Game 144: The Yankees say not today

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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:

Gil’s Pitch Chart taken from Baseball Savant

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.

TeamK%BB%
Pirates23.313.2
Yankees32.3(!)1.6(!!!)

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.

Leftovers

  • 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.
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5 Comments

  1. Anthony Rizzeddardo

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Jamie, and probably a season saver. If they couldn’t even beat their whipping boy the Twins anymore then it was just time to quit and throw up. Gil wasn’t great but he gave us 6 when we needed it and kept it at 5. Heaney might have carved out a new niche in the pen. He’s a valuable arm out there. I think Holmes should be our new ace reliever until Loisaga returns. Green should be put on the IL to rest his arm and develop a secondary pitch.

    I have a vote for MVP and that vote will go to Aaron Judge. Ohtani is disqualified because his club won’t make the postseason. They finished last with him and they coulda finished last without him. That’s not valuable. If the Yankees don’t make the postseason my vote would go to Vlad Jr. but there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re making the postseason after what Judge did today. It’s the O’Neill effect except we actually won. That will carry over to tomorrow because the most important thing in baseball is momentum. And Cole could beat the Orioles with his pitching hand tied behind his back. The Orioles don’t worry me.

    And yes, I agree that Coney is by far the best analyst in the game. I keep worrying Fox or ESPN will steal him from us but they’ve got two of the best to ever do it in Smoltzy and Alex. I just hope Cone doesn’t go into coaching with another club. I thought we shoulda hired him as pitching coach. Probably woulda had a few more rings on our fingers had we done so but he keeps us entertained in the booth making it all worth while.

    And finally they admit what we all knew that Gleyber is not a major league SS! And it led to a win, fancy that. I felt so happy for Gary who took a lot of crap the other night. And now he’s the hero and those people look like absolute fools and they know who they are and what they’ve done. Like a reliever we’ll forgive them and forget.

  2. dasit

    that was a truly impressive win. down by 5 runs 16 hours after an epic loss and they didn’t roll over. now watch them lose the next series…

  3. David Cone is the best analyst for the Yankees I have heard. And I’ve been listening or watching Yankee baseball since 1969.

    • samydees

      Coney is so great. I hope he can get paired with a John Miller or Gary Cohen for national broadcasts.

  4. Steve

    Let’s hot forget the miracle of Heaney not giving up a HR in 1.2 innings tonight.

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