About Last Night: Yanks Win!
by Dennis Cole
May 16, 2023
Last night the Yankees began a series in Toronto after the tough weekend with the first place Rays. As valiantly as the Yankees played, they still split the four game series. The total for the two weekend series versus the Rays was a combined was 3 wins and 4 losses. It's hard to feel good about that. The team showed grit with comeback wins , but were still 8 games out of first place .
Now they traveled to Toronto where the Blue Jay's were 12 - 3 at home. This was the start of another important series.
In the beginning ...
I've got to tell you, I love the moments before the game begins. When the Yankees are on the road I get to see their away uniforms . They are so understated. Some might say too plain. Not me . It shows something not trendy. How unusual! I've had long hair since college (that's a long time ago) but I tell you there is in Yankee culture a winning tradition that is understated confidence. It's a connection to an experience that was - is - greatness. The Yankees represent a team victory that transcends trends and culture too. Look at old Yankee Stadium footage from 1930s,40s, 50s 60s. Where else can you find history touching our times in this way? In an overstated culture, the Yankee way shows real class. Rare class. Yankee class is a tradition of winning. Especially their away uniforms. Also, on the road the Yankees get to bat first. This gives them a chance to score first. Sure enough last night, they did score first. In fact they did it more than once, more than twice too.
In the beginning... was a big inning .
Alek Manoah the Blue Jay ace who dominates the Yankees, was suddenly down 3-0. I was surprised and delighted. First Aaron Judge slammed a flat slider into where his Judge's chambers might be if he hit it at Yankee Stadium. I love it when he goes to right field on those middle to outside pitches. I'd love to see his new friend Anthony Volpe do that more often too.
The Yankees, not stopping with a small lead against a great team's ace at their home park were not done! Willie Calhoun showing the genius of the Yankees having a left handed hitting lineup then hit his two run shot to right field. It was a huge lead . A lead on a great hitting team with their ace on the ropes, in the early rounds on the 'mound.'
Then the Yankee pitching went to work. The big concern for the Yankees, especially as they scored big time versus the Rays, is their pitching . Last night, it was superb! Having an opener was a new look and I hope they try this when they use Clarke Schmidt next time. It takes pressure off their staff and it creates 'team winning unity.' It also highlights what has been good and sometimes great for the Yankees - namely their relief pitching .
Frankie Cordero, the opener, was six up six down. Then Jhony Brito looking like he did in spring training when he retired 16 batters in a row. He lasted until the 8th inning . A total of 5.1 innings of excellent pitching. Meanwhile ..
In the middle innings...
The Yankees chipped away at Alek Manoah . In the 4th inning the Yankees would score again. Not another big inning, but a crooked number two nonetheless off Manoah. Volpe doubled, Higgy singled him in, Judge walked in a run. Manoah has lost his command this year. His slider has lost 20 percent of its break too. Lots of walks and flat pitches. He was fortunate to only give up 5 runs in his 4 plus innings of nearly 90 pitches thrown.
The middle of a game is often where the game is won. In writing, the middle of a story is where the plot needs to thicken to keep people interested. I personally love middle innings of a baseball game. A good game in its middle innings keeps me interested. That's usually where a game is won or lost. This game was the Yankees' to win. That their big lead was tarnished and threatened in the 8th inning only reinforces that this game was won in the middle innings. Anthony Rizzo doubled in run number six in the 6th. Meanwhile, Jhony Brito was keeping the Blue Jays off stride with three pitches especially his change up. I'm sure Aaron Boone was hoping to give his relief core a needed rest.
The beginning of the end.....
Was the 7th inning. I was enjoying the ease of a run away victory. Stressful games are hard on fans too. I'm only half joking here.
In the top of the 8th inning Judge did it again!. A home run over 460 feet into center field. I must confess my first thought was why didn't he do that Sunday afternoon against the Rays? His home run tonight was very similar in trajectory to what he just missed versus the Rays. The Eighth Inning Not Quite The End
There was an error by Gleyber Torres that added to the problem. Ian Hamilton then gave up some big hits to Bo Bichette and to Vladmir Guerrero. Michael King the final new Yankee relief pitcher of the night got Varsho to ground out . King with a total of 12 pitches retired the Blue Jay's with four outs over the final two innings. That's very good. I then listened on the radio side. I suppose John Sterling didnt make this trip. I missed John! When the game ended, it was fantastic because.....
The Yankees Win, theahhhh Yankees WIN!!!!!!