After the Yankees won the first two games of this three-game set in the Steel City, the Yankees had Carlos Rodon take the ball with a chance to sweep, and following a nine-strikeout performance against the Boston Red Sox, the hopes were for another encouraging outing. With the offense looking to help back up the first-year Yankee and end the road trip strong, they were stifled by the Pirates, who used a bullpen game to navigate through the Yankee lineup. The Yankees battled until the last inning, but they were unable to come away with the sweep in this 3-2 loss.
While it’s a disappointing loss for the Bronx Bombers, it wasn’t all rain and clouds on this Sunday afternoon game.
Yankees Finally Get the Pitcher They Paid For
Fans will refer to 2023 as a year to forget for Carlos Rodón, but he might tell you differently. Not because he’s viewed the injury-riddled season with an ERA nearing six as a success, but rather instead as a source of motivation for him to return to form in 2024. Written off due to injuries and poor performances, he’s already been chalked up as a disaster signing to many talking heads in the media, but he showed up and showed out in his outing against the Pirates. Rodón struck out a season-high 10 batters across 6.2 innings, allowing three runs and zero walks in the process.
His fastball was electric, generating 13 whiffs (30%) and on the day getting 20 swings-and-misses (33%), his best mark as a Yankee thus far. His slider had a 40% Whiff%, and he was able to incorporate some changeups and curveballs as well effectively, turning in what could be argued as his most impressive and complete start as a Yankee. He pitched into the seventh inning with plus command and a 96.4 MPH fastball, showing that he’s finally healthy on the mound. If he’s able to carry this momentum into 2024, the Yankees could have the pitcher they paid for, which is the Cy Young contender we saw in 2021 and 2022.
He would surrender three runs in the process on a single in the third, a weird opposite field HR by former Yankee Miguel Andujar, and then a ball that took a bad hop off of third base that ended his afternoon in the seventh. In would step rookie right-hander Randy Vásquez would toss 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball, lowering his ERA to 2.56 in 31.2 innings on the season.
While the Yankees only got two runs from their offense, one of them came from rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe, who now has 21 HRs on the season in his rookie campaign. DJ LeMahieu also had an RBI double, and youngsters Austin Wells and Estevan Florial would collect hits as well, with Oswald Peraza working two walks on the day. It was a quiet day for the Yankee offense, who only totaled four hits and three walks against the Pirates’ pitching staff.
The Yankees will travel back to the Bronx and open a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays, as they look to play spoiler and keep one of their AL East rivals out of the October dance. Clarke Schmidt will get the ball and make his 30th start of the season for a standard 7:05 PM EST start at Yankee Stadium.