The Yankee debut of J.A. Happ was a successful one, as the veteran left gave up one run over six innings in New York’s 6-3 win over the Royals on Sunday. After the game, he admitted the first inning was full of adrenaline.
“There was a lot,” Happ said. “It was kind of weird looking down and seeing the pinstripes one me but I’m happy to get used to it.”
Through five innings, Happ pitched one-hit shutout ball. With two outs in the sixth, and the Yankees already leading 5-0, he challenged Salvador Perez with a 3-2 pitch and Perez homered. That was the one blemish on the day.
He was done after six, having given up one run on three hits, walking one, striking out two, and throwing 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
Aaron Boone said that he is a “J.A. Happ guy.” Today’s performance won’t hurt.
“It’s fun watching him do his thing today and the pace that he works with, it’s get it and go,” Boone said. “He makes quick adjustments, it seems like, on the mound which is not surprising for a veteran that’s been through as much as he has.”
Happ developed a nice rapport with Austin Romine, despite the two only talking yesterday and today since Happ came over.
“I think him making his pitches allowed it to happen a lot quicker,” Romine said.
Happ comes in with a lot of expectations, both as an experienced pitcher with playoff experience and a starter who can help eat up innings. This was only the second time in nine games since the All-Star break that a Yankees starter has completed six innings. Happ also admitted that there is pressure in being a hired gun with the postseason ahead.
“I think I’d be lying if I said no,” Happ said. “I think for sure you’re definitely wanting to have good results. They traded for you, there’s some pressure in that. But it’s fun with these guys playing behind me, too.”
Solid starts like the one on Sunday will help acclimate Happ to the Yankees quickly.
“Just seeing him come in here with the intensity and the focus, but also just really comfortable it seems like already fitting in really well, but you want to see a new player to the team, new situation, go out there and have some success,” Boone said. “And for him to go out and give us a strong outing like he did, I’m sure he feels really good about that and hopefully it just goes a long way and help getting him settled in because he’s going to be important for us.”