New York Yankees: Big wigs weigh in on the Yankees dismal start

New York Yankees fans are outraged and frustrated at the Yankees’ dismal start of the 2021 season. Now to respond to fans who threw balls out onto the field during one game and after the loss Sunday in the finale for a team sweep, fans loudly booed the team as it left the field; management is talking to the media.

Aaron Boone on the poor start

Before the sweep of the New York Yankee by the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Aaron Boone gave his usual patient, rosy outlook when facing the media. But after losing five in a row, including that sweep by the Rays, Sunday finally seems to be taking on a different tone, one that says we have to play better.

The fact of the matter is the if your name isn’t Gerrit Cole, you have not pitched dependably; if your a hitter, you, with few exceptions, have not hit consistently or situationally. If you’re a player on the field, you have provided some pretty sloppy play. Sunday’s game was a mess with several mistakes you might not see in Little League play.

Finally, Friday night, after another loss in the opener with the Rays, Aaron Boone called for a team meeting immediately at the games’ end. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has the most RBI’s this season, said that Boone seemed angry. The Yankees only performing starting pitcher Gerrit Cole had more to say about it:

“I haven’t played with Aaron quite as much as some of the other players,” Cole said before Saturday’s Yankees-Rays’ game at Yankee Stadium. “But I’ve certainly been reamed out by a few managers in my day. It was pretty par for the course from what I’ve seen in my experience in the big leagues. I think the players listen to (Boone), and I think it was impactful.”

“I think there’s a handful of different variables, the first one being that baseball is a hard game. A lot of times when everything’s going well it can seem easy. And when everything’s not going well, it can dumbfound you at the same time. I think it is early and we all were looking to settle in.

“A streak like this after two or three months of really solid baseball will get overlooked, but we don’t have that backdrop right now. We’re kind of scuffling here and we’re starting off the season with a less than ideal record. It is what it is, and we’ll take it one game at a time and keep trying to improve.”

After Friday night’s brutal loss and a team meeting, Boone had a night to think about the slow start; although still confident the team will pull out of it; he had this to say on Saturday morning:

“I think [I’m] more pissed off at the way we’ve come out of the gates here, not playing our best,” Boone said Saturday before his team tried to get back on track against the Rays at Yankee Stadium. “But I think we all share that in that room. Look, I concern myself with all things our club. As far as big picture and where I think we’re going, I’m still as confident as ever that we’ll work our way out of this and get rolling here eventually and be the team we expect.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re going through a tough time, but it’s also part of being a major leaguer and part of the 162-game season. Adversity’s going to show up for you. You don’t know when and where, how often, but you gotta be able to deal with it. That’s part of it. I’m confident we will.”

After the reaming out Friday night, although there was some spark in Saturday’s matinee, Sunday’s game was a disaster when the Rays completed their sweep. No matter how hard the team tried, they lost two more games seeing them at the very bottom of the American League.

Cashman on his part this season

“Our record is reflective of our organization,” Cashman said. “Obviously, Aaron’s a piece of that, as am I. But otherwise he’s doing everything he needs to do. … Obviously he spoke to the team after that tough loss (on Friday night). He obviously engaged the group in a strong way. So he’s doing everything he needs to do, and most importantly supporting these guys because we trust our players and we trust their abilities and we trust over the course of time that will, as it normally does, correct itself with a lot more games on the belt. So I think Aaron Boone is doing everything he can do within his power currently.”

Cashman on owner Hal Steinbrenner

“He’s disappointed, clearly,” Cashman said Monday in a Zoom media call. “Hal obviously has got a lot invested in this situation, but he’s also a fan just like we all are. Our expectation is to provide great Yankee baseball for those who come to the games or those who are watching the games, and we haven’t done that here in the beginning of April.”

This writer wants New York Yankee fans to realize, the bottom line in all of this is to remember this is not the end of the world, it’s a long 162 game season, and these first 15 games are just a blip in that season, even the best of teams in their best years have ups and downs in a season. In 1997 the Yankees got off to a 5-10 start and then won 18 of their next 25 games. They did lose the division that year and the Wild card berth. But did win 4 World Series Championships in the surrounding five years.

