About Last Night: Big Aaron, Big Win, Go Yankees!
by Paul Semendinger
September 14, 2022
Getting closer to 61.
Judge. Aaron Judge.
Not one, but two.
There's only room for one at the top.
About Last Night:
The Yankees won a back-and-forth game against the (last place) Red Sox last night - a game that was as enjoyable as hopeful. It wasn't easy, but the end result leaves this fan (at least) feeling (hoping?) that the Yankees are (getting) back to where they once belonged.
The back-and-forth drama went as follows:
Bottom of the 2nd - Red Sox up 2-0
Top of the 3rd - Yankees tie it at 2-2
Bottom of the 3rd - Red Sox up 3-2
Top of the 6th - Yankees tie it at 3-3
Bottom of the 6th - Red Sox up 4-3
Top of the 8th - Yankees tie it at 4-4
Top of the 10th - Yankees go up 7-4
Bottom of the 10th - Red Sox lose 7-6
Aaron Judge hit two game-tying homers. These were his 56th and 57th home runs of the year. What more is there to say?
Gleyber Torres had a HUGE three-run double in the top of the 10th.
Marwin Gonzalez hit a homer.
The Yankees scored seven runs, but they had only eight hits. Judge has been carrying this team for a long time.
Gerrit Cole continues to struggle in big games. He gave up a homer in the second to put the Yankees down 2-0. The Yankees tied the game and he immediately gave up another homer in the third inning. After the Yankees tied the game again, he immediately gave up another home run to put the Yankees down again. We have seen this a lot. Too often. Is Gerrit Cole a pitcher the Yankees can count on to win a big name in the post season? I do not believe so.
The Yankees are starting to play much better baseball of late. They are 7-2 over their last nine games after suffering from a horrible, miserable, terrible, depressing (I'm running out of adjectives) period where they looked lethargic and played out. To bounce back and go 7-2 is impressive.
As the Yankees have had this resurgence, the Tampa Bay Rays have gone just 1-4 over their last five games. For the Rays, this will be seen as the turning point. They had come virtually all the way back. On Friday night, they defeated the Yankees to go back just two games in the loss column with two more head-to-head games to play against the Yankees. The Rays then lost those games. The goal was just about in their hands and they squandered it. They had their opportunity. Their knees grew weak. Their arms got too heavy... When the crowd got loud... they let it slip. The Toronto Blue Jays are now in second place. They are six games out. (They Rays are in third 6.5 games out.) There are only 20 games left in the season. It seems all but assured (but I shouldn't speak too soon) that the Yankees have (just about) wrapped up the American League East.
I have written a lot, a ton, about Aaron Judge and his status for next year. I have a new thought on that, along similar lines to what I have said in the past, but I'm going to hold that thought right now because I want to take some time and enjoy his magical season. (A teaser... What do Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Mark Teixeira - and a few others all have in common?) Aaron Judge now has 57 home runs. I've never seen a Yankee do that. Judge has 123 runs batted in. Holy Cow! We have written about the fact that a TRIPLE CROWN isn't out of the question. Right now it's time to enjoy the magic we're seeing. All Rise! This has been an amazing season for Aaron Judge who has, for periods, for long periods, carried this team.
I do have to wonder, why the Red Sox even pitched to Aaron Judge last night. There is the sense that as a part of sportsmanship, you have to, but in a close game, at this point, I'd never pitch to Judge. In the Top of the 10th inning, IKF was the ghost runner (a rule I still hate) to begin the inning. Aaron Hicks came up to pinch hit and drew a walk. (Quick aside - the announcers praised Hicks for such a great at bat... it wasn't that great, let's be honest. The four balls out of the strike zone weren't even close. If he didn't walk, it would have been a horrible at bat. Please, announcers, save the praise for times when it is deserved. Yes, Hicks got on. That was great, but it wasn't as amazing as some made it sound.) Marwin Gonzalez then came up. Aaron Judge was on deck. I started to wonder what the Red Sox would do if Gonzalez reached base to load the bases with no outs and Aaron Judge up. In some regards, the best strategy there would have been to walk Judge. It would have been an amazing moment. I wanted to see how that would play out. Alas! Gonzalez bounced into a double play,
The Yankees and the Red Sox conclude this short two-game series tonight in Fenway. Frankie Montas pitches for the Yankees. The Yankees are then off on Thursday before heading to Milwaukee to play the Brewers beginning on Friday.
To Be Fair:
I always work diligently to be fair in all my writing and critique and analysis of the Yankees... Jordan Montgomery didn't pitch so well last night for the Cardinals (he gave up six runs, four earned, in five innings against the Brewers).