New York Yankees News: Red Sox Yankee game postponed due to Covid protocols

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees Red Sox game has been postponed due to several Yankees players going on the Covid list and protocols. The Yankees were the first team in baseball to get 85% of its players vaccinated for the coronavirus, but the virus is unrelenting and has again raised its ugly head. The postponement was first reported the Buster Olney of ESPN.

Eight Yankees are under Covid protocols, including right-hand hitter Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and third baseman Gio Urshela. Previously Nestor Cortes Jr. was reportedly also affected by the virus. Few details are immediately available, but as more information becomes known, you will find it here on EmpireSportsMedia.com.

Judge who attended the All-Star game came in contact with Gerrit cole and Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman. Out of an abundance of caution, the Red Sox are also being tested. The entire Red Sox Yankee serious may be in jeopardy.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Runners in scoring position lose game one to the Royals

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Tonight at the Stadium in the Bronx, the New York Yankees met up with the Kansas City Royals for game one of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole led off against the Kansas City Royals’ Brady Singer. Showers near the game had passed, and the game started on time but with a slightly wet outfield. The Yankees lost the game in the eighth inning 6-5.

Whit Merrifield led off against Cole in the first and ground out to third base. Carlos Santana walked. Salvatore Perez singled, getting Santana at second. Ryan O’hearn lined out to left field to end the half. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu grounded out to second. Judge lined to second. On his first at-bat returning from the IL, Luke Voit hit the first pitch he saw for a solo homer (423′) to left field. Stanton walked. Gio Urshela slow singled to short. A passed ball lets the runners advance. Gleyber Torres walked the bases full. Clint Frazier ground out to strand 3 Yankees. No score. Singer was checked for ‘sticky’ stuff when he left the mound.

At the top of the second inning, Jorge Soler led off against Cole and grounded to third for the first out. Kevin Gutierrez ground out to second. Hunter Dozier struck out on a 97 mph fastball to end the half. Kyle Higashioka led off the bottom by homering to left field for the two-run lead for the Yankees. Brett Gardner lined out to left. LeMahieu singled to center. Aaron Judge singled with LeMahieu stopping at second base. Luke Voit, who hit a homer in the first, flew out to right. Stanton, with two on and two outs, struck out, leaving another two men on base. New York Yankees 2 Kansas City Royals 0.

Michael Taylor led off the third inning by singling to short center. Nicky Lopez singled, moving Taylor to third base. Merrifield hitting in his 378th straight game, with men on the corners and no outs, ground out, but Taylor scored on the play. Santana struck out. Perez, with a man still on second and two outs, popped out to Gardner in second. Gerrit Cole was checked for substances as he left the mound. At the bottom Urshela ground out to short. Torres went down swinging. Frazier struck out for a fast inning for Singer. Yankees 2 Royals 1.

The top of the fourth was led off by O’Hearn, who tied up the game with a homer to centerfield. Soler ground out to LeMahieu. Gutierrez struck out. Dozier flew out to Garnder. The bottom was led off by Higashioka, who homered in the second; he struck out looking for Singers’ third strikeout in a row. Gardner struck out for Singers’ fourth in a row. LeMahieu walked. Aaron Judge walked, bringing up Luke Voit walked and that was the end of the night for Singer. Stanton faced the new pitcher Kris Bubic with the bases loaded and two outs; he ground out to strand three Yankees on base. Yankees 2 Royals 2.

Taylor started the fifth by lining out to LeMahieu. Lopez flew out to Frazier in left. Merrifield hit directly back to Cole for the final out. Urshela led off the bottom by flying out to Soler in right. Torres swung and missed for a strikeout. Frazier also struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Bubic. Yankees 2 Royals 2.

The top of the sixth was led off by Stanton, who ground out to Torres. Perez struck out swinging. O’Hearn flew out to Frazier in left. Cole was checked by umpires for the second time, leaving the mound. The bottom was led off by Higashioka, who flew out to left. Gardner, who is in a big-time slump, ground out to first. LeMahieu rolled out to second to end the scoreless inning. The game tied at 2.

