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Yankees GBU – A Memorial Day Weekend Round-up

The New York Yankees played two series over the course of the past week, and this article will be a culmination of all the good, bad and ugly from both series.  The Yankees were able to sweep the hapless Orioles over the week and their weekend series was a success as well, taking both games of a double-header against the Kansas City Royals but losing the finale.

The Yankees also took Game 1 against the San Diego Padres but that will come in the next GBU.  With just the O’s and Royals series, the Yankees took six of a possible seven games and still hold a two game lead over the second place Tampa Bay Rays.

 

The Good

Ninth inning rallies

Although the Yankees only won two of the three games in which they completed ninth inning rallies, this team has absolutely no quit.  The two wins did come against the Orioles but wins are wins and you beat whoever is in front of you.

The first rally was last Monday, as the Yankees came all the way back from a 6-1 deficit thanks to home runs by Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez.  Sanchez hit the go-ahead home run in the ninth and the Yankees held on for a 10-7 win.  The second rally, on Wednesday, was even more necessary as the Yankees blew a four run lead.

With the game on the line in the top of the ninth, Mychal Givens let pinch hitters Torres and Sanchez (we’ll get to that) get on base as well as D.J. Lemahieu before Aaron Hicks stepped up to the plate.  Givens walked in what turned out to be the winning run and the Yankees escaped with a 6-5 win.

The third rally, that ultimately fell short, was honestly the most impressive against the Royals, as they came back from 7-1 down and scored three runs in the ninth.  The tying runs came in when Aaron Hicks was able to knock them in with a single.  Unfortunately for the Yanks the rally was for naught, but it still showed the moxie that this team has when they’re down to their last out.

Unsung heroes

The Yankees have had many unsung heroes over the past two and a half months but most of them have been hitters.  However, Chance Adams and David Hale both solidified themselves to be on that growing list as well.  The two pitchers have been up and down from AAA Scranton all season, but when they were called upon they delivered.

Against Baltimore Hale pitched to the tune of four innings, three hits and only one earned run.  Hale was later rewarded with the championship belt that the Yankees give after each win.  As for Adams, his statline wasn’t nearly as pretty but he got the innings the Yankees needed him to.

Adams pitched four innings of five hit, three run ball but ate up those innings during the Yankees’ “opener” start.  Without the four innings from Adams and Hale, the Yankees would have taxed their bullpen to no end and they wouldn’t have been fresh for the rest of each series.  It sounds obvious but the more they can pitch, the more rest the rest of the bullpen can get.

Monster mashing

Everyone on the team has been hitting exceptionally well, from D.J. Lemahieu down.  However, there were four hitters that really stood out.  As Gary Thorne so eloquently put it, “You cannot imagine this happening in Major League Baseball, or anywhere else in baseball”.

Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres destroyed the Orioles almost single-handedly, hitting a combined seven home runs in four games and driving in 14 runs total.  Clint Frazier also added in three home runs and six RBIs of his own.

Torres kept his hot hitting going in the KC series, blasting a home run and helping the Yankees during their rally from down 7-1.  Earlier in that series, Luke Voit hit the furthest home run of the season for the Yankees.  His 470 ft moonshot was the longest recorded this season, and the longest of his career.

Voit’s home run was vital in the Yankees’ 7-3 victory over the Royals and proved that even though he’s been hot and cold of late, he can still mash the ball with the best of them.  The four Yankee sluggers mentioned have been extremely productive of late and need to keep it going if the Yankees are to keep pace atop the American League East.

The Bad

Jonathan Holder falters twice

Jonathan Holder hasn’t pitched terribly over the entire season but has now faltered twice over the past week, once against the Orioles and once against the Royals.  Against the O’s it ultimately didn’t matter, but three runs given up by him and a game-tying home run off of Tommy Kahnle let the Orioles tie a game up that should have never been that close.

Holder gave up the game winning run against the Royals in the Yankees’ comeback loss.  The worst thing that Holder could have done was walk speedster Billy Hamilton.  He walked him, Hamilton stole second and Whit Merrifield hit a groundball to Gio Urshela that took a bad hop and went over the third baseman’s glove.  The Yankees lost and Holder took the L.

Holder seems to come up big in important situations most of the time, but over the week he didn’t exactly have his best couple of games.  At the end of the day Holder is pretty far down the line on the bullpen “hierarchy” but with so many games in such little time, he’ll need to keep up with the rest of the team and pitch better.

Clint Frazier’s outfield adventures

As if Clint Frazier hadn’t done enough over this young season to warrant some major questions regarding his defense, he straight up dropped an easy fly ball in the Yankees’ lone loss of the weekend.  In the end it didn’t matter because Whit Merrifield never scored but Frazier’s poor defense is becoming at this point a scary thought.

Frazier’s defense has been so bad over the past few weeks that he’s been replaced twice by Cameron Maybin for defensive reasons.  Frazier has a mighty fine bat but if he’s going to be a major league outfielder, he needs to play defense like one.  Since the beginning of the season, Frazier has dropped multiple balls and has had miscommunication with his fellow fielders on a number of occasions.

It’s not as if Frazier has always been this bad defensively, but it’s definitely something to look out for over the next few weeks.  It’s possible that Frazier’s mind is shying away from certain contact (walls, diving, etc.) because of his concussion history.  If so, it may just take Clint a little time to get comfortable again in the outfield.  Regardless, he just needs to be better.

The Ugly

German struggles mightily

It’s almost unfair to put Domingo German on the Ugly list considering how well he’s pitched over the past two months but he had an ugly performance Sunday against the Royals.  German’s five inning, nine hit, seven run outing was by far his worst of the season and put a real damper on what was a successful road trip.

His biggest issue on Sunday was his susceptibility to the home run, in which he gave up four.  His ERA rose dramatically to 3.43 and although he didn’t technically get the loss, he sure deserved it.  It’s a blip on what’s been an excellent season so far but hopefully it doesn’t spell doom for what’s been one of the best stories on the Yankees in a season full of them.

 

The Yankees took care of business against two inferior teams and are looking to finish off a third this week against the San Diego Padres.  With two games up on the Tampa Bay Rays, they have an opportunity to extend their lead with another series victory over the Padres.

The Yankees keep rolling and things are going very well for them.  This is their best start to the season since 1998, and although the talent level at this point isn’t nearly what it was in ’98, they just keep winning.  As long as the Yankees can stay away from an extended losing streak, they’re on the right track.

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