About Yesterday Yankees 5 Royals 2
by Ed Botti
July 23, 2023
The Big Story
On a perfect summer afternoon in the Bronx, 44,401 were treated to a clean 5-2 win over the 28-72 Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees would send ace Gerrit Cole to the mound in search of his 10th win of the season, and even more important, in search of the Yankees 2nd straight win and a chance at righting this proverbial sinking ship of a team that went 1-5 on a road trip to Colorado and Anaheim and began the day in last place.
The Royals and Brady Singer stood in the way.
Cole, working with newly recalled catcher Ben Rortvedt for the first time in his career, handled the youthful Kansas City lineup with 10 strikeouts over 6.1 innings. Cole was lifted by manager Aaron Boone in the seventh inning with the game tied 2-2. At this point in the game you could almost feel the 44,401 in attendance and millions listening on radio or watching on TV anguish over Boone pulling Cole after just 99 pitches.
On this day, the early hook would not come back to haunt Boone as Wandy Peralta came in and got the final 2 outs of the 7th inning without incident.
DJ LeMahieu’s opposite field home run, his first in just about six weeks, broke the seventh-inning tie. Giancarlo Stanton provided a little insurance and breathing room by launching a line drive two-run homer in the eighth inning allowing the Yankees to breathe a little easier for a day.
To kick off the game, Cole struck out two in an 11-pitch first inning, and then the Yankees grabbed a quick 1-0 lead.
Billy McKinney, batting in the leadoff spot drew a walk and Gleyber Torres reached on an infield single.
Slumping Anthony Rizzo tapped into a 3-6-3 double play making an early lead look improbable. That is until Stanton hit a two-out single to left to score McKinney.
The Royals tied it up in the third, when Nick Pratto launched Cole’s 2-2 hanging curve ball into the right-field seats.
The Yankees would answer fairly quickly in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Volpe hit a ground rule double, stole third base and came around to score via a Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly.
Tommy Kahnle and Clay Holmes would hold serve and get the final six outs.
The 5-2 win secured the Yankees first series victory of July and boosted the Yankees out of last place in the AL East.
Player of the Game
Photo JASON SZENES/New York Post
Gerrit Cole’s heavy-handed performance, the most recent in his best season in the Bronx earns him my Player of the Game.
Cole, who started this month’s All-Star Game did exactly what an ace is called on to do. He bent but never broke, was dominant at certain points of the game, got the big outs he and his team needed, which put his teammates in a position to put runs on the board, and go for the win.
Cole at 9-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 144 strikeouts over 129.1 innings, has now officially entered the conversation for the 2023 Cy Young Award.
Saturday’s performance was Cole’s second straight game with double-digit strikeouts and his fourth time this season. Cole has not given up more than three runs in any of his last nine starts.
Giancarlo Stanton’s 2-4 game with 3 clutch RBI is something the Yankees need to see more of in the coming days and weeks if they have any chance of getting back into a playoff position.
On this day, he stepped up when needed and knocked in 3 critical runs.
Had the Yankees lost today, the pressure to win tomorrow would have been immense.
He put his team on his shoulders and led the way to victory.
Better to Forget…
Not too much went wrong on this day, but I would really like to forget Gerrit Cole’s 2-2 meatball he threw to Nick Pratto that ended up just barely over the right field wall to tie the game. The moment the ball left his hand you can tell he knew it was going to be hit hard, and Pratto happily obliged.
Solo home runs should never beat a big time starter, and on Saturday Cole made sure it did not.
Looking to Today
The Yankees look for a sweep today when Luis Severino squares off against Royals’ right-hander Jordan Lyles.
Today’s game can be seen on the YES Network. First pitch at 1:35PM.
Any win is a good win, and 2 in a row is even better. But as we have discussed here on numerous occasions, the season is long and full of ups and downs. The beauty of baseball is that over 162 games the cream will rise to the top. Along the way to 162, many games can infuse fans with hope and or despair. Sometimes that hope is actually false hope.
Lets not get to caught up in winning two games against a rebuilding 28-72 team. It is only two games, and nothing has changed with respect to the main problems on this team. Keep it in perspective!
I am not suggesting that the Yankees are done, however a lot will have to happen for them to get off the mat and compete in October.
What has to happen for them is a 180 turn from what we have seen over the first 3 ½ months.
This team should not be 52-47.
This team should not fold their cards when the star player gets hurt.
This team needs to show heart and determination.
This team needs new leadership.
Some people in the game see the first 4 months as an extended trial period, in which they hope to be able to stay close enough to add much needed help to the roster and buckle up for a strong last 2 months.
Unfortunately for this Yankee team they are currently 8 game behind the first place Orioles (you read that correctly) and 2 ½ games behind in the wild card chase.
Can they pull off another 1978? Probably not. Remember the 1978 team were the defending world champions and were loaded with all stars that were proven winners.
No, for this team to turn things around a shakeup is needed to fill many of holes that they entered the season with. They still do not have a left fielder or third baseman. The bench is weak. They are too right handed.
Will reinforcements come from within the system or via trade? Can Sean Casey get Rizzo, DJ and Stanton back to resemble something like the back of their baseball cards?
It is not the Yankee way to give up, especially when 2 ½ games separates the haves from the have nots.
I look for them to add to the roster and hope that the return of Jonathan Loáisiga, Nestor Cortes and Aaron Judge puts them into over drive for a final push to October.
The real change needs to come in November or December.
RIP Anthony Benedetto, A/K/A Tony Bennett.