As we continue to recap the 2022 Yankees season, it’s time to take a look at the pitching and remember some of the best performance from Yankees’ starters from this season.
To do that, we’re going to look at the best Game Scores from 2022. If you’re unaware, Game Score is a fairly simple metric that tries to measure how good a starting pitcher was that day. It rewards length, keeping the opponent off the scoreboard, and dominant strikeout games. It’s by no means definitive, but it’s a fun way to see generally just how good a starter was that day. Any Game Score in the 80s is generally excellent, and getting into the 90s creeps into the territory of potential history.
This Yankees’ season featured some fairly notable starting pitching performances, so let’s see how they stack up.
1. Nestor Cortes (10/1 vs. Orioles) - 86
By the start of October, the Yankees had clinched a playoff spot and the AL East, and fans were mainly focused on Aaron Judge and his quest for a 62nd home run. However, if you also made sure to tune in for the other halves of innings, you also would’ve gotten to see one of the best starts of the year.
As Judge went 0-for-2 with two walks, which the Yankee Stadium crowd was not happy about, Cortes put in a dominant outing against the Orioles.
Cortes went 7.1 innings, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out 12, which matched his career high. It should be noted that his other 12-K game was also against the Orioles, earlier this season in the same game as his “immaculate inning.” For his career, he is now striking out a remarkable 13.5 batters per nine innings against Baltimore. October 1st was the prime example of Cortes at his best in his first ever All-Star season.
2. Luis Severino (6/4 vs. Tigers) - 84
After missing basically all of the last three seasons, 2022 was Severino’s (mostly) full return to the Yankees’ rotation. While he still missed some time with injury, he looked a lot like the Sevy we all know and love. He didn’t quite reach his 2017 Cy Young third-place finish level, but he was still very good.
The best of Severino’s season probably came in a June 4th start against Detroit, which was right in the middle of a remarkable stretch for Yankees’ pitching. In the prior two days, Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole both took perfectos deep. (More on one of those games in a moment.) Sevy’s game didn’t reach no-no watch, but according to the final stat lines, it might’ve been even better.
Severino went seven innings against the Tigers on June 4th, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 10. Both the runners he allowed came in the first three innings, and after that, he retired the last 13 hitters he faced.
3. Nestor Cortes (5/9 vs. Rangers);
Jameson Taillon (5/27 vs. Rays);
Luis Severino (10/3 vs. Rangers) - 83
Cortes and Severino make the list a second time thanks to a pair of outings against Texas. Severino’s you may remember as he threw seven no-hit innings, allowing just one walk. He reluctantly exited the game early instead of going for a no-no, as it was his last start of the regular season and the Yankees were in playoff preparation mode. Cortes, meanwhile, also flirted with a no-hitter, broken up with one out in the eighth by Eli White; he departed with 7.1 innings of shutout ball with 4 walks and 11 strikeouts.
Taillon’s start might not be the one from him you most remember, as it was the one right before his perfect-game bid. That particular game gets dinged somewhat by the fact that he allowed a run, something he did not do against the Rays on May 27th. That day, Taillon went eight innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out five.
4. Gerrit Cole (6/3 vs. Tigers) - 82
Here’s one of the deep perfect-game/no-hitter bids and another game in that incredible stretch from Yankee pitching. Against the Tigers on June 3rd, Cole retired the first 20 batters, making a real run at history. The perfecto was broken by a seventh inning, two-out single by Jonathan Schoop, before Miguel Cabrera also singled. Cole would get out of that inning and be replaced after that, making those two singles the only batters he allowed to reach. Cole and Taillon in his start from the day before became the first teammates to take perfect-game bids past six innings in two-straight days in the expansion era.
5. Gerrit Cole (6/20 vs. Rays) - 81
Rounding out the top five/seven is another Cole start, just a couple weeks after his bid at history against the Tigers. Later that June, Cole went 7.1 innings against the Rays, allowing one run, which actually scored after he had left the game, on on hit and three walks, while striking out 12.