by Simon Jones
Friday night at Yankee Stadium marked a couple of team records, with a career game for Jesus Aguilar and yet another home run from Aaron Judge. Elsewhere there were some strong performances by some starters leading into the All Star Break.
So let’s look at some of the bigger stories from Friday’s games.
1) Judge breaks Yankees rookie record….
It’s a record that has looked under threat for a little while now, but Aaron Judge broke Joe DiMaggio’s rookie HR record in double quick time on Friday. Judge became just the second rookie ever to reach the 30 homer landmark after Mark McGwire. Judge is now three HRs clear at the top of the MLB standings.
2) Aguilar cracks two HR and drives in seven….
Aaron Judge wasn’t the only record breaker at Yankee Stadium on Friday, as Jesus Aguilar put together a career night in the Brewers 9-4 win. Aguilar hammered two homers including a 7th inning go-ahead grand slam off Tyler Clippard, and his seven RBIs set a new Brewers mark in the process. Aguilar now has 9 HRs on the season whilst carrying a .924 OPS.
3) Greinke dominant against Reds….
Zack Greinke’s continued his 2017 renaissance on Friday, bookmarking his excellent first-half with a dominant outing against the Reds. Greinke held Cincinnati scoreless for seven innings racking up seven Ks against four hits and a single walk. Greinke heads into the All-Star Break with an 11-4 record backed up by an impressive 2.86 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, numbers much more reminiscent of his Los Angeles numbers than his first year in Arizona.
4) Sanchez hit hard in return from DL….
Aaron Sanchez struggled mightily in his return from the DL last night, as Houston jumped all over him. Sanchez has had a first half to forget, through a combination of ineffectiveness and blister issues, and it didn’t get better against the Astros, as he didn’t get out of the second inning. Sanchez wasn’t helped by his defence, but seven hits and four walks whilst not striking out a batter was always going to lead to trouble, as evidenced by the eight runs (five earned). Sanchez has only managed six starts in 2017 and only accumulated 26 innings – not what was envisaged after an impressive 2016 campaign.
5) Carrasco fans 11 in win against Tigers….
Carlos Carrasco was in dominant form against Detroit on Friday, striking out 11 across seven innings, giving up two runs on nine hits and a walk. It’s been a mixed campaign for Carrasco – he’s put together a number of excellent outings but punctuated them with a few horrible appearances too. He will look to kick on from this performance in the 2nd half, and his ERA now stands at 3.44.
6) Straily narrowly misses shutout….
Dan Straily took a shutout into the ninth inning at AT&T Park on Friday, but was eventually denied by a solo home run from Denard Span. Straily took full advantage of a scuffling Giants line up, conceding just four hits across 8 1/3 innings. The Miami pitcher has backed up a decent 2016 campaign, with a 3.31 ERA in the first half. The numbers aren’t entirely backed up by his peripherals, but he has raised his K% by more than 3% whilst posting a career low BB%. Overall, Straily has been a very pleasant surprise.
7) Machado slugs pair of homers in loss….
Manny Machado had a big game in the Orioles 9-6 loss in Minnesota on Friday, going 4-for-5 and racking up another pair of homers. Machado is on course to match his 35+ homer seasons from the last two years, but the rest of his first half numbers have been massively disappointing, slashing just .224/.290/.442. Machado has been severely hampered by a .229 BABIP – more than 70 points below his career mark. Whilst his line drive % has been suppressed, most of the underlying numbers suggest that there should be at least some bounce back in the 2nd half.
8) Paxton ends first half strong….
James Paxton put together another impressive display in the Mariners 7-2 win over Oakland. Paxton has rebounded nicely after a series of rough outings following his return from the DL in June. Last night marked his third consecutive quality start, conceding two runs across 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine against two hits and three walks. The recent starts have meant that he has lowered his ERA to 3.21 on the season with a 1.18 WHIP. Look for Paxton to continue his success as a top 30 starter into the second half.
9) Springer ending the first half in style….
George springer had a perfect night at the plate on Friday, slugging two home runs whilst going 4-for-4 against the Blue Jays. 2017 was seen by many as a critical year for Springer, who has bags of talent, but hadn’t seen that fully translate into elite numbers. He looks to have put any doubts firmly to rest in 2017, hitting 27 home runs (second in the majors), whilst slashing .307/.378/.614 with 74 runs and 60 RBIs. The only slight area of disappointment has been on the basepaths where he’s been caught stealing three times in only five attempts. Overall though, this has been an elite first half for Springer.
10) Cruz belts 300th career home run…
Nelson Cruz went 3-for-4 on Friday, and reaching the 300 HR landmark with a three run shot in the 8th inning, culminating a 5 RBI night. Cruz has been nursing a knee injury, but this represented his second long ball in three days (after a drought of nearly a month). Overall Cruz sports a strong .899 OPS to go with 16 HRs and 68 RBIs.
Rotoprofessor recently debuted our Reliever Reliability Quotient (RRQ), in an effort to determine whose skills translate best for late inning roles. Make sure to check out our introduction of the stat by clicking here.