I think we’ve seen four no-hit bids by Yankee starters this year, and I was fortunate enough to recap Corey Kluber’s no-no last year, and I have to say, after today, I much prefer being on the giving end of those kind of games to the receiving. Cristian Javier flummoxed the Yankees through seven innings, and two Astros relievers picked up the rest, as New York was no-hit for the first time since 2003, losing 3-0.
Gerrit Cole was the unsung hero of the game, keeping the Yankees in it despite the lineup’s general disinterest in having competitive at bats. The Yankee ace threw seven innings, bringing his ERA back down below three, giving up a single run on a J.J. Matijevic solo shot. He was the hard-luck loser in a game where he once again handled his former team well, although especially in the early goings. he struggled to establish the outer edge of the strike zone.
Also of interest is how little Cole seemed interested in using his cutter. He threw the pitch just seven times, getting just one swing, a foul. This comes after he used it six times on Monday against Tampa, as he seems to be relying more and more on his fastball-slider combo, dropping a change or knuckle curve in here and there, but the cutter experiment seems to be on hold for the time being.
Javier really was outstanding, with a 36 percent whiff rate and just pumping fastballs at Yankee hitters. In the era of slider-dominant outings, you’ll rarely see a guy throw 70 percent four-seamers, but the 25-year-old right-hander just owned the top of the zone and the Yankees couldn’t find a way to get good wood on anything up:
Thirteen strikeouts against a single walk speak for themselves. Javier pitched the game of his life, and it was only after setting a career-high in pitches thrown that Dusty Baker went to Hector Neris, who actually walked a pair of Yankees, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Joey Gallo swung at the first fastball he got, with a fly ball dying at the warning track. Aaron Judge, he of the game-winning hit two days ago, couldn’t come up with a similar blow today, lining out to short.
Ryan Pressly, who so spectacularly melted down on Thursday night, didn’t do the same today. The Houston closer struck out Anthony Rizzo and Josh Donaldson before Giancarlo Stanton bounced out to end the game.
Credit to the Astros’ pitching, to be sure, but the Yankees just looked gassed today, almost from the word go. They’re in a brutal stretch of the schedule and you wonder if it’s catching up to them, but regardless, there were too few easy at-bats for Javier and others. The point of this whole game is to make things hard on your opposition, and by and large, Yankee hitters felt very passive today.
Combined no-hitters suck, as you lose the narrative of the one starter going wire-to-wire, and even if it wasn’t the Yankees on the losing end, today would have felt underwhelming. Still, every loss just counts as one mark in the L column (they’re now 52-20), and if the Yankees come out big tomorrow, this bad aftertaste should go away. Nestor Cortes will be tasked with ending this mini losing streak and salvaging a series split, as he takes on José Urquidy at 1:35pm ET.