Yankees GBU – A Golden Gate Sweep
The New York Yankees did exactly what they needed to when they took six of seven games on their West Coast road trip, including a three game sweep of the San Francisco Giants. It may not seem like a big deal but considering the Yankees sustained two more injuries (we’ll get to that) and are playing each series with AAA players, a sweep is a big deal.
Voit and Sanchez see a power surge
Gary Sanchez came off the IL at the end of the Angels series and was welcomed with a golden sombrero. It must have just been rust because he was on fire over the weekend, cranking two home runs including a grand slam and a 467 monster shot. Sanchez only had two hits but his two hits produced seven RBIs.
As for Luke Voit? Well he’s the hottest hitter on the planet. He’s currently on a 38 game on-base streak, showing that he has patience at the plate and pitchers are pitching around him. He had probably the quietest 13 game hitting streak of all time and continued his mashing in San Fran.
Voit had six hits in 12 at-bats (.500) and added six RBIs. With Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton still on the mend, Voit has stepped up his game massively and is continuing to show Yankees’ brass that his magical ride to stardom is no fluke. He’s currently batting .283 and has become a leader in the clubhouse. You can tell just by his embrace of Gio Urshela that he’s a positive influence on the other young kids and will continue to be an integral part of the Yankees’ lineup for the entire season.
Starting pitching finally steps up
Domingo German had a brutal sixth inning, but he pitched masterfully on Sunday for the first five innings. His four earned runs in six innings may not look all that gaudy but he was cruising up until that sixth inning. James Paxton continued to dominate in California, going 5 2/3 strong innings of three run ball, giving up only five hits. It wasn’t his best performance but he was able to work through his troubles.
J.A. Happ pitched great for the Yanks, earning his first win in a great seven inning shutout performance. It was one Happ needed, as it looks like he’s finally starting to turn the corner after a disastrous beginning to the season. The three starters gave at least five innings of work each and when they faltered the Yankees’ lineup picked them up. They don’t need to be dominant, they just need to pitch well enough to keep the Bombers in games.
Luis Cessa finally cracks
Luis Cessa had been excellent up to this point, becoming a focal point in an uneven bullpen. Unfortunately for Cessa, he had his first real blow-up of the season on Saturday night. Luckily the Yankees had built up a six run lead but Cessa almost gave it back, giving up four runs in 1 2/3 innings of work.
Not every outing is going to be great and Cessa will continue to have opportunities to hone his craft but nearly giving up a six run lead isn’t ideal. This crack also comes against an anemic Giants’ offense. He’ll be just fine but Cessa needs to be better.
Mike Tauchman continues to struggle
Mike Tauchman is in a rut right now, having two hits in 24 at bats. He only had one hit in ten at-bats over the weekend and although he was lighting it up in the Bronx, he’s struggled a bit on the road. Tauchman struck out four times against the Giants and at times has looked overmatched.
Tauchman isn’t going to be Aaron Judge but he leaves a gaping hole at the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup. With Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks on the IL there is very little room for error in the Yankees’ outfield. Brett Gardner has stepped up, as has Tyler Wade, but Wade and Thiaro Estrada are not natural outfielders and Tauchman needs to be at least serviceable at the plate so he can stay in the outfield. He is currently batting .186 and is going through some real struggles right now.
Any time there’s a sweep, it’s always looked at as a positive. The Yankees didn’t play perfect baseball but they mashed the ball all series long. It was especially impressive that they did a lot of this off of Madison Bumgarner, a future Hall of Famer. Bumgarner isn’t the same pitcher he was a few seasons ago, but he still has excellent stuff and will be a hot commodity once his contract with the Giants ends.
The Yankees continue to truck along and are now just 1.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East. While Boston continues to struggle and Toronto has been playing .500 ball, the Yankees jumped on the opportunity to move up the standings. It’s only April but the Yankees have been doing all the right things over the past few weeks.
A lot of credit should go to Aaron Boone and Co. for guiding these young Yankees through all of these injuries. Gio Urshela and D.J. Lemahieu both left the game on Sunday to injury, and although their MRIs came back negative it’s unknown how long they’ll be out. Boone catches a lot of flak when things aren’t going well but he should be equally praised for doing such a good job over the past few weeks. He’s pushed all the right buttons along the way and the Yankees somehow have the same record as the Houston Astros at this point in the season. It’s a remarkable accomplishment and as long as the Yankees can continue to overcome these injuries, the reinforcements are just a week or so away.
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