Chris Paddack’s reputation preceded him, and the Yankees couldn’t wait to take their crack at it.
Whether it was the microscopic 1.93 ERA in his first month and a half in the major leagues, or saying he was “coming for” Pete Alonso in the fight for NL Rookie of the Year, the Padres righty already has proven himself a star attraction with the outsized personality to match.
“I think the guys were excited coming in today, an opportunity to face this guy that’s kind of taken the league by storm,” Aaron Boone said. “He is and is going to be a great pitcher, so I think they were excited. I think they had a really good game plan. I think all the guys really had an idea of how they wanted to attack today and right out of the chute.”
Paddack might like the bright lights, but the bright lights of New York didn’t like him back during Wednesday’s matinee. He allowed four runs and six hits (three homers) in five innings in only his second poor start of the year.
The game plan, Luke Voit said, was to jump on him early. Usually, that’s easier said than done, but DJ LeMahieu led off the first with a home run to left and Voit followed with his 14th homer. Gio Urshela tacked on a third solo home run with one out in the second. Prior to this barrage, Paddack allowed only four home runs all year.
“We knew that guy, that Paddack guy, attacks the zone with his fastball, and DJ hit a changeup and I hit a fastball and it kind of kept rolling through that lineup,” Voit said. “We did a good job of making him throw pitches in the zone because I know he’s going to try to get us to chase. But he’s always going to try to get ahead, so we gotta get out in front of him.”
Paddack settled down a bit more after that, though thanks to a sterling performance from James Paxton and the four bullpen arms behind him, those runs were more than enough as the Yankees won, 7-0.
“We got a little bit of a glimpse of how talented a pitcher he is,” Boone said. “But for those guys to execute in a big way against a big pitcher, I think the energy was high very early on in the dugout in a day game after a night game.”
With the Yankees playing as well as they are, facing a pitcher of that caliber for the first time is both a curiosity and a challenge. Yet all of that applies only if you're on the winning end.
“The guy pretty much went from high Double-A to The Show and I’m sure he’s never pitched in New York," Voit said, "and I’m sure he wanted to come out and prove that his first month and a half was something special. For us to get out to that lead and score four or five off him – it’s the big leagues. It’s hard to pitch here. And credit, he’s got good stuff, but we had a good game plan.”
Wednesday’s first inning was the 10th time in Yankees history that they went back-to-back to lead off a game.
Date No. 1 Hitter No. 2 Hitter
April 27, 1955 Hank Bauer Andy Carey
July 30, 1999 Chuck Knoblauch Derek Jeter
April 6, 2003 Alfonso Soriano Nick Johnson
June 28, 2003 Soriano Jeter
Sept. 23, 2005 Jeter Robinson Cano
April 16, 2012 Jeter Curtis Granderson
Sept. 28, 2017 Brett Gardner Aaron Judge
May 26, 2018 Gardner Judge
July 7, 2018 Gardner Judge
May 29, 2019 DJ LeMahieu Luke Voit
SOURCE: YES NETWORK