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Yankees GBU- Savages

The “savages” comment made by manager Aaron Boone wasn’t just an internet sensation;  It meant something.  Boone’s confidence in his players has never been higher and the results from a hot and humid series with the Colorado Rockies shows why Boone has been praising his club.

The Yankees may have lost game three of the series but they made the first two games look easy, clobbering the underwhelming Rockies pitching and getting quality starts (for the most part) from both J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka.  The Yankees’ schedule doesn’t get any easier, as they now travel to Minnesota for a series with the Twins then to Boston for a matchup with the Red Sox.

 

The Good

Savages in the box

The Yankees were complete savages this series, even though they lost game three.  They may have only hit five home runs in the three game series but pretty much every hitter contributed to the hit parade.  Edwin Encarnacion in particular was an absolute savage the first two games, as he hit a grand slam in game one and had another three RBIs in game two.

The “savages” moniker the Yankees’ offense has gladly taken on isn’t just a euphemism;  It’s a real thing.  This team can smash the ball, whether it be tape measure home runs, screaming line drives or in-the-gap doubles.  It’s a lifestyle for these hitters and nothing personifies the term savage more than Luke Voit getting hit in the face with a fastball and staying in the game, almost completely unfazed.

Happ gets back on track

J.A. Happ hasn’t been the same pitcher he was after the trade deadline last season, but he’s also gotten back on track a bit after struggling mightily in the beginning of the season.  You aren’t going to get many complete games out of him but the statline of five innings, eight hits and two runs is pretty good for the aging lefty.

Happ had some control issues early in the game despite only walking two, but was able to get out of multiple innings that looked to be trouble.  His eight strikeouts were a sign that even though he wasn’t perfect on Friday night, he was able to get batters uncomfortable and stay away from the big inning meltdown that’s haunted him all season.

Once again, Happ isn’t a Godsend like he was last season (going 7-0 down the stretch of the 2018 regular season) but he has provided at least a little bit of stability.  With Luis Severino’s status still up in the air and the Yankees still not making a move on a starting pitcher, Happ will need to give the Yankees exactly this kind of performance.

A Judgean weekend

Aaron Judge has been back from the I.L. for only a few weeks but up until last week it seemed like he still needed to get his timing down at the Major League level.  After this weekend’s series against the Rockies, it looks as though he’s ready to contribute as the All-Star right fielder he is.

Judge went 3-for-9 in his three games played, the Saturday game being a shortened appearance due to the large lead and the unbearable heat.  Judge had a home run in game one, three RBIs total and a walk in each of the three games.  The walks are more important to Judge because he’s at his best when he’s elongating counts and producing walks.

The Sockman Cometh

Mike Tauchman will never be an Aaron Judge but he looked like him out in left field against his former team.  Tauchman was 4-for-7 in the series and had a breakout game on Friday night, smacking three hits and scoring two runs on the night, including a close play at the plate where credit goes to Tauchman for being able to score.

The “Sockman” also showed off his prowess in the field, throwing out a runner at home with a laser and making a few sliding catches in the outfield.  Once again, we probably won’t see Tauchman become a Triple Crown winner anytime soon but he is an absolute gem in the outfield.

The Bad

Masahiro Tanaka’s sixth inning

It was mentioned before that the Yankees got quality starts from J.A. Happ and most of Masahiro Tanaka.  Unfortunately for Tanaka, he looked absolutely terrible in the sixth inning of Saturday night’s game.  Despite picking up the win, Tanaka was clearly not happy with himself after the game, which is fair considering the only reason why he won was due to the offensive outburst that gave him a nine run lead.

In the sixth inning he gave up a double to Trevor Story, a three run home run to Nolan Arenado and an RBI single to Ian Desmond.  Most of the damage came on the Arenado home run, but Tanaka still needs to find a way to close these kinds of games out.  He’s a killer in the postseason so no one should really be worried, but you have to wonder if he lost his focus somewhat after being spotted such a big lead.

The Ugly

Paxton crumbles once again

James Paxton is the ultimate boom or bust pitcher in his first season with the Yankees.  Sunday’s performance was most certainly a bust, allowing five hits and seven runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 innings.  Paxton didn’t get any favors from Luke Voit’s error but most of Paxton’s issues were self-inflicted, including three walks and the inability to get out of a bases loaded jam in the third.

Paxton’s biggest detractors point to the fact that he can’t pitch at home, but he was fresh off of a six inning gem performance against the Rays last week.  It’s almost impossible to pinpoint why Paxton is so inconsistent this season other than to say that when he loses control of his pitches he really loses control.

Paxton is clearly a very talented pitcher but just hasn’t been able to string multiple quality starts in a row.  It seems all season it’s been one step forward and two steps back.  For “Big Maple”, it’s the lack of consistency that’s killing him.  If he can get three or four straight starts of quality ball, the Yankees will be in a much better spot.

 

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