As that GOT reference indicates, the Yankees stopped their free-fall today with a W against the Twins. Who at this point, just can’t do anything to beat the Yankees no matter how bad they are playing. It was tight, sure. It was really stressful as well. But a huge W due to what’s in play.
To the takeaways!
Luis Gil has a rocky start and then settles down
I’m going to start this section by paraphrasing the great David Cone, the outcome On the scoreboard wasn’t good for Gil — especially when you take the team’s situation into account — but for his development, it was pretty good. The young Dominican started this game giving up 2 two-run homers in the very first inning, both on… not ideal pitches. Take a look:
That green right down the middle? The first homer allowed to Jorge Polanco on an 0-2 changeup. It was probably a bad decision to use your only not-good pitch for the year on that count, but as Cone mentioned it’s a learning process and he will probably get better from that experience.
The fastball a little bit under to the right? Sanó’s bomb. Heck, even that other fastball a little bit up and to the right was a Buxton bomb for his third and final HR allowed.
Having said all that, you would think he got taken out early and didn’t give the team much-needed length given the high bullpen usage lately. Well, not exactly. Gil ended up going for 6 innings on 102 pitches, allowing 5 runs — all on the 3 mentioned homers — while striking out 8 and walking just one batter. he did give up 9 balls hit for 95+ exit velo so maybe there was a little bit of luck there. But still, a much better start than his last one if you ask me.
Finally, his slider was absolute money despite the not ideal command. It had a ridiculous 48 Whiff% on the 27 swings on it. And overall, had a 39% CSW rate. That pitch is his money-maker and when paired with his high-spin and high-velo 4-seamer it’s not hard to see a really good pitcher in the future. The finding of that third pitch — the changeup is just promising at this point — will probably determine whether he is a great starter or an elite reliever.
The offense is just… (sigh). But, Judge is awesome.
In a game where the Twins had to take out their starter after just 12 pitches after 2 outs due to injury, and throw a parade of not great relievers just to get through, the Yankees combined for only 3 hits, and 2 walks before the 8th inning. And that was just not cutting it. Luckily, there is a certain beast of a player having an MVP-like season that took matters into his own hands in the 8th. After walks given by Tyler Duffey (with some help from blue) to Rizzo and Gardner, Baldelli put in Álex Colomé to face Aaron Judge and this happened, take it away Ryan Ruocco:
I’m not going to lie, I had some awful words for this offense prepped up to be submitted. They were bailed out by the great Judge, who entering today had a 148 wRC+ and his usual 100th percentiles in Avg. Exit Velo, Max. Exit Velo and Hard Hit Rate. An Elite season by an Elite player.
Just extend the guy right now. And then build a better team around him and Cole as your core pieces.
Still, in non-fake baseball and even with the Judge heroics, they combined for 4 hits and 5 walks. It was yet another disappointing outing for this team that we had so high expectations on offense. It’s quite unbelievable to a point. What we thought of as the best offense in the AL is actually league average entering today according to their 100 wRC+ score. There will surely be more time to dissect the failures of this season’s offense in the future (Spoiler Alert: It’s not the K’s). But, that’s not what we are here for today.
Gary Sánchez wins it!
Gary, who came in for Higashioka as a pinch hitter in the 8th. Fought a low and in sinker for a rope to LF to bring in the extra innings runner from second. Here is the much necessary video:
A huge hit for a player that for all the talk against him has actually been a really solid piece for this team. Love it!
Clay Holmes is awesome!
Whatever voodoo magic Matt Blake and his staff did on him deserves a lot of props. Take a look at these rates differences between his time with the Pirates and with the Yankees.
I’m not ready to say that they fully transformed Holmes into a command savant yet but I’m really confident in him being a legit great option from the pen in the future. Also, that turbo sinker is just so much fun to watch, check it out:
98 mph and so much late movement! That pitch in that spot is as unhittable as it gets. Yet another gem found by Cashman.
- Just one thing I’d like to add: David Cone is amazing, he went over Gil’s early struggles and disected them with surgeon-like precision. The 4th inning was especially enlightening in my opinion.