Sunday, June 16, 2024

Yankees starting pitchers make franchise history behind Luis Gil’s scoreless outing vs. Mariners

New York Yankees starter Luis Gil paced the effort on Thursday as the hosts prevailed over the Mariners 5-1 and ensured a split of the four-game series. With his 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Seattle, Gil lowered his ERA for the season down to 2.11 after 10 starts. He also helped make a bit of history: Starting pitchers have now thrown 11 consecutive starts of at least five innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer for the first time in the Yankees franchise.

Indeed, the last time a Yankee starting pitcher failed to satisfy those somewhat carefully tailored parameters was on May 11, when Nestor Cortes permitted four runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rays. Not surprisingly, the Yankees this season have had one of the best rotations in baseball. At present, Yankees starters rank third in MLB with a rotation ERA of 2.85, second in strikeouts, fifth in WHIP, and third in starters’ innings. 

The Yanks’ rotation has done this without a single pitch from ace Gerrit Cole, who won the American League Cy Young Award last season. Cole, 33, has been sidelined since spring training by elbow nerve inflammation and edema. However, he continues to make progress in his rehab, and at last update he’s still, perhaps somewhat optimistically, hoping to make his season debut at some point in June. Add the likes of Cole to what’s already been one of baseball’s best rotations, and maybe it becomes the best rotation. 

Without Cole, Cortes, free-agent addition Marcus Stroman, bounceback arm Carlos Rodón, and Clarke Schmidt have all pitched quite well in 2024. And there’s Gil. The 25-year-old is in his comeback season from Tommy John surgery, and as noted above it’s going swimmingly. While he’s had occasional control problems – nothing unusual with a pitcher coming off TJ – he’s also notched 70 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings. Gil’s surge has been aided by increased use of a hard changeup. Here’s a look from Thursday: 

It’s been Gil’s No. 2 pitch this season behind his heavily used 96 mph fastball. Opposing hitters have batted just .122 against his cambio this season with a slugging of just .146. Having such an offspeed pitch that gets whiffs and defies hard contact has been essential to Gil’s success so far. 

Speaking of success, the Yankees and that rotation now stand at an AL-best 35-17 on the season with a plus-85 run differential. As well, they hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Orioles in the AL East. 

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