The Yankees are back from the All-Star Break, and it’s like nothing changed. They just keep on winning, defeating the Blue Jays 4-0 tonight. They improve to 58-31 and remain well atop the American League East. Their dominance against the ALE continues, too. It’s been a good season so far, and this was a great start to the unofficial second half.
Let’s get right to the takeaways.
1. Domingo Germán Looks Extremely Good Again: Jeez, how nice is it to see this version of Domingo Germán again? Spoiler: it is nice. Very nice. In his first start back from the injury (July 3), Germán threw 6 innings of 1 run ball against the Mets, striking out 6. He allowed no runs after allowing a first-pitch homer. Tonight, Germán logged 6 innings of 3-hit, shutout ball with 7 Ks and 0 BBs. That is a job well done right there.
Check out his strike zone plot:
He pounded the ball down in the zone, with only 7 pitches in the upper half of the plate and in the zone. That’s one way to limit damage. Another way? Generate swings and misses. The batter can’t do damage if he can’t make contact, after all.
And hoo boy is there a good nugget from tonight. Domingo threw 34 curveballs tonight (the most of any pitch), generating 17 swings. Of those 17 swings, 13 came up empty. 13! That is 76%, for those of you keeping score at home. That will do, Domingo. That will do.
2. Brett Gardner Forever: It is so, so fun watching Brett Gardner do his thing right now, isn’t it? The longest-tenured Yankee was scorching hot prior to the ASB, hitting .321/.418/.641 (176 wRC+) with 25 hits, 10 XBH (7 HR), 20 runs scored and 20 RBI in 91 plate appearances since June 9. That’s 25 games. Tonight, Brett made it 26, going 2-4 with a triple and a run scored.
He even showed off his trademark speed tonight, stretching a weak grounder that beat the shift into a double in the 6th inning and taking 3rd on an error. The “double” was a true hustle play, and a trademark one from Gardner. But it also got me thinking again about the fact that Gardner just hasn’t slowed down at all. Check out his sprint speed (feet per second), via Statcast:
- 2015: 28.8 feet (top 8% of the league)
- 2016: 28.7 feet (top 11%)
- 2017: 28.8 feet (top 11%)
- 2018: 29.1 feet (top 6%)
- 2019: 29.0 feet (top 8%)
Our man just hasn’t lost a step at all. His home-to-first speed is consistent, too, so he hasn’t even lost his acceleration. Brett is one of the fastest players in the league at age 35. The old adage was that speed is a skill that endures, even in baseball (that was one of the pro-Ellsbury arguments you could have made at the time) and Gardner is just showing how true that is. That he’s up to a 112 wRC+ on the season doesn’t hurt, either. Brett Gardner forever.
3. Encarnación Back on Track: Of course, it’s way too early to say that Edwin Encarnación is “back,” but it sure was nice to see his performance tonight. That’s the version of Encarnación that I wrote about after the trade, and it’s basically the first time we’ve seen it. I mean, coming into tonight, Encarnación was hitting just .123/.208/.338 (40 wRC+) in 72 plate appearances as a Yankee coming into tonight. As Mike pointed out on Patreon today, that’s worse than Kendrys Morales performed. Yikes!
Of course, there really isn’t a whole lot to worry about here. Normal slump. Still, maybe the extra rest from the ASB helped out Edwin, who went 2-4 with a 2B and 3 RBI tonight. Here’s the double, which came with the bases loaded and one out in the 5th:
Gosh, did that have to feel good or what? Not just was it a huge hit in the ballgame, but it was a 1-0 count with the bases loaded and Aaron Sanchez just laid a 93-miles-per-hour fastball in the upper-middle part of the zone. Look at this, from the catcher’s POV:
That bad boy is just begging to be hit, and Encarnación didn’t miss it. His double left the bat at over 110 miles-per-hour, and it cleared the bases. He had a single earlier in the game, too. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. How scary would this offense be if Encarnación went on a tear? I want to see it, don’t you?
4. The Bullpen: Another night, another easy appearance for the Yankee pen. Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green entered tonight’s game in relief of Germán and they did the damn job. 3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 3 Ks. That will work, guys.
Just more of the same from the Yankee pen these days. Check out the Yankee bullpen rankings this year:
- fWAR: 4.2 (2nd)
- K/9: 10.0 (3rd)
- K percentage: 25.9% (3rd)
- BB/9: 3.53 (8th)
- LOB percentage: 74.7% (8th)
- ERA: 4.05 (10th)
Maybe some of those figures are disappointing given the numbers, but honestly, it’s tough to complain about that. The Yankee bullpen is very, very good, and it’s as talented as any in the league. It’s even better now that Chad Green is doing this again, too. It’s great.
- Luke Voit: Luke Voit will be activated tomorrow, per Coley Harvey. He has progressed through his rehab. Hooray for that.
- Dellin Betances: Our man is set to begin his throwing program tomorrow, per James Wagner. Very good. Let’s get him back as soon as possible.
- Giancarlo Stanton: A frustrating season continues. He has not started baseball activity yet, per Wagner.
- Didi’s Tweets Are Back: Hell yes. Second half, new Didi. His post-win emoji tweets are back. Check it out:
The Yankees will take on the Jays for the second game of this three-game set tomorrow, with J.A. Happ (7-4, 5.02 ERA) set to take on Clayton Richard (1-5, 6.23 ERA). The game will take place at 1:05 pm. You can catch it on YES locally, MLBN nationally, and on WFAN 660 am by radio (John is back, by the way). Enjoy the rest of your night, folks.