The unfortunate part of this slow start is that every loss this early in the season can be impactful at the end of the season. The Yankee pitchers have to pitch better and longer. The defense needs to get down to basics and clean up their act. I do not doubt that the Yankees hitters will start hitting, but they must start doing it sooner than later.

The New York Yankees now have a hole to dig themselves out of, and hopefully, that will start today when they face the Atlanta Braves. They have faced the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays an inordinate number of times to start the season. After the short 2 game series with the Braves, they will face the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Detroit Tigers. Hopefully, they can turn themselves around in their search for the elusive New York Yankee 28th World Championship.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the loss to the Rays in the finale

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees lost the series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays as the Rays swept the Yankees and caused the Yankees to lose the last six series with the Rays. The Rays have definitely been the Yankees nemesis over the last few years and have only intensified this season, with the Yankees only taking one game of the first six games of this season against the Rays.

Defense hurts the Yankees

Yesterday at Yankee Stadium, the Rays again took a game away from the New York Yankees, partially due to some abysmal defensive play. Yesterday Gerrit Cole had his fourth start of the season. He pitched well through 109 pitches but was challenged in the game by some pretty sloppy Yankee defense. Gio Urshela overshot first base in what should have been an out. Aaron Hicks had a horrible defensive night bobbling two balls hit to him, and Clint Frazier aiming for second base, nearly caught the first baseman off guard by throwing far beyond second base.

The mistakes only cost the Yankees one run, but in a season when the Yankees aren’t hitting, it was an important factor in the Yankee loss. The New York Yankees are 26th in committing the most errors. They are experiencing almost one error per game. Many of which have caused runners to cross the plate, leading to Yankee losses. Only four teams have an error record worse than the Yankees.

Yesterday Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitched an excellent game, but the Yankees’ poor field play challenged him. He went into the seventh inning of the game, giving up two earned runs while striking out 10 Rays and allowing no walks. Of the several Yankee mistakes, only one bobbled play by Aaron Hicks was called an error. Because he got little run support, he was saddled with his first loss of the season.

New York Yankee hitting still lacking

Yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankee could only get 3 hits against Ray’s pitching. Only getting 3 hits in a game means you are going to lose many games. The Yankees’ poor hitting has dogged them since the beginning of the season in all but a handful of games. Yesterday only DJ Lemahieu and Giancarlo Stanton drove in runs, showing that the situational hitting still isn’t there.

In this series against the Rays, the New York Yankees have only hit .176 across the three games, with the Rays scoring nearly twice as many runs. After Kittredge started the game, the Rays reliever Ryan Yarbrough held the Yankees scoreless for 6 innings. Also troubling is that when the Yankees go into the ninth inning losing, they will almost surely lose the game as they are only hitting .118 in the ninth inning in the first 15 games.

Other than DJ LeMahieu, Kyle Higashioka Brett Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankee hitters are just not hitting, and situational hitting has almost been absent, with many hitters hitting into double plays. Clint Frazier, whose play in left field, is about to lose his everyday play because he also is not hitting. His batting average is now is just .167, and he has gone 67 plate appearances without driving in a run. He has yet to have a run driven in going back to the postseason.

The New York Yankees are now 5-10 on the season, their worst start in 24 years. It’s their worst start since 1997, when they went 5-10 to start the season. However, in 1997 after that bad start, they won 19 or their next 26 games. The way this team is hitting that kind of recovery doesn’t seem likely. The Yankees are at the very bottom of the American League. The Yankees are digging themselves into a hole.

Giancarlo Stanton hits his 3rd home run

Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the few bright spots this season and yesterday hit his 3rd home run in 13 games. He leads the team in RBI’s with 12 on the season. His batting average is below average at just .176, but his plate discipline has been better, and hit situational hitter has been better than most. If he continues to hit home runs at this pace, he could have as many as 40 home runs on the season. He now ties Aaron Judge in home runs. Judge, however, is second on the team in hits with a batting average of .255 after striking out 3 times yesterday.

