Now, it's much more like that. The Yankees broke their four-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon. The return of CC Sabathia restored order in the universe.
The big man comes back
At the start of his last season, it took CC Sabathia two runs to tie J.A. Happ's season is a 1-2-3 total and four innings to double it. This is two 1-2-3 runs this year, at its two debuts two weeks ago. Sabathia had four 1-2-3 innings in five races on Saturday. His only authorized base player was a mere little Jose Rondon in the middle of the field in the third inning. Soft as in 72.5 mph output speed. Sixteen at the top, 15 at the bottom.
Sabathia shot just 62 shots in his five heats on Saturday, just as much as he had thrown in his minor league training last Sunday. Rehabilitation fields for minor leagues and competitions for the Major League are very different in intensity, and Sabathia is back from a knee surgery and heart operation out of season, so of course, the Yankees played cautiously. Was there enough in the tank for another round? Yes, probably. But the Yankees and Sabathia must have an overview here.
If you had not known better, it would have been impossible to tell Sabathia who was coming back from surgery during the off-season, which is equivalent to a modified spring training. The White Sox stacked their team with right-handed players (Yonder Alonso was the only southpaw) and, as usual, Sabathia broke the right-handers with knives at 90 km / h on the inside half and forced them to search changes and break balls. Here are his pitches against these right-handers:
The last line of Sabathia: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K on 62 slots. Tyler Wade and Brett Gardner both made stellar defensive games behind Sabathia to win strikes. So he had help, but the process and the results were solid. The White Sox did not face it much and there was no indication of a loss of equipment. Sabathia looked like a Sabathia regular and that's the best possible result. Hooray CC. Welcome, great man.
Three races in the seventh
This game was goalless in the seventh inning. Sabathia launched his five innings without points and Domingo German was very good in both runs, while former Yankee Ivan Nova shot the Yankees on the other side. They had runners first and second with a first-round takedown when Gleyber Torres was taken to bat by the marble referee, Ted Barrett (look at the location of the third shot) and that Greg Bird has failed, blocking both runners.
The Yankees finally managed to break through and qualify for the seventh inning. Let's recap this round with an annotated game.
(1) Since his home race in Baltimore, Torres has become a little big with his momentum, which is not uncommon for a young player. Sometimes they become a bit worried and start trying to put everything in the seats. In this clash, Gleyber took a first curved ball for a shot, toppled into a second cutter with a great hero swing, then sat down and pushed the 0-2 cutter up to the right field for a single in mind. This allowed the rally to unfold and also to end the afternoon of Nova, which surprised me a bit, even at 93 locations.
(2) Did Yolmer Sanchez save Aaron Boone? The left-hand reliever, Jace Fry, replaced Nova and hit the right-hander hit Luke Voit hard for the southpaw to hit Bird seems to be an obvious decision. Instead, Bird stayed inside and he hit a custom-made 4-6-3 double ball game at second base. The rally should be dead right there. Sanchez, however, started the ball – it looked like he was rushed to make sure he could get the ball out to second base – and instead of two withdrawals and empty goals, the Yankees had runners in first and second place without any withdrawal. A gift to draw from Boone.
(3) As Torres hit two earlier, Clint Frazier took a huge hack early in the attack and swayed. Gleyber went through a 0-1 cutter in the area. Frazier swung a first slider in the mud. And, like Torres's two earlier hitters, Frazier shortened and shot a single to right field. This loaded the bases. Torres could not score in second place as it seemed that Sanchez had a chance to take the line, so the riders held. No run, but loaded bases and no outs, and I'll take it.
(4) Do not hit hard for Bird worked well for Boone. Sanchez missed the double play, which also allowed Boone to use Voit as a hitter for Mike Tauchman. Voit jumped on a fast first-step ball and muscled it inside the field to then score the first point of the match. The ball was hit so slowly that I thought Bird could score from the second because the ball would take an eternity to go to center Adam Engel, but no. No need to take the risk and send a slow runner home with the basics loaded and without outs. Voit gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
(5) Kyle Higashioka made an excellent impression of Gary Sanchez on Saturday. It had a hard drive (109.5 MPH output speed) and two challenging outputs (103.8 MPH and 100.5 MPH). The 100.5 mph was the sacrificial volley in the seventh inning. Leury Garcia is the White Sox version of Wade. This is a natural field player who learns the outside field to increase his versatility. Garcia turned a little on Higashioka's ball and it seemed like it could fall, but he was able to reach out and capture while returning to the ball. We did the work and brought home, and that's the most important thing.
(6) A boost! It seemed to me that the plan was plan B. Wade did not play the first fastball in the zone, and he snuck into the fastball of the second ball for a swing-and-miss. It seemed he was going to start early in the count and try to ambush a fastball. When he missed this opportunity, Wade peeked at a textbook, marking the fast Frazier from that base. The video:
The Bullpen goes through
A few difficult days for the supposedly Super Bullpen. The pen had allowed at least three points in each of the last three games – this has not been the case since September 2016 – and apart from Adam Ottavino, no one was as good at first. On Saturday, three lifters combined for four almost perfect runs. The only baseball player came on a Wade throw error that Bird really should have scooped at first.
The German joined Sabathia and was dynamite during his two innings, hitting our four and allowing the only player on Wade 's error. If it was not needed during the rotation, I would be interested to see the German as a multi-sleeve single-pass lifter. Zack Britton scored 1-2 on 1-2-3 with a strikeout and two balls on the ground. He now has as many swings and misses as low runners this year (12 each). He needed a strong exit like that. Good to see.
Even with a four-point lead, Boone went to Aroldis Chapman in the ninth because, well, he had not started for a week. I can not stay long without using it. Chapman hit one in a perfect ninth and, for the first time this season, he reached 100 mph on the radar gun. The first four times, actually: 100.4, 100.1, 100.0, 100.0. Good to see. Chapman seems to be warming up a bit.
The Yankees had seven hits scattered throughout the range. Nobody had more than one shot, and the only starters without one were Bird, Tauchman (two to bat before being eliminated for a pinch shooter) and Wade (squeeze bunt) ). DJ LeMahieu drew the team's only step and now hits .432 / .490 / .535 (183 wRC +). At the time of writing these lines, he is second at baseball at AVG (Tim Anderson at .444), sixth at OBP and 11th at the shots. Pretty cool.
And finally, the Yankees have launched a shooter! This sweet rondon against Sabathia was the only basic success of Chicago. He is the first hitter in a Yankees game since Luis Severino, David Robertson and Chapman, who won the Rangers on September 9, 2017. Their last hitter was in September 2014. Michael Pineda, Shawn Kelley, Rich Hill and David Phelps have partnered to do so.
Box score, WPA chart and ranking
For highlights of the box and video clips, visit MLB.com. For updated rankings, go to ESPN. Here is our Bullpen Workload page and here is the graph of probability of victory:
The Yankees will try to win their second win of the season Sunday afternoon. Right-handed Masahiro Tanaka and left-hander Carlos Rodon at scheduled starts. It's a 13:05 match.