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Spring Training Competition: Back of the Bullpen

As Bobby noted in his 26-man roster projection yesterday, expect the Yankees to carry eight relievers to start the regular season. Six of those eight spots are pretty well set barring injury, leaving two openings up for grabs. Here’s how things shake out:

  1. Aroldis Chapman
  2. Zack Britton
  3. Chad Green
  4. Adam Ottavino
  5. Tommy Kahnle
  6. Luis Cessa
  7. ???
  8. ???

Bobby predicted that Jonathans Holder and Loáisiga will travel north come opening day. Let’s take a look at those two’s candidacies along with the rest in competition.

The favorites

Not only is Loáisiga in the mix here, but he’s also an option for the fifth starter role. The 25 year-old’s stuff will play regardless of role, though his durability and control seem to make relief more sensible. One more thing that may be construed as telling for Loáisiga’s status was that Aaron Boone called him on in relief in the 10th inning of Game 2 of the 2019 ALCS with the score tied. Basically, all Boone had left was Cessa, Loáisiga, and JA Happ. That Loáisiga was above Cessa in the pecking order in that situation could be an indicator of his status, especially with Cessa all but a lock in this year’s bullpen.

Next is Holder, who had a rough 2019. Ineffectiveness eventually resulted in a demotion to Triple-A, and later, he ended the year on the injured list because of shoulder inflammation. It was a big step back from his prior two years during which the 26 year-old righty pitched 105 1/3 innings and posted a 3.42 ERA and 3.25 FIP.

After a down season ended with injury, it seemed like Holder was on the 40-man chopping block. Instead, the Yankees kept the first-time arbitration eligible reliever and settled for $750,000. Considering that vote of confidence and past success in the big leagues, Holder figures to be a very strong candidate for one of the last two spots. One thing that could go against him is that he still has a minor league option remaining, though so do a number of others discussed in this post.

Non-roster invitees who could fit as a longman

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It’s pretty clear that the front office is a fan of David Hale, who’s back again this year as a non-roster invitee. He’s been with the organization since 2018 and was quite effective in the big leagues last year. In 20 games and 37 2/3 innings, Hale recorded a 3.11 ERA and 3.32 FIP. Unfortunately, he went on the injured list with a lumbar spine strain at the end of July and didn’t return.

Bettis came aboard over the weekend. Before joining the Yankees, Bettis mostly worked as a starter for the Rockies (except 2019). He hasn’t been very good since 2015 or 2016. That said, his 60.8 percent ground ball rate last season is intriguing. Bettis also might be someone who would thrive by throwing more curveballs. Last year, he threw his yakker just 12 percent of the time in spite of an exception whiff rate (40.1 percent) and high spin (2,539 RPM).

Both Hale and Bettis can provide length in relief should they need it. We know Bettis has spent a good deal of his career in the rotation, meaning that he’s used to being stretched out. Meanwhile, Hale has also started quite a bit. Hale has made 18 starts for Scranton since 2018.

I suppose Cessa is the true long man on the roster at the moment, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be two especially in April when managers tend to be more careful with starters.

Prospects on the 40-man in the running

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If ZiPS had its say, Ben Heller (projected 108 ERA+) and Brooks Kriske (101 ERA+) would be in the Yankees’ bullpen coming opening day. Nonetheless, the odds of either righties making it don’t seem great, though I wouldn’t say that they’re longshots either.

Heller, who missed all of 2018 because of Tommy John Surgery, finally made it back toward the end of last season. He was dominant in 11 Triple-A innings (0.82 ERA) and 7 1/3 major league frames (1.23 ERA). This is really the first time the 28 year-old has been in position to get an extended major league look. He’s not all that different from Holder, who I noted as a favorite, but Heller may need a little more game action in Triple-A.

Kriske, 26, is new to the 40-man roster. He was downright fantastic in 60 2/3 minor league innings last season (split between High-A and Double-A). The righty struck out 80 batters while posting a 2.08 ERA and 2.69 FIP. Never say never, but Kriske will probably get a look at Triple-A hitters before getting to the majors.

