421/.596 (173 wRC+) line on the season, either. The man is playing like he’s absolutely here to stay right now. It’s great and I am enjoying watching it a lot.
4. DJ LeMahieu is So Good: That’s it. That’s the entire takeaway. He’s hitting .373/.421/.627 (182 wRC+) on the season.
- Tauchman, Defensive Replacement: Mike Tauchman replaced Aaron Judge in RF after the game got out of hand, which is cool with me. Judge struck out 3 times and this is a glorified rehab stint for him. Get him out of there and protect him at all costs, please.
- Loaisiga Comes In: Welcome back to my man Jonathan Loaisiga. He returned from his mystery illness – we don’t need to know why he was gone, he deserves privacy – and pitched a scoreless 8th inning. It wasn’t great, as he needed 20 pitches and did give up a hit, but it was painless. I’m happy to have him back in the pen.
- Nick Nelson in the 9th: Nick Nelson finished this one off in the 9th inning and he gave up a HR to Joe Panik for the last run of the night. Oh well.
- Kyle Higashioka, the Home Run Stroka: There are a ton of candidates, but this is one of my favorite Sterling calls ever. It is just so delightful. Also, relatedly, Austin Romine has 2 home runs on the aseason. No reason for bringing that up.
The Yanks and Jays will finish this 3-game set tomorrow night at 7:05 pm ET in the Bronx. The Yankees will look to with their 8th in a row and sweep the Jays. Chase Anderson (0-1, 5.81 ERA) will take on Masahiro Tanaka (2-2, 3.16 ERA) in that matchup. Enjoy your night, everyone.