ANAHEIM, CA. – The Yankees pulled off their fifth-straight win despite Chad Green‘s continued struggles out of the bullpen, toppling the Angels 7-to-5.

Green, who came to be a revelation out of the bullpen in 2017, is experiencing a full-blown regression and it’s sort of painful to watch. The Yanks stuck with the righty after he got the final out of the seventh to close Domingo Germán‘s line (more on him later), and it almost cost them the game.

David Fletcher and Kole Calhoun each recorded singles, and Green walked Mike Trout to load the bases. Justin Bour made Green pay, smacking a grand slam 435 feet to center field.

Luckily, 2019 Relief Ace Luis Cessa was able to work around a double by Andrelton Simmons and walk to Albert Pujols to keep the Yankees out of further trouble.

The Yankees offense did exactly what they should do against a team with shoddy starting pitching. They got ahead early and tacked on a few different times. Luke Voit got things started with a first-inning homer, which extended his on-base streak to 34 games now.

They scored again in the second, as Mike Ford singled, Mike Tauchman walked, Thairo Estrada singled (his first MLB hit) before Tyler Wade hit into an RBI 6-4 forceout that scored Ford.

Ford had a milestone of his own in the top of the fifth. After Brett Gardner singled with one out, he lined the first homer of his career over the high scoreboard wall in right field to make it 4-to-0 Yankees. He had five homers in 39 at-bats in Triple-A this year, so it seemed inevitable that he’d hit the first big-league dinger soon.

Domingo Germán, who turned in yet another fantastic start, gave up his one run (unearned) in the bottom of the inning. Brian Goodwin led off with a double and moved to third on an error by Germán. Fletcher then grounded into a 6-4 force that scored Goodwin from third.

The Yanks got two more tack-on runs in the seventh, on a hard single by Gleyber Torres (who’s been slumping badly) and an RBI groundout by Austin Romine. Voit hit his second homer of the evening in the eighth. Those runs proved essential since they made the difference between tie-game or worse once you factor in the Bour grand slam.

Germán threw another gem, going 6⅔ innings and allowing just that one unearned run on four hits with only one walk and five strikeouts. Cessa allowed a hit, a walk and a strikeout in his inning of work. Zack Britton worked an effortless, 7-pitch ninth inning to record his first save of the season.

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Takeaways

  • What is Domingo Germán‘s ceiling? In 2018, it felt like you were either getting a Cy Young candidate or someone who might throw four pitches to the backstop consecutively. This year, he looks quite comfortable with his mechanics and all of his pitches. He mixes them spectacularly and the results are really showing up. His 2.81 walks-per-nine has him at 51st-best among all starting pitchers right now. He’s pitching his way from up-and-down rotation insurance into a potential long-term role for the Yankees.
  • Mike Ford looks like a real big-league hitter right now. His approach at the plate is fantastic, and he’s not allowing MLB pitching to bully him. His 18.4% swing rate at pitches outside the strike zone sits comfortably below the 29.5% average throughout the league. It’s obviously a small sample, but a selective hitter with power like his should get either a ton of walks or good pitches to drive.
  • What is wrong with Chad Green? The Yankees must be seriously scratching their head as their former relief ace just can’t get anybody out. He’s throwing fewer fastballs than last year, but it just seems like the slider and splitter are pitches that hitters can identify easily. Batters are hitting .435 off his fastball and he has allowed an overall 54.8% hard-hit rate (4th percentile).
  • Gleyber Torres got two hits late in the game, which hopefully jumpstarts him out of the slide he’s in. But, DJ LeMahieu is 3-for-37 in his last nine games and the problem isn’t striking out. He’s got a ridiculously low .065 BABIP and I’m sure he’s frustrated by it. LeMahieu came to the Yankees with a reputation for putting the ball in play and he’s done just that. His timing might be a bit off, as he’s got a bit more soft contact in his most recent sample as well as about 5% more ground balls. He’ll be back to normal if he keeps putting the bat on the ball.

Looking Ahead

The Yankees get a huge part of their lineup back Wednesday, as Gary Sánchez will return after missing 11 games with a left calf strain. He played one rehab game with Low-A Charleston, going 0-for-3 with two passed balls (albeit with a pitcher he’d never worked with before).

CC Sabathia will make his third start of the season Wednesday. He’s yet to allow an earned run, and opposing hitters are hitting just .121 off him in his 10 innings of work.

The Angels will counter with Félix Peña, who was used as a pinch-runner in Monday night’s 14-inning game after Zack Cozart got hurt. Peña carries an 0-1 record and 4.15 ERA through four starts to begin the season. But, he’s also got a 6.23 FIP and 2.1 HR/9 so watch for the Yankees to go on a power surge.

Lastly, look for any signs of Clint Frazier‘s ankle improving after taking last night completely off. He rolled it sliding back into second base awkwardly on a pickoff attempt Monday. I would imagine he’s doing anything in his power to have Aaron Boone include him in tonight’s lineup.