Unlikely Non-roster invitees

The new three batter minimum rule is going to make it tough on Luis Avilán and Tyler Lyons. Both are pretty classic lefty specialists whose values have been hurt by MLB’s rule change. I just can’t imagine the Yankees going north with either of them.

Dan Otero, Tony Zych, and Domingo Acevedo are also in camp as NRIs, but with slim odds of wearing pinstripes. Otero’s been pretty bad in each of the last two seasons in Cleveland. He doesn’t miss bats and gives up a ton of homers. Zych hasn’t pitched since 2017 and has been hurt quite a lot in his career. Finally, the Yankees surprisingly invited Acevedo to camp. Once one of the Yankees’ better prospects, Acevedo has fallen from grace as stuff has diminished. The Yankees actually pulled a release-and-sign with him last summer to make room on the 40-man roster. Hard to picture him with the Yankees unless he regains his stuff.


As I noted in the favorites and as Bobby predicted, Holder and Loáisiga are the early frontrunners. That said, there are a number of permutations these last two spots can take, unexpected injuries aside.

Heller and/or Kriske could be deemed as better middle relief options than Holder. The Yankees are pretty set from the sixth inning on in relief, so it really could just come down to who has the best spring training here.

I also could see Hale winning a spot over Loáisiga. And not necessarily because Loáisiga isn’t deserving, but rather, because the Yankees may want to give him another shot as a starter and thereby keep him stretched out in Scranton. Plus, Hale was pretty good last season and has obviously had fans in the organization for a few years.

Regardless of the outcome, we’ll probably see quite a bit of shuffling with these last two spots as long as the bullpen is at full strength. Being on the opening day roster is neat and all, but it’s more ceremonial than anything. In all likelihood, it’ll be another season of the ol’ Scranton Shuttle getting its run.

An assortment of relievers [2019 Season Review]

Tarpley. (Keith Allison – CC BY-SA 2.0)

One of the Yankees’ core tenets is a strong bullpen, as evidenced once again in 2019. But a strong bullpen isn’t just about the relief aces like Zack Britton or Chad Green (among others). Other pitchers play important roles too, even in blowouts and games that aren’t on the line. Today, I take a brief look at an array of pitchers who spent time on the Yankees’ major league roster this season. Most of these pitchers didn’t have much success on the mound, and many won’t be back in 2020, but they still played some role on this year’s club.

Jonathan Holder

After a strong 2018, the Yankees expected Holder to be an important piece of the bullpen. Not in terms of high leverage, but rather, holding the fort down in the middle innings. Unfortunately, he fell far short of his 3.14 ERA and 3.04 FIP in 66 innings a year ago.

Not only did Holder get sent down to Triple-A twice this year, but to add injury to insult, he finished the season on the injured list. The 26 year-old righty wasn’t horrible to start the year, but he certainly wasn’t anything special. By the end of May, he had a 4.55 ERA but a much better 3.07 FIP. Come June, things took a turn for the worst. He allowed six homers and 15 runs (13 earned) in eight innings before he was sent to Scranton.

The final straw came on June 24th, when Holder faced five batters and did not record an out. The big blow was Freddy Galvis’s grand slam. Holder was optioned after the game, returned for one appearance in July, and didn’t resurface in the Bronx again until August. But not long after, he hit the injured list with shoulder inflammation and missed the remainder of the season. There’s no indication that any portion of his 2020 season is in jeopardy.

Assuming he’s healthy, Holder will be in the mix for one of the last bullpen spots in spring training. He has one more minor league option remaining, so he could be an up-and-down relief arm once again if he can’t re-establish himself.

Stephen Tarpley

If you had me guess how many innings Tarpley threw for the Yankees this season, I would have guessed a dozen or so. Maybe it’s because the season has been over for a few months now, but my guess is far off. In fact, the lefty threw 24 2/3 frames for the Bombers this year. He was ineffective and finished the season with a 6.93 ERA and 5.69 FIP.