New York Yankees Recap: Rays sweep the Yankees in the finale

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Today was the finale of a three-game series between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays won the first two games at Yankee Stadium. Today’s game started with the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees and Andrew Kittredge for the Rays. Both had 2-0 records and ERA’s in the 1’s. It was the first start for Kittredge, who had four relief appearances strike out 4 batters. It was Gerrit Cole’s 4th game as a starter; he had 29 strikeouts on the season.

Yandy Diaz led off for the Rays against Gerrit Cole, and Cole struck him out. Austin Meadows hit a sky-high popout to Aaron Hicks. Manuel Margot ground out for an easy 7 pitch inning for Cole. The Yankees came in the bottom, and DJ LeMahieu led off against Kittredge, who struck out DJ. Aaron Judge struck out. Aaron Hicks flew out to left, making it a quick inning for both pitchers. No score.

At the second, Brandon Lowe led off against Cole and ground out Lowe. Mike Brosseau struck out. Joey Wendle got hit on the foot and advanced to first. Yashi Tsutsugo flew out to a diving Judge. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton led off, and he hit his 3rd home run of the season. Gleyber Torres ground out to second base. Gio Urshela struck out. A pitching change brought Ryan Yarbrough to the mound to face Rougie Odor. He hit Odor, and he advanced to first base. Clint Frazier went down on strike, but Stanton’s home run put the Yankees ahead. Yankees 1 Rays 0.

Zunino led off the third against Cole and singled to left. Kevin Kiermaier, just off the IL, hit his first pitch for a single due to a bobbled ball by Hicks in center. Diaz, with two on and no outs, singled, driving in Zunino. Hicks again bobbled the ball. Meadows struck out. Margot flew on another poor throw from Frazier, the overshot second base, scoring Kiermaier. Lowe struck out to end the half, but the Rays took the lead. At the bottom, Higashioka flew out to far left. LeMahieu flew out, and Judge flew out to end the inning. Rays 2 New York Yankees 1.

Brosseau led off the top of the fourth and struck out against Cole. Joey Wendle flew out to Clint Frazier. Tsutsugo also flew out to Frazier for a 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Cole, through four innings, threw 64 pitches with 5 strikeouts and not walking a batter. At the bottom, Aaron Hicks popped out on his first pitch. Stanton struck out swinging. Torres flew out as Yarbrough had put down seven Yankees in a row. Rays 2 Yankees 1.

At the top of the first, Zunino led off by striking off against Cole. Kiermaier struck out for his seventh strikeout of the game. Diaz chopped out to Torres as Cole put down nine straight Rays. Gio Urshela led off the bottom by hitting a stand-up double to right. Odor hit back to the pitcher. Frazier ground out to short, holding Urshela at second. Higashioka walked. LeMahieu, with two on and two outs, hit an RBI single, driving in Urshela without a throw.  Judge with two on went down swinging, leaving two Yankees on base, but the LeMahieu single tied up the game at 2 apiece.

Austin Meadows led off the sixth inning, facing Cole, who had thrown 82 pitches. Meadows struck out for Cole’s eighth strikeout. Margot flew out to Hicks. Lowe struck out for a 1-2-3 inning, 9 strikeouts, and putting down 12 Rays in a row for Cole. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom by popping out to center. Stanton worked a walk. Torres popped out to second. Urshela tapped back to Yarbrough to end the inning. Yankees 2 Rays 2.

Brosseau at the seventh ground out. Wendle singled to center. Tsutsugo got an RBI double driving in Wendle for the Ray’s lead. With 109 pitches, that was the end of Cole’s day; Chad Green replaced him. Zunino popped out behind the plate. Kiermaier flew out to Hicks to end the half. Rougie Odor led off the bottom and struck out. Frazier flew out right to Kiermiaer. Higashioka faced Diego Castillo. He walked. LeMahieu gave it a ride but was called out on the warning track. Rays 3 New York Yankees 2.

