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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

About Last Night: NYY 4, DET 2

By Ethan Semendinger

August 30th, 2023

***

That's 2 wins in a row with the Yankees showing home run pop in a stadium not known to produce much power.

 

Quick Stats -

  • Winning Pitcher: Jhony Brito (5-6, 5.12 ERA)

  • Losing Pitcher: Tarik Skubal (3-3, 3.91 ERA)

  • Save: N/A

  • Home Runs (New York): Gleyber Torres (22), Kyle Higashioka (10), Anthony Volpe (19)

  • Home Runs (Chicago): None

---


Big Story - The Yankees have been trying something new, and they've been trying out the kids. Since Everson Pereira's and Oswald Peraza's call ups on August 22nd, Pereira has played in all 8 games and Peraza has played in 7.


It has been a proper time to try out the kids too. Though I- like many others- did not enjoy the service time manipulation that delayed Periera's MLB debut, the way the scheduled worked out, this may have actually been the best time to call him up. (And for Peraza to cement his role as well.)


Starting with the Washington Nationals series (8/22 to 8/24), the Yankees then played the Tampa Bay Rays (8/25 to 8/27), and now the Detroit Tigers (8/28 to 8/31).


Following this series, the Yankees will play the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers (again), Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays through his first month in the MLB. Periera gets to start his major league career while bouncing between high caliber and low caliber teams.


Maybe it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but I'd like to believe that this first month will serve as a crash course for Everson Pereira to see the differences in talent across the league while also getting to display his own against weaker opponents and learn to hone his craft against tougher teams.


It's also becoming more clear that future kids may be on the way. (As was the growing hope.)


Austin Wells could be a name to see making it to the MLB on September 1st when the rosters expand from a 26-Man roster to a 28-Man roster. Along with him, there are a bunch of other names to consider going forward who are also in Triple-A between some guys with notable MLB experience (Ron Marinaccio, Greg Weissert, Nick Ramirez) and other guys who have already made a debut (Matt Krook, Estevan Florial), and those who have yet to do so (Jasson Dominguez, Andres Chaparro).


And, along with an extra 2 roster spots incoming, the Yankees have already cleared one spot on the 40-Man roster with the release of Josh Donaldson yesterday afternoon (read our breaking news post about it, here) and another for both the 40-Man and 28-Man could be coming soon with the news yesterday evening about Harrison Bader being placed on waivers.


With up to 4 new names coming to the Bronx soon, I'm getting 2016 Yankees feelings again which is exciting.


Until then, here was the Yankees line-up last night:

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Player(s) of the Game - Home Runs are Nice; The Pitching Was Better

  • Michael King: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB's, 5 K's

  • Jhony Brito: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB's, 3 K's

Notable Performances - The Home Run Hitters (+ Pereira)

  • Gleyber Torres: 2-2, Home Run, Run, RBI, BB

  • Kyle Higashioka: 1-4, Home Run, Run, RBI, 2 K's

  • Anthony Volpe: 1-4, Home Run, Run, RBI, 3 K's

  • Everson Pereira: 0-2, 2 BB's, 2 K's

Better to Forget -

  • DJ LeMahieu: 0-4, 2 K's

  • Oswald Peraza: 0-3

  • Harrison Bader: 0-4, Error

---

My Take - As much as I enjoy watching the Yankees win- and as frustrated with the team as I may get, I never will not enjoy a win- it goes without saying that some wins are more exciting than others. Sometimes those exciting wins can be on bad teams, where the future of the team is showing signs of promise. Sometimes those less exciting wins can also be from bad teams, beating other bad times, by way of bad baseball (4 runs on 3 solo home runs and a passed ball). Regardless, a win is a win...which moved the Yankees up to a 64-68 record.


The pitching last night was also very good and the tandem of Jhony Brito and Michael King has been very interesting to watch develop. Could either of Michael King or Jhony Brito become a solid or foundational future rotation piece? I'd argue against it currently, but given the state of affairs, I'm not against trying something new and trying to revive King to the role as a starter that he used to have. I think this will also go to help Brito (much like how I talked about Pereira) acclimate well into the big leagues.


The Yankees offense came mostly off three solo home runs from Gleyber Torres, Kyle Higashioka, and Anthony Volpe. Another came in the 6th by way of a passed ball scoring Aaron Judge with the bases loaded and 1 out, but the Yankees were unable to do more damage after that. With 6 total hits and 3 walks in the game, that's about all the action.


But this feels too short to be a proper game recap, so I'm going to call an audible (now that the NFL season is right around the corner) and take a little time to discuss one of the home run hitters from tonight: Kyle Higashioka.


Higgy.


On the season, Higgy is now hitting .228/.268/.409/.677 with 49 Hits, 10 Home Runs, and 33 RBI's over 84 games. (He also had an 80 OPS+ going into the game.) Interestingly, these numbers are actually better than his career norm which comes out to a .207/.251/.389/.640 quadruple slash with a 74 OPS+. His bWAR this year is a -0.6 and his career bWAR is now +0.5, and this is largely due to Higashioka grading as a negative defender for the first time in his career.


I'm a huge fan of Kyle Higashioka. He fits the mold for me as a player to root for as an underdog story. He's the longest tenured player in the Yankees organization (he was drafted in 2008; for what its worth, Aaron Judge was drafted in 2013), and he had to slowly claw his way into the MLB. He started out his career on a long hitless streak and broke it with a home run, on ESPN, against David Price. He's also hit the slowest pitch for a home run in known MLB history as well.


I'm also worried that he might not be a Yankee for much longer. Ben Rortvedt has a bigger offensive promise, is a left-handed hitter, will be just 26-years old (to Higgy's 34). Though he has a small worry about his injury history. Jose Trevino is a top glove in the game and will not be moved on from. In free agency there are also other players like Yan Gomes, Mitch Garver, and Tom Murphy who could become the hitting balance to Trevino.


If and when the day comes that Kyle Higashioka's Yankee tenure ends, it will truly be the end of an era as the last player to be in the system when the Yankees won their last World Series.


---

Next Up - The Yankees play game 3 of 4 against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit tomorrow with a game time of 6:40 EDT. Gerrit Cole (11-4, 2.95 ERA) will take the mound to continue supporting his case for his first Cy Young award win, and the Tigers starting pitching decision has yet to be made. If the Yankees win tonight, it will be their first series win since their 3-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals from July 21st to 23rd.



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