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About Yesterday: Back in the New York Groove

Ed Botti

May 19, 2024

***


Photo AP

 

About Yesterday:

 

As the 43,194 Yankee faithful settled into their seats under an overcast sky at the corner of Rivera Ave. and 161st Street, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez took the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Any time I see El Duque these days, the first thing I always think of is his absolute and clutch masterpiece Game 4 start in the 1998 ALCS against those rough Cleveland Indians. 7 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs of pure pressure.

 

On this day El Duque was a spectator as 23-year-old Luis Gil took the mound looking to continue the trend of long starts with little damage his fellow starters have put into place.

 

Ironically, Gil’s solid start ended up breaking the rookie record set by El Duque for strikeouts in a game (13) now established at 14 by Mr. Gil.

 

Gil inexplicably started the game off pitching backwards, and paid for it. Gil threw 29 pitches in the first, giving up an early run. Once he and catcher Jose Trevino decided to scrap whatever backwards game plan was established, and allow Gil to get ahead with his over powering 4-seam fastball and put hitters away with his knee bucking change up and Frisbee slider, things changed very quickly.

 

The Southside Sox let him off the hook in the first and they could have went home after that as Gil and the Yankee pen shut them out over the next 8 innings.

 

As soon as the top of the first ended, Juan Soto decided to send a quick message and drilled a 92 MPH change up from White Sox starter Brad Keller deep into the right field seats, kicking off a 4 for 4, 2 home run day. While in the process, putting his mini slump in the rear view mirror, en route to his first multi-homer game as a Yankee and leading his teammates to a 6-1 victory over the White Sox.

 


Photo by Robert Sabo for NY Post

 

Quick Stats:

 

Juan Soto – 4 - 4, 3 RBI, 2 HR

Giancarlo Stanton – 2 - 3, 2 RBI, Double, HR.

Aaron Judge – 1-4, 3 Ks

Jose Trevino – 1-4, HR

Luis Gil – 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run

 

Big Story

 

The Yankee won their 6th game in a row for the first time this season and are now at 32-15 to start the 2024 season. In the absence of team “Ace” and defending Cy Young award winner, Gerrit Cole, the Yankee starting rotation are on a stretch of giving up just two earned runs over their last six starts, spread-out over 39 impressive innings.

 

Gil: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Rodon: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Stroman: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K

Schmidt: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Cortes: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Gil: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 14 K

 

Gil was on his game once he came out to start the 2nd inning, and at one point struck out seven straight Chi Sox and closed out his turn in the rotation by striking out 9 of the final 10 batters he faced.

 

Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Trevino also contributed with impressive home runs, but make no mistake about it, this day belonged to a pair of 25 year old Yankees--- Soto & Gil.

 

Saturday’s win clinched the 2024 Yankees’ 12th series victory in their first 15 series.

 

For those of you keeping score at home, this was the sixth time in franchise history that they have accomplished that impressive start to a season!

 

Player(s) of the Game

 

Picking the player of the game on this day is like asking someone who was better composer? Lennon or McCartney?

 

Both Luis Gil and Juan Soto get game balls, in my book.

 

Notable Performances:

 

Juan Soto and his 4-for-4 afternoon, three RBIs and his first multi-home run game as a Bronx Bomber -- of course he just had to throw in a walk for good measure. The man just will not give up an at bat!

 

Soto was coming off of a 4-for-31 stretch in the last eight games before Saturday’s outburst, but if you watched Friday night’s game, you knew he was going to make someone pay very soon.

 

His final swing on Friday night when he lined out on an opposite field rocket to left field, was all I needed to see. I looked at my wife and told her that would have put a hole in Fenway Park’s green monster!! Well, maybe not quite, but you get my point!


On Saturday both of his home runs were what my father would have called “no-doubters”. One further than the other deep into right field. His RBI single in the fifth was almost as impressive.

 

His hand speed and weight shift are very unique and impressive.

 

Better to Forget:

 

Red Hot Aaron Judge had an off day going 1-4 with a gift infield single and 3 strike outs. But, that is baseball. Even more important though is when the star of a team has an off day, his teammates are there to pick him up, and that is exactly what we saw on Saturday.


That is what winning teams do.

 

Great team win!

 

My Take:

 

It’s pretty simple, keep winning series. Don’t rely on one player every night. Play as a team, a single unit.

 

This team coming out of spring training looked to have holes, and still does for that matter. But, I like the way they are playing right now. It helps that the starters have been fantastic to date, but overall they seem to be playing a better brand of baseball. They move runners, hit behind runners, make more contact, throw to the correct bases, take extra bases when needed, and catch balls that they should catch, and even ones most players might not make a play on.

 

I like the relentlessness they are currently showing. The key will be, can they continue doing so? As we saw in 2022, they fell fast and hard.

 

But for right now, they are doing exactly what they should be doing on the field.


Keep grinding!!

 

Next Up

 

The Yankee home stand continues with a series finale against these very same White Sox before the Mariners hit town for a four game set. Today’s match up will be Yankee lefty Carlos Rodon against White Sox righty Chris Flexen.

 

The game can be seen at 1:35PM on the YES Network.

 

Have a great Sunday!

6 Comments


jnichols351
jnichols351
May 20

Great article as usual. I’m with you in terms of some holes and weaknesses in the team but they have figured out how to win, they are tenacious, and are playing fundamental ball. Cole and DJ can only help to solidify the team.


The Steinbrenner comment of being willing to work on a contract during the season tells you how much they want Soto. He’s amazing to watch everyday. Seems like he enjoys playing here so hopefully!!

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etbkarate
May 19

That's the plan!

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Alan B.
Alan B.
May 19

Gil, who had no feeling for his pitches in the 1st, I do have to give credit to Blake for a properly timed mound visit. Now, I don't know if Trevino was was going out anyway, but I was very happy to see Blake go out there. Sometimes it's not what you say, it's the fact you broke up whatever was going on.


I am also very happy to see that Gil generally has 6 inning limit. Yes, I still believe the FO has an innings limit for Gil, but I think we all could live in this, Year 1 post TJS of pitching a 6 and fly limit. I still see Gil as a 3-4 inning piggyback TA pitc…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
May 19
Replying to

I'm not overpaying for one. So right now there is no one, so for now, let's see if between Barclay, Anderson, or Shields if we have an internal option.

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fuster
May 19

the team is not yet a great one. it is quite a good one, but it also includes players who might be merely passing through and gone after this season.


Mr Cashman can and should continue to make alterations and Mr Steinbrenner also has a thing or two to do

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