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Yankees 18, Cubs 4: Papa Bears smack Baby Bears

Matt Carpenter and Kyle Higashioka swung the biggest sticks in the Yankees’ second-straight blowout win.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s strange to recap a game like this. What do you focus on in a game where the line score looks like an entire phone number? The Yankees took off from the word go, putting up five runs in the first and keeping their feet on the gas the rest of the way, putting up 18 runs and completing the sweep of the Cubs.

We’ll get to what was kind of a weird outing from Yankees pitching in a second, but really the entire story of the game was the way the lineup unloaded on every guy the Cubs put on the mound. Ian Happ hit a solo home run in the top of the first, putting the Yankees down before they even saw a pitch. Keegan Thompson, though, just couldn’t hold up his end of the deal, walking the bases loaded in the home half, and then giving Matt Carpenter a free pass to tie the game.

For the Cubs, it was all downhill from there; for Carpenter, it only got better.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo both doubled to right to bring home four more runs:

Thompson only faced nine hitters, recorded two outs, and left without completing the first inning down 5-1. He really struggled to find the strike zone, the Yankees executed well by not chasing any of his junk, and when he came back over the plate, they were able to drive the ball — exactly the formula to knock out a starter early.

It didn’t end there, though. Lest you think that Carp’s only contribution to this game was the bases-loaded walk, he blasted two home runs to pad on the lead in a blowout win:

The three-time All-Star ended up driving in seven runs on the day, tying his career-high, which he also did against the Cubs back in 2018.

Kyle Higashioka also got in on the party, hitting his first AND second home run of the season after a long, long cold stretch to open the year. Both were of the solo variety, and maybe kickstarts a little bit of offensive resurgence from him. He’ll never be one of the stars in the lineup, but he has to be better than literally-the-worst-hitter-in-baseball, and just getting himself up off the ground a little bit makes this team all the more dangerous.

Jameson Taillon had himself a funny little start. I mentioned the homer earlier, but Happ is the best or second-best player on this Chicago team, so these things happen. Still, Taillon’s command was just off today; he walked just the seventh batter of the season and like in his Twins start, he left some balls over the plate that found grass, giving up seven hits in his five innings of work.

By the third, it seemed like with the Yankees putting up a 10-spot, Taillon truly began pitching to the scoreboard. It’s not like his command was great in the first two frames, but once he had that cushion, he seemed to be chucking the ball over the plate and trying to work through the order as much as possible. I’m not one for generally believing that pitchers do that, but I can’t blame Taillon for just going out there and hurling, especially with how long he must have waited between innings.

It’s hard to suss out how much of Taillon’s mediocre day was a symptom of those long waits and the comfort that such big leads provide you. It’s been two starts in a row that he hasn’t looked quite as great as in the previous six weeks, but he pitched well enough to win, never letting the Cubs back in the game, and that’s all the Yankees needed today.

You couldn’t really have a different atmosphere around this team Saturday and Sunday than the one on Friday night. The Yankees right now feel like they can hit any pitch, and when they do it absolutely jumps off the bat.

The vibes around this team are immaculate right now, and they’ll head into the off-day tomorrow riding the high of this series sweep. They sit 44-16 and the wins they’ve banked this month are going to come in handy given how tough the next stretch is, with two series against Tampa, one with Toronto, and facing the Astros before the end of June.

Still, these guys give off Best Team In Baseball energy, and you can bet they’ll be ready for the Rays Tuesday night. Gerrit Cole will square off with Corey Kluber at 7:05pm ET.

Box Score