- Cary Greene
About Last Night: Yankees 10 - Twins 4
by Cary Greene
June 8, 2022
Winning Pitcher: Lucas Luetge (2-2) 1.2 IP / 1 H, 0 ER / 0 K, 0 BB / 18-12 PC-ST
Losing Pitcher: Cole Sands (0-1) 3.2 IP/ 8 H, 4 ER / 3 K, 2 BB / 89-55 PC-ST
Yankee Home Runs: Aaron Judge (22, 1st-inning 2-run HR, 107.7 mph, 431 ft to CF off Sands); Giancarlo Stanton (12, 1st inning 1-run HR, 111.8 mph, 445 ft to LF off Sands); Anthony Rizzo (12, 7th inning 3-run HR, 104 mph, 410 ft to RF off Duffey)
The Yankees are on pace to win 117 games this season and have now won 16 of 18 against the AL Central Division so far this season
Heading into the game, Yankee starters had pitched to a 1.27 ERA in the previous 10 games and they averaged 7 innings per start
The only other Yankees team since 1958 to get off to a better start than this year’s Yankees was the 1998 Yankees
The Twins have 15 players on the injured-list
Last night marked the first time all season that Jameson Taillon has given up more than 3 runs in a start
With a second-inning single last night, DJ LeMahieu recorded his 1.500th career hit
Aaron Judge: 22 HR Leads MLB, Top 1% of league in too many Statcast metrics to even list. JUST PAY THE GUY!
Jose Trevino is batting .421 since May 16th with a 1.266 OPS
Aaron Hicks, who went 2-4 with 2 walks last night, is quietly hitting .333 (7-21) in his last 6 games.
Sarah Jessica Parker? (Couldn’t think of any Yankees lately. I was going to pick a female Ferengi from Star Trek, but come to think about it, I don’t know of any. They purportedly have smaller lobes than male Ferengi and they’re not permitted to go out in public, hold jobs, wear clothing or participate in trade or commerce. In short, Star Trek audiences have never actually seen a Ferengi female.)
On This Day...
Yesterday, June 7th, marked what would have been all-time Yankees great Thurman Munson’s 75th birthday. During the game the YES network showed a number of Thurman Munson highlights and younger fans who may have never seen Munson play were treated to some special memories that many older fans will never forget.
On June 7th, 84 Years ago, a feat that is all but guaranteed NEVER to happen again occurred. The Yankees beat Cleveland 5-4 in 16 innings. George Selkirk hit the game-winning home run, but pitcher Red Ruffing was the real MVP, pitching all 16 innings while also helping his case with three hits, including a home run of his own. Amazingly, not a single batter on either team struck out over the 16-inning marathon. What are the chances that a pitcher today will go 16 innings, get the win AND hit a home run in the game?
The Big Story -
Aaron Judge opened the scoring in the top of the first inning after a DJ LeMahieu single, launching a 107.7 mph 2-run shot 441 feet bomb into the centerfield bleachers.
Not to be outdone, the very next batter, Giancarlo Stanton rocked a 111.8 mph dinger 445 feet into the second deck in left field and the Yankees had a quick 3-0 lead.
The Twins scored in the bottom of the first when Byron Buxton, who had previously doubled, scored on a sacrifice fly from Max Kepler. Then, in the bottom of the third-inning, Minnesota added another run on a one-out double by Jorge Polanco, who drove in Luis Arraez who had singled.
The Yankees put their foot on the gas again in the top of the fourth-inning when Joey Gallo scored from second base on a 108.2 mph single by Aaron Judge to make the score Yankees 4, Twins 2.
Twins manager Rocco Baldeli then made a pitching change with runners on first and second and two out, calling on Juan Minaya to come in and face Giancarlo Stanton. It was a huge moment in the game and Minaya was able to strike Stanton out on a 94.4 mph 4-Seam Fastball that tailed slightly in off the middle of the plate. Stanton took a huge rip at the pitch but missed it, so the game remained 4-2 Yankees.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Twins put runners on the corners with one out and Yankee Pitcher Jameson Taillon was suddenly in the biggest spot he’d faced yet, with the Twins number-nine hitter Jermaine Palacios up - managed to drive in Gio Urshela with a sacrifice fly to make the game 4-3 Yankees. That brought up Luis Arraez, who leads the American League with a .364 batting average and he came through with a single to put runners on first and second. Taillon was able to get Byron Buxton swinging on an 81.9 Curve-Ball that nearly bounced on the plate however, to preserve the lead! The pitch spun at 2,906-rpm’s and had 54-inches of downward vertical break.
The Yankees came right back and loaded the bases via walks against the suddenly wild Juan Minaya, who had lost control of his Change-Up and that brought DJ LeMahieu to the plate, who proceeded to work the count full before walking in Aaron Hicks. It wasn't exactly thrilling to watch but the run counted as it extended the Yankees lead to 5-3.
