About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Astros 6-2
About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Astros 6-2
By Tim Kabel
September 2, 2023
The Yankees opened a three-game series against the Astros in Houston last night with a victory. That was not the most important aspect of the game. The Yankees continued their youth movement by unveiling Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells in their Major League debuts. They each had a hit in their first at bats, but Dominguez’s was much more impressive, as he hit an opposite-field home run. At this stage of the 2023 season, whether the Yankees win games is less important than how their young players do. This season has now become a petri dish in which the Yankees will experiment with their young players to see what they have.
It is way too early to make definitive statements about any of the young players other than Anthony Volpe. He has played in every game except one this season and has proven himself to be capable of playing shortstop for the Yankees long into the future.
This was an exciting game and Dominguez and Wells certainly brought a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and ability to the party. Although it was only one game, I think it's safe to say that Jasson Dominguez has replaced Ray Walston as My Favorite Martian.
Quick Stats -
The last time the Yankees had four players 23 years old or younger in their starting lineup was September of 1969.
Jasson Dominguez became the youngest Yankee to hit a home run in his first Major League game. He is also the youngest Yankee to hit a home run since Bobby Murcer.
As we all know, last night was the Major League debut for both Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells. It was the 504th career start in the Majors for Justin Verlander.
Before Jasson Dominguez did it, the last Yankees to hit home runs in their first Major League at-bat were Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin in the same game in 2016.
Gleyber Torres was scratched from the starting lineup due to lower back stiffness. Instead of continuing the youth movement by playing Oswaldo Cabrera, Aaron Boone put Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the lineup. Why? As Yul Brynner said in The King and I, “is a puzzlement".
When Aaron Judge was 20 years old, he was in college. At the age of 20, Jasson Dominguez hit a home run off Justin Verlander, who is 40 years old.
Aaron Judge hit his 30th home run of the season and became the fastest player to reach 250 career home runs, accomplishing it in 810 games.
On September 1st, 1931, Lou Gehrig hit his third grand slam in 5 days and his sixth home run in consecutive games in a 5-1 win over the Red Sox in the second game of a doubleheader.
The Big Story -
The Yankees will not make the playoffs this season. It will be a struggle for them to finish the season at .500. Yet, the month of September can be very important for this team.They can see if they have the core of a potential championship team. By giving their young players a lot of exposure at the Major League level, the Yankees can get an idea of what they have. They can determine if they need to acquire players through trades or free agency, or if they have enough components in their own system. You can't tell anything after one game. But this was an exciting game. It was well played. They had four home runs. Carlos Rodon pitched well. This was the type of game that can make Yankees’ fans excited and optimistic. That is more than we expected as August was coming to a close.
Players of the Day -
Jasson Dominguez hit his first Major League home run in his first at bat and swung the bat well the rest of the night. Aaron Judge hit his 30th home run of the season and 250th of his career. Both players hit their home runs off Justin Verlander.
Notable Performances -
DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton added home runs in the game.
Better to Forget-
That the Yankees waited until September 1st to look this exciting.
My Take -
Last night's game was exciting and impressive. That doesn't mean it's going to be sunshine and roses all the way until the end of the season. The young players will probably have ups and downs as they develop. They are rookies, and this is the Major Leagues.
We as fans have to be patient because these are kids. They will make mistakes. They will struggle. They will have periods of adjustment. I remember at the end of 2016 and into the offseason, there were numerous callers to WFAN who said that Aaron Judge would be nothing more than a backup outfielder or possibly a platoon player. In 2017, he was Rookie of the Year and certainly could have been the MVP.
I'm not predicting that for any of the current group of young players but, they still need a chance. Too often, reporters, commentators, and fans will say that a certain player is lacking in some area. I have actually heard and read commentaries about players saying that they were struggling after their first three at-bats. That is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard. It takes time for young players to develop. This season, we have time. We are not going anywhere, and neither are the Yankees. Let's relax and enjoy the ride.
Anthony Volpe has struggled this season but, he is one of only fifteen Major League rookies to have 20 stolen bases and 20 home runs in his rookie year. It is fair to say that he should only improve.
If Jason Dominguez goes hitless in his next ten at-bats, it does not mean that he should be packed off to the low minor leagues. It just means that he's adjusting. Let’s sit back and watch these kids play and enjoy it. Even when they frustrate us, we should take that with a grain of salt and be patient.
Next Up -
Tonight, the Yankees will play the second game of a three-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park at 7:10 PM. Luis Severino (4-8 6.64 ERA) will face Houston’s Hunter Brown (10-9 4.47 ERA).