About Last Night: Yankees 5 - Red Sox 3
by Cary Greene
September 15, 2022
● Winning Pitcher: Nestor Cortes (10-4, 2.70) 5.0 IP/ 3H, 1R, 1ER / 7K, 2BB / 65-44 PC-ST (68% Strikes)
● Losing Pitcher: Brayan Bello (1-6, 5.10) 5.0 IP/ 6H, 3R, 0ER / 6K, 1BB / 98-59 PC-ST (60% Strikes)
● The 2022 Yankees Defense is now over 140 Defensive Runs Saved better than it was in 2021 - an amazing stat!
○ Aaron Judge’s fWAR is 9.7. Nuff Said! He’s a true superstar by any measure. Pay the man Cashman!!
○ Nestor Cortes, is 4-3 with a 3.72 ERA (75.0 IP, 31 ER) over his last 14 starts (since 6/8) after going 5-1 with a 1.50 ERA (60.0IP, 10ER) over his first 10 starts to begin the season. He was on a pitch-limit last night and certainly seems to be lining up to be a nightmare matchup for potential Yankees postseason opponents.
○ The Yankees. Though they’ve recorded a Major League-leading 221 home runs this season…their 221HR are their third-most HR through 141 team games in franchise history - yet their winning percentage isn’t nearly as impressive. Selling out for a home run or bust doesn’t actually correlate to winning. The power or bust approach “isn’t hot” because in one game the Yankees hit a few dingers, but in the next they don’t. Last night, the Yankees used a number of creative tactics other than the long ball to score enough wins to back what was very solid pitching.
The Big Stories - The Yankees are back to winning. They have had a great week and are seemingly getting primed for the post season.
Many baseball fans have been keeping track of how top prospects are translating to “The Show” and for Boston fans, Brayan Bello, a legit “Tier-2” rookie is really looking like the real deal. While his ERA is 5.10, he seems to have multiple pitches he can throw in any count and a very difficult to pick up delivery. He handcuffed Yankees batters over his 5-inning start but three unearned runs put him in a hole as Yankee lefty Nasty Nestor Cortes was as wily and masterful as any pitcher could hope to be.
Cortes was full of deceptive wind ups and with his uncanny in-the-count pitch mix and ability to locate, he kept the Red Sox offense mostly in check, limiting the Red Sox to one lone run.
Meanwhile, the Yankees scored three unearned runs in the top of the 5th-inning in a way I haven’t seen since watching a little league game in the 80’s when Valley Pharmacy did the exact same thing to Howland Brothers! Check this highlight out, it was absolutely nuts. Gleyber Torres hit what amounts to a little-league home run. Words cannot explain the play!
From there it was a signature “June” win in September. The Yankees scored exactly 5-runs and their pitching made those runs stand up - for that’s how the 2022 Yankees like to operate.
Player of the Game - All-Star starter Nestor Cortes Jr was very sharp and he clearly gets the nod for Player of Game.
● Gleyber Torres was 3-4 with an RBI and had a “very” dirty uniform as he was a throwback-to-little-league player last night. He also made a fine defensive play early in the game.
● Oswaldo Cabrera continues to impress defensively, his superman impersonation in the bottom of the second inning last night was pretty amazing.
Better to Forget
● Marwin Gonzalez is not a first baseman. Wherefore art thou Rizzo? “Gonzo” was 0-3 at the dish and wasn’t good in the field either.
My Take - Through April, May and June, the Yankees played at a staggering .727 clip (56-21), placing themselves in conversations regarding some of the greatest Yankees teams ever. But of course, injuries took the bite out of the Yankees in all areas and the subsequent July thru August winning percentage was .446 (25-31). This understandable collapse left many Yankees fans scratching their heads, wondering how it could even be possible that the Yankees could go from being one of the franchise’s best all-time teams to one with a winning percentage that two-games ago was worse than the most awful team in Yankees history, which would be the 1966 Yankees who finished a distant 26.5 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles, posting a .440 winning percentage (70-89).
The collapse the Yankees seemed to be fully immersed in is now mercifully being buoyed by playing the weakest schedule down the stretch in the Division. According to Tankathon, the Yankees opponents over the remaining 19 games have a dismal .491 combined winning percentage. If that doesn’t help get the Yankees looking and playing better, nothing will!
Many Yankees fans were hoping the team’s two-month slump wouldn’t eclipse the ‘78 Red Sox implosion and they also hoped the Yankees would decide not to beat the ‘64 Phillies collapse which is the epic collapse by which all other cave-ins are measured. In 1966, the Phillies led by 6 ½ games with 12 to go, but they proceeded to lose 10 straight - a feat which is forever referred to as, “the phold!”. Then Phillies manager Gene Mauch took the brunt of fan dissatisfaction in much the same fashion as Aaron Boone has been taking Yankees fans' continued criticism.
That said, Yankees relievers have posted a 1.41 ERA (38.1IP, 6ER) in their last nine-games. If the Bullpen gets back to “June Yankees Bullpen,” I dare say that I do feel rather optimistic, even if the offensive roster is still dotted by fringe major leaguers.
Next Up - The Yankees play game three of their five-game road-trip, heading out to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers in a three-game set. Brewers righty Adrian Houser (6-9) 4.61 ERA, 65K) will take the hill against newly acquired Yankees righty Frankie Montas, who will make his 27th start of the season and eighth with the Yankees.
Montas will be pitching on extended six days' rest due to team off days on Monday and Thursday, having last pitched on September 9th against Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium, recording his 12th loss of the season after allowing 4 earned-runs over 5.2 innings. His 9-hits-allowed were his second-most allowed in a game this season and his 4BB matched a season high. Is Montas an upgrade from Jordan Montgomery at this point? (Rhetorical Question there to end today’s recap! Monty is 5-1 since being dealt to the Cardinals, with a 2.05 ERA and a 2.45 FIP.)