Jake Odorizzi spun 6 innings of shutout ball against the Yankees, while JA Happ and a depleted Yankee bullpen couldn’t keep the Twins off the board, allowing the Twins to even this weekend’s series at 1-1.
Let’s start with something positive: Cameron Maybin’s catch. JA Happ was in trouble often after facing the Twins’ batting order once. After gibing up a two-run homer in the 3rd inning, Happ was in trouble again in the 4th inning, with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs. Happ threw a 1-2, four-seam fastball away to Jonathan Schoop, but Schoop barreled the ball for what looked to be a game-breaking 3-run homer. I’d describe the catch, but the video (courtesy of MLB.com) speaks for itself:
Maybin single handedly kept the Yankees in this ballgame. The probability of coming back from a 5-0 deficit is very low. Coming back from a 2-0 deficit, on the other hand, is doable. The Yankees’ offense wasn’t able to mount a comeback in the early offing, but Maybin sure did his part defensively.
Jake Odorizzi has plenty of familiarity with pitching in Yankee Stadium following his years of solid work with the Tampa Bay Rays, and he stumped the patient Yankee lineup today, throwing 6 innings of shutout ball. Odorizzi is not someone who jumps off the page statistically due to the fact that he typically struggles to keep his K:BB ratio in check due to a high walk rate. Odorizzi’s stuff is good enough, that strikeouts are a given. Odorizzi struggles to command his stuff consistently in the strike zone, but when he is able to work the edges, he is capable of shutting a lineup down. Today was one of those days, despite the fact that he issued 4 walks. The Yankees did not beat themselves at the plate today - Odorizzi really did a nice job of mixing pitches while keeping the Yankee bats off balance.
Interestingly enough, I thought that Odorizzi was particularly careful against Sanchez, and to Sanchez’s credit, he was plenty happy to take 2 walks against Odorizzi. Given Sanchez’s tear, pitching around him makes sense, but I thought it was interesting that a pitcher with stuff that strong was nibbling against Sanchez. It’s just another reminder of how scary Sanchez is at the plate. He’d provide another reminder late in the game.
Overall, Odorizzi only allowed 2 hits, while striking out 6. Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap.
Happ deserves credit for gutting through 5.2 innings today. He did not have great stuff, and was generally pitching to contact on Saturday. He gave up 2 homers and some loud outs, but given the lack of stuff he displayed today, the results could have been far worse. Yes, the results would have been far worse had Maybin not saved that homer in the 4th inning, but Happ deserves credit for keeping the Yanks in the game.
The Depleted Bullpen Struggled
The Yankees were forced to send the kids and a journeyman out of the bullpen to try to contain the damage. Let’s just say that it didn’t end well. Joe Harvey and Stephen Tarpley continue to fail their big league auditions, as each allowed a run and contact. Jake Barrett, called up following James Paxton’s placement on the iL, chipped in by allowing the 7th run to the Twins’ lineup.
The Yankee bullpen was was pitching short-handed after covering 6 innings after Paxton’s early exit from Friday night’s game. The only way that the Yankees had a chance today was for the offense to score often and for Happ to go deep. Sadly, neither happened.
Sanchez Stays Hot
Sanchez did everything he could to add some offense today. In addition to his 2 walks, Sanchez hit an absolute moonshot in the bottom of the 8th inning to pull the score to within 3. Check it out:
That was Sanchez’s 11th homer of the year…it’s barely May. This particular homer was on a 93 MPH fastball on the outside corner, and yet Sanchez found a way to pull it 444 feet to the deepest part of the ballpark. When Sanchez is hot, he may be the best hitter in the theoretically healthy Yankee lineup. I haven’t seen him this hot since his rookie year. When he’s going like this, he’s one of the best all-around players in baseball. Too bad that the rest of the lineup couldn’t match his performance today.
Red-hot Domingo German takes on ex-Yankee Michael Pineda on Sunday as the Yankees will attempt to take 2 of 3 from the Twins. The Yankees may not have been able to put the barrel on the ball against Odorizzi, but they should be able to put some hits together against Pineda, who has proven hittable in his return from Tommy John. Today may have been tough, but there’s always tomorrow…unless it rains, as it’s supposed to.
Odds and Ends
Miguel Andujar made his much anticipated return today. While he did manage a single, he produced 2 errors at 3rd base today. I’m not super concerned - Andujar did not get a ton of action at 3B prior to his return, so he’s still knocking off some rust. Most importantly, he looked healthy enough to play, and that’s more important than anything else right now. The hits will come, and hopefully he’ll smooth out the defense as the season wears on.
Maybin is getting tough to sit. Not only has he played stellar defense all over the outfield, but he’s putting together competent at-bats. He’s given the Yanks more than they ever could have reasonably expected. Hats off to Maybin - he may have a bit left in the tank.
Luke Voit’s impressive on-base streak ended on Saturday. It’s too bad - that was fun. The end of the streak means little with regards to Voit’s long-term standing as a Major League player - he is quickly establishing himself as a viable big league first baseman whose bat can carry any defensive shortcomings.
LeMahieu had been in the midst of a mini-slump, but he managed two hits today, and the other non-Sanchez RBi. Good for him. I was worried when he needed an MRI, as the Yankees have had no manner of luck at all this year when a guy needs an MRI, but LeMahieu has really been a rock thus far. The Yankees need him to continue to be a table-setter.
Tough game for the Yankees today, but the odds were against them with a short bullpen. They don’t have any good excuses (yet) for tomorrow, so the Yanks need to win tomorrow to shut down the discussion about their inability to win against winning teams.