About Last Night: Make It 3!
by Paul Semendinger
August 31, 2023
About Last Night:
Last night, the Yankees did something that they have not done in over a month (since July 21-23), they won their third game in a row.
Gerrit Cole: 6 ip, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts
Gerrit Cole is now 12-4, 2.95 on the season
Ian Hamilton earned his second save of the season
Gleyber Torres hit his 23rd homer
Giancarlo Stanton hit his 20th homer
Gleyber Torres has hit .340 in August
I see two big stories from last night's game, and one little story.
I'll begin with the little story - The Yankees won their third game in a row. Big deal. The Tigers are a shell of a big league team. They are not very good and defeating them isn't all that special. BUT, that being said, teams have to win the games that are scheduled and the Yankees are doing just that against the Tigers. Wins are wins.
The first big story is Gleyber Torres. He is having a tremendous second half. His .340 batting average in August is very special, especially coming amid all the losing that took place this month. Torres is showing the type of hitter he can be. A free agent after next season, Gleyber Torres is making a strong case for the Yankees to offer him an extension at the end of this season.
I often like to think about "what might have been." Imagine if Torres had been traded a month ago and then took off. The narrative would be that he left New York and found himself. Instead, he stayed in New York and has had a great month. It will be interesting to see how his September turns out and how the Yankees respond to that. Torres could still be part of the next (hopefully great) Yankees era.
The other big story is Gerrit Cole who also has risen above all the losing and has put together a tremendous season. In the 2023 American League, Cole is:
1st in Quality Starts (20)
2nd in ERA (2.95)
3rd in Innings Pitched (174)
1st in WAR (5.3)
Right now, he has to be considered the favorite for the Cy Young Award.
Players of the Game:
Gleyber Torres and Gerrit Cole. (See above)
Giancarlo Stanton reached 20 homers for the 12th time in his career. He now has 398 lifetime home runs.
Wins are wins are wins. My worry, and it's a real concern, is that a great last few weeks of the season could convince the Yankees decision makers that the season wasn't a total failure. These are hollow victories in many ways and they should not be seen as anything more than that. Big changes are needed for the Yankees to get back on track. Winning games when the team is out of it doesn't mean anything much positive. I hope the Yankees can be honest with themselves as an organization as they assess and plan for next year.
That being said, there are indications that the Yankees are looking beyond this year - and that's a good thing. They moved on from Josh Donaldson. By the end of today, Harrison Bader will most likely be in a different uniform...
And Jasson Dominguez should be playing for the big club. The future might be here.
I could complain and say that the Yankees shouldn't be rushing Dominguez and that Bader had value and should have been traded before the trade deadline, but, rather than going down that road today, I'll focus on the fact that the Yankees are doing what many of us hoped for - they are going to give the kids an extended look and that can only help in their planning for next year. If Dominguez and Everson Pereira (and others) show they belong in the Major Leagues, the Yankees could have a very solid core heading into next year. The framework could be in place for next year already. If that's the case, that would be amazing.
Also, it is always much (much) more fun watching young players with energy and enthusiasm than tired old veterans who are (way) past their primes. It should be an interesting (and hopefully exciting) September.
The Yankees close out this series against the Tigers at 1:10 this afternoon. Clarke Schmidt takes the mound for the Yankees (another of the young players who is showing that he can be a big part of the next generation Yankees).