Ever since Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez came to the big leagues, the Yankees have been feared as the gold standard of power hitting in baseball. Sanchez hit 20 home runs in 53 games during his rookie season. Judge won Rookie of the Year as he blasted 52 home runs and broke the MLB rookie record.
Pitchers over the past three or so seasons have either struggled immensely against this type of lineup or have thrived against it. Since this era of the home run has begun, baseballs have been leaving the ballpark at record rates. The juiced ball has not only changed the way the ball comes off the bat, but it has changed the batters’ approaches at the plate. Players are training to find the perfect launch angle to send the ball over the fence. This has led to a significant increase in home runs, while also spurring a significant increase in strikeouts. Depending on who the pitcher is, this is either a good or bad thing. Let’s take a look at a few pitchers and how they’ve fared against this daunting Yankees lineup.
Over these last three seasons, with a minimum of 20 innings pitched, there have been three pitchers that have absolutely destroyed the Yankees. Those are Nathan Eovaldi, Trevor Bauer, and Justin Verlander. These are some names that give Yankee fans nightmares. Eovaldi and Bauer have posted 1.95 and 2.08 ERA figures, respectively.
Now, Verlander is the one who will quite possibly end up pitching against the Yankees this year in the playoffs (though nothing is guaranteed). In 27.2 innings against the Yankees since the beginning of 2017, Verlander has pitched to a 2.28 ERA, a 2.79 FIP, a 11.1 K/9, and a .190 BAA. That is down-right domination. Here’s a little peek at what he did to the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS if you’ve somehow forgotten:
Besides these two, there are a few other pitchers that have gotten rather demolished by the Yankees. Let’s start with Kevin Gausman; Gausman, who currently pitches for the Reds but was formerly on the Orioles, and had some brutal outings against the Yankees. In 32.2 IP Gausman had an 8.27 ERA and let up 51 hits.
Now for the worst of them all: David Price. Price has struggled to a remarkable extent against the Yankees ever since the Baby Bombers began their careers. Since the beginning of 2017, in 37.2 IP, Price has pitched to an atrocious 7.88 ERA, a .315 BAA, only a 17.7 K%, and a 7.66 FIP. More simply put, Price has given up 33 runs in 37.2 IP on 14 home runs, 51 hits, seven doubles, and 16 walks. Here’s a look at what the Yankees lineup did to Price in his last outing against them:
Perhaps for the best, Price was scratched from his most recently scheduled start, which was to come on Friday night against the Yankees.
If there’s one possible takeaway here, it’s that certain power pitchers, like Verlander and Eovaldi, have managed to match the Yankees’ power with some of their own, while pitchers that have employed some amount of finesse seem to have gotten pounded. How will the 2019 Yankees lineup, one with more contact mixed in than recent iterations, fare against playoff pitching? We’ll have to wait and find out.