Soler led off the seventh inning and walked. Jerrod Dyson pinch-running. Gutierrez went down looking. Dozier ground out to Voit, Dyson went to second. Taylor reached on a bad call. Lopez struck out on a 100 mph fastball. In the bottom, Judge flew out. Luke Voit appeared to hit a home run to left, and upon a review, it was called a triple due to fan interference. Wade pinch ran for Voit. Stanton at the plate, the ball gets away from the catcher on a wild pitch, and Wade scored for the Yankees lead. Stanton walked. Urshela walked on a hit by a pitch to his shin. Torres, in a slump of late, continued the slump with a strikeout. Frazier, also in a big-time slump, chopped out to short. New York Yankees 3 Royals 2.

On to the eighth Merrifield against the new Yankee pitcher, Jonathan Loaisiga singled. Santana doubled, moving Merrifield to third. Perez struck out. O’Hearn singled on a mishandled ball by Lemahie, and Merrifield scored to tie up the game. Dyson singled as Santana came home for the Royals lead. Gutierrez struck out. Dozier singled in front of Garnder, and O’Hearn scored. Taylor singled up the center as Dyson scored. Lopez, against the new pitcher Lucas Luetge, ground out to second. Kansas City Royals 6 New York Yankees 3.

Gary Sanchez led off pinch-hitting for Higashioka the bottom of the eighth by grounding out. Gardner walked. LeMahieu homered driving in Gardner for the one-run game. Scott Barlow faced Aaron Judge, who doubled off the left-field wall. Odor pinch-hitting for Wade popped out to Santana for the second out. Stanton ground out to third, but the Yankees made it a one-run game. Royals 6 Yankees 5.

At the top of the ninth Luetge, still on the mound, Merrifield lined to Urshela for out number one. Santana struck out for out number two. Perez popped out to Luetge for the final out. With last licks for the New York Yankees, Gio Urshela led off the bottom of the ninth against Greg Holland and chopped out to center for a single. Miguel Andujar pinch ran for Urshela. Gleyber Torres struck out for the fourth time on the night, but Andujar moved to score position. Frazier struck out. Gary Sanchez was intentionally walked. Brett Gardner popped out to lose the game.

The final score was the Kansas City Royals 6 and the New York Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Jake Brentz, and the loser was Jonathan Loaisiga; Greg Holland got the save.

New York Yankees: Takeaways from the Yankees’ walk-off win

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

After losing game one, the New York Yankees had an exciting pitching duel yesterday between starting pitchers combined for five Cy Young awards. In the end, they both pitched too well to be involved in the decision. The Yankees won the rain-delayed game 4-3. The name of the game was pitching, as both teams had trouble scoring runs.

An epic pitching duel

After a nearly two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, 2 times Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber took to the mound for the New York Yankees. Previous to being hired by the Yankees, the star pitcher hadn’t pitched for almost two years after being hit by a pitch while with the Cleveland Indians and injuring his shoulder after pitching just one inning for the Texas Rangers. Since his first start with the Yankees, he has been shaking off the rust and getting closer to his winning form. In his last outing against the Detroit Tigers, he went 8 innings allowing no runs and just two hits.

Yesterday, he wasn’t quite that good, pitching 5.2 innings allowing 2 earned runs. For the second game in a row, he threw over 100 pitches, striking out 6 Nationals. He walked 3 batters. He didn’t have his best stuff in a nutshell, and his changeup just wasn’t as sharp. But like any good pitcher, he kept the Yankees in the game.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was truly amazing. The future Hall of Famer pitched into the eighth inning, only allowing a home run to Yankee catcher Kyle Higashioka while striking out 14 Yankees. He only allowed 2 Yankee hits in the game. He was coming off a complete-game win against the Miami Marlins on Sunday. After that win, he had time to go to the hospital and witness the birth of his son Derek.

