I said in the gamethread that it was possible Luis Cessa would be the blind squirrel today. Say what you will about his true talent level, but tonight Cessa found his nut, pitching six scoreless innings and propelling the Yankees to the victory in the back half of the day’s doubleheader.
He’s still the junior Luis on this team, but credit where credit is due. Cessa acquitted himself well against the Orioles. He gave up just three hits over the six innings. His pure stuff wasn’t very good, with three walks against just four strikeouts, but he was also able to engineer two double plays which helped his cause greatly.
Cessa was also a little lucky, as he had a whole lot of very hard, very scary contact. The very first batter he faced, Tim Beckham, tattooed a 102.9 mph lineout to Neil Walker. All in all, Cessa gave up six batted balls with an exit velo of 99 mph or greater. He proved tonight he can pitch without self-immolating, but now his next step is to manage contact.
Offensively, the Yankees got off to another good start, scoring early for the fourth straight game. Brett Gardner’s leadoff single was cashed in by a Didi Gregorius’ RBI double, and the Yankees then loaded the bases to bring up Clint Frazier with two out. It looked like a potential redemptive moment for Frazier after his frustrating game-one performance, but he ended up striking out to limit the damage.
The offense was just getting started, though. Gardner took Yefry Ramirez deep to score two more runs in the fourth, Greg Bird chipped in with an RBI single an inning later, and it was 4-0 Yankees. With Cessa holding steady, we all got to sit back and watch a heck of an eighth inning.
Yep, that’s Austin Romine crushing a ball 414 feet. Romine set a new career high with his fifth dong of the season, but the Yankees weren’t done. Brett freakin’ Gardner continued his crazy night with an RBI double just two batters later. Gardner was all over the place tonight, but his most impressive moment of all may have come in the bottom half:
Brett Gardner is the ENGINE THAT NEVER STOPS CHURNING pic.twitter.com/I44ko6v7l2— Jesse Foster (@Jesse__Foster) July 10, 2018
TIL, Giovanny Gallegos has no idea what the popup signal means.
Both the Orioles and Yankees added a couple garbage-time runs against mop-up relievers. Ho hum, Gardner notched his fourth hit of the game in the process, an infield single this time. At the end of it, the Yankees had split the double header with a 10-2 win, helping erasing the memories of a tough game one.
Having gotten a good start out of Cessa, the Yankees stand at least a fair shot of winning three out of four, which is a good result in any road series, even one against the lowly Orioles. They’ll look for win number two tomorrow night, as Masahiro Tanaka will make his long-awaited return to the mound. This time, we can be sure there will be no baserunning involved.