Yanks rookie Luis Gil eyes another impressive outing vs. M’s

After breaking the New York Yankees rookie record for strikeouts in a game with 14 last Saturday in a 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox, the question is what can right-hander Luis Gil do for an encore?

Gil (5-1, 2.39 ERA), who vaulted himself into the American League Rookie of the Year conversation thanks to his record start, takes the mound on Thursday afternoon in the series finale with the visiting Seattle Mariners.

Gil, who missed most of the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery, has faced Seattle once before in his career. That was in his second major league start back on Aug. 8, 2021, at Yankee Stadium when he allowed two hits over five scoreless innings of a 2-0 loss, striking out eight and walking two.

Right-hander Luis Castillo (4-5, 3.28), who is 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA in five career starts against New York, will start for the Mariners, who will be trying to win a four-game series against the Yankees for the first time since Aug. 4-7, 2000.

The Mariners will be playing the seventh game of a 10-game road trip that ends up with a three-game series at Washington over the weekend. Seattle is 3-3 on the trip including 5-4 and 6-3 wins over the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday in the first two games of the series.

“Tomorrow we have a chance to win the series and take (care) of business,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said.

New York bounced back to take Game 3, 7-3, on Wednesday night with Juan Soto smashing two opposite-field homers for his second multi-home run game of the homestand and Aaron Judge and Alex Verdugo both adding two-run shots.

Nestor Cortes ground through five scoreless innings to pick up the win and extend a streak by Yankees starting pitchers of throwing at least five innings and allowing two or less runs to 10 games, tying the franchise record set in 1968 and equaled in 1997.

Soto, who heard chants of “M-V-P” while rounding the bases after his second homer, now has 19 multi-home run games in his career.

“It’s great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the MVP chants. “I love when the Bronx get behind our guys and, obviously, showing their appreciation for him.”

“It’s incredible. I love it,” Judge, who hit his team-leading 14th home run and could make a pretty strong case for MVP honors himself, said of the fans serenading Soto. “It gives me chills. … The fans are definitely loving the show he’s putting on.”

Soto, who is batting .313 with 13 home runs and a team-leading 40 RBIs, downplayed the MVP chants.

“I still think it’s way too early,” he said. “I’m enjoying every part of it. I’m having fun with it. You never know how long it’s going to be like that, so you try to enjoy every second, soak it all in and keep going.”

New York leads the American League with 34 victories and improved to 25-2 when scoring five or more runs in a game.

Somewhat overlooked in all the home run bashing on Wednesday was the fact that leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe extended his hitting to streak to 15 games with two more hits. He also scored twice on home runs by Judge and Soto.

“Everyone knows how good my teammates are,” Soto said. “They’ve really made me feel comfortable in this lineup, in this clubhouse. I think they’ve been doing a great job for me.”

–Field Level Media