Tarpley’s big issue was the long ball. He’s been a ground ball pitcher for some time now, even garnering (unfair) comps to Zack Britton, but that was far from the case in 2019. He had just a 36.2 percent ground ball rate and surrendered six homers (2.2 per nine innings). This came on the heels of a 63.8 percent ground ball rate for Scranton this season.

Tarpley still has two more minor league options, so he still has time to work the kinks out. He’s had plenty of success in Triple-A, but it’s just not translated at the big league level. However, he may also be on the 40-man chopping block as we await the official announcements of Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner.

Cory Gearrin

The Yankees claimed Gearrin off waivers from the Mariners near the end of August. Unexpectedly, he quickly became one of the team’s most oft-used relievers. The sidearmer appeared in 18 of the Yankees final 32 games of the regular season.

His usage was a little perplexing given his uninspiring results, but upon reflection, it makes sense. Not only did Aaron Boone say that the organization believed Gearrin had upside, but Gearrin also offered some relief (pun intended) for guys who had been worked hard like Adam Ottavino.

Gearrin’s a free agent, but there hasn’t been a peep about him in the rumor mill. Not that anyone would expect there to be. Chances are Gearrin receives a minor league deal for 2020, and your guess is as good as mine regarding with what team he’ll sign with.

Tyler Lyons

The Yankees picked up Lyons on a minor league contract in August after the Pirates released him earlier in the month. The former Cardinal was last an effective big league reliever in 2017 while he was still with St. Louis. Once rosters expanded in September, the Yankees gave the lefty a shot.

Lyons was decent in September and had eight scoreless outings in eleven total appearances. Similar to Gearrin, Lyons gave the Yankees another warm body to provide key relievers a breather. Surprisingly, Lyons earned a spot on the playoff roster and appeared in both the ALDS and ALCS. He retired all five batters he faced, including four strike outs, but the games he pitched were already out of hand.

The others

Longtime farmhand Brady Lail, the Yankees’ 18th-rounder in 2012, made a one game cameo in August before the Yankees’ designate him for assignment. He’s currently a minor league free agent…Jake Barrett appeared in two games for the Yankees before elbow inflammation ended his season. He too is a free agent…Same deal for southpaw Joe Mantiply, who was one-and-done for an August game and is now a free agent…the Yankees nabbed Ryan Dull, part of their run on scrapheap relievers, in mid-August off waivers. Dull last only lasted three games with the Bombers before the Blue Jays claimed him off waivers in September…Joe Harvey was a surprise addition to the 40-man entering 2019 and was decent in 10 innings for the Bombers (4.50 ERA). The Yankees traded him to the Rockies for Alfredo Garcia before the deadline.

2019 ALCS: Breaking down Yankees’ roster choices for next round

Defensive replacement Aaron Hicks? (MLB Gifs)

The Yankees come in ALDS Game 1 on Saturday with five days of rest and few questions. Still, as with the end of the regular season, there are roster decisions to be made.

Bench Spots

In the Division Series, the Yankees had the following players on the bench: Austin Romine, Luke Voit, Cameron Maybin and Tyler Wade. Of those four, only Maybin saw playing time as a defensive replacement/caddy for Giancarlo Stanton.

Austin Romine is guaranteed his spot as the backup catcher. Beyond that, there are three questions to be answered with the bench:

  1. Should Mike Ford replace Luke Voit?
  2. Should the Yankees go with an extra pitcher?
  3. What about Aaron Hicks.

We addressed the Ford vs. Voit conundrum before the ALDS, but it’s worth rehashing. Voit had the better track record, Ford the hotter and healthier finish to the season. Aaron Boone mentioned that they kept Voit in part to matchup with Twins closer Taylor Rogers, though that occasion never arose.

While Ford’s lefty bat could pay off against the righty-heavy Astros’ staff. However, the Yankees have a potent enough lineup that there isn’t a clear spot to pinch hit. Voit, for what it’s worth, took Gerrit Cole deep in April.

