One enjoyable moment transpired in last night’s disastrous game by the Yankees. Despite losing 11-2 and being out of the game in the first inning, IKF added another position to his utility role. The Yankees’ super-utility man got to pitch an inning so the team could preserve arms, and it was actually one of the better bullpen appearances on the evening. Granted, IKF still hasn’t done much with the bat, he did plenty well enough on the bump.
Jhony Brito only lasted 0.2 innings after giving up a whopping seven runs, and Colten Brewer followed suit, giving up four runs in 3.1 innings. The Yanks were struggling all night, Anthony Rizzo aside, but IKF got to take the mound in the 9th inning. He tossed a few 60 MPH pitches and a 38 MPH eephus during his inning of work. It was probably the happiest he’s looked during his tenure with the Yankees, and it’s hard to blame him.
The Yankees tossed Isiah Kiner-Falefa out there to pitch the 9th:
IKF fired a scoreless ninth inning and neutralized the Twins’ hitters that were absolutely lacing balls left and right. It was a long night for the Yanks, but today’s a new day. It’s been a rough start to the year for Kiner-Falefa at the dish, as in 19 PAs, he has a -54 wRC+ and two singles to show for it. However, on the mound, he now boasts a 0.00 ERA.
IKF has seen his days on the field scattered early on in the season, though for fair reason. Despite last night’s game, the Yankees are playing good baseball to start this season, so IKF has been used sparingly to give guys off days and rest. However, he has been solid at the hot corner and has seen some time in center field as well. I imagine the Yankees are still trying to increase his value for a potential trade down the line, but it is difficult when he’s struggling as much as he is.
It must’ve been nice for him to have the moment yesterday where he could just freely go out on the mound and enjoy the moment. His time with the team has been anything but smooth sailing, but last night he got to make his pitching debut and has now played every position on the field. IKF started off as a catcher, moved around the infield, and now with his time in the outfield, he just needed to cross pitching off the chart. After last night, he’s accomplished the task that very few in the league have, as he’s truly fulfilled the “super utility” role.