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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 8/11/21

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Revisiting Monday’s record-setting contest; Stanton’s rotten luck; Pitching prospects that got away; Torres, Severino, Kluber injury updates

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Sports Illustrated | Emma Baccellieri: Monday night’s nearly five-hour extravaganza between the Yankees and Royals was an excruciating, exhilarating, exhausting affair. Records were broken, runs scored in the absurdest of fashions, and the most improbable names provided the most telling contributions. After such a sluggish, uneventful start, the middle-to-late innings were a rollercoaster of feelings, with each successive peak and dip of emotion more intense than the last. Every time the Yankees scored, the Royals would answer back in the bottom of the inning, to the point where no lead felt safe.

Well, for four consecutive innings, that was precisely the case. This was the first time in MLB history that both teams scored in the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh innings. It was the first time a team had five save situations in the same game. It was the second time in the Modern Era, and first since the 1995 Astros, that a team blew four saves in the same game.

Baccellieri broke down all four of the blown save opportunities by Yankees pitchers, which made the Yankees the only team in MLB history to win a game in which they had blown four saves. An ignominious record, but a record nonetheless.

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Another record was matched on Monday night, this time on the offensive side of the ball. Giancarlo Stanton’s 122.2 mph GIDP in the second inning was tied for the hardest-hit ball in the Statcast Era (since 2015). Unsurprisingly, it equaled a record Stanton set with the Marlins in 2017, a 122.2 mph groundball single off Max Fried.

There have been 14 balls hit over 120 mph as tracked by Statcast, and Stanton owns 12 of them. Two were homers, two were converted for outs, and the rest went for singles, reinforcing the notions that launch angle is just as important as exit velocity, as well as the rather rotten luck Stanton has experienced on some of his hardest-struck balls.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: Yankees GM Brian Cashman is a polarizing figure among the fanbase, particularly when it comes to pitching. Many cry out that the team’s Achilles’ heel during his tenure has been the lack of adequate pitching in the postseason. His supporters will point to the consistent winning records of his ball clubs and the numerous under-the-radar trades that have helped the team, while his detractors criticize his reluctance to go all-in on any one season as well as his tendency at times to hug prospects beyond their expiration date.

Rosenstein responds to those critical of his alleged prospect-hugging ways by pointing out two ex-Yankees pitching prospects let go perhaps too soon. Two of those allowed to leave prematurely — Garrett Whitlock and James Kaprielian — are currently in the running for AL Rookie of the Year. Whitlock was selected by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft, and his 1.17 ERA leads all relievers with at least 50 innings pitched. James Kaprielian was included in the trade that netted the Yankees Sonny Gray in 2017. He is 6-4 with a 3.22 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 78.1 innings with Oakland.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Finally we have some encouraging news on a trio of injured Yankees. Gleyber Torres recently went on the IL with a thumb sprain. He is expected to miss around 20 days, however and MRI revealed that the injury was not as dire as they initially thought. Luis Severino is set to make a rehab start with Triple-A Scranton on Friday, and manager Aaron Boone admitted that he could be activated from the IL depending on how he looks in that outing. Finally, Corey Kluber will make his first rehab start at Double-A Somerset on Thursday after missing the last two-and-a-half months with a shoulder injury. The Yankee will need all three players if there is to be any hope of making a deep postseason run this year.