About Yesterday: Yankees 6, Orioles 0
The Yankees took the series in Baltimore in a win that showed off a lot of good as the team has a lot of things to fix. Let's talk about it.
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Nestor Cortes Jr. (8-3, 2.48 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Dean Kremer (3-2, 3.06 ERA)
Save: Clarke Schmidt (1, 2.67 ERA)
Home Runs (New York): Aaron Judge (37, 2-Run)
Home Runs (Baltimore): None
Big Story - The New York Yankees, after nearly blowing a game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday and then subsequently losing a game they were winning 3-0 on Saturday, came into yesterday's game a losing team in the month of July. Yes, the 65-31 Yankees came into their Sunday matinee a losing team with a record of 9-10 during the month of July. That being said, a Sunday win was all but necessary...especially against a team barely hanging on to a non-losing record in the Baltimore Orioles (47-47 going into the game).
In addition to having a losing record in July, the Yankees had Nestor Cortes Jr. set to take the starting pitchers mound with a huge problem in the pitching staff. They had just lost Michael King to a season-ending elbow injury (that may also need Tommy John Surgery), multiple relievers have been incredibly underwhelming (Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Loaisiga), and the starting pitching has been...well, lackluster recently to say the least. Nestor Cortes in particular had allowed 3+ runs in 4 of his last 7 games (and 4 runs in 3 of those) while seeing his era jumped from 1.50 (on June 3rd) to 2.74 (after July 8th).
Suffice it to say, the Yankees needed a statement win.
Player(s) of the Game - Speaking of Nestor Cortes Jr., it is only appropriate to name him our player of the game. His stat-line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 7 K's with a WIN!
Notable Performances - And, shout-out to a few other players as well:
Clarke Schmidt: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 3 K with his 1st career Save!
Aaron Judge: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI's, 1 BB, 2 K's, 2-Run HR
Jose Trevino: 4-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
Aaron Hicks: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Better to Forget - A couple expected names...
Joey Gallo: 0-4, 2 K's
Anthony Rizzo: 0-4
Gleyber Torres: Missed flyout & baserunning blunder
My Take - Well, Yankee land has been in a crazy place over the last month or so. After an absolutely insane start to the season, a lot of the things that were going great are, as you would say, regressing back to the mean as the Yankees have appeared to be closer to the Baltimore Orioles than they have a Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, that's not a shot at the Orioles- who have been playing great, competitive baseball en route to a now near .500 record- but it is a big dig against the yearly "world-series favorite" (or at least that's what they want you to think) Yankees.
However, yesterday did show that the Yankees mustachioed starter may be back to proper 2022 form. In his prior appearance, Nestor Cortes pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball against the Cincinnati Reds. Yesterday, he pitched 0-run ball in 6 innings against the Baltimore Orioles. Before that, he allowed a combined 17 runs in 28.2 innings over his last 6 starts. After a brief scare, it looks as though Nestor is back on track to be a solid top of the rotation arm. Yesterday was a perfect example. He used jus 94 pitches to get through 6 innings while keeping the Orioles hitters off their game and without many threats before handing the ball off to Clarke Schmidt. It was a great pitching game.
Clarke Schmidt also deserves some praise for his work. 3 great innings of relief helped save a Yankees bullpen that has been taxed and beaten recently. And, Schmidt was rewarded for his scoreless appearance with his first career save. That's pretty darn cool!
Okay, let me take a minute to break away from the game and talk about the game-within-the-game. Yesterday I think I hear upwards of 25 times over the course of the game about the problems that players were having with the heat. First off, welcome to the summer in the northeast. This really is nothing new. It gets hot, humid, and gross at the end of July in these parts. Second, I don't want to hear about it being hard to play baseball in this weather. Let me tell you why.
Yesterday, my dad (who is 54-years-old) and I played a 9 inning ballgame in the same weather. The same sun beating and bearing down on us as the professionals. Except, we didn't have an air-conditioned clubhouse to sit in before the game. And we don't have a dugout with a roof and a big fan at our field. And we didn't have fruit and snacks and water available at a moments noticed to be brought to us. Yet, we played. And we played great.
My dad- one of our teams pitchers- came into the game in relief in the 3rd inning as we were up just 10-9 (yeah, it was a bloodbath early). And then he pitched the final 6 (!) innings allowing just 1 more run to cross. I don't think he allowed more than 2 hits, and he got about 5 strikeouts too. Meanwhile, I played a mixture of second base and right field while making most of the plays I needed to (truthfully, I need to work on my infield defense). I also went 1-2 at the plate with 2 walks and was up at the plate as the opposing pitcher balked in the winning "mercy" run (scoring my dad who was on 3rd) for us to win 20-10.
Oh, I also hit an absolute BOMB for a triple. I'm going to pat myself on the back for a second here, but it was a BOMB into the power alley. I've never once in my life had a hit like that. I swear to you. And, because of this when I saw the left and center fielders running after the ball as I was rounding first base I thought to myself, "Hey, Ethan. You're never going to get this chance again. Go for the triple. You got it." AND MY GOODNESS, I DID. WOW.
I don't want to hear it that Gerrit Cole wasn't ready to face the July heat. I did and played to my best. My dad did and played his best. And, neither of us are making $36 million. Come on! Step up...
Speaking of stepping up, we have three additional points from the game.
First, Aaron Judge stepped up this series. Wow. He hit his 37th home run of the year yesterday which would've tied him with Pete Alonso (who they're set to play come Tuesday) for 13th in the MLB after all of last season. That's awesome. This will be a season to remember from Judge whether he stays in the pinstripes or not.
Second, Gleyber Torres did not step up. He had a bad play on a fly ball from Adley Rutschman while the Yankees played a 4-man outfield against him in the 2nd. That was prime overthinking baseball. Joey Gallo in a normal left field position would've easily tracked that ball down. It was prime overthinking. ... And then Gleyber Torres showed off some prime underthinking on what the announcers were trying to save face while calling a "duke-out" as Gleyber jogged into second on an Aaron Hicks single to the outfield before trying to stretch his way to third base on a ball that wasn't far enough to attempt that type of play. It was definitely not Torres' best.
Third, thank goodness the Yankees got the win. On one end, it does seem in all practicality that they have a postseason spot locked up. However, they still need to go out and win the games to get them there. This team has a lot of flaws (Gallo, starting pitching depth, bullpen over-usage) and over the next week and change before the deadline it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do to try and solve those problems. Let me just end it here:
GET JUAN SOTO.
I don't care what it takes. Trade the prospects: one of Volpe/Dominguez, one of Pereira/Peraza, Wells, Wesneski (the Yankees should try and keep around the lefty Waldichuk), throw in some borderline guys too and take on Corbin. Soto is a stud that you can't let go. Corbin gives the Yankees some staring pitching depth while being a left-handed pitcher that could be decent in New York (I did want him a few years back) and could bring the price of Soto down to somewhere reasonable. It can happen. It should happen.
MAKE IT HAPPEN. GET JUAN SOTO.
Next Up - The Yankees are off today as they come back from Baltimore before a 2-game series in Queens against the New York Mets. For the Yankees, Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.24 ERA) is expected to take the mound against Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.55 ERA).