He’s a “Gil” Of Success

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Luis Gil is a good predicament for Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s pitching rotation, though with an eventual return of Gerrit Cole the bad is how to keep this young righthander in his role. Gil has earned a permanent spot in the rotation and continued his cause Thursday afternoon in the Bronx.

With each start it has become a “Gil” of success. Last outing against the White Sox, Gil set a Yankees rookie record with 14 strikeouts. He followed that with a gem on Thursday, 6 and 1/3 innings, an infield hit and eight more strikeouts. The Yankees bullpen took over and preserved his 6th win. Now,  Gil (6-1) certainly deserves an opportunity to retain his role

Of course, the Yankees are also on a role, again using solo home runs from Giancarlo Stanton (#12) and Aaron Judge (#15) in their 5-0 win over the Mariners which gained them a split of the four-game series.

The talk though is about Gil, 5-0 this month with a 0.59 ERA. The talk also is about a Yankees team that rebounded after losing the first two games of this series and maintaining their best record (35-17) in the American League. The Yankees head to the West Coast for a three city, nine-game trip with the Padres, Angels, and Giants.

I think he’s developed a really good routine,” Boone said about Gil with a 2.11 ERA is 10 starts. “He just continues to get better and better. He’s got so many weapons that can beat you. And then his work has been excellent, not just between the lines but on the other days. He’s learning, growing, and it’s been fun to watch.”

Developing and causing this predicament for the Yankees manager. Cole is expected to throw to live hitters down in Tampa in the next few days, His progress and return from right elbow inflammation is moving fast. Also moving fast is Gil on the pitching charts with a consistent fastball that fooled the Mariners.

He moves the ball, has a different changeup and keeps us off balance,” Mariners’ Ty France said about facing Gil. “He’s tough in the zone.”

Gil used that commanding fastball and changeup in the sixth inning. After issuing two walks in between, including one to France, he recorded three strikeouts, two on swings and misses and one called strike three. The last one was a 97-mile fastball that Luke Raley could not handle.

Gil has made a statement. Of course, this run also coincides with a Yankees team that provides enough run support. He credits his chats with Cole and pitching coach Matt Blake. It’s Gil learning on the job and producing at the same time.

It’s being focused on what I need to do out there,” Gil said through an interpreter. “You look at this team and the support they’ve given me all year round. It’s really understanding how things are going to help me out there.”

He cited learning on the mound and situations that are presented. He claims the mechanics have been the same and consistent before his call-up to replace Cole in the rotation.

But his outings have been better than expected. Boone is hesitant to say that Gil will retain his rotation spot, at least for now, though when the time comes it will be difficult to take the young right hander away from his routine, so the predicament will eventually come. The Yankees recorded their sixth shutout of the year and their pitching staff with a 2.86 ERA is lowest in the majors.

Said Boone about when that time comes, “It’s three, four, five, six weeks away. If, at that point, we’re in this position, then that’s a good thing. We’ll do what we have to do. What we think is best for the team and everyone involved. In this baseball calendar that’s still light years away.”

And Boone is watching the pitch counts, as Gil is coming off Tommy John surgery and there is always that caution. But the manager says there is no limit to the innings, again the Yankees continue to rely on Gil’s development and going past six innings.

It’s been a treat to watch for sure,” Judge said. Gil joined Steve Kline and CC Sabathia as Yankees starters to pitch at least six innings while allowing one run or fewer in five straight starts.

So indeed, this can become a predicament for Boone and the decision makers. But at this pace Luis Gil will need an epic collapse to be removed from his role.

He has become that “Gil” of success for the Yankees.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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