Diaz led off the eighth walking. Meadows struck out as Phillips, running for Diaz, was caught stealing on an excellent throw by Higashioka. Margot flew out to Judge to end the half. Aaron Judge led off and struck out at the bottom, going 0-4 in the game. Hicks flew out to center. Stanton struck out to end the inning. Rays 3 Yankees 2.

At the top of the ninth, Lowe popped out to Torres. Chad Green was replaced by Darren O’Day, facing Brosseau, who lined out to Frazier. Wendle, who was becoming the “Yankee Killer,” hit a home run to right field. After the hit, he was 16-33 against Yankee pitching. Tsutsugo stuck out to end the Rays half, but the Rays picked up an insurance run. With last licks on the line for the Yankees, Gleyber Torres came to the plate and struck out. Gio Urshela rolled out to Brosseau. Odor lined out to end the game as the Rays swept the Yankees.

The final score was 4-2 as the Rays swept the New York Yankees. The winning pitcher was Jeffery Springs, and the loser was Gerrit Cole. The Yankees could only muster up three hits in the game. The loss is the Yankees’ sixth series loss against the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

New York Yankees Report: Pitching in trouble, best to worst

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees lost another game last night and now sit at the bottom of the AL East. Why? The Yankee starting pitching failed again, giving up more runs than the Yankees could recover from. Another big concern for the Yankees is that the hitting hasn’t been there. But the bottom line is that the starting rotation has to be able to keep the Yankees in the game, and they just have not been able to do that. At the start of the season, the Yankees were looking for high rewards from their new starting rotation; those rewards are yet to be realized.

Gerrit Cole:

Gerrit Cole, not being as dominant compared to his 2019 season with the Houston Astros, has been our best pitcher and is likely to get even better as his history has shown. In this young season, he is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA and striking out an amazing 29 opposition hitters in 3 games so far. Cole also has pitched notably better when being caught by Kyle Higashioka. Last season when being caught by Gary Sanchez, he had a 3.91 ERA. When “Higgy” became his personal catcher late in the season, his ERA was 1.10. That seems to be holding so far this season as well. Manager Aaron Boone although not committing to the personal catcher name, has said that Kyle will be catching many of Cole’s games.

Jordan Montgomery:

Some have complained about Montgomery’s performance, but the fact is that he is our second-best pitcher this season. He has a 1-0 record with an ERA of 3.27. If he can end the season with a 3.27 ERA, the New York Yankees will be more than happy. However, the Yankees would like to see him go deeper into games lessening the bullpen’s use. If he can stretch to seven innings a game, that would be ideal.

Corey Kluber:

The New York Yankees took the risk in the offseason of paying Corey Kluber $11 million to pitch a year for the Yankees after only pitching one inning last season for the Texas Rangers. Kluber also missed much of the 2019 season after being hit by a pitch. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner, but as of today’s start against the Blue Jay’s, he will bring his 5.68 ERA with him. Kluber had a mediocre start against the Blue Jays when he last faced them on April 3rd. In his start against the Baltimore Orioles, he was just plain bad. One has seldom seen the concentration that Kluber shows; it’s hard to believe that he can’t improve. Today will allow him to do so.

Jameson Taillon:

The New York Yankees obtained Jameson Taillon via the trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was coming back from his second Tommy John surgery. He made delivery adjustments to ease up on his elbow with the hope of becoming an even better pitcher. He has yet to show that. His ERA sits at 7.56 in two poor starts, only going 4 innings a game and putting unneeded stress on an overworked bullpen. Last night he caved in the fourth inning and put the game out of the Yankees’ reach.

Domingo German:

This writer doesn’t know what to make of Domingo German. In spring training, he was the Yankee’s best starting pitcher. He pitched for four starts with an ERA of 1.38 striking out 11.8 hitters per nine innings, allowing only one home run. Now that the regular season is here, he is an entirely different pitcher. In two games, he only went seven total innings giving up seven runs with 4 home runs. It may just be that he has to shake off the rust from not pitching for a year and a half with German. With his spring training record and his 2019 season when he went 18-4, it’s hard to believe he won’t improve.

