After Gerrit Cole’s three innings of one-run, five-strikeout, 10-swing-and-miss ball on Thursday in Clearwater (drool), the Yankees trotted out Loaisiga.
Was the goal for the 25-year-old to throw three innings, considering his theoretically limited pitch count? Probably not.
Did he go out and effortlessly do it anyway? Also yes.
Nine up, nine down…and in extremely strange and satisfying fashion.
Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga got so many consecutive grounders Thursday.
First off, love the effort. Love the initiative. Love the stuff.
Second…I can’t help but notice…four straight dudes grounded the ball directly back to the pitcher? With an inning break in between? Who does that?!
Loaisiga wasn’t just mowing down garden-variety “Spring Training Dudes” here, either. This was Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm. All of them went down, many went down hard, and a suspicious amount went down directly up the middle.
Seriously, have you ever seen that before? Any time you can get the road announcers chuckling, you’ve done your job.
Losing Britton for what could amount to half the season is certainly a blow for the Yankees, but it’s not a death knell, especially since the problem has been identified and will be soon eradicated.
The team signed Justin Wilson (who stinkbombed Wednesday) and Darren O’Day this offseason, and will have Aroldis Chapman (as soon as Opening Day wraps; he’s suspended) and Chad Green at the back end of their bullpen.
Someone from the thick of the ‘pen competition will need to take some higher-leverage innings than they’re used to, though. Nick Nelson and Michael King received the coveted Britton shout-out on Wednesday, but Loaisiga usually got the call in such situations in 2020 (on the road at Fenway in extras, in the playoffs twice, etc.).
He looked better equipped to handle those assignments in 2021 based on this appearance for sure. Hopefully, the stuff continues to play up.
We’ll take swings-and-misses over up-the-middle grounders, though. Like we said, little freaky.