About Last Night: Yankees 4, Tigers 3
by Paul Semendinger
September 7, 2023
About Last Night -
The Yankees rode a quality start from Clarke Schmidt and a home run from Jasson Dominguez to a 4-3 victory over the Tigers. The Yankees have, remarkably, won eight of their last nine games. They are now at 70-69 - back over .500.
Quick Stats -
Clarke Schmidt - pitched into the seventh inning (a good sign for 2024, though his innings for 2023 are getting to a concerning level)
Schmidt: 6.1 innings, 3 runs, 0 walks
At one point, Clarke Schmidt retired 16 consecutive batters
Jasson Dominguez hit his 3rd MLB homer (his first at Yankee Stadium)
Aaron Judge: 2-for-4
D.J. LeMahieu: 2-for-4
Big Story -
I don't think anyone saw this coming. The Yankees are ON FIRE. That's great. They have been fun to watch these last few weeks. With the youth has come great energy. It is great to see the team playing well and winning games.
The Yankees are still not in the realistic playoff picture, but, playing meaningful games in September can only help the young players who hopefully will have many important games in their futures.
This has been fun, a lot of fun, but it should not obscure the fact that this wasn't the plan for the 2023 Yankees. The fallback plan is working, but it was the fallback plan. That shouldn't be forgotten. In many ways the youth movement is the fallback's plan fallback plan. This isn't by design. At all.
Player of the Game -
Clarke Schmidt won his ninth game of the year. He has pitched very well this year and seems to have put it all together. At this point he seems a lock to be in the starting rotation for the Yankees heading into 2024. This is what the rest of 2023 needs to be about - finding out who should be the core pieces of the 2024 Yankees. Schmidt should be one of them at this point.
Notable Performances -
Jasson Dominguez had three hits including a home run.
Greg Weissert came in the game with the bases loaded and a one run lead (and two outs) and struck out Matt Vierling.
Clay Homes pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the save.
Better to Forget -
Tigers' pitcher Matt Manning took a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton off his foot. The shot was Stanton's hardest hit ball of the year (119.5 mph). It was the second time this year Manning has been hit by a line drive.
Wandy Peralta didn't have it. In 1.1 innings, he gave up a hit and walked two. He left the game with the bases loaded and the tying run on third base in the top of the eighth inning. Greg Weissert bailed him out by striking out the next batter to preserve the lead.
Giancarlo Stanton, Austin Wells, Oswaldo Cabrera and Anthony Volpe all went hitless.
Kenyan Middleton was placed on the Injured List. He is the latest pitcher acquired by the Yankees, who soon after being acquired, finds himself injured. This is a problem - either with conditioning, the way the pitchers are used, or the types of pitchers that Brian Cashman acquires. Do the Yankees look closely at the medicals? I believe every single pitcher that Brian Cashman has acquired over the last two years (maybe longer) has quickly found himself on the IL. This is a big problem. The winning should not obscure this fact.
My Take -
The toothless Tigers demonstrated that they were the elixir for the struggling Yankees. The Yankees have now won five of the six games they have played against the Tigers and have turned their season around. The playoffs are a long way off, and one cannot read too much into the fact that the Yankees are dominating the Tigers, but, on the other hand, except for the Royals, the other bad teams that the Yankees played in July and August put up a fight and played the Yankees hard. A team has to win the games they play and the Yankees have taken that to heart against the Tigers.
I believe that the Yankees need to make big time changes in their team's structure, starting with the General Manager Brian Cashman and continuing through the front office and down through the manager, Aaron Boone, and his coaches. It is time to start fresh. I am fearful, though, that if the Yankees have a great September that all of those jobs will be saved. Calling up the kids was a last-chance desperation move that might be saving Brian Cashman's and Aaron Boone's jobs. For the future of the team, that's not necessarily good news.
I was never the biggest Harrison Bader fan and I never liked the way he danced after flyballs. I sometimes felt that the Yankees had Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly out in centerfield. Jasson Dominguez, Bader's replacement, just goes after the ball and catches it. There's no need to pirouette - and he doesn't. Last night, Dominguez made a catch on a flyball hit to deep center. He went back, waited, and made a basket-like catch. It seemed effortless. Simple, easy, and well done. Bader seemed to want to show off his athleticism at every moment. "Look what I can do. Look how fundamentally sound I am." Dominguez is simply playing baseball.
I wonder of the Yankees are going to sign Dominguez and Volpe to team friendly long term deals like some of the smarter teams (Atlanta Braves) have done. Should the Yankees lock them up for the next ten years at a team friendly rate now? Would they each sign a ten-year, $100m contract?
By the way, I hope the Yankees come up with a better nickname for the kids than "The Youts," stealing the phrase from the movie My Cousin Vinny. I don't like it at all. It's not even like it's a phrase that is trendy or anything like that. That movie came out in 1992. Yes, 1992 was the same year that Aaron Judge was born. It's just not funny. It doesn't work. Sometimes when one tries too hard to make something catchy and hip, it falls flat. For me "youts" doesn't work at all. (And, for the record, I actually think My Cousin Vinny is a terrific movie. Let's just do a better job coming up with a way to describe the young kids now playing in the Bronx.)
I love that Jasson Dominguez is blasting home runs all over the place. Unfortunately, when he hits them, he's matching records that were set by players like Shelly Duncan, Shane Spencer, and Kevin Maas. I love what he's doing, but none of those players had quite the career we're all hoping Dominguez has.
Next Up - The Yankees play the Tigers one last time at 7:05 tonight. Carlos Rodon will take the mound for the Yankees.