It’s only the beginning of a 162 game season, and there is plenty of time for these pitchers to improve, but the fact that the Yankees sit at the bottom of the AL East is certainly concerning. Manager Aaron Boone in his usual cheery outlook, admits that pitching has to get “popping” soon. If Kluber, Taillon, and German don’t improve, the Yankees may have to dig into their depth early on and try out Jonathan Loaisiga, who has been near perfect, Micheal King, Deivi Garcia, or the soon returning Clarke Schmidt.

 

Yankees: Aaron Boone plans on using Cole and Higashioka ‘a lot’

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka, gerrit cole

The Yankees took down the Blue Jays in the series opener 3-1. A very good outing from Cole and the bullpen gave the Yankees the edge on Monday night. It was the second time we saw the pairing of Cole and Higashioka this season. This is something that has become more common since the end of last season. As it turns out, Higashioka getting the start ended up being the difference.

Higashioka was batting eighth in his second start of the year. He’s always been a catcher more known for his defense as opposed to his offense, but his bat showed up Monday night. He was responsible for all three runs that were batted in. His two-home run and three RBI effort was a much-needed spark for New York offensively. It was another game in which the offense couldn’t string any hits together. This made Higashioka’s presence in the lineup vital for the Yankees. 

Will the pair be used more often?

Aaron Boone was asked after the game about the plan regarding Cole and Higashioka moving forward. A duo that Yankee fans have seen a lot of in Cole’s recent starts. He responded by saying that Higashioka “is going to catch [Cole] a lot.” However, he also said that he still plans to match up Sanchez and Cole as well. A pair that we have seen a lot of in Cole’s time with New York. 

In starts with Sanchez catching, Cole’s line is: 69.1 IP, 53 H, 24 ER, 19 BB, 91 SO, with 14 home runs allowed.

In starts with Higashioka behind the dish, Cole’s line is: 38.1 IP, 25 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 59 SO, with 5 home runs allowed.

Throughout the year, expect Boone to mix things up. He will most likely try and use Higashioka more going forward, but it seems like Sanchez will get his fair share as well. It will be something fans talk about throughout the season. 

Yankees: Everything clicked for the Cole – Higashioka battery

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

After a successful showing last season, the Gerrit Cole – Kyle Higashioka battery paid huge dividends to the New York Yankees once again on Monday, as the two players were the main reason the team pulled out a narrow 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone doesn’t want to commit to Higgy as Cole’s personal catcher, but he did say the pairing will work together a lot. And it’s hard not to see future pairings down the road, as after a rocky beginning, Cole retired the final 15 Blue Jays he faced en route to the victory.

Higashioka, the Yankees’ backup catcher behind Gary Sanchez, hit two homers and was basically the entire offense last night.

“I think he’s just a great pitcher,” Higashioka told MLB.com. “Every time he goes out there, he mentally and physically prepares 100 percent, so you know you’re getting his best effort no matter what. That makes our job as catchers easy.”

The Yankees’ highly successful tandem

Cole has pitched nine games (all starts, of course) to Higashioka in his career. In those contests, the Yankees’ ace has a 1.52 ERA, and that includes playoffs.

“He’s going to catch him a lot,” Boone said of Higashioka. “I like it because it usually lines up with wanting to give Gary a day. There’s going to be days where Gary catches him, but as the schedule unfolds, a lot of times it’s going to work out that it makes sense to get Higgy in there.”

Cole pitched six frames and allowed only one run and a walk, with eight strikeouts. “They were on it tonight, so I wasn’t afforded the ability to take any pitches off,” said Cole, who threw 42 pitches in the first two innings. “It was a bit of a tightrope walk early. You just try to keep the blinders on and focus on what we’re doing, and try to keep improving throughout the game.”