Yankees hitters struggled, but Gleyber Torres came through in the eleventh inning

Up against one of the best pitchers in baseball, the oft-time struggling Yankee hitters continued to struggle. So far this season, the Yankee hitters have been hot or cold, mostly cold.  Off of Scherzer, they could only muster up two hits in nearly eight innings. Catcher Kyle Higashioka broke out of his mini-slump by hitting the Yankees’ only home run. Miguel Andujar, who was brought up from Scranton to replace Gio Urshela, has gone 0 for 6 in the Nats series.

The New York Yankees played without Gio Urshela, who is not on the IL but is day to day recovering from a knee injury suffered in the last game of the Astros series and igniting hitter Rougned Odor. Most all the hitters struggled against Nationals pitching. The starting three, LeMahieu, Stanton, and Judge, went 3 for 12 at the plate. One hitter, Gleyber Torres, was the star of the game. His single in the ninth inning tied the game at 3 and pushed it into extra innings. At the bottom of the eleventh, with DJ LeMahieu as the ghost runner, Stanton took to the plate, and with Tanner Rainy on the mound, Stanton walked. Judge walked to load the bases with no outs. Gleyber Torres had a 50′ infield single to get the walk-off win.

This was the first walk-off win for the Yankees this season. They are now one game over .500. For complete coverage of the win go here.

Today’s game:

Today at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the Yankees will again face the Washington Nationals in the final rubber game of the 3 game set. Today’s game is the most difficult to predict the outcome; much has to do with which Domingo German shows up. German (2-2 ERA 4.32) will face the Nationals’ Joe Ross (2-2 ERA 4.39). Between his 2 starts against the Orioles and Cleveland, German went 12 innings scoreless, but in his last outing, he went only five innings giving up three earned runs; in a game, the Yankees eventually won over the Astros.

Joe Ross has never faced the New York Yankees before and has not experienced Yankee Stadium and its fans. He is 3-2 in interleague games in his career. So far this season, the Nationals had lost 3 of his 5 starts, including his last start against the Atlanta Braves, when he went 5.1 innings giving up 2 earned runs while striking out 3 and walking 2 Braves. The Sunday matinee will be televised on the YES Network, MASN, and MLB out of market.

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Kluber’s brilliance wins a pitcher’s duel for the sweep

The New York Yankees met the Detroit Tigers today for the finale of the series, hoping for a sweep of the Tigers. Today Corey Kluber was on the mound for the Yankees and Jose Urena for the Tigers. The Yankees have scored 16 runs in the first two games and the Tigers only 4. The Yankees have won 7 of their last 10 games, the pitching has been there, and the hitting has picked up dramatically.

In the first inning, Robbie Grossman faced Corey Kluber, and he ground out to first. Jeimer Candelario struck out, and Miguel Cabrera ground out to third for a 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. At the bottom of the first, DJ LeMahieu faced Jose Urena, and he ground out to short. Giancarlo Stanton had a line drive single to short. Aaron Judge hit a long fly out to center. Rougie Odor ground out to second to end the scoreless inning.

At the top of the second, Jonathan Schoop led off by striking out. Harold Castro struck out swinging. Niko Goodrum struck out also for a strikeout of the side. Gio Urshela played shortstop today; he singled on a slow roller. Aaron Hicks walked, and Urshela moved to second on a loose ball. Mike Ford hit a long fly out to moving Urshela to third base. Kyle Higashioka lined a double down the left-field line scoring Urshela and moving Hicks to third. Brett Gardner sac flew to the right-field wall scoring Hicks. LeMahieu struck out. New York Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Wilson Ramos led off the third inning with a walk. Akil Baddoo broke his bat, then got Kluber his 5th strikeout. JaCoby Jones singled to no man’s land in center, moving Ramos to second. Grossman was getting a changeup, the ball got loose from Higgy, and the runners moved up. Grossman struck out for Kluber’s sixth strikeout. Candelario made it seven strikeouts. Stanton led off the bottom, flying out to shallow center. Judge chopped out to third base. Rougie Odor ground out to end the inning. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

