Rookie Jhony Brito, who seemed to have lost his Cinderella slippers of late, and was getting hammered in AAA to the tune of a 7.08 ERA in 4 starts (20 innings), was called back up — and shutdown the Seattle Mariners into the 6th inning, out-pitching Seattle ace Luis Castillo.
And Anthony Volpe played a big part in the win — dancing off 1st in the 2nd to distract Castillo possibly contributing to a Jake Bauers 2-run homer, making a great play in the field, and providing a huge insurance homer in the 7th inning to give NY a 4-0 lead at the time.
Seattle rallied in the 9th against Michael King, bringing the tying run to the plate with nobody out, and Teoscar Hernandez “just missing” a pitch — hitting a shot to center for a PHEW sac fly. But Tommy “Tight Pants” Kahnle snuffed out the rally.
Bauers and Billy McKinney hit HR’s for the first 3 Yankee runs — all against Castillo.
A night of key performances by the little guys.
“It was good to see us wear down an elite starter like that and make him work as hard as he did, and get him out of there with, for the most part really quality at bats up and down,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards.
NY improves to 41-33, 9.5 behind Tampa, 4.5 behind Baltimore, and 1 game ahead of Toronto. Seattle falls to 35-37, 10 games back of Texas.
1. Brito Brilliant
Many Yankee fans chastised Yankee management at and after the trade deadline last year by not trading the farm (most notably Anthony Volpe) for Cincinnati’s 29-yr-old (at the time) ace Luis Castillo. The Seattle Mariners got Castillo instead by trading their best prospects (shortstops Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo, along with pitchers Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore) to the Reds.
And so bringing up Jhony Brito of all people — getting bombed in AAA — to face Castillo in this game seemed like insult to injury to some on Yankee Twitter.
But the opposite happened. Brito was Brilliant.
Brito Pitched a Shutout Into 6th
Brito allowed a leadoff single to start the game, but then retired 12 straight batters, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, before allowing a leadoff single in the 5th — and then getting the next 3 batters in that inning, and then the first 2 batters of the 6th before yielding a walk and being lifted by Aaron Boone at 81 pitches.
Brito started out the game using his 97 MPH sinker almost exclusively, and then mixing in his 84-MPH curve, 97-MPH four-seam fastball, and 90-MPH changeup to mow down the Mariners. Then he started slipping in his Slider the second time thru the lineup.
Jhony Brito, Nasty Breaking Ball…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/1GapYBbAMG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 21, 2023
“That was the idea tonite, to mix all the pitches,” said Brito afterwards through the Yankee translator. “Especially in tight counts and in the zone. Establish confidence early. That was the plan from the get go.”
“When you talk about using your strength; you have to establish the fastball,” added Brito. “Until you see an adjustment from the opposing team you keep attacking with it, and then you combine that with the slider which I think has been a developing weapon. You establish your fastball and you go from there, and then you start mixing.”
Brito Working On His Command and Slider In AAA
Manager Aaron Boone said Brito had been making progress in AAA despite the high ERA.
As Brito put it, “Going down there the priority was to command the strike zone with the fastball, use the sinker to both sides of the plate, and keep the changeup low in the strike zone. As I mentioned before I’ve been working on a slider that has been giving me really good results and polishing that pitch down there — putting a good package of pitches together has been the focus.”
Brito got some help behind him from Anthony Volpe, who made a nice backhand stab in the 3rd.
Smooth like 🧈
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 21, 2023
2. Bauers Blast Off Castillo
Anthony Volpe walked to lead off the bottom of the 2nd, and started dancing off 1st getting ready to steal. This may have distracted Castillo a little bit, and next batter Jake Bauers ripped a 3-2, 97-MPH fastball 392 feet into the right field seats for a 2-0 Yankee lead.
Bauers Blast 💪 pic.twitter.com/PzxXlVWOja
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 21, 2023
3. McKinney BOMB to Upper Deck Off Castillo
Billy McKinney launched a 96-MPH four-seam fastball from Castillo into the upper deck in right in the bottom of the 3rd for a 3-0 Yankee lead.
Billy goes Boom 💥 pic.twitter.com/yKUwikbIKb
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 22, 2023
The Yankees got 4 hits and worked 4 walks off Castillo in 5 innings — he left after 5 innings at 103 pitches. He loses to go 4-6 2.89.
4. Volpe Insurance BLAST
Anthony Volpe got a huge insurance homer in the bottom of the 7th with 1 out — hitting a first-pitch 96-MPH fastball from Gabe Spiers 403 feet to center for a 4-0 Yankee lead.
No. 10 for No. 11 💪 pic.twitter.com/L4BKvgTcnB
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 22, 2023
5. Kahnle to Rescue
Jimmy Cordero relieved Brito in the 6th and immediately got the last out, leaving the runner who had walked on 1st. Cordero then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th.
Michael King was given the 9th — and he was off again: a walk and an infield single by Ty France put the tying run to the plate with nobody out. Teoscar Hernandez then hit a shot to center that was flagged down by Harrison Bader — Teoscar “Just Missed” getting it all. PHEW.
Boone immediately relieved King with Tommy “Tight Pants” Kahnle, who allowed a sac fly for the 2nd out, and then struck out Eugenio Suarez on 3 pitches for the old ballgame.
It’s great to have Tommy Tightpants back 🥰
— Caroline (@cschlump) June 22, 2023