As for Higgy, the Yankees’ skipper was impressed with his power display.

“We know about his power,” Boone said. “He demonstrated that last year. I thought he was great behind the plate tonight, and obviously we needed every bit of it.”

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Yankees win over the Jays

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Last night, the New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays for the second set of the young season. The Jays won two of the three-game set in the first meeting. Last night the Yankees turned the tables on the Jays, winning the game 3-1. The game was held in Dunedin, Florida, at TD Stadium because the Jays can not yet play at Roger’s Center in Toronto.

Gerrit Cole was mostly dominant

Last night Gerrit Cole started for the New York Yankees, and Robbie Ray started for the Jays. It was Ray’s Blue Jay debut as he was on the IL at the beginning of the season due to falling down a flight of stairs, missing two starts. Cole first faced Marcus Semien, who popped out to catcher Higashioka, Bo Bichette singled. Vlad Guerrero Jr. singled, moving Bichette to third with one out. Randal Grichuk flew out, but Bichette scored for the Jays lead. Cavan Biggio struck out swinging to end the half, but the Jays put up a run. Cole looked a bit shaky in the first but became dominant in the rest of the game.

The game was the second game in a row that backup catcher Kyle Higashioka caught Cole. He won both games with Kyle catching. In his first game, he had a no-decision being caught by Gary Sanchez. This is important because the duo of Cole and “Higgy” produced an ERA last season of 1.10. When being caught by Sanchez, his ERA was 3.91.

Higashioka became Cole’s personal catcher late in the season and in the postseason with excellent results. But at the start of spring training, manager Aaron Boone made it clear that that would no longer be the case. Knowing the comfort zone of the Cole/Higgy duo made this writer scratch his head.

With a small but important sample, that relationship this season seems to be taking hold. In Cole’s first game of the season, he pitched to a 3.38 ERA. In the last two games caught by Higashioka, he has brought his ERA down to 1.47, giving up no home runs while striking out 21 hitters over 13 innings.

The writing seems to be on the wall, but in a post-game interview last night, when asked if he would stick with Higashioka, Boone said Sanchez would catch Cole, but he was sure Higashioka would get plenty of starts. If the Yankees hope to win the division, it seems they should limit Sanchez’s catching duties when Cole is on the mound. It seems to this writer that it is a no-brainer.

On a side note that is still prominent, Higashioka showed his power behind the plate last night, hitting 2 home runs, tieing for the most home runs of any Yankee. He now has a batting average of .571, the highest of any Yankee with 7 plate appearances. He has a ridiculously high OPS of 2.196.

Yankee bullpen remains stellar

New York Yankees bullpen was again on fire last night. Starter Gerrit Cole went six innings before being replaced by the bullpen. The combination of Justin Wilson, Darren O’Day, and Aroldis Chapman combined with Cole to quiet the Blue Jays lineup, putting down 20 Jays in a row for the Yankee win.

Yankee hitters still need a spark

The New York Yankees won the game last night 3-1 over the Blue Jays, but the Yankee hitting still wasn’t as active as it should be. If it weren’t for the Yankee’s excellent pitching, they probably would have lost the game, they only garnered up 4 hits through nine innings, and none of those hits came from the first 6 in the lineup.

All of the run production came from the bottom 3 hitters in the lineup. Kyle Higashioka who won the game for the Yankees, and Rougned Odor, for the second night in a row, and Mike Tauchman. Odor seems to be adding a spark to the Yankee lineup. In his first Yankee appearance, he won the game for the Yankees. Last night, he got a hit in the game and has not had a Yankee strikeout.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Higashioka homers twice, pitching stellar in Yankee win

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Last night the New York Yankees faced the Toronto Blue Jays for the fourth time this season. The game was at TD Stadium in Dunedin, Florida, the temporary home of the Blue Jays, until they can get back into Roger’s Center in Toronto. Ace Gerrit Cole started for the Yankees and Robbie Ray for the Jays. Cole is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA on the season. Ray is made his Jay’s debut after falling down stairs and starting the season on the IL. There were 1,500 fans in the stands; it looked like much more because many seats were filled with fan cutouts. The Yankees won the game 3-1.