Yet, should the Yankees even keep Voit or Ford on the roster? They need a backup infielder, so one of Voit, Ford and Wade is needed, but not necessarily two of them. The Yankees could sacrifice one of their spots for an extra pitcher.

Or, they could lose their spot to Aaron Hicks. Not only has Hicks declared himself ready, but the Yankees are seriously considering him. He took it upon himself to start throwing in an effort to prove himself to the Yankees, and that gumption appears to have paid off.

Hicks could replace any of Maybin, Voit or Wade for the ALCS roster. He can switch-hit, play any of the outfield positions and provide a better defensive replacement for Stanton than Maybin. That is, of course, if he’s truly ready to go, but that’s not information we’re privy to.

If Hicks is rostered, Maybin could still stay as a pinch runner and extra bat, though Wade would appear to be a superior basestealer and can play the infield. However, of the bench players, Maybin is the only one to bat this postseason and went deep in Game 3.

Starting Lineup

The starting nine appears all but set. For the first time this season, the Yankees kept the same starting lineup together for three straight days and it paid off with 23 runs over three games against the Twins.

You can certainly quibble with the lineup order — Brett Gardner in the No. 3 spot drew plenty of ire — but it’s worked. The Astros come at the Yankees with a series of right-handed pitchers outside of Wade Miley, who is likely a mop-up reliever in the ALCS. Therefore, there’s little reason to change the lineup.

Again, Hicks could change the calculus as he would have been part of the Yankees’ Death Star lineup just a couple of months ago. It’s hard, though, to go from simulated games after two months off the shelf to facing the best rotation in baseball. The Yankees would have a hard time replacing Gardner, Stanton or Edwin Encarnación with him.

Rotation

Again, this isn’t the most difficult question as we know the key players. James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino will start in some order for the first three games against Houston, while J.A. Happ will likely toss bulk innings or start Game 4 in an all-hands-on-deck situation.

Will Yankees change up the order of their rotation? Tanaka’s home/road splits are well-documented and he would start both Game 2 and 6 on the road if Boone does not alter his staff. Otherwise, the Yankees could flip him with Severino to keep him at home, though he’d still start a potential Game 7 on the road.

Despite a rocky Game 1 start, Paxton remains the Yankees’ best option for Game 1. He struggled in his first start against the Astros this season in Houston, but he was also reportedly tipping pitches. Big Maple rebounded with five one-run innings in the Bronx. The Astros’ lineup is righty-heavy, yet Paxton can handle both sides of the plate.

Bullpen

The main query with the bullpen is two-fold; Is CC Sabathia healthy enough to return, and would he replace a pitcher or hitter?

Sabathia went through a bullpen session Wednesday. In his workout day presser Thursday, Boone said Sabathia felt good before he went out to stretch and play catch, though he hadn’t completed his routine by the press conference. If the left-hander bounces back well, he presumably has a role on the roster.

Who’s spot does he take? He could take one of the bench bats’ spots, or he could replace Tyler Lyons, Jonathan Loaisiga or Luis Cessa. Though Cessa didn’t pitch in the Division Series, Sabathia would be more likely to replace the other two as Cessa gives emergency length to the pen. Lyons is another lefty and might be superfluous with CC back.

If CC is on the roster, he could both give limited length (one time through the order) and would also be another option to team with Tommy Kahnle to attack Michael Brantley and Yordan Álvarez, the Astros’ two best left-handed hitters.


If I had to make a guess, I’d say the Yankees keep their same starting lineup while adding both Hicks and Sabathia to the roster and taking off Maybin and Lyons. That’s not necessarily fair to either of the latter duo who performed well last round, but Hicks and Sabathia bring both more talent and intangibles that could help the Bombers.

Breaking down the Yankees’ bullpen roster decisions

Cessa Time!

With just days until the Division Series opens, we still don’t know how the Yankees will organize their bullpen for the game.

The team has their top five relievers — Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman — set in stone behind their three main starting pitchers. Starters CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ are likely to join the bullpen. However, it’s still a mystery which other relievers the Yankees will roster and just how many.