At the bottom, one short of Babe Ruth’s record of 2,873 hits, Miguel Cabrera, but he struck out. Schoop popped out to third. Castro ground back to Kluber for another 3 up 3 down inning. Urshela led off the bottom, grounding out to short. Hicks ground out to first. Ford ground out to third as the Yankees went down in order. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Goodrum led off the fifth and ground to second. Ramos ground out to Odor. Baddoo swing and a miss for Kluber’s ninth strikeout. At the bottom, Higashioka struck out. Gardner ground out. LeMahieu ground out for a very fast inning for both pitchers. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Starting the sixth inning with Kluber still on the mound with 72 pitches, Jones ground out. Grosman lined out sharply to Odor. Candelario singled for the second Tiger hit. Cabrera chopped to third, ending the half. At the bottom, Stanton led off striking out swinging. Judge struck out. Odor full out as the Yankees went down 13 in a row. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

Schoop led off the top of the seventh inning by grounding out. Castro ground out to Urshela. Goodrum ground out for another 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. Urshela struck out at the bottom. Hicks went down looking. Mike Ford went down looking. Urena had put down 16 in a row for the Tigers. New York Yankees 2 Tigers in what had become a pitchers duel.

The eighth inning, with Kluber still on the mound, Ramos ground out. Baddoo popped out to foul territory in right. Jones struck out for Kluber’s 10th strikeout in a brilliant outing.  Higashioka led off the bottom, striking out. Gardner struck out. LeMahieu ground out. Yankees 2 Tigers 0.

With the last licks on the line for the Tigers at the top of the ninth, Robbie Grossman faced the New York Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman. He flew out to Hicks. Candelario struck out Miguel Cabrera struck out for the final out of the game. The final score was the New York Yankees 2 and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees got the sweep of the Tigers. The winning pitcher was Corey Kluber, and the loser was Jose Urena, with the save going to Aroldis Chapman.

 

New York Yankees: Is Gary Sanchez’s future in limbo yet again?

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

It’s mid-2020, and the New York Yankee news is that Gary Sanchez may be traded, and that could be the same news from 2018, and now it is again becoming scuttlebutt this season yet again. This brings me to the TV series The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker. His constant search was for a serial killer named “Red John” who killed the Mentalist’s wife and child. The Killer’s signature was leaving a smiley face in blood on the wall of those he killed. When Baker saw that signature, he knew what was going on and who did it. The Yankees conversely see the writing on the wall with Gary Sanchez and chose to say, don’t worry, we have faith in him getting better.

The problem with all of this is that it is an agonizingly old story. Where does it end? Although Sanchez started the season with a weak spark, his batting average has constantly been slipping with each game. He is now down to an average of .182 after hitting .143 for all of last season. Add to that; he seems zapped of his power; 8 Yankee players have as many or more home runs.  Along with his catching failings, just like last season, he seems lost at the plate. He can’t hit fastballs, and changeups mystify him. When is it time to move on?

The irony in all of this is that his backup catcher is proving with each game that he is the better catcher, the better framer, the better game caller, and now the better hitter by far. It could be that the New York Yankees are getting the message earlier this season than last. Sanchez has already been benched in six of 23 games. That is twice as much as should reasonably be expected.

As a writer, I have oft been criticized for being so critical of Gary Sanchez. I can’t argue that, but at the same time, no one has wanted him to succeed more than I did and do, but there is a limit in waiting for unrealized potential to be realized. In the four years since 2018, he has a combined batting average of just .186.

Possibly trading away Sanchez could be the answer for both the New York Yankees and Sanchez himself. He may need a change of venue and a change in coaches to open up his potential. The only intriguing trade scenario I see is with the Colorado Rockies. That trade could involve the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres and the Rockies’ Trevor Story solving two problems for the Yankees. That would leave a hole at backup catcher. For this to happen, Higashioka would be promoted to full-time catcher, and the Yankees could choose to bring up Donny Sands or even the power-hitting catcher Josh Breaux.

