About Last Night: The Yankees Edged the Red Sox 5-4
By Tim Kabel
September 24, 2022
The Yankees have already clinched a playoff spot. They have a 92-58 record and an 8.5 game lead over Toronto and Tampa Bay. Their lead in the division seems fairly secure. The real drama of last night's game, and probably every game for the rest of the season surrounded Aaron Judge. Would he tie or break Roger Maris' American League home run record of 61? Would he improve his batting average and increase his chances of winning a triple crown?
Well, in the third inning, Aaron hit a home run. It was a truly exciting moment. Oh, wait a minute, it wasn't that Aaron. It was Hicks, not Judge. Never mind.
Well, that's all right, in the sixth inning, number 99 connected and hit a three-run home run. That was a truly exciting moment in the game. Oh, it wasn't Aaron Judge, it was Alex Verdugo of the Red Sox. That wasn't very exciting after all.
Teams have their own announcers for a reason. They travel with the team. They know the team. Even more important perhaps, they form a bond with the fans. Not every fan loves every announcer. However, even if a specific announcer is not your favorite, you can generally tolerate him or her. When the team or an individual player is doing something tremendous, noteworthy, or historic, most fans want to hear about it from announcers who have been there all season.
I'm not sure who made the dubious decision to have a game in which Aaron Judge could have hit his 61st home run of the season, broadcast on Apple TV. The result was a game called by an annoying band of hipsters, who knew very little about the Yankees and tried to out-cute each other throughout the evening. It was like being trapped in a Starbucks during a convention of over-caffeinated millennials.
Among the gems they shared with us was the fact that Aaron Judge couldn't lose ground to Xander Bogaerts in the batting race because Bogaerts wasn't playing. The fact that if Judge didn't hit, his average would drop had not occurred to the announcer. Later, one of the announcers lamented that Aaron Judge wouldn't get to bat in extra innings. It would have been the bottom of the ninth if he had to come up. Suzyn Waldman would have required a therapeutic hold if she heard those comments. I wanted to hear Michael Kay call Judge’s home run if he hit one. As an emergency measure to combat the yuppie fest, I was even prepared to flip my radio on so I could hear the home run called by John Sterling, after Suzyn told him what happened.
My friend Roger lost his dog, Eli this week. As a tribute to Eli and Roger, I offer a quote by the late Tommy Lasorda. In referring to Darryl Strawberry, Lasorda said, “He’s not a dog; a dog is loyal and runs after balls.” That describes Eli perfectly.
Gerrit Cole gave up two home runs last night, giving him 31 for the season, which is the second most.in the major leagues. It is also tied for the most Cole has surrendered in a season.
The Yankees now have a five-game winning streak.
The Yankees and the Red Sox have played 10 one-run games this season. The Yankees have won six of them.
Over his last twelve games, Gleyber Torres is hitting .373 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI.
Aaron Boone has been ejected 9 times this season. Bobby Cox holds the record with 11. They seem to have a lot in common; both Boone and Cox played third base for the Yankees. Of course, Cox did win a World Series and is in the Hall of Fame as a manager.
Yesterday was Joba Chamberlain’s 37th birthday. He flew across the Yankees’ horizon like a comet. As John Greenleaf Whittier wrote: For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’
The Big Story:
The Yankees are starting to fire on all cylinders again. They are not the juggernaut they were in the first half of the season but, they are also not as dreadful as they were for most of the second half. If they are peaking, or at least returning close to the peak, they are doing it at the right time. They need to ride this wave right into the postseason. If they do, there is no telling how far they can go.
Player of the Game:
Aaron Hicks had two hits, including his 100th career home run. Clear a spot in Monument Park.
Ron Marinaccio and Jonathan Loaisiga were solid in relief.
Better to Forget:
Gerrit Cole was ordinary again.
My Take -
Gerrit Cole is the nominal ace of the Yankees. It has already been declared that he will pitch the first game of whatever playoff series the Yankees are in. He should. He clearly has the most talent of any of the Yankees’ pitchers. That is, until something goes wrong. Whether it's Billy Crystal taking too long to throw the first pitch on Opening Day, or a bad call from an umpire, or an error. It could be almost anything, and he becomes Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies. Whenever Inspector Clouseau would say or do something absolutely ridiculous, Inspector Dreyfus would start having eye twitches and lose control. That is essentially what happens to Gerrit Cole when the least little thing goes wrong. He will be flying along in the game, pitching beautifully. Then, the umpire will make a bad call, or an infielder will drop the ball. Cole will walk the next batter and then give up a three-run home run. It has happened more times than not this season.
Cole has tremendous ability. He has pitched many gems as a Yankee, and before coming to the team. He is capable of dominating a game. But if he cannot overcome his propensity to act like a hothouse orchid, it will hurt him and the Yankees in the playoffs. When you're watching the game, you can tell by his body language when he's about to crumble. The shoulders will droop, and he will shake his head. He will just be visibly upset. In a baseball game, just as in life, things don't always go your way. We are all beset by troubles. Errors happen, mistakes are made, umpires make bad calls. A sudden storm can come, delaying the game. You never know what it could be. The key to being successful is learning to adjust. If Cole is able to do that for the rest of the season and into the playoffs, the Yankees could go all the way. If he is not, it will be very difficult to win the World Series. Acting like Chief Inspector Dreyfus when Inspector Clouseau said “minkee” or “rheume” was funny in a movie but, not so much on the pitcher's mound.
Today, the Yankees play the third game of a four-game series against the Red Sox at home at 1:05 PM. Domingo German (2-3 3.12 ERA) will face Nick Pivetta (10-11 4.35 ERA) for Boston.