Yankees GBU – Takin’ care of business
The New York Yankees were able to take two of three from the American League Central leading Minnesota Twins, who came into the series 19-10. The Yanks won it with a combination of excellent pitching, both starting and bullpen, and timely hitting from the usual suspects. D.J. Lemahieu was excellent as always, and Mike Tauchman finally got out of his long hitting drought.
Tommy Kahnle is on fire
We’ve talked about how Domingo German has stepped up to the plate, but Tommy Kahnle is the reliever who has stepped up the most in the clutch. He had two more hitless and scoreless outings over the weekend and he has retired 28 of the last 30 batters faced.
Even more impressive (h/t Katie Sharp) is that he’s had 11 straight appearances without allowing a hit or a run. That kind of run is remarkable and is the longest in Yankee history. He had a rough stretch over the 2018 season but has re-established himself as a trusted hand in the bullpen.
Lemahieu, Maybin, Sanchez continue to rake
Thanks again to Katie Sharp because she has all the stats, but the two below is pretty much all you need to know about D.J. Lemahieu and Cameron Maybin’s tenure so far with the Yankees;
DJ LeMahieu with RISP This Season:
3 sac flies
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 5, 2019
Cameron Maybin has reached base in 13 of 25 PA (.520 OBP) in 8 games with Yankees
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 5, 2019
Lemahieu had three hits in eight at bats over the weekend (he didn’t play on Friday night) and Maybin was on base at least once in every game. Maybin has been excellent for the Yankees so far and even made a play on Saturday to rob a home run from Jonathan Schoop. The Yankees lost that game 7-3 but Maybin showed he can play anywhere in the outfield.
As for Sanchez? Well Sanchez is tied for second in the entire MLB with 11 home runs, even after missing a large chunk of time to begin the season. Sanchez hit three more home runs in the series, including a monster 460+ FT home run. Sanchez has been raking since coming back from the IL and had three hits on Friday night. He’s still struggling behind the plate but has shown up at the dish.
The bullpen steps up Friday night
The Yankees’ bullpen has stepped up in a big way, especially on Friday when James Paxton went down with a knee injury. Jonathan Holder, Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton (we’ll get to him) and Aroldis Chapman combined for six innings of two run ball, with only Britton giving up runs.
They continued the positive vibes and pitching on Sunday as Kahnle, Ottavino and Chapman combined for two nearly two scoreless innings in a 4-1 win. The game was shortened to eight innings due to rain but they still got the job done despite the elements.
Paxton joins the IL
James Paxton joined the IL, along with just about half the Yankee squad. He left Friday night’s game after pitching only three innings. Paxton left with knee inflammation and has been added to the 10 Day IL. According to team sources, Paxton has had this lingering injury for a few years but it never presented itself, similar to Dellin Betances’ bone chips.
Paxton joins Luis Severino on the IL, which leave only Domingo German, J.A. Happ and C.C. Sabathia as the healthy group of starters. Paxton has pitched very well of late and he will be a huge loss for the rotation. However, it doesn’t seem to be a long term issue (although knees are tricky) and Big Maple should be back within no time.
Happ continues to give up the long ball
J.A. Happ didn’t pitch terribly but his performance left a lot to be desired on Saturday. He went 5 2/3 with seven hits and four runs given up, including two home runs. Happ’s issue all season has been his inability to strike hitters out then give up a home run to them.
Happ has given up nine home runs in seven games and it’s partially responsible for his bloated 4.93 ERA. He looked to have eradicated those issues over the past few games but Saturday was a perfect example of how he still needs to work on cutting down his home runs. If he doesn’t cut down, he can’t consistently be relied upon to give good outings on the mound.
Miguel Andujar’s defense
Miguel Andujar was raking with the bat, collecting two hits in his brief stint back from the IL. However, his defense regressed as he had two errors over the weekend, including one of the ugliest throws to second Yankee fans have ever seen.
It was a tough play to turn two, but Miguel Andujar was hit a grounder and instead of throwing it to second for the out he launched it into right field. No one’s sure whether Miggy lost grip of the ball or is just a little rusty, but it sure wasn’t pretty. Take a look for yourself.
He's 3-5 today — But not at the plate… pic.twitter.com/bOhs4XPf2q
— Did Andujar Make The Play? (@MiggyPlay) May 4, 2019
Zack Britton continues to struggle
With Adam Ottavino pitching better than he was and Tommy Kahnle pitching like a madman of late, Zack Britton may take a back seat for a while as he works out his issues. He gave up another two runs in relief on Friday night and nearly cost the Yankees the game after James Paxton went down with his injury.
Britton now has an ugly 4.15 ERA and although it’s still very early in the season, with all the hands in the bullpen already he is most certainly losing traction. Once Dellin Betances comes back from the IL, who knows if Britton will be used in any high leverage situations. The Yankees don’t have much of a choice right now but he may be phased out a bit if he continues to blow up in tight spots.
The Yankees took two of three from the A.L. Central leading Twins and sit only two games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the A.L. East. Considering where they started and how many injuries they’ve had, it’s a remarkable turnaround for such a young and unproven team.
Reinforcements are coming soon and the Yankees need to keep pace with the Rays and the surging Red Sox. They have a four game series with the Seattle Mariners starting on Monday night. If they can take three of four they’ll be in good shape.
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