Robbie Ray took to the mound in the first facing DJ LeMahieu, who struck out. Giancarlo Stanton, in the unusual number two spot, ground out to first base. Aaron Judge flew out to right field, ending the half. At the bottom, Marcus Semien popped out to catcher Higashioka, Bo Bichette singled. Vlad Guerrero Jr. singles moving Bichette to third with one out. Randal Grichuk flew out, but Bichette scored for the Jays lead. Cavan Biggio struck out swinging to end the have, but the Jays put up a run. Jays 1, Yankees 0.

Gleyber Torres led off the second against Robbie Ray, and he walked. Gio Urshela hit into a double play. Clint Frazier walked. Rougned Odor ground up the middle to end the half. Lourds Gurriel Jr. led off the bottom, walking. Rowdy Tellez singled. Alejandro Kirk was called out of strikes. Josh Palacios struck out, as did Marcus Semien getting Cole out of the inning. Jays 1 Yankees 0.

To start the third, Kyle Higashioka flew out. Mike Tauchman made the second out, flying out to center. DJ LeMahieu struck out for the fast half for Ray. Bo Bichette lead of the bottom flying out to Tauchman. Guerrero Jr., he struck out. Grichuk also flew out to Tauchman, who was in for Aaron Hicks in center to end the inning.

At the top of the fourth, Giancarlo Stanton ground out. Aaron Judge walked. Gleyber Torres flew way out to right, and Gio Urshela ground out to end the half. The New York Yankees had failed to get a hit off Ray. Baggio led off the bottom of the fourth by flying out to Tauchman. Gurriel Jr. ground out, and Tellez lined out to left, making for Cole’s quick inning. Jays 1 Yankees. 0.

Clint Frazier led off the fifth by striking out. Odor got the Yankees’ first hit of the night down the right-field line. Kyle Higashioka hit a home run over the center-field stands driving in two runs and giving the New York Yankee the 2 run lead in the game. Mike Tauchman followed with the third straight hit off Ray for a single. LeMahieu hit into a double play to end the inning, but the Yankees took the 2 run lead off Higashioka’s home run. Kirk ground out on a bullet to Urshela. Palacios went down on strikes. Semien flew out to Clint Frazier in left for a 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Rafael Dolis replaced Robbie Ray in the sixth, and he struck out Giancarlo Stanton. Aaron Judge walked, Gleyber Torres hit into a double play, leaving Judge on base. Cole took to the mound in the sixth, having thrown 80 pitches. Bichette struck out swinging. Guerrero Jr. ground out, and Grichuk struck out for another 1-2-3 inning for Cole. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Urshela ground out to start the seventh, with Frazier following with another ground out. The Jays then had a pitching change bringing in Borucki. Odor grounded out to end the half. Cavan Biggio led off the bottom with Justin Wilson pitching. Cole had put down the last 15 Jays in a row. Biggio flew out to Gardner that was replacing Frazier in left field. Gurriel Jr. flew out to Tauchman, and Tellez ground out as the Yankee bullpen continued to be dominant. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Kyle Higashioka started off the eighth inning by getting his second home run of a night, a long one to centerfield. Tauchman struck out, and the Jays had another pitching change to Thronton. Lemahieu struck out for the third time, and Stanton ground out to third. At the bottom, Darren O’Day took over for Wilson. Panik struck out. Palacios flew out to Gardner, who didn’t have to move to make the catch. Semien got a two-out single to left field. Bichette walked. Guerrero Jr. struck out to get the job done for O’Day.

At the top of the ninth inning, Aaron Judge ground out to third base. Gleyber Torres struck out. Gio Urshela walked. They had a pitching change bringing in  Tim Mayza to face Gardner. Urshela stole second. Gardy stuck out. Aroldis Chapman came in at the bottom to close it out for the New York Yankees. Grichuk doubled; Tauchman laid out his body but couldn’t catch it. Biggio flew out to Gardner. Gurriel Jr. struck out. Tellez struck out, ending the game with the Yankee’s 3-1 win. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, and the loser was Robbie Ray, and the save went to Chapman.

