The Yankees lost again, but the big story tonight is Gerrit Cole’s health. He exited this one in the fourth due to hamstring tightness, and though it sounds like he and the team may have dodged a bullet, it was a pretty scary sight to see him depart with the trainer.
Healthy Cole or not, the Yankees weren’t going to win this game with one run. The offense sputtered once again in tonight’s 5-1 loss at the hands of the Blue Jays. That 13 game winning streak seems like a distant memory now that the Yankees have lost 8 of 10 and have the Blue Jays breathing down their neck in the standings, huh? There’s still two more games to play against Toronto this week, but first, let’s get to tonight’s takeaways:
The offense is horrendous. I could really just leave it at that, and I kind of want to because this was such a pathetic performance. After getting shutout yesterday, the bats went down meekly tonight. At least they finally scored a run, I guess. It was the first run since the sixth inning on Sunday. Anthony Rizzo drove in Andrew Velazquez with an RBI single in the third.
Rizzo has been hitting fairly well of late, but it’s frustrating and worrisome to see a bunch of guys go silent. Some numbers:
- Aaron Judge is hitless in his last 17 at-bats, though he’s been so terrific all year long that he doesn’t deserve much scorn.
- Giancarlo Stanton has one hit in his last 15 at-bats. He hit a laser single to right tonight, but he’s also gone quiet. But like Judge, he’s carried much of the load this season. The timing of his and Judge’s slump really hurts, nonetheless.
- DJ LeMahieu went 0-for-4 and hit into a double play tonight. Any semblance of power from him has vanished this season. It did break a 7-game hitting streak in which he was batting .345, but it was a relatively empty .345 (.just a .379 sluggin). Hitting him leadoff doesn’t seem ideal anymore.
- Gio Urshela looked absolutely lost tonight. He took an 0-for-4 with two ugly strikeouts against Steven Matz. His strikeout rate is up to 25.1 percent this year after a 17.2 percent mark in his last two seasons in pinstripes.
To top it off, Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres sat tonight because of their poor play. Gallo is mired in an extended slump since July and Torres has been all-around bad this year. Brett Gardner and Andrew Velazquez, who played in place of Gallo and Torres today, both had two singles each tonight.
The Yankees came into tonight averaging 4.34 runs per game, 11th-worst in the majors and comfortably below the 4.52 league average. Just about everyone has regressed. And as you have seen of late, if Judge and/or Stanton cool off, there’s little to no hope for run production.
At least Gerrit Cole could win a Wild Card game practically on his own. Cross your fingers that this hamstring injury isn’t severe. Who else panicked when Gerrit Cole exited tonight’s game in the fourth inning? It was pretty hard not to! It was alarming to see Cole signal for the trainer and also concerning to see a big velocity drop on his last pitch of the night, a 95.1 MPH fastball:
The more optimistic and more rational side of Yankees Twitter (and the YES broadcast) speculated that Cole had some sort of blister or fingernail issue. Upon replay, it did appear that the staff’s ace was looking at his hand while getting checked out before departing.
Fortunately, Cole doesn’t have an arm injury (or a blister, for that matter), but rather, hamstring tightness. That’s good for the long-term. However, he’s not in the clear in the short-term as even a moderate hamstring injury could sideline him for a few weeks. Keep in mind that the AL Wild Card Game is four weeks from today.
Obvious statement, but: not having Cole for the Wild Card game makes life a lot harder for the Yankees, especially with the way the offense is going lately. The bats are talented enough to turn things around, but if they go into another swoon (or remain in the current one!) come October, the Yankees would need vintage Cole to win the Wild Card game by the score of, say, 2-1.
After the game, Aaron Boone and Cole sounded relatively optimistic that they may have gotten out in front of something potentially worse. Boone didn’t rule out Cole making his next scheduled start, though the skipper has been wrong on things like that before. Cole wants to see how he feels over the next two days.
Gerrit Cole says he wants to “reserve judgment” on his hamstring until he sees how he feels over the next 24-48 hours. Says he weighed the pros and cons of staying in, but worried he could only be “one pitch away” from making it a bigger issue.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) September 8, 2021
The Yankees really need to win these next two against Toronto. OK, maybe they don’t need to, but it would stabilize things quite a bit. Toronto is now within two games of the Yankees in the loss column and just a half game behind Boston for the second Wild Card spot. Some breathing room would be awfully nice, especially because the Yankees still have to travel to Toronto later this month.
Thankfully, Boston and Oakland are faltering lately too, and though Seattle is still in the thick of things, I’m not terribly concerned about the Mariners. Still, the top Wild Card spot is in jeopardy given Toronto’s play.
- Joely Rodríguez pitched very well in relief and retired all five batters he faced, including two strikeouts.
- Even Andrew Heaney did well tonight, going 1-2-3 in the ninth with a strikeout. I didn’t feel great about him coming in (and why would I?), but I guess a 5-1 deficit felt like 15-1 anyway.
- Marcus Semien continues to clobber the Yankees. He hit a solo homer off Albert Abreu in the fifth. Alejandro Kirk had a big game too, homering twice. Once off Cole, and another against Clay Holmes.
These two sides meet again tomorrow night. Luis Gil returns to the mound and hopefully can be the stopper.