The Bombers could go with as few as 11 pitchers — just one more pitcher — or as many as 13 arms, most likely in the 12-13 range. The respective absences of Dellin Betances and Domingo German made the last few weeks an open competition for the final spots.

Of the other pitchers on the 40-man roster (sorry, Deivi), here are the top candidates: Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Cory Gearrin, Ben Heller, Tyler Lyons and Stephen Tarpley. Here’s how they rank by leverage index entering games in September:

  • Cessa: 1.12
  • Lyons: 0.65
  • Gearrin: 0.59
  • Heller: 0.51
  • Tarpley: 0.42
  • Loaisiga: 0.36

From that alone, you can tell that the team has trusted Cessa to bigger spots, allowing him to pitch in high-leverage spots three times in the last month alone, including once in extra innings.

Now, here are some of the basic stats for each pitcher out of the Yankees’ bullpen this season, ordered by ERA:

  • Heller: 7.1 IP, 1.23 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 32.1 K%, 10.7 BB%, 1.23 HR/9
  • Loaisiga: 19.2 IP, 3.20 ERA, 4.38 FIP, 28.4 K%, 11.1 BB%, 1.37 HR/9
  • Cessa: 81 IP, 4.11 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 21.9 K%, 9.0 BB%, 1.56 HR/9
  • Lyons: 8.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 5.98 FIP, 35.3 K%, 5.9 BB%, 3.12 HR/9
  • Gearrin: 14 IP, 4.50 ERA, 4.79 FIP, 13.1 K%, 6.6 BB%, 1.29 HR/9
  • Tarpley: 23.2 IP, 5.70 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 30.1 K%, 4.14 BB%, 1.14 HR/9

Outside of Cessa, these were some small samples, particularly the long shot Heller, who was working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’s worth mentioning as a possibility, but he hasn’t worked in high leverage spots. Let’s disregard him for now, though he’s looked good this month.

Meanwhile, this leaves out Loaisiga’s brief stint as a starter in April, as well as Gearrin’s numbers in Seattle, which improve his overall line.

The Top Tier

Cessa, Loaisiga and Gearrin. None of the trio distinguished themselves down the stretch as they each gave up runs in the last week of the season. Still, the three righties each bring something to the table.

Cessa has been the team’s designated innings eater this year. He led all Yankee relievers in innings pitched (81) and served as both a mop-up man and bulk pitcher, with the occasional high-leverage spot mixed in. You won’t mistake him for an elite reliever, but he can give the team length and had a strong outing against the Twins in July.

Loaisiga is the most talented pitcher on the bubble. As I detailed two weeks ago, his stuff is electric, but his command is sub-par. I’d grind my teeth if he’s pitching high-leverage, but he has the makings of a back-end reliever with some refinement. That might not be this season though.

Gearrin is the veteran with the most experience. At 33, he’s in his eighth MLB season and has a 3.64 ERA across 302 innings. The Twins hit him well in a small sample, but Gearrin is most effective as a ROOGY. Have him face lefties and you tempt fate, but he can get righties out at a decent clip (.252/.338/.341 in 154 PAs this season).

The Southpaws

Tarpley and Lyons. They’re under consideration for one reason: Their southpaw status. The two lefties could be deployed, particularly on 13-man pitching staff, as LOOGYs to attack Minnesota’s left-handed hitters. Presumably, Sabathia would serve a similar purpose in October, so these guys could be superfluous.

Lyons didn’t excel against lefties in pinstripes. Lyons allowed two homers to lefties and had a .267/.313/.667 mark against same-sided hitters, though he also struck out eight of the 16 he faced. Tarpley, who was hit around by righties, held lefties to a .200/.289/.300 mark over 11 2/3 innings with just one homer and 18 strikeouts.

Tarpley has been the better of the two, but he’s been asked more often to work as a full-inning reliever to his own detriment. He’s a fringe candidate for the postseason roster, but he’s a better one than Lyons.


