KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There are no parades for 82-win teams that fail to qualify for MLB’s postseason tournament.
Yet, finishing with a winning record meant at least something to these Yankees.
Again, it’s small compensation for their derailed championship hopes, but “we don’t have to say we’re a losing team, per se,’’ Higashioka said on the eve of Sunday’s season finale for the Yanks.
“Not that we want to do it again, but I guess just a point of pride at the end of the year.’’
Concluding his first full season in the Yanks’ rotation, Clarke Schmidt allowed two runs over four innings, finishing with a 4.64 ERA.
That he was able to register 32 starts was due to the rash of injuries to the Yanks’ rotation, and Schmidt’s improvement after an awful first six weeks.
“I know everyone in this clubhouse is (ticked) off about how the year ended up,’’ Schmidt said. “We fell short of what we wanted to do this year and none of us are happy about it.’’
But there’s “something to be said about’’ the club’s finish, to which manager Aaron Boone agreed.
“I mean, we’re going home (Sunday night), so that’s inevitably kind of the takeaway from our season,’’ said Boone. “We expect to be playing in October.
“And the fact that we’re not going to be doing that beyond (Sunday) is tough,’’ said Boone, adding that he was “proud’’ of his club’s professionalism.
“I’m super pleased with how these guys have shown up and continued to get after it day in and day out in a season that hasn’t been what we expected.’’
Though, “in the end, it’ll be hard to watch the games next week,’’ Boone said of his club’s early elimination.
Frankie Montas makes an appearance, looks toward 2024
As a point of personal pride, Frankie Montas made his first appearance since last October and picked up the win in relief.
Rehabbing nearly all season from shoulder surgery, Montas mentioned that he wanted to make just one appearance in 2023 for himself and his mindset going into winter as a free agent.
Afterward, Montas admitted to feeling “a lot of nerves’’ during his 25-pitch outing, covering 1.1 innings. “Felt like it was my first time pitching in the big leagues.’’
Thanks to Greg Weissert, who stranded two inherited baserunners in scoring position in the sixth, Montas was able to claim a scoreless appearance and his first victory since 2022.
Boone thought Montas looked free and easy, and it “didn’t look like he was protecting’’ his arm as he threw 95-mph fastballs and some good change-ups.
“The shoulder feels really good,’’ said Montas, who tossed a scoreless fifth inning with one walk, then gave up two hits in the sixth before striking out Logan Porter.
On Friday, Montas said he hoped to return to the Yanks, but when the subject came up Saturday night, he said he was just “excited about having a healthy offseason’’ and not concerned about his 2024 address.
Acquired at last year’s trade deadline, Montas became a key figure in a spate of Yankee deals gone wrong, with shoulder issues that led to a 6.35 ERA in just eight starts.
“He kept working at it and left a good impression with all the people down in Tampa that helped get him (through rehab),’’ Boone said of Montas’ work at the club’s minor league complex.
“(That) set an example for young players down there.’’
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: In a lost year, Yankees at least lock in another winning season to maintain their streak
Source: Yahoo Sports