Giancarlo Stanton (OF-NYY) Stanton went 2 for 4 with a home run, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a walk Thursday night. Stanton had been in a bit of a cold spell since home run number 32, going 5-35 with just 2 RBIs so home run number 33 is a welcome sight for the slugger. Overall his numbers are solid but a far cry from the 2017 campaign that saw him drive in 132 runs and slash .281/.376/.631. Stanton's .242 ISO would be his lowest since 2013 and his BABIP of .347 may indicate he has gotten a little lucky that his .277 batting average is as high as it is considering he's increased his strikeout rate 6% over last season - but more in line with his career marks. Overall 33 home runs, 84 RBIs and a .876 OPS are strong numbers but not necessarily living up to the lofty expectations the Yankees has when he signed.
J.A. Happ (SP-NYY) Happ lasted just 4 and 1/3 innings, allowing 5 ER on 10 hits, including 3 home runs. It was truly a disastrous start for Happ who gave up a leadoff home run and allowed the Tigers to get on base at will. He had been strong in 5 starts since coming to the Yankees going 5-0 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 32 Ks in 30 IP. While the surface numbers look great and are better than his line with the Blue Jays (10-6, 4.18 ERA, 1.18 ERA) it is noteworthy that his FIP is actually lower with the Blue Jays (3.84) than with the Yankees (3.95). Happ has limited batters to a .222 BABIP with the Yankees a number that could be a contributor to his low ERA. The Yankees have been averaging over 8 runs scored per game when he pitches, so even if he regresses back close to the 4 ERA he posted with the Blue Jays (and more in line with his career 3.92 ERA) he should be able to pick up several more wins down the stretch.
Justin Verlander (SP-HOU) Verlander lasted 5 and 1/3 innings vs the Angels Thursday, allowing 3 ER on 5 hits while striking out 11. He cruised through 5 innings before allowing 3 hits and being yanked, only to have the bullpen surrender a bases-clearing double, pinning two more runs on him. Despite three 10+ strikeout performance for Verlander in August it has otherwise been a month to forget, as he pitched to the tune of a 5.33 ERA, allowing 9 home runs in 5 previous August starts entering play Thursday. The longball issues are troubling but not necessarily new - he has given up 7 in July and 6 in June after allowing just 5 total in his April and May starts. A Few rough starts aside, Verlander has still been a dominant force for the Astros having registered 8 10+ strikeout games, and what is looking to be a career high 11.73 K/9, all the while cutting his BB/9 to career low 1.59. His .207 batting average against is also elite, and if it wasn't enough he wasn't allowing those basetunners to score - he is 2nd in the AL with a 86.5% LOB rate. Verlander will carry a 2.78 ERA and 0.95 WHIP into his next start Tuesday vs the Twins.
Gleyber Torres (2B/SS-NYY) Torres went 3 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBIs Thursday. Torres has been locked in for a while now, hitting .370 with a .985 OPS over the past 2 weeks. The recent hot streak is nice and just in time for the Yankees playoff run as the youngster has struggled a bit in the second half overall hitting .235 with just 5 home runs since the All-Star break. Granted he missed time with injuries during July and was a little slow to get back at it but seems to have turned a corner. With Didi Gregorius out, Torres has slid over to SS and maybe it has jump started his offensive game. He has now hit in 14 of his past 16 games, including 6 multi-hit games and has now homered in 3 of his past 9 nine games - a nice surge considering he had not homered since August 6 before this past week.
Niko Goodrum (1B/2B/OF-DET) Goodrum went 4 for 5 with the go ahead home run in the 9th inning Thursday. It was a big night for Goodrum, who has alternated strong and poor hitting months all season (.217, .275, .171, .286, .172) so if the trend is any indication he could be in for a strong September. Despite a low average he has been able to turn in an OK .729 OPS and his 26 doubles, 2 triples and 14 home runs to go along with multi-position eligibility across the infield and outfield make him a decent bench choice and matchup play if he Is locked in at the plate. The matchup play could be versus lefties as he has hit a decent .260 compared to .212 vs righties.
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