Thursday, May 23, 2024

Yankees v Mariners 5/22/24: Two for Twenty-Two

Whenever you go to see your favorite team in the middle of a really nice run, you have to hope for the best. The worst feeling is if they lose and you feel like you’re the jinx. The best is when everything seems to fall into place, the right people come through and it’s like there was nothing to worry about in the first place.

Last night in the Bronx, I experienced the latter feeling.

I’ll be frank with you all. You’re gonna see a few more Yankee Stadium write ups than usual this year. A friend of a friend had nice seats there, season tickets, and he insists on giving them away, and he insists that we don’t hold back for fear of taking too much. So we’re going to a few games this year. This one, though, was spur of the moment. ‘Hey, y’all free next Wednesday?’, something like that. And so we were, and thus we went.

These tickets included some time watching BP from right over the bullpen. Mostly we used that real estate to watch Nestor Cortes warm up. Dude looked sharp at 6:30, which never tells you everything but we were optimistic. I made sure to cheer Cortes on as he headed back to the bullpen, “you’re gonna be awesome.” And, by and large, he was.

This game, however, had relatively high stakes going in. This was game 3 against the Seattle Mariners, a team that’s leading the AL East for a reason, and that reason is starting pitching. The first two games went to the Ms, thanks to newly-christened Yankee killer Dylan Moore. This game had Bryce Miller on the mound. Miller has some really impressive stuff, even if he’s been unlucky recently. It looked like it’d be close, and a win would elevate us from the ‘only does well against sub-.500 teams’ thing that’s also chasing Philly.

The first inning set the tone for the game. Nestor Cortes let counts get full yet still left with two strikeouts and no runs. Anthony Volpe made his way on base, then Aaron Judge brought him home with an undeniable home run blast. Bryce Miller may be good, but he hadn’t met Aaron Judge in the midst of a hot streak yet.

This combination was enough for a while. Cortes would walk the occasional batter but nobody got home and people, especially Julio Rodriguez, kept striking out. The Ms were capable of some contact work, and every so often someone like Moore would do something, but Cortes didn’t let it get further than that. The only downside was he threw 90something pitches in only 4 innings, and if our bullpen wasn’t awesome that would be more worrying.

There were a few people I was excited to watch at this game. One of them was Tommy Kahnle, he just got activated the morning of the game, I thought it’d be nice if he showed up. He did, he kept the Ms quiet. I also wanted to see Alex Verdugo. First of all, just from how jazzed he is to hear the bleacher creatures calling his name at the top of the game, I like this guy. Really fun. He hit a homer as we were leaving that cracked the game open further.

But the #1 person I wanted to see play last night was #22, Juan Soto. And he made it a memorable one.

Inning three, a man on, Soto completely annihilated a ball, PULLED EVEN,over right. It was absolutely nuts. I dunno who was more excited, him or the crowd. Then in the sixth, essentially because he could, Soto hits another one out. This one was essentially a scorching liner with extra pop. Because he hit it so hard, it had no choice but to fly over the left field wall. This one was less of a pure power hit and more Soto just being that good.

So I got to see Juan Soto hit two homers for my first game since he joined the team. And what’s wild is that Judge hit a homer too, but it seems like an afterthought. Not that it didn’t matter, not that Judge is competing or anything. This was just Soto’s night. Judge, Cortes, Verdugo and Weaver definitely helped though.

And look, credit where credit’s due, the one crack in the armor was Cal Raleigh hitting one out after Michael Tonkin loaded the bases. But that’s bound to happen. Don’t put guys on when the only successful power hitter on the team is coming up! Weaver gave up the homer and the fans around us were like ‘we know it wasn’t your fault, Luke’.

By the way, whoever chose Dream Weaver as his warmup music? Gold star.

All in all a successful night at 161st. The people I hoped would show up certainly did, and so many aspects of this team are really impressing me right now. With the Rangers losing and my train back delayed til the end of time, it wasn’t a pristine night in New York, but the Yankees made me happy I made it out.

Next time I hit a game it’ll be a little closer to home. At this rate, though, I’ll get to see a truly great pitching matchup.

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