It’s difficult to ignore the published results that Yankee ace Gerrit Cole had with Kyle Higashioka that continues to this day. After slow starts, both Corey Kluber and Domino German got their first wins of the season with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate. Whether they will publicly admit it or not, the new Yankees pitching staff seems to be more comfortable pitching to Higgy. It’s time for the Yankee front office to finally admit that Gary Sanchez in his fourth lackluster year may not be that catcher of the future they envisioned.

 

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone says Kyle Higashioka has earned more playing time

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees entered the season with two really good catchers: one, Gary Sanchez, was the starter ever since he broke in with the major league team, but had a lousy season in 2020 that cost him the starting gig for the playoffs.

The other one, Kyle Higashioka, was the one who replaced Sanchez come postseason time last year, but entered the 2021 campaign in a reserve role. The tables have turned by this point, since Sanchez is once again struggling, with a .182/.308/.309 line and two homers, while Higgy has turned into quite the offensive weapon, slashing .320/.414/.880 and four dingers.

Do you care to guess who is the Yankees’ leader in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in Fangraphs’ version? Yup, Kyle Higashioka paces all position players in the club with 0.8 after Tuesday’s games.

“He’s just earned more playing time — simple as that,” Boone said of Higashioka. “He’s done a great job. His improvements over the last couple of years on both sides of the ball have been strong. I think the way he’s played here at the onset of the season have earned him some more opportunities.”

The Yankees are trusting Higashioka’s great start

Higgy was one of the most valuable Yankees on Tuesday night, too, going 2-for-4 with a home run in the Bombers’ 5-1 victory in Camden Yards.

For Higashioka, having more playing time also means more exposure to big league pitching and testing his ability to make adjustments. But his defense alone warrants lots of games.

“[Higashioka] just has really elite glove skill,” said catching coach Tanner Swanson. “I think his hands work extremely well. They’re smooth, quiet. He’s got really strong pocket accuracy and subtly manipulates pitches back to the strike zone. He’s refined the art of that skill and is really, really consistent doing so.”

The Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com’s official team site that he has spoken to Sanchez about the reduction in playing time.

“They’re obviously both going to play a lot, but it’ll be kind of a day-by-day thing that I’ll try and communicate as best I can,” Boone said. “[Sánchez] understood the situation. He wants [to be] in the lineup, but I think he certainly understands that Higgy has earned some more things as well.”

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

Last night the New York Yankees met up with the Baltimore Orioles for game two of a four-game set. Fans didn’t know what to think after the Yankees lost game one to the O’s. The pitching wasn’t great, and the hitting was lacking. Last night was a night where the Yankees shined really for the first time this season. They pitched well and hit the ball like they haven’t all season. The Yankees mixed a bit of small ball with 3 homers to get the win over the Orioles 5-1.

Corey Kluber was the real Kluber last night

When Corey Kluber was with the Cleveland Indians and got two Cy Young Awards, he was called Klubot. Last night he became the Yankee’s Klubot. He was nothing short of spectacular. He pitched into the seventh inning, the first to do that outside of Gerrit Cole. He used 96 pitches, getting five strikeouts, walking two, and only allowing one run on the night, lowering his ERA to 4.15.

Kluber last night was the pitcher that Brian Cashman thought he could be when he signed him to a one-year $11 million contract. Kluber got off to a slow start this season, but that is expected from a pitcher that only pitched one inning last season. If Kluber can pitch like this in August, September, and more importantly, the New York Yankees will be elated in October. The normal somber expressionless Kluber, when he was taken out of the game in the seventh, walked to the dugout and was greeted by his teammates. After sat down, Gerrit Cole approached him, and Kluber let out with a big smile. The two talked.