Yankees: Breaking down Gerrit Cole’s masterful pitching performance against the Orioles

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees took their record above .500 for the first time in the young 2021 MLB season, as they beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 behind a truly masterful performance by their pitching ace, Gerrit Cole.

Cole led the Yankees to the victory with seven scoreless innings in which he struck out 13 hitters. He allowed just four hits and no walks en route to the win.

“I certainly think I’m more comfortable,” Cole told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “It’s been a lot easier than inserting yourself into a new team in the environment that we had last year. It’s a more normal setting, more normal season, people in the stands. So therefore, I do feel a little more comfortable, for sure.”

The Yankees’ star pitcher didn’t even need 100 pitches to cover his seven frames, as he used just 97. Of that total, a whopping 71 were strikes. He touched 100.5 mph with his four-seam fastball, perhaps his biggest weapon.

His Yankees’ teammates were impressed

His Yankees’ teammate Aaron Judge had praise for Cole. “He was impressive. He attacked from the first inning,” the outfielder said. “That’s what I love to see out of our ace, going out there attacking guys, attacking hitters — racking up about 13 K’s. He could have had a lot more, I think, too. It’s great to see out of his second start.”

In total, Cole used 40 fastballs, 23 sliders, 21 curveballs, and 14 changeups, and generated an awfully impressive 27 swings and misses.

He was so dominant that, at a time in which the theory states that rival hitters start to figure pitchers out (the third time through the lineup) he wasn’t even touched: the Yankees’ frontline starter retired the last 12 batters he faced.

“It’s pretty fun when he’s getting big strikeouts to end [the] inning, getting fired up,” said catcher Kyle Higashioka. “When we punch a guy out to end the inning and the fans go wild, I definitely missed that.”

Yankees have found the not so secret catalyst behind Gerrit Cole’s dominance

yankees, gerrit cole

When looking at New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole objectively, he is the best pitcher on the team and arguably in baseball. However, don’t underestimate the effects a catcher can have on a pitcher, as we saw on Opening Day with Gary Sanchez behind the plate. It took only one contest for skipper Aaron Boone to realize that Sanchez isn’t the right man behind the plate for Cole, who prefers Kyle Higashioka, a more defensive-minded option.

Unfortunately for Sanchez, it took him just one start with the Yankees’ top starter before losing his job for at least one day a week. In 2020, Sanchez’s offensive struggles hurt him significantly, but his defense was also inadequate.

His poor performance forced management’s hand, as Kyle took over in the postseason and displayed solid attributes and consistency. He’s not the slugger that Gary is, but he makes decent contact and has a bit more upside left to un-tap.

With what clearly seems like a match made in heaven with Cole and Higashioka, Boone wasn’t convinced that Sanchez should lose his opportunity catching the most talented pitcher on the roster.

“I’ll pair them up I’m sure a fair amount,” Boone said of Cole and Higashioka. “But I also felt like, especially going back to Opening Day, I felt like Gary and Gerrit were really good together. I’m comfortable with both guys.”

Let’s reflect on Opening Day for the Yankees, when Cole allowed five hits and two runs over 5.1 innings. For most pitchers, this would look like a great performance, but for Cole, his second outing of the year is what we expect.
On Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles, Gerrit lasted 7.0 innings, not even breaking the 100 pitch mark. He allowed four hits and zero runs, striking out 13 batters in an absolutely dominant performance with his favorite catcher behind the plate in Higashioka.
Boone did state the pairing “have a good thing going, a ying and a yang.”
If I were Boone, I wouldn’t mess with that combination since Cole clearly seems to prefer the alternative to Sanchez. Ultimately, the Yankees shouldn’t hold any of their players back, especially one that’s capable of automatically winning them a game with incredible pitching performances.