Yankees: Good news and bad news from 6-3 win over Pirates

MLB: New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates
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The Yankees had a chance to win the series in the second game of this three-game set against a young Pittsburgh Pirates squad, and they got off to a hot start that they never looked back on in their 6-3 win. Moving to 76-73 on the season, the Yankees’ dwindling playoff odds breathed in a fragment of new life, as the Yankees sit six games back of a playoff spot with 13 games left in the regular season. They’ll likely fail to overcome those odds, but that didn’t stop the Yankees from grabbing their third win in a row.

The Kids Once Again Help Guide the Yankees to Victory

jhony brito, yankees
Apr 13, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jhony Brito (76) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees got their party started at the plate with an RBI double from Austin Wells, who also helped guide the Yankees’ pitching staff through an interesting day, and they weren’t done in the first. Estevan Florial collected two RBIs on a looping single to right field, giving the Yankees a three-run lead in the first, which established the tone for the game. Recently acquired right-hander Luke Weaver got the start for the Bronx Bombers, and after surrendering a two-run HR in the first, settled in nicely for seven strikeouts across four innings, preserving the Yankees’ lead throughout.

Next in line was the impressive Jhony Brito, who lowered his ERA on the season to 4.52 after three perfect innings in relief, striking out three batters in the process. He continues to flash a brilliant sweeping breaking ball that the Pirates offense struggled with, and still had the hard sinking fastball and strong changeup, with his devastating offspeed pitch generating three key whiffs in the outing.

Out of the bullpen, Jhony Brito has tossed 29 innings with a 1.24 ERA, 2.33 FIP, 16.7% K-BB%, and 47.4% GB%. He’s continuing to flash positive signs on the mound out of the bullpen, and while the Yankees could transition him into a starter’s role potentially next year, his bulk relief outings are highly valuable as well. Sam Briend and Matt Blake continue their impeccable run of pumping out high-leverage arms for the Bronx Bombers, lessening the pressure to spend big on their pitching staff.

Ian Hamilton returned from the IL to throw a perfect inning with a strikeout, and Clay Holmes would do the same, and the bullpen as a whole would toss five perfect frames with five strikeouts on just 68 pitches, making quick work of a befuddled Pirates’ offense. Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe would also collect hits, but the stars of the show on offense came in Oswaldo Cabrera and Gleyber Torres.

oswaldo cabrera, yankees
May 29, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera (95) celebrates the out against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Oswaldo Cabrera would hit his fifth HR of the season, continuing a recent stretch of strong play for the 24-year-old after a brutal start to his season. Over his last 36 games, Cabrera has a 131 wRC+ and has raised his season wRC+ to 73. While this year’s been a lost one for the utility man, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa hitting free agency this offseason, Cabrera could make himself the Yankees’ go-to gadget player to provide them defense and base running with the occasional dramatic blast. Cabrera has finally begun lifting the ball again, and it brings hope for his 2024 season.

Gleyber Torres reached base three times in five trips with a single, walk, and his 26th double of the season, raising his wRC+ to 123 across 146 games this season, his second-best wRC+ in a season and the most games he’s played in a year as well. Among qualified hitters, Torres has the 13th-lowest strikeout rate in baseball alongside 25 HRs and a .463 SLG%. He currently has the most HRs by any second baseman in the American League and fourth in wRC+.

Carlos Rodon looks to follow up his nine-strikeout outing against the Boston Red Sox with another strong start against the Pirates, while the Pirates have yet to announce their starter. It’ll give the Yankees an opportunity to get another sweep and carry that momentum into a series in the Bronx against the Toronto Blue Jays as they try to play spoiler and maybe, just maybe, put themselves in arm’s reach of a playoff spot.

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