About Last Night: TOR 3, NYY 5
By Ethan Semendinger
September 21st, 2023
The Yankees team is all about Gerrit Cole and his push for his first Cy Young Award now. And last night may have finalized it.
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (14-4, 2.75 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Jose Berrios (11-11, 3.58 ERA)
Home Runs (Toronto): None
Home Runs (New York): Jake Bauers (12)
Big Story - As the New York Yankees continue to hover around a .500 record to end this season, it has been hard to find something that makes it worthwhile to come in each night, navigate around the 900 different channels/streaming services they may be on, and watch the games. Now, as a dedicated fan who has sunk far too many hours into thought, research, and writing about this team I'm still watching 90% of the games. However, I'm now doing so while focusing most of my brainpower on planning lessons for my middle school classes.
For a short moment in time the Yankees were exciting to watch. They had committed to bringing up the newest group of hot prospects, including bringing up both Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells on the same day. Now, however, Dominguez is hurt (and just had surgery), and the trio of Wells, Everson Pereira, and Oswald Peraza each have batting averages below .200. Unfortunately, none of them hit the ground running like Dominguez did and his injury quickly took the life out of the party.
Instead, the Yankees have few exciting stories to follow for the rest of the season:
- Will Anthony Volpe win a gold glove in his rookie season? (He does have the 7th highest dWAR in the MLB.)
- Will the Yankees be able to hold off and finish above a .500 winning percentage?
- Will Gerrit Cole win his first career Cy Young Award?
Last night was a Cole start. Those games I follow more.
Here was the line-up:
Player(s) of the Game - Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB's, 9 K's, WIN
Notable Performances - A few offensive guys
Jake Bauers: 1-4, Run, Home Run, 3 RBI's, K
Aaron Judge: 2-4, Double, RBI, K
IKF: 2-4, Run
DJ LeMahieu: 1-4, 2 Runs, BB, 2 K's
Estevan Florial: 1-3, RBI, BB
Better to Forget -
Clay Holmes: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), BB
Ben Rortvedt: 0-3, BB
Gleyber Torres: Offense aside, he had 2 bad throws in the bottom of the 9th inning
My Take - It will be the talk of everybody who has an opinion and a place to write, speak, or create video essays will collectively agree: Gerrit Cole is now going to be the American League 2023 Cy Young Award winner.
After the game last night, Gerrit Cole ranks at the following (amongst qualified AL pitchers):
Games Started: 32 - 1st
ERA: 2.75 - 1st
Innings: 200.0 - 1st
WHIP: 1.02 - 1st
Quality Starts: 23 - 1st
Wins: 14 - Tied for 2nd
Winning Percentage: .777 - 2nd
Strikeouts: 217 - 3rd
Walks per 9 Innings: 2.16 - 4th
Strikeout to Walk Rate: 4.52 - 5th
Strikeouts per 9 Innings: 9.77 - 6th
It's a clear and obvious victory to be had at this point. And, with likely only one more start heading his way this season, it will hard for him to really blow it. Arguably, it may even make sense to put Cole on an extremely tight leash for his next start (which will likely be coming against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto next week). After 5 different seasons while finishing in the Top-5 for the Cy Young- with two of those being a runner-up finish- I would play the game extremely cautiously for Cole to guarantee the win.
I understand Gerrit Cole is a gamer and will want to go into his next start planning on going 9 innings, but you'd have to hope that he sees the bigger picture. There is nothing left for this Yankees team to play for, and a bad final start could give the writers an out against voting for him. (And writers don't need to have any more fuel against voting for a Yankee for a major award. Unless a Yankee runs away with it, voters will go against them. See how a Yankee hasn't won a Cy Young since Roger Clemens in 2001.)
Speaking of, which stat line do you prefer for a pitcher:
7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K's
8 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 9 K's
It was obvious that Cole was not 100% in the 8th inning last night. He was tired and he got hit for a lead-off double and threw a wild pitch to score that run. I was saying it the whole time, but I wouldn't have brought him out for the 8th. I'd prefer a near no-hit and scoreless 7 to a 1-run, 8 inning performance. It wasn't worth the risk of the inning falling apart in a bigger way. Cole was searching too much for a perfect pitch and the Blue Jays were starting to come around on the ball.
I love the grit and the guts that Cole shows. I love how he got to 200 innings in his last start at home this year. I love his trying to grab that 10th strikeout. But, it wasn't necessary. Luckily, that 1 run won't affect his case for the Cy Young. His ERA is still comfortably the best in the AL. But, if he got to that 200 inning mark next week in Toronto I honestly wouldn't have minded.
Outside of Cole's performance, the Yankees had some small bits of offense which mostly came from a 1st inning 3-run home run by Jake Bauers.
Oh, and Clay Holmes had another stinker of a performance in the 9th. (Though he was not helped by Gleyber Torres having 2 bad throws.) Not good.
But, the Yankees won and got Cole a victory, so I'm happy.
Next Up - The Yankees start their last homestand with 3 games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Tonight is a 7:05 PM game on YES as Luke Weaver (who?) will face off against Brandon Pfaadt (also, who?). The Diamondbacks have a lot to play for to stay in the NL playoff picture, so these will be interesting games to watch to see if the Yankees can avoid a sweep and falling below .500 again.