Thursday morning reflections after a sweep in Seattle

I said this other day after the Yankees were able to beat Felix Hernandez: This team is confounding. They will sweep the best team in the league (in the AL and at the time the series began), lose three out of four to a terrible team in Oakland and then sweep the Mariners in Seattle while facing the aforementioned Hernandez.

And guess what? The Yankees are in first place and four games above .500! They're 7-3 in their last 10 games, not that you'd know that with the way some people are reacting to how they're playing.

Are they a great team? No, but in the AL Least - no, I did not spell that wrong - being just good enough will probably be more than adequate to win the division.

Were these three games against Seattle good? Yes and no.

Beating King Felix was fun but barely beating a rookie in Mike Montgomery - well, they actually didn't beat him, they had to wait until Fernando Rodney entered the game to make some noise - and being nearly shut down by Taijuan Walker wasn't that great. Aside from Mark Teixeira's solo shot and Garrett Jones' two-run jack, the Yankees' offense didn't do much yesterday.

Thank goodness for TANAK who pitched well for a guy just coming back from a somewhat extended DL trip. Oh, who am I kidding? He pitched well for anyone. Don't let the naysayers make you think differently. He made more than a few guys on the Mariners look silly at the plate. He also hit 96.5 m.p.h. on the gun.

According to Brooks Baseball, that bump in velocity happened on the last pitch of his outing:

tanakavelocity

And he had nine strikeouts! Sure, he may have been helped a bit by home plate ump Will Little's not-so-little strike zone but the Mariners were also helped a bit as well.

trumedia_baseball_heatmap (63)

He also gave up three hits all in the third inning: Logan Morrison hit a single on a 94 m.p.h. fastball, Dustin Ackley's double came on a slider on the outside corner and Brad Miller's triple was on a 91 m.p.h fastball right over the plate. The Mariners just missed hitting a cycle off Tanaka in that inning alone but he settled down and ended up retiring the last 13 batters the faced starting with Austin Jackson who struck out to end the third.

You know who else impressed me yesterday? Let's face it, he's impressed me all season so far: Andrew Miller.

Things got a little hairy there in the eighth inning but, as they say, Miller bent but didn't break and got out of a sticky, bases-loaded situation unscathed. I was really impressed with his at-bat against Logan Morrison. Bases loaded, 3-0 count and works his way back to strike Logan out on a sick slider (#6 in the picture).

morrisonatbatmiller

(I don't know how this happened, but what was supposed to be a post simply musing about the series has turned into an "About Last Night" post. It's a hybrid if you will. I'm musing and showing you some pictures.)

The other half of the very tall, two-headed bullpen monster, Dellin Betances, has also been very impressive. Not bad for a guy that people wanted to send down to the Minors early in the season. Silly rabbits.

In 29 1/3 innings of work, he's struck out 49 batters and still has a 0.00 ERA. In his last three games (5/30 against the A's, 6/1 and 6/2 against the Mariners), he pitched 3 1/3 innings, gave up one hit, walked a batter and struck out 8.

Yeah.

Things that are worrying me a bit about the Yankees:

  • Chase Headley and his errors. What is he going on with him? Is there an injury we don't know about or something? Why is this happening with such frequency? It's very weird.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury's absence is also worrying. The Yankees miss him in the top of the order.
  • Carlos Beltran playing right field is a sh*t show. Sorry, but there is no other way to say it. Every time a ball is hit in that direction, I cover my eyes as if to shield myself from seeing something really disturbing. Like I'm watching "Game of Thrones" or "Outlander".

Things that are encouraging me about the Yankees:

  • Didi Gregorius is starting to hit a bit. Sure, he's made some mental errors and fell when running the bases the other day, but he's looking better at the plate which is a good thing. The Yankees don't really need the bottom of their order to remain a black hole of suckitude.
  • Jacob Lindgren is still in the bullpen. I was a little worried that he'd be sacrificed for Tanaka but thankfully the Yankees realized that David Carpenter was the one who needed to go. Now, if they'd only use the same philosophy for some of the batters...

Things that are making me shrug my shoulders about the Yankees:

  • Freakin' Stephen Drew. Just when we think we can get rid of him, he gets the game tying hit and is on base for what ended up being the game-winning home run the other night.
  • Their inconsistent play. I know I mentioned in the opening of this post, but I'm mentioning it again. They're so frustrating to watch sometimes and I won't even try to predict what they're going to do against the Angels this weekend.
  • Some of Joe Girardi's decisions are a little questionable but, the Yankees were able to sweep the Mariners and those decisions didn't cost the Yankees so...

Enjoy the off day, everyone!

[Data courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info and Brooks Baseball]