If we’re being charitable, today was a hangover game. The Yankees more or less ended the season on a high note last night with Gerrit Cole’s Cy Young campaign capper. Maybe they went out to a couple of different spots afterward — although I hope they went at least a couple blocks past King Street. Little bit of a headache, little bit of queasiness; the offense was just gonna be off today.
More likely, today was just a normal outing for the 2023 Yankees’ lineup. Chris Bassitt carved right through them, notching 200 frames on the season at the end of his 7.2-inning, shutout performance. He struck out 12 against a single walk, including getting Aaron Judge twice, the first time with a high front-door cutter that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pitcher try against the Yankee captain before.
New York did threaten a couple times, getting a runner on third with two out in the second — after a very uncomfortable looking double from Giancarlo Stanton — and two men on an inning later, but Bassitt bore down and fanned Anthony Volpe and Gleyber Torres respectively to end each threat. No Yankee touched second base for the rest of the night.
Luke Weaver was as good as a replacement-level swingman is going to be. He did have six strikeouts and allowed a walk in four innings, and does move the ball rather well north to south within the zone. He also gets hit hard when guys make contact, and both Daulton Varsho and Matt Chapman took him deep. Greg Weissert allowed a run in his one inning of work, before Zach McAllister let the game get out of hand:
Perhaps the big takeaway from tonight was the debut of Yoendrys Gómez, as the 23-year-old recorded five outs, three via the K. His fastball sat 95, and pairing it with a nifty curveball should at least reassure ourselves the Yankees are still very capable of churning out quality relievers almost on command. He has technically been a starter with Double-A Somerset, but the org has kept him to pretty short outings, only throwing 65.1 innings despite 19 starts.
I imagine we’ll see Gómez one more time this year, possibly as a way to cover innings after Frankie Montas takes a major league mound against Kansas City. If the rookie’s already experienced working more than three outs, but not necessarily expected to be in a major league rotation, he fits in well with the mold of relievers that the Yankees have tried to build over the past three or four years.
We only have one more series to get through, and it will be a truly meaningless one as the Yankees head to the Midwest to take on the Royals in Kansas City. The big watch for me will be whether Aaron Judge can manage to reach 40 home runs in a season where he has missed so much time, and whether Austin Wells can continue to string together solid at-bats — him being the only one of the top four in the order to actually get a hit tonight.
Carlos Rodón will look to have a successful final start, getting the ball against veteran righty Jordan Lyles in Friday’s series opener at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch will be at 8:10pm Eastern.