The Yankees hit em and hit em hard

Last night the New York Yankees fell one hit shy of the most hits they have had in any game this season. The situational hitter was there too. Aaron Judge, Kyle Higashioka, and Giancarlo Stanton had home runs in the game. The Yankees also had several hard-hit balls that were caught. When the Yankees hit home runs and play clean ball like they did last night, they win games. However, there are concerns; Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, and Clint Frazier are still not hitting. In last night’s game, Hicks and Frazier both went 0 for 4. Frazier now has 2 hits in his last 41 plate appearances.

The Yankee bullpen again dominated

After Corey Kluber’s outstanding performance into the seventh inning, he turned it over to the bullpen. Jonathan Loaisiga pitched 1.1 innings, not allowing a run and giving up just one hit while striking out 3 Orioles. Lucas Luetge followed with a scoreless ninth inning. Jonathan Loaisiga, with a 1.23 ERA, is becoming Aaron Boone’s go-to reliever that can be used at any time in the game. He is usually lights out and is becoming a premium reliever.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber and 12 hits win it for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees met up with the Baltimore Orioles for the second night in a row and game two of a four-game set at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won the first game 4-2. The  Yankees hoped to win tonight to have a chance for a series win. The Yankees have always played well at Camden Yards, but anything can happen tonight with the Yankees not hitting. The Yankees started Corey Kluber, and for the Orioles, it was Bruce Zimmermann. It was a partly cloudy night for baseball with a light 82-degree breeze at game time.

DJ LeMahieu led off the first against Zimmermann and greeting Zim with a double to left. Giancarlo Stanton struck out. Aaron Judge singled DJ to third base. Gio Urshela moved up to the third spot in the lineup had a sac fly to center to drive in DJ for the Yankees early going. Gleyber Torres, with two outs, flew out to left field. At the bottom, Mullins popped out to the catcher. Mancini went down on strikes. Stewart lined out to Torres to end the 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. No score.

The top of the second inning was led off by Aaron Hicks, who struck out swinging. Clint Frazier flew out to the center field. Kyle Higashioka had a two-out single to left. Rougie Odor singled to left, moving Higgy to second. LeMahieu popped out to second to end the half, but the Yankee got the lead in the game. At the bottom, Maikel Franco flew to Aaron Judge in right. Austin Hays walked. Chance Sisco was hit on the legs moving Hays to second base. Ryan Mountcastle hit into a double play ending the inning. Yankees 1 Orioles 0.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the third inning by striking out on the tenth pitch of the at-bat. Aaron Judge hit a 397′ line-drive homer to left-center. Urshela stuck out. Gleyber Torres had a two-out double to the left-field wall. Aaron Hicks lined out to the shortstop to end the half, but the Yankees tacked on another run. At the bottom, Rio Ruiz went down on strikes. Pat Valaika flew out to Judge. Mullins went down on strikes for another 1-2-3 inning for Kluber. Yankees 2 O’s 0.

The New York Yankees led off the fourth with Clint Frazier flying out. Kyle Higashioka hit a home run. Rougie Odor lined to short for the second out. LeMahieu singled to left. Stanton hit a rocket to the middle, moving DJ to second. Judge walked the bases full of Yankees. A pitching change brought in Dillon Tate to face Gio Urshela, who singled driving in LeMahieu, but Stanton trying to score, was called out. Yankees  4 O’s 0.  At the bottom, Mancini led off with an inning opening double. Stewart ground out with Mancini moving to third base. Franco singled in Mancini. Hays went down on strikes looking for the second out. Sisco grounded out to Odor. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Gleber Torres started the fifth inning by singling to center. Aaron Hicks at the plate, but Torres was called out trying to steal second base. Hick ground out. Frazier chopped out to the pitcher Tate to end the inning. Mountcastle led off the bottom by flying out to Frazier. Ruiz singled. Valaika flew out to Judge. Mullins popped out to Torres. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Kyle Higashioka led off the sixth inning, lining out. Rougie Odor lined out on a super bullet shot to second base. LeMahieu grounded out to short for a quick Tate inning. With Corey Kluber still on the mound for his longest outing of the year, Mancini walked. Stewart blooped out to Hicks. Franco singled to center, moving Mancini to third base. Hays hit sharply to Urshela for out number two. Sisco lined to first to end the inning. Yankees 4 O’s 1.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the seventh inning, hitting his sixth home run of the season (434′). Judge struck out swinging, and that did it for Tate. The new pitcher was Cole Sulser facing Gio Urshela, who flew out to center. Torres, with two outs, struck out swinging to end the scoreless half. Kluber, with 81 pitches, was back out to face Mountcastle, who led off at the bottom and singled to left. Ruiz struck out. Valaika flew out to far-right, but Judge hauled it in for the second out. Mullins singled, which was the night for Corey Kluber, who has by far his best outing of the season. He was replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga, facing Mancini, who lined out. Yankees 5 O’s 1.

