About Last Night: Yankees 7, White Sox 1
About Last Night: Yankees 7, White Sox 1
By Derek McAdam
August 9, 2023
The New York Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox last night by a score of 7-1, improving to 59-55 on the season, and forcing a rubber game that will take place tonight.
Quick Stats: W: Clarke Schmidt (8-6): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
L: Touki Toussaint (1-5): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 9 K
Harrison Bader: 3-for-5, 2 R, RBI
Kyle Higashioka’s pinch hit home run in the 8th was the first pinch hit home run of the season for the Yankees and the first since June 19, 2022.
Big Story: The Yankees were coming off a couple of frustrating games in which they stranded a combined 31 runners between the two games. After a slow start to the game, Isiah Kiner-Falefa knocked in two runs in the 4th with a double to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Bader then came up and delivered an RBI single to drive in Kiner-Falefa and give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Just a short while later, with the bases loaded, Jake Bauers hit a sacrifice fly that went nearly 400 feet to straightaway center field to drive in Bader and give the Yankees a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the White Sox scored their only run of the night on a solo home run from Luis Robert Jr, his 31st home run of the season.
Once again, Clarke Schmidt gave the Yankees another solid start on the mound. While longevity is his biggest weakness, he has arguably become the second most-reliable pitcher in the rotation, behind Gerrit Cole. He has been able to keep the Yankees in games, especially when the scores are close.
In the 8th, Higashioka came on as pinch hitter for Ben Rortvedt and delivered a two-run home run to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead. Just a couple of batters later, Aaron Judge hit his 21st home run of the season to give the Yankees a 7-1 lead, which would ultimately be the final score.
Michael King would come in and get eight outs for the Yankees, while Jonathan Loaisiga would make his first appearance since April 5, in what would be a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Player of the Game: Bader is going to receive the honors for last night. One of his outs was a hard-hit ball that was caught on the warning track in left field, but he put together some nice at-bats and even stole a base.
Notable Performances: All three pitchers the Yankees used last night did well, but King really looked sharp. Judge reached base four times and both Billy McKinney and Kiner-Falefa had multi-hit nights.
Better to Forget: Rortvedt has really struggled at the plate since the Yankees brought him up last month. He only has one hit since his return and went 0-for-2 last night. However, if he can give the Yankees solid defense behind the plate, they may let this slide, at least for now.
My Take: I like discussing the bad news first, so let’s start with the couple of things I did not like. First, and foremost, the Yankees struck out a whopping 17 times last night, and had three batters strike out three times each. It’s not a season high, but it is a number that really just hurts to see. Roughly one-third of those strikeouts weren’t even swinging strikeouts, so I’m not sure if the Yankees just weren’t quite seeing the ball well, or if there were some bad calls from the home plate umpire. Nonetheless, that’s a statistic that even on a night where the Yankees win a game, is concerning.
The next statistic that I was surprised about is prior to last night, the Yankees had not had a pinch hit home run since Anthony Rizzo did so last June. LAST JUNE?! It’s hard to believe that with all the opportunities, the Yankees had not been able to hit a pinch hit home run for that long. For a team that seems to live (and die) by the home run ball, they surely have squandered many opportunities, at least according to that statistic. Anyways, good for Higashioka for delivering and giving the Yankees some cushion.
Alright, on to the good news! Sure, the Yankees still left 10 runners on base, but at least they were able to score and get a little rally going in the 4th inning. Home runs are fun to watch, but I like watching teams string together some hits and get runs across the plate that way. It really brings the team aspect of baseball into play.
Also, pitching was phenomenal. As I mentioned above, Schmidt’s biggest weakness is that he can’t go deep into games like Cole, but he has been the most consistent starter in the rotation over the past couple of months. Schmidt has been the Yankees’ second-in-command behind Cole, and is really showing that he does not want to go back down to Scranton.
King had his arsenal of pitches working well for him, and saved the bullpen by getting eight crucial outs. It was also nice to welcome back Loaisiga to the squad, and he gave the Yankees a quick inning in the 9th to end it. Loaisiga’s return is crucial to the team, as he can pitch in virtually any spot, whether it be the 6th or a high-leverage situation in the 9th. Let’s hope he can build on his first appearance since his return.
Overall, it was a nice win for the Yankees, and while they still have a LONG way to go in terms of reaching the playoffs, it’s a nice win to build upon. Let’s see if they can capitalize on it tonight.
What’s Next?: The rubber game of the series will take place tonight. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for the Yankees, while Mike Clevinger is set to start for the White Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. EST from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.