April 22: Gio The Great
In our first #YankeesAfterDark matchup of the season, the Yankees outlasted the Angels in a bizarre 14-inning marathon to win 4-3. If you like weird baseball and fun obscure stats, this was a gem.
- Third time the Yankees have won a game in 14-plus innings against the Angels, with the others being on August 27, 1976 (Catfish Hunter pitched 13 shutout innings!) and June 6, 1964 (Jim Bouton pitched 13 shutout innings!).
- First time in franchise history the Yankees won a game of that went at least 14 innings with only five hits or fewer.
- Another amazing number: they went 23 batters without a hit from the fourth inning to the 12th inning and yet still won. What a time to be alive and a baseball fan.
Luke Voit started the game with a first-inning solo homer that extended his on-base streak to 33 games, the longest active streak in MLB and the longest by a Yankees since Derek Jeter’s 36-gamer spanning the 2012-13 seasons. J.A. Happ quickly put the team in a hole when he surrendered a two-run shot in the second inning, the seventh longball he’s allowed in five starts (25.2 IP) this season. His homer rate of 2.45 per nine innings was the fifth-highest in the AL through Monday.
After the Yankees tied it up again in the third, both offenses went to sleep (along with most east coast Yankee fans) until the 12th when Clint Frazier scored on Gio Urshela’s first career sacrifice fly for a 3-2 lead. Obscure Yankeemetric Alert! Urshela joined Bobby Bonds (1975), Felipe Alou (1973) and Elston Howard (1962) as the only Yankees with a go-ahead extra-inning sac fly versus the Angels.
Aroldis Chapman blew the save in the bottom of the inning but that eventually set up Gio The Great for even more heroics. Fast forward to the 14th inning, and Urshela delivered another clutch hit with a two-out RBI single. This time the Yankees lead held and earned Urshela a page in the pinstriped record books:
He is the first Yankee since (at least) 1925 to drive in a go-ahead run in separate extra innings, with both of the RBIs coming in the 12th frame or later. Congrats, Gio!
April 23: Luuuuuuuke
The Yankees kept the good times rolling in Southern California with another victory, 7-5, on Tuesday night. Luke Voit was the offensive spark again, belting another first-inning homer, and added a solo shot in the eighth. Through Tuesday, his four first-inning homers were tied with Christian Yelich for the most in MLB and his 1.222 first-inning slugging percentage was the highest in MLB (min. 10 PA).
Brett Gardner also had a huge night at the plate with two singles, a double and a triple. He’s the lucky winner of our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Game: Gardy is the first Yankee to be a homer short of the cycle in a game at Anaheim since Derek Jeter on April 8, 1997.
Domingo German pitched another gem, lowering his ERA to 1.75 as he allowed one unearned run in a season-high 6 2/3 innings. Normally a dominant swing-and-miss guy on the mound, German instead relied on deception with excellent location and command on the edges to keep the Angels batters off-balance.
- Nine whiffs on his 99 pitches, a 9.1% whiff rate that was his third-lowest as a starter.
- 20 called strikes, one shy of his single-game career-high.
- 18 fouls, the fifth-most he’s had in a game.
Chad Green made the final score way too close with yet another implosion in the eighth inning. He loaded the bases with no outs, then surrendered his first career grand slam. Yeah, Chad, you get our #NotFunFact of the Game: It was the fourth time this season he’s allowed multiple runs and gotten two or fewer outs. He is the only pitcher in Yankees history with four such appearances this early into the season (team’s 23rd game). Oh, and there’s this too:
2019: 14 Runs, 4 HR, 7.2 IP
2017: 14 Runs, 4 HR, 69 IP
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) April 24, 2019
April 24: DJLM, Next man up
The Comeback Kids are Back. The Yankees finally found some late-inning mojo, scoring six unanswered runs to erase a 5-0 sixth-inning deficit and win 6-5. Through Wednesday, the only other AL team to win a game when trailing by at least five runs at the start of the sixth inning this season was the A’s. And it had been more than seven years since the Yankees had done it — April 21, 2012 against the Red Sox, one of the most memorable games in the historic rivalry.
CC Sabathia – normally the King of Soft Contact – was hit hard early and often, roughed up for five runs and three homers in five innings. He allowed seven batted balls of 95-plus mph, after giving up just six of those in his first two starts combined.
D.J. LeMahieu led the stunning comeback with three huge RBIs during the late rally, including the game-winning hit in the top of the ninth. LeMahieu is no stranger to delivering in these high-pressure situations – this was his fourth go-ahead hit in the ninth inning or later since the start of 2018, the second-most among all MLB players over the last two seasons behind Khris Davis (5).
April 25: Crash landing
The Yankees six-game win streak came to an end in stunning fashion in the series finale. One day after their biggest comeback win of the season, the Yankees did a full-360 and had their biggest blown-lead loss of the season on Thursday night. The Angels gave the Yankees a taste of their own medicine, scoring 11 unanswered runs to erase a 4-0 fifth-inning deficit and win 11-5. Gross.
One of the few highlights in this terrible game was when Giovanny “The Most Happy Fella” Urshela went deep for the first time as a Yankee in the fourth inning. He is the 13th Yankee to homer this season, tying the Mets for the most players with at least one dinger.
Tanaka cruised through the first four innings, holding the Angels scoreless on two hits and a walk, but then unraveled in the fifth. Two singles and a couple two-run homers later and the game was tied 4-4. Tanaka’s struggles continued in the sixth after he walked two more batters before being yanked. It was his third straight game with at least three walks, the first time in his career he’s had a streak like that. The six runs he allowed in 5 2/3 innings on Thursday were nearly the same number he had given up in his previous six career starts versus the Angels combined (9 runs in 39 2/3 IP).
And finally another unprecedented stat: Tanaka threw 89 pitches and got just one whiff. It’s the fewest swings-and-misses he’s had in any of his 143 career MLB games; his previous low was three, which he did on September 30, 2015 and June 6, 2017 (both versus the Red Sox).