Sunday Funday for the Yankees! The Bombers earned a split with a good ol’ fashioned blowout of the White Sox, winning a 10-3 decision. New York maintains first place in the AL East heading into their 10-game homestand.
Now, to the takeaways.
The Yankees’ C+ Lineup is Another Team’s A+
When the Yankees put out their lineup Sunday, it certainly raised some eyebrows. Days off for Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks AND Didi Gregorius? Bold to have them all miss this one, though it’s good to keep them fresh.
Well, the Bombers didn’t miss a beat. They nearly broke through with back-to-back singles to start the first inning, but Odrisamer Despaigne used a bag of cutters and curves to escape trouble. Despaigne began twirling and hesitating like Luis Tiant, El Duque and Johnny Cueto rolled into one to get a 1-2-3 second.
But in the third inning, with the second time through the order, Despaigne’s magic ran dry.
DJ LeMahieu clinched his second straight two-hit game. Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres patiently worked walks and, after a Clint Frazier short flyout, Brett Gardner lined a two-run single on a 3-1 count to put the Yankees up for good.
The two-out rally continued with who else but Gio Urshela, who contributed a single and another run. A Mike Tauchman walk set up Austin Romine, who broke his season-long slump with a groundball single to plate two more.
Patience was the key against Despaigne, who walked four and didn’t have consistent command of the zone. It’s cliche, but the Yankees didn’t try to do too much and instead dinked and dunked their way to a commanding 5-1 lead after three.
That’ll Do, Paxton
Since throwing four no-hit innings against the Padres, James Paxton has had a rough go of it in his post-IL starts. Today was different.
The southpaw was throwing 93-94 mph in the first inning, but he made due and had the control and command to make a few ticks of velo moot before he got it back.
Still, in the first two innings, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was another shaky start for Paxton. Jose Abreu took a curveball at the bottom of the zone out to left field for a solo home run, continuing his dominance of NYY pitching.
In the second, Paxton gave up a one-out walk and then Wellington Castillo lined a ball off the wall in right-center field. However, thanks to Castillo admiring the ball for a little too long and perfect defense off a carum from Gardner, the DH was held to a single. That saved the inning as Paxton induced a double play to escape harm.
From there, Paxton avoided significant damage while pitching with a lead. He struck out seven and walked just the one over six frames, allowing another run on a seeing-eye single.
His strikeouts weren’t from a steady stream of fastballs, either. Instead, he set hitters up with high fastballs before turning to curveballs and cutters at the bottom of the zone.
Big Maple finished the day out with his first 1-2-3 inning, closing with a 96 and 97 mph fastball. It was his best full-length start since returning from the IL and a needed boost for the Yankees.
The Yankees have had games recently where they produce one or two big innings and then rest on their laurels, letting the game nearly slip away. Sunday in Cleveland comes to mind.
The C+ lineup wasn’t about to let this one slide, tacking on soon after the five-run third inning. In fact, from the fifth to the eighth inning, they scored in four consecutive frames:
- After a Gardner HBP in the fifth inning, Urshela and Romine each lined doubles to the gap with the backup catcher plating two runs for a four-RBI game. This feels like the game that will justify him starting way too often over the next few weeks despite his horrid season at the plate.
- Torres walked and Frazier got in on the action with a bloop single in the sixth before Gardner plated Torres with a fielder’s choice.
- Cameron Maybin homered in the seventh, his second of the series to dead center field. With his roster spot in jeopardy, he isn’t showing any let-up in his game and now has a .282/.362/.427 (114 wRC+) batting line in 116 plate appearances for the Yankees.
- Torres walked for the third time in the game — off three different pitches no less — and scored on a Gardner single later in the inning.
All nine Yankees reached base in the victory. LeMahieu, Gardner, Urshela, Romine and Maybin each had two hits while Voit and Frazier each singled while Voit walked twice. Tauchman walked in five appearances.
Furthermore, both Romine and Gardner, who could see more time on the bench in upcoming games, had four RBI each. Seven of the Yankees’ 10 RBI came with two outs.
- Maybin’s home run extended the Yankees’ streak of consecutive games with a home run to 19, the second longest in team history. Their record is 25 straight games in 1941.
- Meanwhile, Abreu’s home run off Paxton extends an ignominious record as the Yankees have now given up a home run in 15 straight games. David Hale allowed a homer to James McCann for good measure.
- Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton tossed scoreless seventh and ninth innings, respectively. Ottavino struck out two while Britton got three ground outs. Each needed the work as Ottavino had one appearance this week while Britton hadn’t pitched since Sunday.
- Edwin Encarnación will meet the Yankees at the Stadium tomorrow, so he should be in the lineup as the DH against the Rays.
Tauchman will likely be optioned to Triple-A to make room for the slugger.Clint Frazier was optioned to make room for Encarnación.
With Encarnacion in tow, the Yankees host the Rays for three games with the division lead on the line. It will be Masahiro Tanaka (4-5, 3.58 ERA) against some combination of Ryne Stanek and Yonny Chirinos. YES has the 7:05 p.m. game with MLB Network for those out of town.