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Yankees GBU – Getting back on track

The New York Yankees welcomed another struggling team to the Bronx;  The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.  It was a shortened series, only two games, but the Yankees came to play in both games despite coming into the series under .500

 

The Good

James Paxton was masterful

As Double G Sports’ Luke Porco so eloquently put it, will the real James Paxton please stand up?  Paxton has been up and down all season and after being the ace of a decent Mariners staff.  Before this game, he was 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA and wasn’t commanding his pitches the way he wanted to.

He saw the team sports psychologist and it must have worked like a charm because he was the most confident and stoic in the most hostile environment.  He could have gone off the rails in front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium, but he absolute shut down the rival Red Sox in a battle of two teams that are trying to find their way right now.  Paxton pitched his best game in quite a while, going eight strong and giving up only one run and two hits.  His fastball peaked at 99 MPH and he fooled the Red Sox hitters with his off-speed stuff on his way to 12 strikeouts.

Clint Frazier is stroking

Probably the most positive of this Yankee season so far is that it looks like Clint Frazier is finally becoming the player the Yankees hoped he would be.  He’s batting .347 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in his last ten games, and his hot hitting continued against the Sox.

In Game One of the two game series, Frazier stroked a home run in their 8-0 win.  In Game Two, he started the Yankees rally with a beautiful RBI double down the third base line.  He had four hits total in the series and is continuing to look great at the plate.  Even though he had a few hiccups defensively against the Astros, he DHed in this series to keep him in the lineup.

The Bad

Still relying too much on home runs

It’s not a bad thing when the Yankees are hitting home runs but it’s not a good sign when the bats start to go dry.  Despite scoring 12 runs in two games, eight of their runs came via the home run.  Mike Tauchman hit his first career home run, Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres added one apiece in the first game, and Brett Gardner came in clutch with a grand slam to seal the second game of the series.

However, they still left ten men on base, including a Luke Voit double in game two that produced no runs.  Look, the Yankees are built for home runs and that’s how they’re going to win but at some point they’re going to need to rely more on getting runs off of hits rather than home runs.

JA Happ continues to give up the long ball

JA Happ had another meh outing, going 6 1/3 innings of six hit ball.  However, he still gave up three runs, all via the long ball.  Christian Vazquez and J.D. Martinez both hit home runs off of Happ and even though he looked much better than previous starts, his ERA is still an ugly 7.23.

Happ isn’t going to be the ace but he needs to put forth more consistent efforts and limit his home run total.  He’s giving up six home runs in four starts, more than one home run per game.  It’s still early in the season but we should keep an eye on whether or not Happ improves throughout the season.

The Ugly

None.  The Yankees played a pretty good series against the defending World Series champs.

 

The Yankees had probably their best series of the season, “sweeping” the Boston Red Sox in an abbreviated two game series.  It’s hard to tell after only two games if the Yankees are out of their funk, but it’s encouraging nonetheless that they beat up on the best team in the MLB.

There are still a lot of question marks for these Yankees, but the improved efforts of Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, and James Paxton are all positive signs going forward.  They still have a plethora of injuries but if they can play better than .500 ball until their big guns get back they’ll be just fine come the summer.

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