With a crowded group of position players, the Yankees should go with just 12 pitchers in the five-game Division Series. Even with some key lefties in the Twins’ lineup, the Yankees can get by with Sabathia as their LOOGY and stick with their top arms to get through the lineup.

That should leave two spots for the bubble candidates mentioned above. Of those, I’d go with Cessa for mop-up duty, with either Gearrin and Loaisiga as your 25th man. In an ideal series, none of these guys see the mound (or they exclusively see the mound, but you get what I mean). This choice shouldn’t make or break the Yankees’ roster, but it’s an important one nonetheless.

Game 160: Yanks Slug Their Way to 14-5 Victory Amid Paxton Injury Scare

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Well, that was a scary game! At least a scary start. Paxton left the game with an injury (he’s fine, apparently precautionary, phew). After that, though, it was all Yankees all of the time. They mashed and mashed and mashed, and they destroyed the Rangers 14-7 (box). That was their 103rd win of the season, tying the 2009 team. One more and they’ll have won more than any Yankees team in recent memory aside from the mythical 1998 team. Not bad! Now just please stay healthy, for the love of all that is holy.

Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. A Short Night From Paxton: James Paxton got hurt. We don’t have a whole lot of info on this yet, but check that link for more details. In the interim, though, it’s worth exploring the night that Paxton had on the mound. We all know how dominant he’s been recently, and honestly, I’m too bummed to get into it right now anyway. Anyway, he went 1.0 IP, surrendering 2 R on 3 H including this bomb to Danny Santana:

He didn’t look sharp and needed 21 pitches to complete the inning, but there were no real red flags that I could see. He didn’t really look to be in rhythm, but it’s hard to say from my couch if that was just because he didn’t really have it or due to any injury. Anyway, in 2019, Paxton’s average fastball velocity would be 95.4 mph. Here is his velocity chart from his one brief inning tonight:

His last two fastballs of the night? 95 and 94.8 mph, so I don’t think velocity was an issue. Ugh. Get well soon, James.

2. Have Yourself A Night, Giancarlo: The Yankees are in a race for the all-time single-season home run record and Giancarlo Stanton has just three of them. Baseball is a wild sport sometimes. He added that third one tonight, and boy was it a beauty. Check it out:

The Statcast data on this one is just as pretty as you’d think it is:

When Stanton hits them, he really hits them. It’s really a huge bummer that Stanton didn’t get to feast on the juiced ball all season because our guy may have touched 500 feet. Oh well. There’s still time yet. That was the 300th home run of the season for the Yanks, which is pretty damn cool. More on that in a minute, though.

Stanton really had himself a nice night tonight even beyond the majestic blast. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs in the 4th, Giancarlo had a nicely placed bloop single to drive in two more. Here is the video:

He would add two walks, and he went 3-3 on the night. He looked downright terrible on Wednesday, but overall I think it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with how Stanton has looked since coming back from his injury. I feel about as good as I would have hoped with Giancarlo at the plate (and in the field) going into October. Hooray for that.

3. A Great Night From the Bullpen: Well, that sure was a performance from the Yankee bullpen, wasn’t it? After James Paxton left tonight’s game with a tight left glute, there was a real chance for this game to turn into a real pain in the ass. But the bullpen stepped up and did its job across 8 innings. Here is the breakdown, pitcher-by-pitcher:

  • Ben Heller: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Stephen Tarpley: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Jonathan Loaisiga: 1.0 IP, zeros, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Cody Gearrin: 1.0 IP, 1 H, zeros, 1 K
  • Tyler Lyons: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Michael King: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K
  • Chance Adams: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R (1 HR), 1 K
  • Nestor Cortes Jr.: 0.2 IP, zeros
  • Total: 8.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R (2 HR), 1 BB, 9 K

That’ll do! Can’t say I love the one-man, one-inning approach from an aesthetic standpoint (Tuesday’s game in Tampa was really rough to watch) but hey, it worked tonight. And this was the very back end of the Yankee pen. Okay, so I’ll be honest. I wrote this before Chance Adams absolutely imploded in the bottom of the 9th inning, which completely ruined this narrative. Goodness was that frustrating. Whatever. It happens and they won.

