Luis Gil ascends to new level of Yankees greatness with near no-hitter vs. Mariners

Near no-hitter!
Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees / Mike Stobe/GettyImages

The Yankees, faced with the challenge of 2022 MLB Trade Deadline "Almost" Luis Castillo, needed almost unblemished greatness from fifth-starter-competition-winner-turned-ace Luis Gil. They knew it might be too much to ask, but hell, they had to ask regardless.

In response, Gil turned in what might've been his most dominant start of the season against the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners. The only reason to quibble with that assertion is that ... every start is nearly identical.

Do you prefer strikeouts? Gil's rookie record 14 probably blew you away last Saturday, but might get discounted somewhat because it came against the White Sox. Are you eyeing the "hits allowed" column? That's not a great differentiator; every start, it seems to be between one and four. He's already got multiple lengthy one-hitters to pick from.

Thursday's series final before a West Coast road trip really might get the nod, though. The only "hit" Gil allowed probably should've been robbed by Anthony Volpe, prior to a juggle and delayed regroup. Despite a whole lot of traffic on the bases in the late innings, somehow nobody allowed a second hit until Clay Holmes let Mitch Garver sneak one up the middle in the ninth.

Once Holmes shut the door, Gil had officially contributed significantly to a 5-0 win, reaching rarefied Yankees air that had only been matched once before: by Gerrit Cole, the man he was ostensibly replacing, back in 2021.

Yankees' new ace Luis Gil matches Gerrit Cole in franchise history books

As Katie Sharp noted, Gil's last five starts now consist of 30.2 innings, 12 hits, 35 Ks, and an 0.59 ERA, which is meant to be gawked at. Even the great Cole never did that; Gil's the first in Yankees history with a five-start stretch accompanied by 35+ strikeouts, under 15 hits (by a wide margin) and an ERA below 0.60.

Just two short months ago, analysts were debating whether Gil or Will Warren deserved the edge in the Yankees' fifth starter race, arguing that Gil's filthy fastball might play up in the bullpen.

That could be true. But it also plays up nicely in the rotation, and could very well navigate him to the American League All-Star team. Warren's road has been bumpier; three consecutive awful starts have left him with a 7.92 ERA in Scranton.

The other righty's future is still bright. After all, it's not his fault that Gil reached rarefied air, and did far more than just hold down the rotation prior to Cole's arrival (and spark a fleet of innings limit debates). Instead of merely keeping Cole's seat warm, he matched him.