- Tim Kabel
About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Red Sox 2-0 in Six Innings
By Tim Kabel
September 26, 2022
The Yankees are going to the playoffs and have practically locked up first place in the division. They will get a bye in the first round of the playoffs and will begin play in the divisional series. They will not be able to catch Houston for the best record in the American League. So, if they meet in the playoffs, Houston will have homefield advantage. At this point, the only real drama that remains in the Yankees' season is Aaron Judge's pursuit of the home run record and the Triple Crown. Other than that, the Yankees will use the remaining ten games of the year to resolve questions regarding the roster for the playoffs and determine the roles for individual players. It is a much better situation than the one the Yankees were in last year, when they had to win on the final day of the season just to make the playoffs. This year, they have 94 wins with 10 games to go.
When I was a kid, I almost always brought my lunch to school in a brown paper bag or a lunch box. I didn't often have the school lunch. When I did, it was a big deal. There were some days you look forward to as a kid, because the lunch would be pizza or something exciting. Unfortunately, on the rare occasions when I had the school lunch, it invariably turned out to be Salisbury steak day. Not that I had anything against Salisbury steak but, it wasn't as exciting as pizza or tacos or any of the other exotic choices they offered. Now, it seems that whenever I'm going to cover a game, both Aaron Hicks and Marwin Gonzalez are in the lineup. It is Salisbury steak day once more. As Yogi Berra said, "it's deja vu all over again."
Miguel Andujar was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hopefully, he goes there and has a lot of success.
Don Mattingly announced that he and the Miami Marlins are parting ways after this season. I hope he gets another job in Major League Baseball.
Nestor Cortes pitched six shutout innings, giving up one hit. He struck out five and walked two.
The Yankees now have a 7-game winning streak and swept this homestand.
The Yankees won the season series against the Red Sox 13-6.
Over his last ten games, Oswaldo Cabrera is 11-34, (.324), with three home runs and nine RBI.
The Yankees' home record this season is 56-22, the best in the American League.
Holy Cow. Yesterday would have been Phil Rizzuto's 105th birthday. It was appropriate the ESPN announcers took a moment to recognize this, since the Scooter often took breaks from the game to wish people a happy birthday.
The Big Story:
The Yankees' magic number to clinch the division is two. All they have to do is win one of the three games in Toronto, and they win the division. The attention of the baseball world, and practically everyone else, is now squarely on the shoulders of Aaron Judge. If the season ended today, he would win the Triple Crown in the American League. He would not set the home run record but, there are still 10 games left. It is amazing that he can hit a double or two doubles in a game and the fans are disappointed. It simply shows you how high he has set the bar regarding expectations. Hitting home runs is very difficult. As Judge said in the post-game press conference, "home runs are thrown, rather than hit." We all need to take a step back and realize that he is putting up one of the best offensive seasons in the history of the sport. It is the best season I have ever seen.
Player of the Game:
Nestor Cortes had another magnificent performance and appeared to be ready for the playoffs. His ERA is 2.56, which is the second lowest through 27 starts in Yankees' history since 1973, behind Ron Guidry's 1.78 in 1978.
Oswald Peraza was 2-3, with a double.
Better to Forget:
The rain, which cost Aaron Judge at least one at-bat.
The last ten games of the season will be very important. They will not be noteworthy as far as clinching the division or making the playoffs. Those issues have been resolved for the most part. The significance of the remaining games is that they will be used to make decisions regarding the playoff roster and the roles of the players. Who will the starting pitchers be? Who will make the bullpen? How many pitchers will the team carry? Which players will be able to come back from injuries, and which ones won't?
At this point, it seems unlikely either Matt Carpenter or Andrew Benintendi will make it back before the end of the regular season. Whether or not they will be ready for the playoffs, and in a position to contribute remains to be seen. Of the two of them, Carpenter seems best suited to the role of a pinch hitter for late game situations. Unless Benintendi is able to play leftfield on a regular basis, he will probably not make the roster. They have other players who could better help the team.
There were rumors floating around today that Aroldis Chapman might be designated for assignment. Even if that doesn't happen, he is unlikely to make the playoff roster and definitely is not in the team's plans for next year or beyond. I would look for Zack Britton to get a few more opportunities over the next ten days to see if he can scrape off the rust and be a contributor in the playoffs.
Frankie Montas could appear in a game before the season ends. It is unlikely he will be able to build up enough stamina to re-enter the starting rotation for the playoffs. However, Aaron Boone suggested Montas might be an opener or serve in a relief role. Most likely, the starting rotation will be Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Luis Severino, and Jameson Taillon, not necessarily in that order. Domingo German is also an option but, would seem to be better suited to a relief role than Taillon.
The starting outfield will most likely be Oswaldo Cabrera in leftfield, Harrison Bader in centerfield, and Aaron Judge in rightfield. It is uncertain if DJ LeMahieu will make it back. If he is not able to drive off his foot when he hits, he may not make the roster. In that case, the Yankees would probably keep Marwin Gonzalez and Oswald Peraza as backups. In addition, Peraza could serve as a pinch-runner late in the game.
It will be interesting to watch the final games of the season and see what decisions are made regarding the composition of the roster and the roles the players will have. That and waiting for Aaron Judge to hit his record-breaking home run will be enough to keep us all busy.
Next Up -
Tonight, the Yankees open a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto at 7:07 PM. Luis Severino (6-3 3.36 ERA) will face Kevin Gausman (12-10 3.32 ERA) for Toronto.