This rollercoaster of a game was certainly unexpected for two offenses coming into the game in a slump, but the Yankees were able to pull off a nailbiter and came up with big hits in big spots to overcome an early 5-1 deficit.
It wasn’t perfect, but the Yankees can’t care about how they win, rather just if they’re able to win while Aaron Judge is on the IL with his toe injury. Luis Severino continues to struggle and raise alarms about his diminishing velocity, but there to pick him up was a bullpen that’s continued to overcome injury and adversity to live up to its billing as the best in baseball.
An incredible back-and-forth game, there was plenty of interesting information from what was a statement win for this offense.
Good News: Yankees Put Together a Great Team Win
One of the biggest storylines entering today’s game centered around an offense that had been letting down the pitching staff routinely in their homestand against the White Sox and Red Sox, but after falling down 5-1, they stepped up.
First, Giancarlo Stanton was able to get a hold of a Max Scherzer slider on a two-strike count to deep left field, as it traveled 408 feet and registered a 110.2 MPH Exit Velocity off the bat. Stanton’s been scuffling since returning from the IL, but his wRC+ on the season climbs to 121 in just one game with that sixth blast. While 1-4 with a hit by pitch isn’t otherworldly, that blast proved to be invaluable in a one-run win.
After Luis Severino got pounded for five runs across the first three innings, the Yankees would punch back with a massive 4th inning against Max Scherzer. DJ LeMahieu would clock a two-run blast to bring the Yankees within two, a HR that he desperately needed.
LeMahieu’s struggles have been well-documented offensively, but this is a step in the right direction and his first HR since May 27th against the Padres at home. The Yankees would see both IKF and Kyle Higashioka reach base, setting the stage for a struggling Anthony Volpe to have a moment in this historic rivalry.
Anthony Volpe entered the contest with a 69 wRC+, the fourth worst in all of baseball, but he came through with an RBI double down the line to score IKF and move both himself and Higashioka into scoring position.
Jake Bauers, who also made a huge catch in RF earlier in the game, came through with a bloop single to score two and give the Yankees a 6-5 lead, but this wouldn’t be enough as the Mets would respond in the bottom of the 5th as Aaron Boone mysteriously let Luis Severino talk his way into staying in the game to face Luis Guillorme, who would tie the game on an RBI single.
This is where the bullpen would step in and give Aaron Boone the big outs they needed, as Marinaccio would end the inning swiftly. Billy McKinney would single, and Anthony Volpe would double on a misplay from Mets’ CF Brandon Nimmo, setting up 2nd and 3rd for pinch-hitter Josh Donaldson who hit a sacrifice fly and drove in what would be the winning run for the Bronx Bombers.
Cordero’s pitched to a 3.00 ERA and 2.57 FIP on the season, and he’s become a staple of this Yankee bullpen. He wouldn’t be the only pitcher to have late-game heroics against Starling Marte, as after Wandy Peralta struggled with command against the Mets, Clay Holmes entered with the bases loaded in the 8th.
Facing both Francisco Lindor and Starling Marte, if you asked the Yankees how comfortable they’d feel with Clay Holmes trying to hold a one-run lead in front of a packed crowd with the bases loaded, they’d give you a myriad of reasons why they wouldn’t.
Holmes has struggled with command all season, and all it takes is one errant ball to cause a wild pitch or hit batsman, and when both counts to Lindor and Marte ran full, Holmes will finish both of them off with a swinging strikeout. Those game-defining strikeouts put a potential Mets’ rally to bed before it could come to fruition, lowering Holmes’ ERA since May 6th to just 0.45. If you want to understand the change Holmes made, you could either watch his strikeout of Starling Marte or read me nerd out about his new gyro slider.
Lastly, Michael King gave the Yankees a scoreless bottom of the ninth without allowing a baserunner and striking out one, completing a scoreless night for the bullpen.
The team ERA for their relievers now sits at 2.72, by far the best in all of baseball and the best in baseball in Win Probability Added as well. They’re clutch, they get outs, and they’re becoming an even more reliable group in spite of their mounting injuries. 11 hits from the offense for seven total runs were thankfully rewarded with a win, even though Luis Severino presented more of a hurdle than a help for the Yankees.
Bad News: Luis Severino is in a BAD Funk
When it rains, it pours for Luis Severino, as he put together a third straight horrific start, and his velocity is trending in the wrong direction. He started off his season throwing 98 MPH fastballs regularly, and against the Mets, that power fastball was down in mileage and movement.
Whether it’s a lack of feel in his other pitches or poor game planning, his 58% usage of his fastball is baffling, considering how ineffective it’s been for him in recent outings. His slider usage was under 20%, and it’s not looking great for Severino in the early going.
He’s lost an inch of vertical movement on his fastball from 2022, which is deeply concerning, but if the Yankees and Sevy can figure out what’s causing the dip in movement, he could find more success attacking batters with his four-seamer.
It’s also imperative that he uses his slider more often, as he’s not going to find much success avoiding the pitch that once made him one of the best pitchers in the entire sport. The positive is that his velocity in tonight’s start mirrors his velocity in the 2022 season, where he was effective when healthy, which leads me to believe it’s a matter of tweaking his mechanics and finding more consistency in his delivery.
Giving up six runs in 4.2 IP and having an ERA north of six five starts in is certainly far from optimal, but you’re always one good start away from finding it; the clock is going to start ticking for him quickly as he hits free agency following the season, but Severino still has time to figure himself out.
The Yankees will send out Gerrit Cole against Justin Verlander as the two former Astros will duel in the New York spotlight for the first time since Cole was a Pirate and Verlander a Tiger. It’ll be a highly anticipated matchup against two highly-paid aces as the Yankees look to try to sweep Citi Field’s edition of the Subway Series.