In one of the more puzzling weather-related decisions of the Yankees’ season, the August 22nd finale of the four-games series against the Twins was postponed in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Henri over the New York area. The bizarre part: not a single drop of rain fell over the City during the majority of the time frame in which the game would have been played. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose.
Regardless, the make-up date has arrived, though the Yankees are in a much rougher spot after losing 12 of their past 15 games (the worst record in baseball during that short timespan). They’ll look to get back in the win column after taking another one on the chin from the Mets last night.
Monday: Luis Gil vs. John Gant, 2:05 PM ET
It will be interesting to see how Gil rebounds from his first dose of adversity in Major League play. He opened his MLB career with 18 straight scoreless innings, but that quickly came unraveled during his Wednesday start against the Blue Jays. He issued seven walks in only 3.1 innings, ending the day with three earned runs charged to his name. It was undoubtedly his shakiest performance thus far, with the command issues that plagued him in the minors rearing its ugly head.
As my colleague Andrés detailed last week, Gil is a prototypical raw product, but still deserves the Yankees’ patience. There’s a lot to like with the 23-year-old — he exudes confidence on the mound thanks to an electric fastball that already sits in the 88th percentile in average velocity (96.1 mph) and 91st percentile in average spin rate (2453 rpms).
There’s also a ton of room for improvement. Gil doesn’t have a dependable second pitch off the fastball. He has trouble repeating his delivery, leading to the episodic loss of command. He has also benefitted from a massive amount of luck — his xERA and xFIP are both roughly double his ERA and FIP respectively. In four starts, Gil is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.
The Twins will counter with John Gant, who was traded from the Cardinals at the deadline in exchange for J.A. Happ. The Yankees teed off on Gant when they last faced him August 19th, putting up four runs in 3.1 innings. Gant is a soft-tossing righty who walks a ton and rarely gets opposing batters to chase or strikeout — in other words, just the pitcher the Yankees would love to face. In 36 appearances (18 starts), Gant is 5-9 with a 3.78 ERA, 4.67 FIP, and 88 strikeouts in 102.1 innings.