What a way to start a four-game series! Last night felt like the closest we’ve come to witnessing the firepower of the fully armed and operational battle station that is the Yankees offense. They received contributions from practically every spot in the lineup, dropping two touchdowns on a night when arguably the best pitcher of the series — Dylan Cease — struck out 11 in 4 innings and the bullpen blew a three-run lead. Winning the most perilous game of the series (from a starting pitching standpoint) in such an emphatic fashion can only add to their confidence. Let’s see if they can carry that confidence over to tonight’s contest.
New York has just the man they want on the mound to add to this new winning streak. Gerrit Cole may have started the season on the wrong foot, pitching to a 6.35 ERA across his first three outings. However, he is right back to looking like the Gerrit Cole we expect —across his subsequent three starts, he owns a 0.47 ERA, striking out 25 against just four walks while averaging 6.1 innings per start. On the year, Cole sports a 2.67 ERA, 3.59 ERA, and 37 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched.
The Yankees’ bullpen received a minor boost too, as Clarke Schmidt returned to the team for the first time since being demoted when 28-man rosters contracted to 26 at the beginning of May. Last night’s starter, Luis Gil, was optioned, paving the way for a fresh arm in Schmidt, who has looked great in his four appearances; he was really only demoted to get some work in at Triple-A given this limited role. But if the Yankees need him, he’ll be around.
Vince Velasquez is perhaps known more for his pinch-outfielder exploits than his actual pitching ability, but he is quietly putting together one of the better starts to a season of his career. He’s a true five-pitch pitcher, with a four-seamer in the low-to-mid nineties and a curveball, slider, sinker, and changeup — four of which he throws at least 10 percent of the time. He’s had decent lifetime success against the Yankees — in four starts he owns a 3.26 ERA and 3.82 FIP while Yankees hitters are batting .214/.286/.371 with 17 strikeouts against six walks in 19.1 innings. As he gets set to take on Cole for his sixth start of 2022, Velasquez is 2-2 with a 3.97 ERA, 4.32 FIP, and 21 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.
The Yankees lineup was unstoppable last night. Giancarlo Stanton clubbed a pair of home runs and drove in six. Aaron Judge added to his MLB lead with his 11th home run while driving in four himself. DJ LeMahieu set the table with three hits and Josh Donaldson got in on the act with a three-run moonshot in the eighth to truly kill off the game.
As exciting as the Bombers’ barrage was last night, let’s not forget that the White Sox scored seven runs of their own and were very much in the game until the Yankees blew it open with the seven-run eighth. Their lineup can mash with the best of them, as evidenced by Yoán Moncada’s game-tying three-run home run in the seventh off Jonathan Loáisiga.
After a pretty darn exciting non-start last night, Gleyber Torres is back in the starting lineup at second base with LeMahieu shifting over to first base to give Anthony Rizzo an elusive night off. Marwin Gonzalez returns to the bench with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop, and Jose Trevino gets the nod to once again catch Cole. Intriguingly, Aaron Hicks is all the way down at the No. 9 hole in the lineup, his first start there since Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS.
How to watch:
Location: Guaranteed Rate Field — Chicago, IL
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. EST
TV broadcast: Amazon Prime Video, NBCS-Chicago
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv