The Yankees edged the Royals in extras on Sunday (NYY 7, KC 6 in 10 innings) and in doing so moved above the .500 mark for the first since April 7. Central to those efforts was lefty James Paxton, who twirled a gem before the bullpen suffered a core reactor meltdown in the eighth:
Paxton was similarly dominant in his prior start against the Red Sox, and that means he made a bit of franchise history on Sunday:
James Paxton is 1st pitcher in Yankees history with back-to-back games of 12+ K and 0 runs allowed.— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) April 21, 2019
And now for some even more exclusive company:
As is often the case, Paxton showed increased velocity later in the game. As for that recent dominance, it's at least in part owing some recent mechanical tweaks:
James Paxton said he noticed while watching video between starts that he needed to drive down the mound more authoritatively, which he credits for letting his fastball fly at 97+ all night.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) April 17, 2019
That adjustment was made prior to his start against Boston, and he sustained those gains on Sunday in the Bronx (his last fastball of the day registered 97 mph). If Paxton's able to keep this or something like it going, then he's going to continue being the rotation stabilizer the Yankees need as Luis Severino continues to recover from shoulder and lat problems.
Severino is of course one of 13 Yankees presently on the disabled list, and getting elite performances from the few healthy core contributors left standing is vital right now. On Sunday, Paxton certainly did his part.