On one level, the Yankees are the husband (or wife) for whom it seems unimaginable to get a correct birthday (or anniversary) (or Christmas) (or Hanukah) present. In spite of everything, what do you get the husband (or wife) (or baseball team) that seems to have the whole lot?
Then Luis Castillo strode to the Yankee Stadium mound Thursday night.
Suddenly, in a moment of inspiration just like while you finally discover the right gift in your spouse, the Yankees pinpointed the perfect present for themselves.
All that was missing was gift wrap and a bow.
“He’s got a two seamer and a four-seamer, hits 95-99 [mph], he paints each side of the plate,” manager Aaron Boone said, wonder in his voice, a couple of hours later, after his Yankees had lost, 7-6 in 10 innings. “He gives you two different looks with the fastball, works each side of the plate with it and has an amazing changeup.
“He was great.”
He was that. The Yankees spent most of Thursday night looking as in the event that they were toying with the Reds the way in which a terrier toys with a chipmunk after he’s caught the critter. They worn out a 1-0 deficit. They erased a 4-1 deficit. They sliced a 7-4 result in 7-6 one batter into the tenth inning. The Reds are one in all the worst teams in baseball, the Yankees the perfect. It seemed inevitable.
Luis Castillo aced his audition for the Yankees. Robert Sabo for the NY POST
But … well. That’s baseball, Suzyn.
But so is the sport that’s about to choose up some steam across the following few weeks, the trade-deadline parlor game that guarantees to be extra interesting in Recent York City this yr. The Mets are definitely available in the market for an additional bat for his or her lineup and one other arm for his or her bullpen. The Yankees, despite their 62-27 record (and their magic number for clinching the AL East of 61) could surely use one other lockdown starter now that their rotation has sustained a couple of nicks and bruises the past few weeks.
And there, for all to see, was Castillo.
Once, after The Beatles performed their final live performance, a rooftop concert in January 1969 high above 3 Savile Row, which housed their Apple recording studio, John Lennon famously quipped right into a live microphone: “I’d wish to thanks on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hoped we passed the audition.”
Luis Castillo pitches on Thursday throughout the Reds’ win over the Yankees. Robert Sabo for the NY POST
Well, it’s hard to talk for the remaining of the Reds, and as a gaggle they’re more the Rutles than the Beatles. But Castillo surely passed his audition.
He threw seven good innings on the Yankees, allowing only a run (which probably wouldn’t have scored if his second baseman, Jonathan India, hadn’t botched a ground ball with the infield in), and striking out eight. He reached 98 mph usually across 114 pitches. The Yankees looked positively baffled, first pitch to last.
Fans cheer for Luis Castillo. Robert Sabo for the NY POST
And Castillo appeared to be having a hell of a time, looked as comfortable pitching at Yankee Stadium in front of 41,311 people as he normally does in front of family and friends back home at Great American Ball Park. That’s as essential to see as anything, when you’re the Yankees and also you’re occupied with throwing some pricey chips on the table and pointing at Cincinnati.
Now, there may be a good query here. The Reds are in full rebuilding mode and, sure, that generally implies that anyone is in play if the return is sufficiently big. Shouldn’t the Reds at the least be occupied with making Castillo — under team control through next yr — a foundational piece, and never a transactional one?
(After all the Reds are a team whose president, Phil Castellini, bristled earlier this yr at fan criticism by pouting and spewing: “Are you gonna abandon being a Reds fan? Are you gonna abandon following this team?”)
It’s easy really:
If Castillo is in play, the Yankees must be in play. They’ve already been identified, together with the Dodgers, as one in all the 2 most energetic suitors. Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have each pledged to honor what the Yankees have already done by ensuring they’ve a maximized team entering October.
And a maximized team would have Gerrit Cole and Castillo as a 1-2 punch at first of any postseason series. The Yankees will already steam into October as betting favorites.
That will make the cash look even smarter.