After a disappointing road trip when the New York Yankees went 5-4 and a day off yesterday, they entered a 3 game series with the Baltimore Orioles last night. With their race to the postseason in jeopardy, the Yankees should win if not sweep a series against a team that will lose 110 games this season. In-game one, the Yankees sent Nestor Cortes Jr. to the mound to face the Orioles, John Means. In a game that should have been won easily, it went into the eleventh inning with Giancarlo Stanton walking off Aaron Judge for the Yankee 4-3 win.
A struggle to beat the worst team in baseball
Last night’s win over the Orioles in the eleventh inning was a joyful event worth celebrating on the field as the Yankees pulled out a walk-off win in the eleventh inning. But looking deeper into the win, the Yankees should be concerned, very concerned. The New York Yankees aren’t just any team; they are a team that was fighting for a win in the AL East, that is now fighting to hold onto a wild card berth just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox.
The bottom line in all of this is that the Yankees must dominate teams they should win over. The Texas Rangers, and yes, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are on pace to lose 110 games or more this season. The Yankees have to be more consistent and sweep these teams. For most of the season, the Yankees have blown open games or have gone nearly hitless. Those gone hitless games are why the Yankees are in this desperate situation. Last night against the worst team in baseball, they produced only 3 hits off starter John Means.
You may say, yes, but he is the Oriole’s ace, that’s true, but he is an ace with a losing record. In the next four innings off of three relievers, they could only muster up another hit. The Yankees must do better than this if they want to advance in the postseason, or it will be just another Yankee failed season.
Nestor Cortes Jr. continues to be nasty
One of the brightest memories of this season will arise out of hardship; two-time Cy Young Award winner Cory Kluber went on the IL for 3 months suffering from a shoulder strain. Enter Nestor Cortes Jr., a reliever with an ERA of 11.5 in the first two years of his professional career with the Seattle Mariners and the Baltimore Orioles. General manager Brian Cashman saw something in Cortes and signed him to a minor league contract. The rest is history. Learn more here.
When Kluber went onto the IL, the New York Yankees looked for help; it came in the form of Nestor Cortes Jr. The reliever turned starter has been a Godsend for the Yankees. Although his win-loss record may not be impressive, he has kept the Yankees in the game in seven of his eight starts. He has allowed only 13 runs in those eight starts. Last night was one of his best outings, pitching into the sixth inning only giving up one earned run while striking out seven.
Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankee’s powerhouse
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton will fight it out for the New York Yankees named MVP this season, but this piece is not about that; it’s about Stanton’s power. No major league hitter hits the ball harder than Giancarlo Stanton. On October 1, 2017, Stanton had a 122.2 mph single off the Braves’ Max Fried shocking the baseball world with his exit velocity off the bat.
His time with the Yankees may not have been what Yankee fans hoped for, but something that never left him was his power. Through no fault of his own, Stanton has been riddled with injuries during his Yankee career, but this is 2021, a season that he has been mostly healthy and is showing signs of his 2017 NL MVP season. He has hit the Yankee’s eight most powerful hits of the season. He hit a grand slam off the Orioles that exited his bat at 115.1 mph earlier in the season. According to Bryan Hock against the Royals, he duplicated the 2017 feat hitting a ball 122.2 mph for his 2021 record. Stanton owns the record for the three hardest hits in baseball and the eight hardest-hit balls of 2021.
Last night Stanton blasted a 424′ homer in the fourth to left field off of John Means. But the highlight of the night was in the eleventh inning with Aaron Judge on base. Stanton hit his second hardest (121.1 mph) hit of the season, a single driving-in Judge for the Yankees walk-off win. It was the hardest walk-off hit since Statcast kept records in 2015.