We’ve been waiting ALL DAMN SEASON for the Yankees to have a game like this. In all seriousness, what a great way to close out the weekend series. Clinch the sweep with the first stress-free blowout win of the year. The Yankees won Sunday’s game 15-3 and they’re back above .500 at 5-4.
The Yankees stacked their lineup with right-handed batters against righty David Hess on Sunday. Why? Because Hess is “a little more of a reverse split kind of guy,” Aaron Boone told James Wagner before the game. Hess’s career splits:
- vs. RHB: .255/.335/.433 (.331 wOBA and .315 xwOBA)
- vs. LHB: .239/.310/.491 (.340 wOBA and .332 xwOBA)
The numbers say Hess has been more effective overall against righties, which doesn’t jibe with Boone’s comments about being a “reverse split kind of guy,” but remember, the Yankees don’t base matchups (solely) on batting average and slugging percentage. Their analytics allow them to design matchups based on pitch movement and swing paths and all that. The data said the righty bats matched up better against Hess than the lefties.
Sure enough, the righty bats did plenty of the damage against Hess. Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier hit
back-to-back home runs in the second inning — at that point, the Yankees had scored their last 16 (!) runs on homers, their longest such streak since 1977 — and Gary Sanchez swatted a two-run home run in the third inning. Please enjoy these dingers:
We'll take a homer, please. Actually, make it two. pic.twitter.com/c20ZuGO9eH
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 7, 2019
Cedric Mullins very nearly robbed Frazier’s home run. He didn’t miss it by much at all.
Pretty cool that Gleyber and Frazier went back-to-back, no? It’s the first time they’ve gone deep in the same game, nevermind the same inning or back-to-back. Torres had two homers in the win Thursday, Frazier had the big home run Saturday, and they hit back-to-back homers Sunday. Pretty rad weekend for the two prized pickups of the 2016 trade deadline sell-off.
Brett Gardner, the only lefty hitter in the starting lineup, went 1-for-3 against Hess with a double to right field. The righties went a combined 5-for-16 (.313) with a double, two walks, and three run home runs. I’d call Sunday’s reverse split strategy a smashing success. Once Hess was out of the game, the Yankees really broke it open against the bullpen. Torres doubled and Frazier singled in the sixth to snap that string of consecutive runs on a homer and stretch the lead to 5-0.
Sanchez hit his second homer of the game in the seventh inning, another two-run shot, and DJ LeMahieu (double) and Gio Urshela (single) drove in runs the old fashioned way. With two outs in that seventh inning the Yankees went single, homer, walk, double, single, single to score four runs. Six consecutive two-out baserunners turned a comfortable 5-0 lead into a 9-0 blowout. In the eighth, Sanchez went deep again. Do your thing, Gary:
Sanchez suddenly has six homers on the season, tying him with Cody Bellinger for the MLB lead, and the six runs driven in Sunday are a new career high. He already has 33.3% of his 2018 home run total in 9.4% of the plate appearances. In one afternoon, Gary’s batting line went from .192/.300/.538 (137 wRC+) to .250/.333/.813 (220 wRC+). Adding 83 wRC+ points and 308 OPS points to the ol’ batting line in one afternoon is a good day at the office.
Any Given Domingo
Man, what a start for Domingo German. Exactly what the Yankees needed after taxing the bullpen heavily Saturday night. German did not allow a baserunner until Rio Ruiz’s one-out walk in the fifth inning and he did not allow a hit until Alberto’s clean single to right with one out in the sixth inning. His pitching line (6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) really doesn’t do his performance justice. It wasn’t until the Yankees were up 9-0 in the seventh that German wavered, but even then it was Stephen Tarpley who really made a mess of things.
German faced 22 batters Sunday. Six hit the ball out of the infield, seven fell behind in the count 0-2, two saw a three-ball count, and one saw a hitter friendly 2-0 or 3-1 count. After walking five batters in five innings last time out, German threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes, or 67%. He was in control all game. Look at the pitch selection:
- Four-seamers: 29 (38 last start)
- Sinkers: 13 (6 last start)
- Breaking balls: 29 (29 last start)
- Changeups: 18 (5 last start)
Fewer straight four-seamers and more moving sinkers and changeups. I’m curious to see whether German sticks with the changeup heavy approach. I don’t think the improved control stemmed from the pitch selection — throwing more pitches that move isn’t exactly conducive to throwing strikes — I think it was just a good control day, but more changeups could make a difference going forward.
On his best days, German can be as good as just about anyone. His stuff is so lively. When he’s around the zone and getting ahead in the count, he can dominate. I’m not sure even a good lineup does much damage against him with the way he threw Sunday. Given his career to date, we have no idea which German will show up next time out. It could be the guy who walks five in five innings again. On Sunday, the good version showed up, and German gave the Yankees much needed length and effectiveness.
Oh by the way, Frazier went 4-for-5 with two homers. Hard to do that and be only a footnote. Blame Sanchez and German. It is Clint’s first career four-hit game and first career multi-homer game. Going back to Saturday night’s game, Frazier has three home runs in his last six plate appearances. The Yankees as a team hit seven homers Sunday. Three for Sanchez, two for Frazier, one each for Torres and Austin Romine. This was the fifth time ever the Yankees hit seven homers in a nine-inning game. The previous four:
- July 31st, 2007 vs. White Sox
- May 30th, 1961 vs. Red Sox
- June 28th, 1939 vs. Athletics
- June 3rd, 1932 vs. Athletics
Gardner had a double and three walks, and went from a .273 OBP to a .333 OBP in one game. Torres went 2-for-5 with a double, a homer, and a walk. He’s hitting .371/.436/.714 (232 wRC+) on the young season. I’m starting to think that kid has a future in this game. Every starter had a hit except Aaron Judge, who drew a walk. Nine walks and three strikeouts for the Yankees in this game. Geez.
Rough outing for Tarpley, who allowed two hits and a walk, and the two runners he inherited from German to score. The first scored on a passed ball, the second on a wild pitch. Tarpley needed 26 pitches to get three outs with a 9-0 lead. In the eight-man bullpen era, the last guy in the bullpen has to be able to soak up (at least) two innings in a game like this, and Tarpley couldn’t do it. Luis Cessa pitched the final two innings without incident.
And finally, this was the 2,000th win of Brian Cashman’s career as general manager. I have no idea where that ranks historically, but I have to think it’s up there. Two-thousand games as a general manager seems nuts. Two-thousand wins? Good gravy.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. For the updated standings, go to ESPN. For our Bullpen Workload page, go here. Here’s the win probability graph:
Three games in Houston. The Astros are the first legitimately good team the Yankees will play this season. Masahiro Tanaka and Justin Verlander are the scheduled starting pitchers for Monday night’s series opener. That’s a 7pm ET game.