Montgomery is going to surprise a lot of people in 2020
My first thought was why a game debuting Gerrit Cole in pinstripes was not televised? I shared the frustration of many fans who couldn’t watch or listen to Cole’s first pitch. Despite the fact that he threw only 20 pitches in a one inning outing, I wanted to see every strike (there were two), every ball (there was one) and every pop-up to short (there was one).
Cole dialed it up to 98 mph on the radar gun and was everything the Yankees hoped for and paid for. Cole was followed up by Jordan Montgomery for two innings of the best kind of come-back pitching, three strikeouts, two ground-outs, a hit-by-pitch and a fly out. Montgomery hit 94 mph on the radar gun and was sharp with all his pitches.
As Eric Boland reported for Newsday, Montgomery told reporters after the game:
“Feel good about my arm strength and my mechanics, and they’re only going to get cleaner.”
Yankee fans look forward to a strong, healthy Montgomery to fill a rotation spot now that Luis Severino is a question mark and James Paxton is out healing from back surgery. Let’s remember that Montgomery finished sixth in 2017 in Rookie of the Year voting on the strength of an impressive rookie campaign. Montgomery is going to surprise a lot of people with his performance in 2020 as he looks to regain and surpass his rookie achievements.
Gerrit Cole takes the first step toward number 28 tonight
When Gerrit Cole appears for the Yankees tonight against mound opponent, Chris Archer, many fans believe it is the first step toward landing on the moon, so to speak, the first step toward number 28.
What does Gerrit Cole mean to Yankee fans: elite baseball every appearance, a master at the top of his craft taking the mound. Cole means wins, especially with the noted absence of Luis Severino, who is suffering from forearm soreness and has been sent to New York for tests.
Cole pitched to a .179 average against the Yankees in 2019 and the Yankees are looking forward to watching Cole decimate opponents in similar fashion in 2020. Cole’s statistics from 2019 are the stuff dreams are made of: 212.1 IP, 2.50 ERA, 13.82 K/9, 2.03 BB/9, 2.64 FIP, 7.4 WAR, opponents hit .185 against him.
Gerrit Cole, anchoring this rotation, armed with the largest pitching deal ever made, has been acquired to bring a championship to the Bronx. Tonight against the Pirates, he takes his first steps on what promises to be a long, exciting road to number 28.
With his elite fastball and plus curve, Loaisiga will be a pitcher to watch
New York Yankees RHP Jonathan Loaisiga will square up today against LHP Ryan Yarbrough and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Loaisiga is a 25 year old right-hander from Nicaragua, who grew up in Managua. He made his major league debut with the Yankees on June 15, 2018, but was up and down between the major league club and AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre most of the season.
While Loaisiga had a relatively poor campaign for the Yankees in 2019, to be fair he was hampered by injury (shoulder strain) which ate a chunk out of his season. He was out of the big leagues from May 8th to August 15th and as a result pitched only 31.2 innings in ’19 for the Yankees. Ryan Chichester of pinstripealley.com ranked Loaisiga’s performance at the season’s end with a D+ as his stat line looked like this: 4.55 ERA, 37 Ks, 1.48 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 4.95 FIP, 0.2 WAR.
However, it was not all bad for Loaisiga, as Chichester pointed out:
Through his final 15 innings of the year, Loaisiga pitched to a 3.00 ERA and struck out 20 batters, but allowed 14 hits along the way. With that lively fastball and a curveball with a spin rate that’s just outside of the top-10 percentile in all of baseball, you would like to see more shutdown outings from Loaisiga, but perhaps the final month of the year was the start of a trend in the right direction.
With his elite fastball and plus curve, Loaisiga will be a pitcher to watch this season as Yankee fans hope to watch a healthy Loaisiga improve to become the pitcher was slated to become either as a spot starter or as an effective weapon out of the bullpen.
Chris Gittens smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.
On a bright day in Tampa, the Yankees opened the season with the first Spring Training game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays won 2-1 this afternoon, but who’s counting such things? Baseball is back and for that I give thanks!
While I had predicted that Gary Sanchez would hit the first homer of the season, he didn’t even make the lineup today and that honor went to 1B Chris Gittens who smoked one out in the ninth inning for the Yankees.
When hits come exclusively from Gittens, Ben Ruta and Rosell Herrera, you know it’s February and not April.
J.A. Happ started the game and was sharp for two innings and was followed effectively by Michael King (1.2 IP) and Luis Cessa (1.1 IP). The Blue Jays managed six hits against the likes of: Luis Avilan, Kaleb Ort, Domingo Acevedo and Brooks Kriske.
Had so much fun watching this matchup today. Yankees baseball is making the journey back to championship form. Looking forward to Gerrit Cole‘s debut on Monday night.
When the Yankees open up today against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first Spring Training game of 2020, it will mark the beginning of the 2020 campaign towards number 28.
While the injuries have already hit the team, with Luis Severino back in New York being tested for forearm soreness and Aaron Judge with shoulder issues, the game today will be a joy to players and fans alike as baseball is the official end of the winter doldrums and the beginning of spring – at least it is for die-hard baseball fans.
Looking forward to the first smack of the ball in the glove, the first crack of the bat – the first dinger of the year, which I’ll be bold and predict will come courtesy of DJ LeMahieu. Can’t wait to see where Manager Aaron Boone positions Miguel Andujar. Am eager to know how the rotation will shake down now that Severino is out of the picture.
It is with much curiosity, enthusiasm and joy that I welcome another season of Yankees baseball.
I’m a Yankees fan who loves to watch, talk and write about baseball.
I’m a Yankees fan who loves to watch, talk and write about baseball. I’ve been freelance writing since 2016 and have decided to launch my own blog to join in the Yankees conversation with other fans, writers and thinkers.