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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

About Last Night: NYY 4, KCR 2

By Ethan Semendinger

June 11th, 2024

***

The Yankees put together the oddest possible line-up last night, and it worked to get them a win! Let's talk about it!

 

Quick Stats -

  • Winning Pitcher: Carlos Rodon (9-2, 2.93 ERA)

  • Losing Pitcher: Seth Lugo (9-2, 2.36 ERA)

  • Save: Michael Tonkin (1)

  • Home Runs (New York): None

  • Home Runs (Kansas City): None

---

Big Story - After a tough series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at home, where the Yankees took just 1 of the 3 games, the Yankees set off to face another tough foe from this year: The Kansas City Royals.


This series is incredibly important for multiple reasons, with the biggest being the status of Juan Soto. After he sat out the entire Dodgers series with forearm inflammation, questions remained about whether or not he'd be out for an extended amount of time.


And, the second reason being that, after years of sitting at the bottom of the AL Central, the Royals have been a legitimate threat this year. Going into last night's game they held a 39-27 record, good to sit comfortably in 2nd place for the AL Wild Card (behind the Baltimore Orioles).


What would've been an easy series in years past is going to be an interesting tale to see how the Yankees respond after some hardship.


This was the line-up for the opening game of the series against the Kansas City Royals (and what a line-up it was):

---

Player(s) of the Game -

  • Carlos Rodon: Win, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB's, 3 K's

Notable Performances -

  • Michael Tonkin: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's

  • Juan Soto: 1-3, Run, 1 BB

  • Alex Verdugo: 2-4, RBI, 1 K

  • DJ LeMahieu: 1-3, Run, RBI, 1 K

  • Jose Trevino: 2-3, 2 RBI's

Better to Forget -

  • Anthony Volpe: 0-5

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The Game - One thing that the Yankees have showcased this year, that they didn't in years past, was their ability and willingness to play small ball. This fact showed itself early in last night's game as a string of 3 singles in a row (Soto, Torres, Verdugo) brought home the Yankees' first run with just one out in the 1st inning. DJ LeMahieu then followed this up with an RBI sacrifice bunt to score Torres, giving the Yankees a quick 2-0 lead.


This small-ball play would continue in the 4th inning, after a DJ LeMahieu single and Trent Grisham HBP, setting up Jahmai Jones to sacrifice bunt over both runners to 2nd and 3rd. A Jose Trevino 2-RBI single following the out gave the Yankees their 4-0 lead (which would end up being enough runs to hold through to the end of the game).


The Yankees bats wouldn't mount another serious threat during the game, though Jose Trevino did sacrifice bunt to get Jahmai Jones to 2nd base early in the 9th inning. It was an interesting game plan from manager Aaron Boone.


We've talked a lot about bunting recently on the blog (especially after Grisham wasn't able to get a proper bunt down on Friday night) and this looked to be a response to all the media talk that surrounded the Yankees following. Sometimes the old school plays work. And, it was on display, and working, for the Yankees last night.


It was also good to see Juan Soto back to the line-up so quickly, even if the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo all sat-out the game. Just having Soto in the line-up makes the team feel different than in years past. It also drives away any narrative that Soto is hurt, which is comforting on many levels.


Meanwhile, on the pitching side of things, Carlos Rodon pitched another great game. He has completely turned around his Yankee status after last season, and this marked his 7th quality start in a row!


Through his first four innings of work, the Royals managed just one baserunner on a HBP (Nick Loftin), and he was quickly off the base-paths from a follow-up inning-ending double play. In the 5th, the Royals strung back-to-back singles off Rodon, but another double-play and a flyout ended the inning without threat.


However, Rodon would get hit for 3 singles in the 7th inning, which did allow the Royals to plate a run and have a small threat, but Rodon was able to escape the inning, ending his night with a great pitching line.


Ian Hamilton was okay, but not great in the 8th, getting hit for a lead-off single and then a 2-out RBI double before finishing his inning of work. But, it wasn't like the Yankees were going to be able to hold off Bobby Witt Jr. from nothing all night.


And, Michael Tonkin came in for the 9th inning save, working quickly to get the Yankees win with two strikeouts at the beginning and end of the inning, around a walk and a flyout.


This wasn't the most exciting game to watch, as no home runs were hit and the strikeouts were kept to a minimum (just a combined 14 from both sides), but it was a good game to have on for a Monday night. (And, all that's only because they won.)


We'll likely see all the regulars back in the line-up tonight, but it is good to know that the Yankees can manage to piece together wins with their back-ups taking over.


Let's go Yankees!

---

Next Up - The Yankees (47-21) will continue the series against the Royals (39-28) with a Tuesday night showing in the City of Fountains. Marcus Stroman (5-2, 3.04 ERA) will look to come back strong after a less-than-stellar last outing, while Brady Singer (4-2, 2.76 ERA) takes the mound for Kansas City. The game will be televised locally on YES, starting at 8:10 PM.





19 Comments


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
2 days ago

In addition to Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Boone, during the entire off-season, I was also defending Carlos Rodon when people said he was a poor signing, and that he "can't play in New York". I knew that last year's poor numbers were a result of missing most of Spring Training which almost always hurts a pitcher, and then the injury that caused him to miss Spring Training, and then the additional injuries he endured while he was recovering from injury. So his poor performances when he finally did come back to pitch in the majors were not surprising to me at all. I knew all along that Rodon is a MUCH BETTER pitcher than that. His two previous seasons…


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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
2 days ago
Replying to

That was the struggling 2023 Carlos Rodon who was responsible for those incidents, not the confident, back to himself, 2024 Carlos Rodon (reminiscent of the 2021 and 2022 versions of himself). The 2024 version, like the 2021 and 2022 versions is having no problem pitching in New York and isn't have incidents like those.

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yankeesblog
2 days ago

I didn't love the sac bunt with one out. It worked out but in general giving up an out to get to two outs is not a great idea, particularly with the bottom of the order coming up. Yes the runners were advanced to second and third but a hit (or WP, PB or balk) was required to score them.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
2 days ago
Replying to

I agree that a sac bunt with one out is a bad play unless we're back in the era when pitchers hit. I can't believe Jones was doing that, but if he was, then I agree it was a bonehead idea.

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fuster
2 days ago

with Judge out of the line-up last night, I naturally assumed that he was undergoing a check-up and a technical adjustment to the new titanium toes

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etbkarate
2 days ago

What we saw last night was Boone managing a game based on the talent on the field. Well done on his part. I'd like to see more of that going forward.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
2 days ago

Maybe it's time at some point this series to give Volpe a day off too. I believe that was one of the mistakes they made last year, with only 1 day off before September 1.


Rodon, got into better physical shape this off-season, lost the stache, and poof! a much better pitcher.


Why call Marianaccio up if you're not going to pitch him? Hamilton continues to be very shaky.


Yankees need a game that they score something like 13 runs.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
2 days ago
Replying to

Who knows how long it took Marinaccio to get to KC from SWB. They may have wanted to put him in in a situation where he's had a day to get acclimated back to the ML team, or a low-leverage situation to break him back in.

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