About Last Night: Yanks Win, Judge Does Too
by Paul Semendinger
September 29, 2022
About Last Night:
Two Yankees records were tied last night. Both are very impressive, but one is a bit more impressive than the other.
First, Gerrit Cole tied Ron Guidry's single season strikeout record. Next, Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris' single season home run record.
Along the way, the Yankees won the game 8-3. Quick Stats:
Yankees with 61 home runs in a season: Roger Maris and Aaron Judge
Yankees with 248 strikeouts in a season: Ron Guidry and Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole earned the win. He's now 13-7 on the year
Aroldis Chapman threw 13 pitches to close out the game. 11 of those pitches were strikes. He struck out two batters.
Oswald Peraza went 2-for-5. He is now hitting .313 in limited play
Aaron Hicks had three hits
Tim Locastro had two hits
The Yankees are 96-59 on the season
The Big Stories:
The Yankees keep winning. That's the good news.
Aaron Judge hit the big homer. That's great news.
Gerrit Cole retired the first 15 batters he faced. That was also great.
Gerrit Cole imploded. That's bad news.
Gerrit Cole was sailing, until he wasn't. This is a concern. He sails and looks great and then something happens and his whole demeanor changes. He just implodes. It's bad and it's concerning for the playoffs.
The following was Cole's 6th inning. The inning started with the Yankees up 3-0.
Danny Jansen homered (Yankees lead 3-1)
Whit Merrifield singled
Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked
George Springer lined out (Merrifield went to third)
Bo Bichette had an infield single. (Merrifield scored) (Yankees lead 3-2)
Vlad Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly (Tie game 3-3)
Teoscar Hernandez flew out
This has happened to Gerrit Cole in too many games, especially recently. He loses his focus, or his stuff, or his command, or his confidence. Maybe all of those things. At this point, If I were the Yankees, I would not pitch him in the first game in any playoff series.
In the next half inning, Aaron Hicks singled and then Aaron Judge hit home run #61 to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. That homer was the game winner. The Yankees would get a few more runs, but that homer sealed the deal. That homer, that historic homer, became the focus. Cole's implosion was forgotten. The Yankees took the lead and Aaron Judge claimed the spotlight.
The Blue Jays did threaten a few other times, but the Yankees' relief corps held down the fort (for the most part).
Player of the Game:
Aaron Judge. It can't be anyone else. 61 home runs is remarkable. What a season. Now let's see him get the Triple Crown! Notable Performances:
Oswaldo Cabrera, playing second base, turned a key double play in the bottom of the eighth with Vlad Guerrero up as the tying run.
Aroldis Chapman was in complete control in the ninth inning
Scott Effross came in the game with the tying runner on base and two outs and got the Yankees out of the inning
Aaron Judge hit #61
Michael Kay did a fine job calling the historic homer (but...)
Better to Forget:
Zack Britton did not look good again. He's got about a week to figure it out. He faced three batters and walked two of them. Scott Effross bailed him out of the trouble.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone tells the same joke over and over, or over explains it, or shares the same story again and again? I felt that way watching the TV coverage after the Judge homer. The announcers just couldn't leave the moment alone. They repeated the same numbers again, again, and again. It became overkill. It was a great moment. It was awesome. It stayed awesome, that is, until it just got to be too much. Sometimes less is more. Billy Joel once said it well, "Leave A Tender Moment Alone."
The Yankees are off tonight. They play again Friday night, at home, for their last homestand... three games against the Baltimore Orioles.