Re-Cap & Perspectives: More Fireworks, Explosions, Implosions…
Well, I am glad that series is over.
I don’t think there are enough words to describe what we all just saw. To recap the game in detail would be impossible without taking up the entirety of the bandwidth on the Internet. Still, here are the highlights (and lowlights) and other assorted thoughts:
Well, They Proved the Point – The Yankees need pitching. The Yankees need pitching. The Yankees need pitching. In this series, the starting pitchers demonstrated, very clearly, that they need some support. (The over-taxed bullpen also demonstrated this series that they’re over-taxed.) But, let’s focus the starters. Here are the starters’ total innings in each of the last four games:
July 21 – Starting pitcher James Paxton lasted 3.1 innings
July 22 – Starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia lasted 4.0 innings
July 23 – Starting pitcher Domingo German lasted 3.2 innings
July 24 – Starting pitcher J.A. Happ lasted lasted 3.1 innings
OUCH. That’s not just not good, it’s terrible. A pattern like this is not sustainable. Teams cannot win for long if their starting pitchers cannot give them more than four innings. Even worse, in three of those games, the starting pitcher didn’t even get through the fourth inning.
More Data – Here are the starting pitchers and their average innings per start for all of 2019:
Masahiro Tanaka – 5.85 innings per start
Domingo German – 5.57 innings per start
C.C. Sabathia – 5.37 innings per start
J.A. Happ – 5.15 innings per start
James Paxton – 5.01 innings per start
The Yankees do not have any starters who, on average, pitch six (or more) innings. None. Zero.
Help! – The trade deadline is now less than a week away. I am of the opinion that the Yankees need at least one starter, if not two, and that they can also use another bullpen arm. The bullpen is tired – exhausted, in fact. The starters are not giving the team any length. This combination is not sustainable.
Costs – As I have indicated before, the cost in prospects for any pitching help will be extremely steep. This year we have seen how beneficial a deep farm system is to the team. The Yankees wouldn’t be where they are without their great depth. Unfortunately, that depth is going to take a big hit. A huge hit. The costs for the necessary pitching help, that was readily apparent in the off-season, is going to be tremendous. When the Yankees had the opportunities to supplement the starting rotation by just spending money, time and again, they passed. They saved their money on salaries, but now the cost in players will be tremendous. For a team as financially strong as the Yankees, I think the cost in players will be more impactful. It’s going to hurt. A lot. (Conversely, if the Yankees don’t get any starting pitching, it’s going to hurt, a lot.)
Twins – Twins manager Rocco Baldelli left his starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi in for just over 100 pitches when it was clear that he had nothing. In four innings, he allowed nine earned runs. Odorizza was hung out to dry. That was not good managing. At all.
The Yankees Scoring – (Sit back and have some fun here)
Down 2-0 in the Top of the Second, Edwin Encarnacion doubled. Didi Gregorius then doubled him home. Gleyber Torres then walked. A Gio Urshela fly ball advanced the runners. Mike Tauchman then tripled home two runs. He scored on an Austin Romine sacrifice fly. After all of that, the Yankees led 4-2.
In the Top of the Third Inning, with their lead cut to 4-3, Aaron Hicks homered. Later that inning, Gleyber Torres homered. The Yankees then led 6-3.
In the Top of the Fourth, Austin Romine singled and was advanced to second on a DJ LeMahieu ground out. Romine went to third on an Aaron Judge single. Aaron Hicks singled him home. One out later, Didi Gregorius tripled home both Aarons. The Yanks now led 9-3.
Up 9-7 in the Top of the Ninth inning, Edwin Encarnacion homered to make it 10-7. That’s where the scoring stayed.
EDWIN – Edwin Encarnacion’s homer was his 30th of the season. He has now hit 30 home runs in each of the last 8 years.
BULLPEN – Nestor Cortez allowed five base runners in 3.1 innings in relief of J.A. Happ, but, in that, he allowed only one run keep the Twins from getting all the way back in this game. The way the ball was flying the last few days, this was an impressive performance. He earned the victory to go 4-0 on the year.
Tommy Kahnle came in relief in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runners on and two outs with the Yankees barely holding their 9-7 lead. He faced Miguel Sano and struck him out on three straight pitches. CLUTCH! Kahnle then retired the side in the Bottom of the Eighth inning with two more strikeouts.
Aroldis Chapman had a brief fit of wildness (a one out walk) but he gathered himself and held down the Twins in the ninth to earn the save. He struck out Nelson Cruz to end the game.
#SSTN – Didi Gregorius went 8 for 10 in the last two games. He had three doubles, a triple, and a homer. He scored three runs. In the two games, Didi had 10 runs batted in. Ten. WOW!
Tachometer – Mike Tauchman went 7 for 13 in the three game series. He had five runs scored and four runs batted in. He also had two doubles and a triple. He also played tremendous defense. Tauchman’s story exemplifies the 2019 Yankees: “Brett Gardner gets hurt, Tauchman steps in, Tauchman excels. The Yankees win.”
Offense – Every single Yankees batter had at least one hit. Every batter except Gio Urshela and Austin Romine scored a run.
Tonight – The Yankees now travel to Fenway to take on the Red Sox to begin a big four game series in Boston. Masahiro Tanaka will be tasked with giving the Yankees many quality innings. He must break this string of 4 inning starts.
The Red Sox are 12 games back in the loss column. This would be a great time to bury them.