Well, that was another good game. The Yankees beat the Phils 6-4 and basically did a little bit of everything in the process. Don’t look now, but the Yankees have won 8 of their last 11 games. This is exactly what they needed to do, and they’re doing it. The only bad thing about tonight’s game is that it took a very long time, but I’m not in the complaining mode. The Yankees won, and that’s all any of us around here care about.
This game had something for everyone. It had power, speed, manufactured runs, and big-time strikeouts from the bullpen. It was, as they say, exactly what you want.
Let’s get right to the takeaways, shall we?
1. Domingo Germán Does Enough: It wasn’t a great start for Domingo Germán, but he certainly did enough. Remember, Germán is not fully stretched out right now – the last time he threw 70+ pitches was June 30 – and that showed tonight, when he threw an even 70 pitches in 4 innings of work. He was not especially sharp, as he gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, but he did manage to limit the damage to just 2 runs. Fairly impressive, given this pitch plot:
That is not a plot that inspires a lot of confidence. Look at those fastball locations – it’s all over the place! And yet the pitch was fairly effective, as was his changeup. The big blow against Germán came in the 2nd, when he allowed a HR to Rhys Hopkins. That is to be expected: Germán gives up a ton of homers, and at least this was a solo shot.
More annoying was the second run, which came in the 4th off the bat of old friend Ronald Torreyes. Torreyes ripped a two-out, two-strike double because Germán couldn’t put him away. Look at this location:
Torreyes came into tonight hitting .262/.293/.376 (81 wRC+) in about 150 PA on the season, which is honestly higher than I would have guessed, but still: Germán shouldn’t have let that happen. He’s a pitch away (to a really weak hitter) from getting out of a jam – Hoskins was on second after a walk and a balk – and instead allowed a big double to lose the lead. Still, all things considered, it was a fine performance from Germán. Could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse.
2. The Luis Cessa Show: I think it’s past time that we collectively appreciate Luis Cessa. He’s not the best reliever in baseball by any means, but the back-end reliever does have an 82 ERA- in 130+ IP since Opening Day 2019. Batters are hitting just .237 with an average exit velocity of just 88 miles-per-hour against him in that same frame. Many, many teams do not have the luxury of considering a reliever like that their garbage-time reliever.
Cessa was not super sharp tonight – 2 walks in 1.1 IP, though he didn’t allow a hit or a run – so perhaps it’s a weird night to make this argument, but I stand by it. When Germán came out of the game, I did not groan at all to see Cessa jogging in. It was the perfect place to use him – in the middle innings of a close game the Yankees were losing by one. And, sure enough, he did his job (with an assist from Lucas Luetge) and the Yankees ended his appearance with the lead. It’s what he does more often than not these days, and it’s time we start recognizing it as a fanbase.
3. The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees Are Nice…: Even without tuning into WFAN tonight, if you listened hard enough and really focused, you could hear John Sterling beaming through radio sets up and down the Tri-State Area. I swear! You definitely could. The Yankees, for the second consecutive game, played a game in which players bunted, stole bases, and generally forced the action on the base paths. It was an “old school” performance in many ways – not the least of which by Greg Allen.
Allen hit a triple to right field for a triple in the 3rd inning, which helped kickstart the Yankee offense. Yes, you read that correctly: a triple to right field in Yankee Stadium. That’s pretty impressive stuff! He then scored on an Estevan Florial grounder to tie the game at 1 at that point. That was example one of him using his speed to manufacture a run. That’s one way to look at it, anyway. Another way to look at it is that he hit an extra-base hit off the bat at 105 miles-per-hour. That’s the good stuff right there.
He wasn’t done there, either. After walking in his next at-bat, in the fifth, Allen promptly did this:
- Stole second base
- Advanced to third on a sacrifice fly from Estevan Florial (again)
- Scored on a throwing error by Didi Gregorius after a Tyler Wade lineout
Michael Kay proudly proclaimed that “speed kills”, which is true. There is absolutely no denying that Allen scored a run there because of his legs. It was a run scored entirely because of his speed, in fact. There were no hits involved at any point. Still, it buries the lead a bit: he almost got thrown out at third on the lineout. Here’s the video:
Didi’s throw was just terrible and errant, so Allen scored. Still, I’m not trying to be cranky here. Allen flashed a new skillset for the 2021 Yankees, and it paid off in a big way.
4. …But The Power is the Name of the Game: Now, all of that being said, the Bronx Bombers are the Bronx Bombers. We saw that again tonight, even if it will get lost a bit in the RailRider narrative. In fact, 4 of the Yankees’ 6 runs tonight came via the long-ball. That is the name of the game for them, and if they’re going to make a serious run, this is going to be at the heart of it. They came from encouraging players, too. Check them out.
Here’s the first, from Brett Gardner:
The second, an absolute bomb from Gary Sánchez. (Notice how McCutchen doesn’t even turn around at all to watch it).
And here’s another, this time from Giancarlo Stanton:
Estevan Florial added another in the 8th inning to extend the lead back to 3 runs, too. It was the first of his career, and it was a welcome sight. Check it out:
Listen, speed is good. I love speed. I’m enjoying watching the Yankees force the action and make things happen. But it’s especially fun and good to watch them launch home runs. That is the name of their game, and they were on it tonight.
- Look, I wanted to turn this into its own mini-section, but you all know how I feel about Chad Green already. Why repeat myself? The guy is an absolute god-send for the Yankees. He has been since the minute he stepped onto the field in 2017. It is especially apparent in 2021, though, when the bullpen is otherwise falling apart at the seams. Green worked his way out of a jam in what was almost certainly the highest-leverage part of the game. He just did what Chad Green does. Here’s some video:
- I’m also going to say something positive about Zack Britton’s performance tonight, even though it wasn’t a great one by any means. The line is a little misleading. Yes, he did give up a run on 3 hits, but he also got a bunch of grounders. They just had eyes. That’s going to happen with him sometimes. More concerning is his velocity – he was sitting 91-92 mph – but I’m hopeful an inconsistent workload is the contributor. For now, it’s just something to watch.
- Lucas Luetge absolutely rules. Not much more to say about the Spring Training phenom turned reliable reliever right now.
- Rob Brantley hit a double, which was his first hit since 2017. Pretty neat moment for him. Gleyber Torres also hit a double, which means he now has three extra-base hits in his last three games. That’s a very, very good sign for the middle-infielder.
- The Yankees top four hitters – Gardner, Stanton, Odor, and Sánchez – went 6-15 with three homers. That will do, I’d say.
- Is it weird to say that I thought Chapman’s 9th was encouraging? We’re looking for silver linings – he did give up another HR, a blast to Andrew McCutchen – and started out 3-0 to Bryce Harper. Still, he struck out the side around that, used his off-speed offerings, and had his velocity. Let’s h hope that gets him back on track.
The Yanks and Phils will be back at it again tomorrow. They’ll play at 7:05 in the Bronx. The Yankees will likely trot out Asher Wojciechowski (lol) to make the start, while Philadelphia will do a bullpen game. An ex-Oriole vs. the 2021 Philly bullpen. A scintillating matchup, that will be. Enjoy your night, everyone.