Phillies Give New York Yankees their First Test of the Season

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The New York Yankees took on the Philadelphia Phillies in a four-game set that proved to be their first real test of 2020.

Game One (Yankees win 6-3)

Gerrit Cole’s first start in the Bronx pinstripes was a night to remember. The Yankee ace tossed six innings of fantastic baseball allowing one run on five hits. Aside from one issued walk, he struck out four batters bringing his season total up to 16 on the season, good enough for first on the New York Yankees‘ pitching staff.

DJ LeMahieu began the night with his second leadoff home run of the year giving the Yanks a 1-0 lead that wouldn’t last very long thanks to the bat of J.T. Realmuto. His solo shot in the third inning tied the game at one run apiece.

In the bottom half of the third, Brett Gardner goes oppo for his second homer of the year. Later that inning, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks hit back-to-back doubles, creating a 3-1 lead for the Yankees that they would never again relinquish.

Later in the sixth inning, Gio Urshela would join the home run party smashing a three-run bomb that landed in the Philly bullpen extending that Yankees lead to 6-1.

Two late runs would score in the seventh and eighth innings for Philly but it wouldn’t be enough as Zack Britton came in to close the game for his fourth save of the season.

This Yankees win also brings Gerrit Cole’s record to 3-0, one of only four pitchers with three wins this season, and he extends his unbeaten streak to 25 games, recording wins in 19 of them since May 22, 2019.

Game Two (Phillies win 11-7)

The Yankees struck first in this contest with Gleyber Torres swinging in a run in the bottom of the first inning. Just one inning later, Gardner strokes a two-run homer extending the lead to 3-0. While the bats were going for the Yanks, it was their pitching that told a different story.

J.A. Happ had another troubling start on Wednesday afternoon letting the Phillies put four runs on the board on six walks and just three hits. In his outing, 34 of his 66 pitches were balls highlighting the fact that he just couldn’t find the strike zone. Happ has now given up 37 home runs since 2019 which is the fourth most in all of baseball.

Happ was relieved by Jonathan Holder for one inning of solid relief work and then came Nick Nelson. After a relatively unscathed fifth inning, aside from a Realmuto solo shot, had a nightmare sixth. Seven runs came across the board after eight of the first nine batters reached safely for the Phillies.

In the bottom of the seventh, the final inning of the new seven-inning doubleheaders, the Yankees made a late-game push after Phillies manager, Joe Girardi, replaced starter Zack Wheeler. Thairo Estrada drove in one on a one-out single which set up Aaron Judge to hit a three-run moonshot, cutting the lead to just four runs.

Aaron Hicks and Tyler Wade both reached safely after Judge’s at-bat giving the Yankees a real chance to achieve the full comeback. At least until Angel Hernandez sucked all the momentum out of the inning with a blatant ball he called a strike. After Mike Ford said his peace, so did third base coach Phil Nevin who was tossed by Hernandez.

The next better was Miguel Andujar who flew out to right field on the first pitch he saw giving the Phillies an 11-7 win. Bryce Harper was the difference with four runs batted in on a home run and a fielder’s choice

Game Three (Yankees win 3-1)

For the third straight game, the Yankees scored first, this time coming off the bat of Luke Voit. Voit’s solo home run was his fourth of the season.

On the other side of the ball, Jonathan Loaisiga pitched well for the Yanks giving 2.1 innings as the opener. He gave up one run on three hits and fanned three at the plate as well. Andrew Knapp’s RBI single in the bottom of the second inning was the only run and the last hit Philly would get in the game.

Fast Forward to the seventh inning, Joe Girardi took out the starter, Aaron Nola, after six innings of work just like Zack Wheeler the night before. Due to this managerial error, the Yankees reached base in each of their first five at-bats proving that Girardi once again made a pitching mistake in the final inning. Although this time, it cost Philadelphia the game.

A Mike Tauchman double drove in Giancarlo Stanton and two batters later, Gio Urshela singled making it 3-1 Yankees. This set up Zack Britton to make his fifth save in as many opportunities to close out a rather uneventful nightcap in the doubleheader.

Game Four (Phillies win 5-4)

Jordan Montgomery made his second start of the season tossing four innings of baseball he would probably like to forget. The Phillies scored five runs on six hits off of Montgomery raising his ERA to 5.59 in 9.2 innings pitched.

J.T. Realmuto set the tone for the Phillies in the bottom of the first by hitting a three-run bomb to left field. The veteran catcher drove in five runs throughout the series on three consecutive multi-hit games.

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The Bronx Bombers answer quickly when the scorching hot Mike Tauchman batted in a pair of runs on a two-out single in the second. Tauchman is now slashing .368/.429/.421 in eight games this season and has really made his case to be an everyday outfielder for the Yankees.

The bullpen was strong for New York in four innings allowing just two hits and striking out six between David Hale and Jonathan Holder. Although, Montgomery gave up too many runs in his four innings of work that the Yankees just couldn’t recover from.

In the seventh, Gary Sanchez hit a two-run homer cutting the lead to just one run. Two innings later LeMahieu and Tauchman hit back to back singles with two outs leaving the game in the hands of Luke Voit. Voit got a hold of one that sailed all the way to the warning track in right-center but didn’t have the distance to do any damage.

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Although the Phillies and Yankees split the series, the Yankees showed some promising offensive takeaways. Not only do they continue to rally late in the game, but they hit 8-25 (.320) with RISP against Philly exhibiting one of the most clutch-hitting lineups in all of baseball.