Happ dazzles in debut as Yanks down Royals 6-3
In front of a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium, J.A. Happ delivered an impressive performance in his Yankees debut to lead his new team to a 6-3 victory and series win over the Royals. With the win, New York is once again a season-high 30 games over .500 at 68-38, but still trail the red-hot Boston Red Sox by 5.5 games in the AL East.
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On the afternoon, Happ fired six innings while allowing only one run. He had command of the zone all day, with 63 of his 96 pitches going for strikes. Happ permitted only four base runners on the day, and would have had a scoreless outing if it weren’t for a solo home run off the bat of Salvador Perez in the top of the 6th. Overall, it was an extremely encouraging first start for Happ after being acquired from Toronto earlier this week. His next start is scheduled to come against Boston next weekend and the Yankees will need more of the same from their lanky lefty in that one.
Offensively, the Yankees struck early and often. The scoring got started in the first inning when the suddenly red-hot Aaron Hicks deposited a two-out curveball from Royals starter Burch Smith off the right-field foul pole to give the Yanks an early 2-0 lead. Hicks was the offensive stalwart today going 3-3 with the aforementioned home run, a double and a single. The Yanks would score four more runs on the day with RBIs from Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird and Giancarlo Stanton. Of note is that the Yankees struggles with runners in scoring position continued today with the team going just 3-12.
The bullpen finished the game off in relatively shaky fashion. Chad Green and David Robertson each served up solo home runs to continue a trend of struggles for them recently. Both of them have ERAs over 5.00 in their last seven outings. The ninth inning concluded in much more comfortable fashion as Aroldis Chapman shut the door with a 1-2-3 inning to pick up his 28th save in 29 tries.
Tomorrow is an off day for the Yankees in the Bronx before they welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town for a quick two-games series on Tuesday and Wednesday. With the Red Sox playing the way they are, those two games feel like virtual must-wins for the Bombers. Tuesday’s probables are Masahiro Tanaka (8-2, 4.09 ERA) for New York and former Yankees farmhand Yefry Ramirez (1-3, 3.49 ERA) for the Orioles. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm on YES.
Recap by: Jake GrazianoFollow@JakeGraziano Follow@BronxBomberBall