The New York Yankees based faced off against the Cleveland Guardians on Friday, stealing a 4–1 victory thanks to a tremendous performance from Aaron Judge.
Judge went 2-for-3 on the day, elevating his average to .280, smacking two home runs, bringing his season total to three. The Yankees’ offense was inconsistent altogether, but there were a few individual performances that stood out, notably from Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Donaldson, who earned two walks and a run. Kiner-Falefa smacked a single to left-centerfield in the 4th inning, driving in Donaldson.
However, one of the more exciting performances on the day was Michael King, who struck out eight consecutive batters and allowed one hit over three innings. King currently hosts a 0.84 ERA on the season, tossing 42 pitches and 31 strikes in relief of Jameson Taillon.
After posting a 3.55 ERA last season, King has undoubtedly left his mark early this year, especially with his vast array of pitches. He has a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup at his disposal, even touching 97 mph with his FB.
Michael King's Absurd Movement. pic.twitter.com/RTke9KYMoN
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 23, 2022
With the elevation of Clarke Schmidt in recent days, seeing King dominate at this level is extremely exciting for his progression. The Yankees have been waiting patiently for him to present this type of value, and tossing 42 pitches also indicates he can be a great middle-inning relief pitcher that can carry them to the end of the game.
So far in the season, the Yankees’ bullpen has been tremendous, thanks to massive developments with King and Schmidt.
Interestingly, King has a strikeout per nine rate of over 12 after his masterclass against Cleveland in the first game of a three-game series. It seems as if the young pitcher is beaming with confidence, trusting his selections and getting a fantastic break on his pitches. Mixing in his fastball has also been tantalizing for opposing hitters, who failed miserably to predict King’s sequence.