All things considered, I’m not sure I could’ve asked the Yankees for a better ending to the RAB era. With RAB set to close its internet doors Monday, the Yankees went out and clobbered the Giants in Sunday’s series finale to finish the three-game series sweep. The final score was 11-5. The Yankees have won eleven of their last 13 games.
Two In The First, Two In The Second, Two In The Third
The Yankees have played a lot of bad teams in the early going this season. The Orioles, the Tigers, the White Sox, the Royals … the Yankees have played them all already. The Giants have more name value on their roster than those four teams combined, but gosh, they are every bit as bad based on what we saw this weekend. Every bit as bad on the field and way more expensive. San Francisco has some onerous contracts, for sure.
It did not take long for the Giants to show their badness on Sunday. DJ LeMahieu opened the game with a single to left, then righty Dereck Rodriguez nibbled the bases loaded. He walked Luke Voit on six pitches and Brett Gardner on five pitches, and only six of those eleven pitches were fastballs. Rodriguez kept trying to get Voit and Gardner to chase something soft and they wouldn’t do it. Three batters, three baserunners.
Gary Sanchez gave Rodriguez and the Giants the double play ball they needed. Tailor-made 6-4-3 double play ball. Instead, the usually sure-handed Brandon Crawford bobbled the grounder and zero outs were recorded. The Giants did turn the 4-6-3 double play on Gleyber Torres’ broken bat grounder, but another run scored to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. It’s nice being on the other end of those sloppy mistakes, isn’t it?
The second inning opened with two quick baserunners (Gio Urshela single, Tyler Wade walk) and two quick outs (Domingo German strikeout, LeMahieu fly out). For whatever reason, Giants catcher Erik Kratz tried to pick Urshela off second base with a snap throw, but no one was ready for it. Certainly not the infielder at second. The throw sailed into center, the runners moved up, and Voit brought them home with a single against the shift.
Two runs in the first after the botched double play, two runs in the second after Kratz’s ill-advised snap throw, and two runs in the third on a Gleyber homer. Rodriguez walked Sanchez to start the inning and Torres parked one in the left-center field seats. This is one of the few times the behind-the-plate camera angle is #ActuallyGood:
German Hits A Wall
As great as he’s been, Domingo German was not going to sustain a sub-2.00 ERA all season. That’s just not happening in Yankee Stadium and in the AL East in general. At some point the correction was coming. It came in the sixth inning Sunday and it came at a good time. If you’re going to give up four runs in one inning, the best time to do it is when your team has given you an 8-0 run cushion.
German cruised through the first five innings against an admittedly terrible Giants lineup. He retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced and the two baserunners were a single by the opposing pitcher (Rodriguez) and a Voit error. Voit had more time than he realized when he rushed and airmailed a throw to German covering first base. Only three of those first 17 batters managed to hit the ball out of the infield. German made it look easy. Very easy.
The wheels kinda came off in that sixth inning. Tyler Austin worked a hard-fought ten-pitch leadoff walk, Cameron Maybin misread a ball off the wall in left field, German hung a two-strike breaking ball to Kevin Pillar … just not a lot went right in that sixth inning. After throwing 59 pitches in the first five innings, German needed 28 pitches to get through that sixth inning. His final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Looks worse than it was.
Even after seemingly hitting a wall in that sixth inning, German owns a 2.56 ERA (2.79 FIP) with strong strikeout (25.8%) and walk (7.3%) rates through 32.1 innings. He walked five batters in five innings in his first start, remember. Only four walks in 27.1 innings since. I’m not sure the homer rate will last forever (0.57 HR/9 and 6.3% HR/FB), but gosh, German looks so confident right now. It really seems like something has clicked. Exciting!
Second homer in as many days for Sanchez, who hit a two-run shot deep into the left field bleachers in the sixth inning. Maybe a row or two from the concourse. It wasn’t as long (430 feet) as Saturday’s grand slam (467 feet), but it looked longer because it was closer to the line and nearly cleared the bleachers. Even after missing time with the calf injury, Gary still leads all catchers with eight home runs.
The Giants made some more mistakes in the ninth inning to help the Yankees score three more insurance runs. Maybin (one run) and Wade (two-run) both had run-scoring singles that inning. Three hits and a walk for Voit, who’s up to .283/.397/.538 (149 wRC+) on the season. Two hits and a walk for Torres, two hits for Urshela before getting hurt (hit-by-pitch in hand), and two hits for Thairo Estrada after coming off the bench to replace LeMahieu (knee inflammation).
Pretty easy afternoon for the bullpen, even after the Giants hung a four-spot on German in the sixth. Jonathan Holder went 1-2-3 in the seventh, Tommy Kahnle pitched around a walk in the eighth, and Joe Harvey allowed a garbage time solo homer in the ninth after the offense tacked on those insurance runs. Nice and easy game for the relief crew. Thanks for that.
And finally, make it a 39-game on-base streak for Voit. It is the longest active on-base streak in baseball — Freddie Freeman is second and he extended his streak to 28 games Sunday afternoon — and it is the longest streak by a Yankee since Mark Teixeira had a 42-gamer in 2010.
For RAB, one final day of posts. Tomorrow is the site’s final day. For the Yankees, it’s an off-day. They’ll spend Monday’s off-day in Phoenix before opening a quick two-game series with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. CC Sabathia and righty Merrill Kelly are the scheduled starters for Tuesday night’s opener.