Aaron Hicks led off the eighth inning for the New York Yankees by striking out swinging. Clint Frazier flew out, and Higashioka popped up to catcher Sisco. At the bottom of the eighth, Stewart led off against Loaisiga walking. Franco struck out swinging. Hays singled, moving Stewart to second base. Sisco, with one out, struck out for the second out. Mountcastle struck out for 3 strikeouts in the inning for Loaisiga. Yankees 5 O’s 1.

Rougie Odor led off the ninth for the New York Yankees walking. LeMahieu also walked. Stanton hit into a double play moving Odor to third base. Aaron Judge struck out swinging to end the Yankee night. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Orioles, Rio Ruiz faced Lucas Luetge, and he ground out to Urshela for the first out. Pat Valaika flew out to Frazier, replacing Judge in right. Cedric Mullins ground out to first to end the game.

Final score New York Yankees 5 the Baltimore Orioles 1. The winning pitcher was Corey Kluber, and the loser was Bruce Zimmermann.

 

New York Yankees: Kyle Higashioka needs to remain in the lineup regularly

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees have had plenty of offensive issues through 18 games, but they’ve had one guy that has consistently produced this season. It isn’t DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, or anyone else you’d typically think. Rather, it’s been backup catcher Kyle Higashioka making noise at the plate in 2021.

After going just 4-for-30 in Spring Training, many were concerned about what his offensive production would be this season. However, he’s been the best hitter on the Yankees in this early season. His play has taken some at-bats away from Gary Sanchez and has proven he deserves a regular spot in the lineup.

In nine games this season, Higashioka is 6-for-17 from the plate (.353) with an incredible 1.476 OPS. Five of his six hits have been for extra bases, and three of them were home runs. Higashioka also leads the team with a 0.7 WAR, the next closest being Aaron Judge at 0.4.

The Yankees have also felt his impacts on defense, as the pitching staff has a 2.67 ERA when Higashioka is behind the dish. Gary Sanchez’s ERA with pitchers is still solid at 3.67, but Higashioka’s number is extremely impressive. In comparison, the Philadelphia Phillies have a 4.17 team ERA, which is 15th in MLB.

The point being, Higashioka needs to remain in the lineup regularly for the New York Yankees. With all the offensive struggles, Higashioka’s been one of the few bright spots, and his two hits against Cleveland on Thursday were no exceptions.

However, it’ll take a little creativity to keep Higashioka in the lineup daily. Gary Sanchez certainly hasn’t been the Yankees’ worst hitter, so he still deserves plenty of at-bats. On the other hand, Clint Frazier has really struggled in left field and is seeing less playing time. Brett Gardner has struggled as well, so could we see Giancarlo Stanton get some starts in left field while having Sanchez DH and Higashioka catch?

We’ll see how Aaron Boone organizes the lineup in the coming days, but we should fully expect to see Higashioka play again on Saturday at the latest. Gerrit Cole pitches then, and he faces the reigning CY Young in Shane Bieber. That’ll be another great opportunity to pair the Cole — Higashioka duo together again, as you want your best against your opponent’s best.

Regardless of who the Yankees are pitching and who the team is facing, Kyle Higashioka needs more at-bats. His play has shown he deserves playing time and he’s been one of the few productive players on the Yankees to start the season.

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.