Thursday’s blown four-run lead and series finale loss to the Angels is just that: one loss. Not the start of a losing streak. The Yankees rebounded with a not necessarily pretty 7-3 win over Madison Bumgarner and the Giants at Oracle Park on Friday night. They’ve won nine of their last eleven games.
More Like BadMum Amirite?
Bumgarner is not the pitcher he was two or thee years ago — I wonder how many casual fans will still want him at the trade deadline following this game? — and the Yankees wore him out Friday night. He pitched in six different innings and the Yankees scored in four of them, including a first inning two-spot. DJ LeMahieu doubled, Gleyber Torres doubled, and Cameron Maybin singled. Bang bang bang. Bumgarner threw 33 pitches in that first inning.
The Yankees scored their third run of the game in the third inning. Luke Voit shot a single to right field and Torres … bunted him to second? What? I get that he might’ve been bunting for a hit there, but goodness, I don’t like it. He’s the No. 3 hitter, Bumgarner had been giving up good contact all night, and Gleyber is one of the few legitimate MLB bats in the lineup. Yes, I know the replacements have been great, but still. Swing away, young man.
The bunt worked, at least. Torres moved Voit up and Cleanup Hitter Gio Urshela got the run in with a single to left. LeMahieu singled and scored on Voit’s double to right in the fifth inning, then three straight one-out singles potted a run in the sixth. Austin Romine to left, Mike Tauchman to left, Thairo Estrada to right. I’m glad we got to experience The Summer of Thairo at the big league level before RAB shut down. That’s pretty cool.
Bumgarner needed 104 pitches to get 17 outs and give up five runs on eleven hits. First time a single pitcher has given up at least eleven hits to the Yankees since Martin Perez last August. Also, the Yankees fouled away 27 pitches, their most against a single pitcher since last August, when they did it to … Jacob deGrom? Jacob deGrom. Bumgarner had allowed 27+ foul balls in a start only six times in the last three years. At-bat after at-bat was a battle.
The Yankees went 5-for-11 (.455) with runners in scoring position with Bumgarner on the mound and, really, they let him off the hook too. There was the unnecessary Torres bunt and Voit was easily thrown out trying to tag up at second and go to third on Gleyber’s fly ball in the fifth. Two gift outs right there. I swear, every day I look at the lineup and wonder how the Yankees are going to score, but they keep making it work. This season has been pretty fun so far and most definitely not in the way I expected.
Paxton Labors Early, Labors Late
How bad have the Giants been offensively this season? They went into Friday’s series opener with a .272 OBP and a .349 SLG as a team. For reference, Austin Romine went into the game with a .268 OBP and a .350 SLG in 2019. No offense to Romine, he’s carved out a nice little career for himself as a backup catcher, but imagine watching a team that collectively hits like Romine? Oy vey.
Naturally, the terrible hitting Giants scored in the first inning against James Paxton. Former Yankee Tyler Austin punched a single to right field, Brandon Belt lined a double to right field, and Buster Posey lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Voit came maybe a few inches away from making the leaping catch on Belt’s line drive. If he makes the catch, he steps on first base for an inning-ending double play. Game of inches. Some stats:
- It was the first run the Giants scored in the first inning this year.
- It was the first earned run the Giants scored in the first inning in 44 (!) games.
- Belt’s double was their first extra-base hit in the first inning this year.
This isn’t even a Giants blog and I am still compelled to note those stats. Voit hit two first inning home runs in the Angels series! The Giants did not have a first inning run or a first inning extra-base hit this season until Friday. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that. It is bonkers. I’d be more upset about the Yankees allowing San Francisco’s first first inning run (and extra-base hit) had they hadn’t won the game.
