The New York Yankees might’ve been entering today looking for a sweep of the Seattle Mariners, but they were hit with some bad news after first baseman Anthony Rizzo was found to have tested positive for COVID-19. Luis Gil did everything in his power to brighten up the mood at Yankee Stadium.
Gil shut down the moribund Baltimore Orioles in his first start on the back of six shutout innings, but Seattle is a team fighting for a Wild Card spot, so they presented a much tougher challenge. Gil was able to mow them down with ease, perhaps even outdoing his first start.
While Gil threw 92 pitches in just five innings of work, he surrenders just two hits and walked two, striking out eight Mariners in the process. Unfortunately, Gil’s performance was wasted by Lucas Luetge and the bullpen in a 2-0 loss.
While the Yankees have some questions to answer in the coming weeks, Gil has proven he can be a part of the solutions. There is no way that the Yankees could justify sending him to the minor leagues after he has proven his quality at the big league level.
The Yankees must keep Luis Gil on the active roster.
With Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery having tested positive for COVID-19 and Corey Kluber still struggling with injuries, the Yankees will need to keep Gil on the roster for some time. However, when that crew returns to full health and Luis Severino comes back, Gil might find it difficult to earn starts consistently.
The Yankees need to keep this arm on their roster, even if it’s as a spot starter for what should be a very carefully managed workload for Severino or a long reliever. Over his first two outings, he has shown swing and miss capabilities that rival elite starters like Max Scherzer.
In a small sample size, at least.
Gil has become the first pitcher since 1900 with 14 strikeouts, no runs allowed, and fewer than 10 baserunners allowed in his first two starts. If he ever sets foot in the city of Scranton after those two games for a reason other than injury rehab, that would be an egregious mistake.
With Kluber a free agent after this year and Domingo German not doing much to prove that he should stick around, Gil is setting himself up nicely to slide into the rotation in 2022. The pathway to an enhanced role in 2022 begins now, and the Yankees should give Gil as many chances to show off his stuff as possible.
Sure, Baltimore and Seattle might not be the Dodgers or Astros, but Gil showing the combination of swing-and-miss stuff and control that he has exhibited is exceedingly rare for someone his age.
Gil will give up runs eventually, but nothing about his first two starts suggests he would be incapable of handling a bigger role down the stretch with this beat-up Yankees team. No. 81 should get to pitch as often as possible.