Anyway, really nice to see Mike King get a chance on the mound in the big league game. King has been one of my favorite prospects to follow, and he’s really battled injuries this year, so that was a nice moment.

I would also be remiss not to note that my son Jonathan Loaisiga once again looked good. I still expect to see him as the 25th man on the playoff roster, and he’ll belong to be there.

4. It’s a Homer Party: Isn’t it wild to think that, as good as the Yankees have been at home this year, they are hitting so much better on the road, isn’t it? It’s even wilder to think that Yankee Stadium has been playing like a pitcher’s park (the 2nd most friendly pitcher’s park, in fact). Check out the home/road splits for the Yankees as a team, coming into tonight:

  • At Yankee Stadium: .263/.334/.474 (.809 OPS), 143 HR
  • On the Road: .271.343.502 (.845), 156 HR

I bring this up because wow did the Yankees crush the ball in the 3rd to last game in Texas’ park tonight. They hit 6 home runs! You already saw the first one above, which was Giancarlo’s moonshot. That was the 300th home run for the team on the season, which is wild. I am of the mind that Yankee home runs are fun so I am going to post each and every video highlight of them here. Why the hell not?

Here is Cameron Maybin’s, which tied the game at 2:

Here is Brett Gardner’s, which gave the Yanks a 3-2 lead (and it was also his 28th home run of the season!):

Here is the slumping Gio Urshela’s home run, which made it 6-2 Yanks:

And here is Mike “September is still Truck Month” Ford’s 2-run blast that made it 8-2 (he also added a 2-run double):

Here is Austin Romine’s 430 foot homer, LOL:

That is a lot of home runs in one game, and as YES’ Jeff Quagliata points out, this is the ridiculous 10th time in 2019 that the Yankees have hit 5 or more home runs in a single game:

The Yankees are also in a tight race with the Twins for the most home runs in a regular season history. I’m sure it will change fifty times by the time this post is actually ready to publish, but here is the leaderboard for now:

  1. Yankees: 305
  2. Twins: 303

I would prefer it if the Yankees won this race and then also outslug the Twins 15-0 in a 3 game sweep next weekend. Sound good? Good.

Leftovers

  • Gary Sánchez’s Return: Jeez, does Gary have an absolute cannon of an arm or what? Two non-notable plays early in the game involved Gary making snap throws behind runners at first, but I was too distracted by the Paxton injury to actually note when they were. Sorry about that. Anyway, I wish that we still had access to velocity stats on catcher’s throws because I’m telling you, those were two impressive ones. Gary is a hell of a player and it was nice to see him back behind the dish. (He left the game after 3 AB, exactly as planned.)
  • Luke Voit Is Struggling: Luke Voit had a really rough night, going 0-5 with 3 strikeouts. My man Luke has really struggled since returning from the DL, hitting just .222/.341/.375 (95 wRC+) since returning from injury on August 30. Now, he’s still getting on base, but that’s just about it. He’s not hitting for any power at all nor is he hitting the ball for average. Time is running out for him to turn it around before the ALDS. (He’ll make the roster, but playing time is right now far from a given.)
  • DJ LeMahieu, Hitting Extraordinaire: What, you think I could do one of these without bringing up DJ LeMahieu? Come on now. You know how this works by now. Our guy, who still has a tiny chance of winning the AL batting crown, went 3-5 with 3 RBI tonight. His batting average is up to .331 and he has 102 RBI on the season. What else can I say about him that I haven’t said already? What a player. Here’s a bases-clearing, bases-loaded triple double for DJLM:

Up Next

The Yanks and Rangers will play the penultimate game of the season tomorrow night at 8:05 pm EST. Luis Severino (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take on a yet to be announced pitcher for Texas. You can catch that one on YES or on WFAN, as usual. Have a great night, everyone.

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