Yennier Cano came on to face Aaron Judge with the bases loaded and struck him out swinging on a 89.4 mph curving Change-Up that was outside and off the plate. Then, in the bottom of the fifth, the Twins knocked Jameson Taillon out of the game on a hard hit 107.5 mph single by Max Kepler. Taillon had given up an absolutely scalded 111.1 mph 423-foot home run to right field off the bat of Jorge Polanco on the previous at-bat. Lucas Luetge came on in relief and worked out of further trouble to preserve the score at 5-4 Yankees.
After Luetge and Wandy Peralta combined to end a Twins rally in the bottom of the sixth, DJ LeMahieu singled and Aaron Judge was intentionally walked and the Yankees had something brewing. The Yankees Anthony Rizzo, who had been 0-4 so far, launched a 104.4 3-run moonshot that traveled 410 feet to right field and suddenly it was 8-4 Yankees. This was the moment of the game.
The Yankees piled on two more runs in the top of the eighth inning on RBI singles by Jose Trevino and Joey Gallo. The final score was the Yankees 10 and Twins 4. Player of the Game:
Anthony Rizzo earned the honors with his key seventh-inning home run and he also started a 3-5-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh with a gorgeous side-arm zap to second base, which came right back to him. A right-handed first baseman probably struggles to turn that key double-play. Rizzo has been a key player for the Yankees this season. Perhaps the Yankees should consider extending him?
DJ LeMahieu went 3-4, picking up his 1.500th hit in the process.
Lucas Luetge was his usual “slippery” self, he wound up pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, handling his “bridge” role quite nicely.
Aaron Boone made a nice pitching move by bringing in Wandy Peralta to face Byron Buxton in the bottom of the sixth inning with runners on first and second. It was a crucially important pitching move and Peralta was the perfect pitcher for that situation. Buxton is hitting .244 against lefties this season but he does most of his big damage against righties so I thought it was a notable, seemingly curious move by Boone that wound up working out.
Better to Forget:
The Yankees didn’t look especially good in the field. They really should have been charged with four-errors. Perhaps some extra fielding practice is in order!
On the day Joe Maddon was fired by the Angels and in light of Joe Girardi’s being fired by the Phillies only four-days ago, we Yankee fans are quite fortunate that things are going as well as they have been trending so far this young season.
Aside from the 1998 Yankees, this year’s team is the best team Yankee fans have seen in 64 years, since 1958. If the Yankees go 8-0 in their next 8 games, they have a chance to overtake the ‘53 Yankees for the sixth best start in MLB history. Regardless of what winds up happening, it sure is fun watching Yankee baseball this season!
Last night, no sooner was I in my recliner watching the ballgame when I began chuckling to myself as Aaron Judge roped one to center field and were “already” up 2-0. The bubbles in my Dr. Pepper were still fizzing and not a loaded potato skin had even been touched yet. Then all of a sudden, it was 3-0 after another massive Yankee home run, this time by Giancarlo Stanton. I was hoping it might be a laugher but that was not to be as the Twins were very resilient and this game wasn’t truly decided until Anthony Rizzo stepped up with two men on in the seventh-inning.
Nonetheless, this Yankees team certainly has the full attention of Yankee fans everywhere and they’re playing very entertaining baseball.
Last night, the Yankees committed three errors and it really should have been four but the official scorer took an error away from Isiah Kiner Falefa who muffed a routine grounder to shortstop. I’m at a loss to explain why. It’s rare that a team can do that and still be in position to win a ballgame. I will say that Josh Donaldson made an off-balanced, rushed throw in the fourth inning on a grounder by Gio Urshela that was an infield-hit all the way. Donaldson should have just held the ball, so that play was a bit unfortunate because Urshela advanced to second on the throw.
The Donaldson play aside, the Yankees looked really sloppy in the field at times last night, but at other times in the game, their defense was stellar. Besides Rizzo’s gem of a double-play in the bottom of the seventh-inning, DJ LeMahieu immediately followed Rizzo’s play with a stellar play of his own, nailing Gary Sanchez by too many steps to count on a hot shot bounder.
In general this year, the Yankees are doing a lot of little things right, in fact some of these little things don’t get much press, but they sure do matter. For example, behind the scenes last night, Jose Trevino was in the Yankee clubhouse early, completely dialed in as he had his I-Pad out and he was going over all of the Twins batting data, with Kyle Higashioka sitting next to him helping. The Yankees catchers this year have a ton to do with how well the pitching staff has been performing.
Two other items that exemplify the way the Yankees are playing the game right now that also won’t show up in the box score are two near assists where Yankee outfielders Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo both just missed nailing runners at the plate. They won’t get credit for assists because both runs scored, but the throws were both pretty remarkable.
Yes, the Yankees did make three errors and yes, they had 23 base runners, 9 put aboard by walks issued by Twins pitchers, 13 of which they stranded. The Yankees wound up going 4-12 with runners in scoring-position but who’s complaining? They scored 10 runs after all!
The Twins host the Yankees in Game Two of this three-game series. Nestor Cortes Jr (5-1, 1.50 ERA) gets the “must-watch” start for the Yankees and he'll be opposed by the Twins Chris Archer (0-2, 3.89). Game time will be at 7:40 pm.