Another bad Luis Gil outing renews Yankees' second-half pitching debate

Now what?
Jul 2, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 2, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Though we were treading lightly weeks ago on the second-half/postseason pitching debate, we definitely didn't see everything coming crashing down for the New York Yankees in this manner. Both Carlos Rodón and Luis Gil have become unserviceable almost overnight.

Rodón's been discussed ad nauseam, so let's move on. The latest discussion focuses on Gil, who, like Rodón, just put forth his third straight unacceptable start, leading to questions about how the team is going to handle the rotation/bullpen moving forward.

Against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, Gil labored through four innings, allowing four runs on two hits and three walks (plus two hit batters). He struck out just three baters. He had trouble finding the zone. And when he did, he served up a meatball to No. 9 hitter Will Benson, who took him deep. It took Gil 83 pitches before manager Aaron Boone saw enough.

The problem has been Gil hitting a wall in a cocerning manner. He was largely fine through innings 1-3 against the Reds, but then frames 4-5 killed him (he was removed in the fifth before recording an out). Two starts ago against the O's, he simply got shelled in the first inning. Against the Mets last week, he unravled in the third, but never really had control.

So now what? Not too long ago, fans were lobbying for Gil to be a rotation mainstay while shifting Nestor Cortes to the bullpen. Nestor's been better, though he hasn't been the most impressive, and it's clear he'll probably be better positioned to handle the rigors of a full season's workload.

Another bad Luis Gil outing renews Yankees' second-half pitching debate

Then again, it'd be a hard sell to put Gil in the bullpen as he fails to harness his control. The Yankees definitely need relievers, but watching Gil come in to immediately put traffic on the bases is everyone's worst nightmare.

As Gerrit Cole builds back to full strength and Clarke Schmidt recovers from his injury, the conversation will get more intense if Gil can't fight through whatever he's dealing with. And Boone's decision will be easier if that's the case. Then he can go with Cole, Rodón, Stroman, Schmidt and Cortes for the rest of the way as they figure out what to do with Gil.

And for the postseason? Again, we're getting ahead of ourselves, but it could be the first four with Cortes/Gil providing long relief in the event of a dud start or to help a tired bullpen. Then there's the possibility of Brian Cashman and the front office adding another starter before the trade deadline due to the precarious situation at the moment. Such a move would almost guarantee Gil moving to the bullpen.

When you think about it, if the Yankee are relying on JT Brubaker/Scott Effross/Lou Trivino to return and contribute meaningful relief innings, they're putting themselves at a massive disadvantage with the injury uncertainties.

This will probably continue to be a week-to-week debate, but Gil's tiredness is probably real. The last time he threw more than 85 innings (he's at 85 2/3 right now) was 2021, when he logged 108 2/3. Before that? 96 innings in 2019. There's a legitimate durability issue here, and it might force a change sooner than we could've ever expected.