Yesterday I noted how the Yankees have a huge opportunity in front of them over the next few weeks, as they play the also-rans and weaklings of baseball while their intra-division rivals will be beating up on each other and facing other good teams. Well, it didn’t take long to reap the benefits of said schedule as the Detroit Tigers did everything in their power to give the Yanks a “W” last night, and the Yankees reluctantly accepted the gift, for an unsightly 4-2 Yanks win.
Yet this isn’t a beauty pageant and no style points are given. Last night’s game counts just as much in the standings as a team-wide masterpiece of a win would. That’s part of the deal when playing bad teams – you can play like crap and still walk away with the “W”.
So while we can acknowledge that Gerrit Cole and Joey Gallo are running out of excuses, let’s think of the big picture: Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo all entered 2022 needing to have bounce-back seasons and all are off to a great start*. The bullpen has been close to perfect and is so deep even if one or two relievers regress, the unit as a whole will still be damn good.
And most importantly, the Yankees are tied for first place, again with an opportunity to get out in front of the competition over the next few weeks.
(*To be clear, we’re still only talking about 11 games. It’s very likely that at some point Gallo and Cole will have 11 game stretches where they look great while Hicks, Rizzo, and DJ look lost.)
Looking forward to tonight’s game, the Yankees will be facing a familiar face in former Boston and now Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez doesn’t have any secrets – almost half of his pitches will be four-seamers up in the zone while mixing in a sinker, cutter, and changeup. Rodriguez has gotten off to a bad start in 2022, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and five walks in 7.2 IP over two starts. Let’s hope the Yankees do better against Rodriguez than they did last night against Tigers’ pitching, as a team-wide six-hit performance – all singles – is going to lose you the game more often than not.
Taking the mound for the Yanks will be the suddenly resurgent Luis Severino, who’ll be making his third start of 2022. Sevy looked great in his first two starts against Boston and Toronto allowing only two earned runs over eight combined innings while striking out 11. He’s averaged 97.6 mph on his four-seamer (exactly the same as it was in 2018), and he’s been very aggressive in the zone with it while finding the lower corners with his cutter and change-up. He’ll be facing a Detroit lineup that – somewhat amazingly – has had even more trouble than the Yankees in getting runners across home plate.
First pitch from Comerica Park in Detroit is at 6:40 pm ET, you can catch the game on the YES Network and WFAN radio. If you’re interested in my in-game snark, you can follow me @mybasbeallpage1 on Twitter and on the My Baseball Page page on Facebook.
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