The Giants made Paxton work in the first inning and in the sixth inning. A leadoff walk, a Buster Posey one-out double, and a Yangervis Solarte one-out single gave San Francisco their two sixth inning runs. Posey went down to get a cutter diving out of the zone …
… and he hooked it into the corner. The ability to hit that pitch in an 0-2 count down the line for extra bases is why Posey’s (possibly) going to the Hall of Fame. The Solarte single? That was a mistake out over the plate. Paxton’s 106th and final pitch might’ve been his worst, and I reckon the Yankees would not have let him throw that many pitches if there weren’t two off-days before his next start. He’s going to get plenty of rest now.
Between the tough first inning and tough partial sixth inning Paxton retired 13 of 14 batters with seven strikeouts. Four of those 14 batters hit the ball out of the infield. To me, this seemed like a classic “he needed some time to settle in early and ran out of gas late” start. Paxton’s final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Not great, obviously, but also not all that bad either. When that qualifies as a down start, you’re doing a-okay.
Super Good Enough Bullpen
Unlike Thursday night, the Yankees were leading when their bullpen got involved Friday, so Aaron Boone elected to use his good relievers. Hooray. Tommy Kahnle inherited a runner on first with two outs from Paxton and struck out Brandon Crawford to end the inning. Remember when he gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning in Houston? Kahnle’s retired 28 of 33 batters with 13 strikeouts in his other ten appearances. That’ll work, Tommy Tightpants.
Zack Britton was on his way to an easy seventh inning before completely losing the plate with two outs. He got Pablo Sandoval to ground out and struck out Steven Duggar, and got ahead in the count 0-2 on Kevin Pillar. Everything was going swell … then eleven straight balls and three straight walks overall. Britton’s pitch locations:
Seems bad. Britton walked the bases loaded after two quick outs and an 0-2 count on Pillar. Adam Ottavino had to bail him out. Ottavino caught Posey looking at a slider strike three. Exhale. Britton has walked seven batters in eleven innings this season with a 14.9% walk rate. It’s still early and this outing certainly skewed his numbers, but also maybe throw strikes? Could be cool. Hopefully Britton gets reacquainted with the strike zone soon.
Anyway, Ottavino walked a batter of his own in an otherwise spotless eighth inning — to be fair, it appeared Solarte went around on the 3-1 pitch, but home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus never bothered ask third base umpire Mark Wegner for help — and Aroldis Chapman pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth. Would be cool to go one night without the bullpen walking three or four batters. Voit was kind enough to provide two insurance runs with a homer to dead center field against Mark Melancon in the ninth.
The 1-2-3-4 hitters: 10-for-18 (.556) with four doubles, one homer, one walk, one strikeout, six runs scored, and five runs driven in. Everyone else: 5-for-20 (.250) with no extra-base hits, no walks, and six strikeouts. The top of the order carried the Yankees in this game and hey, that’s perfectly fine. That’s why they’re atop the lineup. Nothing wrong with counting on your best players to be your best players.
Voit extended his MLB leading on-base streak to 37 games. It is the longest by a Yankee since Mark Teixeira had a 42-gamer in 2010. Voit went in 3-for-4 with a double and a homer in this game and is 11-for-27 (.407) with a .483 OBP and four homers in six games since Aaron Judge got hurt. Dude has stepped up huge lately. He’s hitting .276/.388/.551 (150 wRC+) on the year overall. Pretty awesome.
Estrada’s first career game in left field — first career game in left as a professional, majors or minors — went well. He had one fly ball hit his way and it was a routine catch, so yes, he survived. Wade pinch-ran for Estrada following his run-scoring single in the sixth. Wade’s not the most proficient outfielder himself, but he’s certainly more experienced than Thairo, so the Yankees put him in late for defense.
And finally, the Giants played a tribute video for CC Sabathia in the middle innings. Here’s (part of) the video. Sabathia grew up a little north of San Francisco in Vallejo. Neat gesture. The Giants are the first team to recognize Sabathia during his farewell season (to be fair, this is only the fourth road series).
The penultimate game of the RAB era. The Yankees and Giants continue this three-game series with the middle game Saturday afternoon. That is a 4:05pm ET start. Veteran lefties J.A. Happ and Derek Holland will be on the mound.