The Yanks (84-46) snapped their four-game losing streak by hitting five HR and by getting a much needed great pitching performance by James Paxton in beating the Dodgers 10-2 Friday night.
The win maintains the 8-game lead over the Rays in the AL East, and the magic # for clinching the division is now 25.
The win also keeps the Yanks one game ahead of Houston for best record in the AL, and one game behind the Dodgers for the best record in the majors.
Paxton had a 1-2-3 first inning. A good sign considering how badly he has struggled in the first inning all season.
The Yanks wasted a chance in the second inning when they had runners on second and third with no one out but couldn’t score. I was concerned here because in that situation, two fast guys, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin, didn’t try to squeeze bunt a run home, and the guy hitting behind THEM was the pitcher (no DH in NL Park). Gardner flied out, not deep enough to bring in Didi, and Maybin and Paxton (Paxton unsurprisingly) struck out.
Against a guy in Ryu who came in with a 1.64 ERA, I was worried.
Not to worry, the Yanks then went bombs away.
They started things off in the third inning with two homers. With one out, Aaron Judge hit #14, and one out later, Gary Sanchez hit #29.
For Sanchez, career HR #100. He became the fastest catcher to hit 100 HR, and the second fastest guy EVER (in regards to how many games it took to get there) to hit 100, behind only the Phillies’ Ryan Howard.
Paxton gave up a run in the bottom of the third. 2-1 Yanks.
But the Yanks got five in the fifth. D.J. LeMahieu led off the inning with a single, and Judge singled. After Gleyber Torres grounded out, moving up both runners, Sanchez was intentionally walked. Didi Gregorius hit a grand slam to make it 6-1 (12). Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner then hit back-to-back doubles to make it 7-1.
Torres homered (32) in the sixth to make it 8-1.
The Dodgers scored in the seventh to cut it to 8-2.
In the eighth, PH Mike Ford singled, went to third on a groundout, and scored on a single by Judge. 9-2.
Didi homered again, his second of the game and 13th of the season, in the top of the ninth for the final score of 10-2.
The Yanks had 16 hits in the game.
LeMahieu 2 hits, .332
Judge 3 hits, 2 RBI. Solo HR (14)
Torres solo HR (32)
Gregorius 2 HR (14) Grand Slam and solo HR. 5 RBI.
Urshela 2 hits, .337
Gardner 2 hits, RBI
Paxton (W, 10-6, 4.43) 6 2/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 11 K.
Kahnle 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.81
Cortes 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K. 4.39
Some notes: after a couple of subpar starting pitching outings, you wonder about the rotation in the playoffs and who the “ace” could be. If Paxton keeps this up (5-0 in August), maybe the Yanks have found one. Hopefully German (16-3) keeps it up. You don’t know what, if anything, Severino can give. Tanaka and CC have been inconsistent, and Happ has been horrible.
Seeing Paxton step up tonight was a good sign.
Also, Didi. His adjusted OPS was a tick below league average coming into the game, but what is really amazing is how he has been after missing the first 61 games of the season. In just 57 games, he has 13 HR and 44 RBI. That is one hell of a pace. Over 162 games, that would give him some 37 HR and 125-130 RBI. Fabulous.
Finally, the Yanks made a move, getting Cory Gearrin off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners. This is an under the radar move that could be big. Gearrin, 33, RHP, has been in the majors 2011-2013 with Atlanta, then he missed all of 2014 and most of 2015. He was with the Giants 2015-2018, Texas 2018, the A’s 2018 and the Mariners this year.
He was 0-2, 3.92 for the Mariners this year, and has a MLB record of 12-11, 3.59, ERA+ 116. Not too bad.
To make room for Gearrin on the 40-man roster, the Yankees released minor league pitcher Domingo Acevedo.
Cashman has stocked up on relief pitchers lately. Gearrin, David Hernandez, Ryan Dull, and Tyler Lyons all have been signed.
My thought on those signings is this: When rosters expand, a few of those guys may be brought up. Why? To keep the innings down on the “Big 4” of Kahnle, Ottavino, Britton and Chapman. Not to mention Chad Green or Luis Cessa.
Others, like Deivi Garcia and Dellin Betances, may be able to do that too. Maybe even David Hale if he comes off the IL, just like Betances.
How many of these guys will be on the expanded roster, who knows. But they may be looking at these guys for an expanded bullpen roster in September to keep those major guys I mentioned fresh for October.