Despite loss, Brewer's solid relief outing puts Yanks in good position

April 11th, 2023

CLEVELAND -- Colten Brewer can be a lot of different things for the Yankees this year.

Brewer, who began his career as a starter in the Minors but eventually became almost exclusively a reliever, has the durability to provide length on a day when a starter falters. He also has a pitching repertoire built around movement (he’s in the 78th percentile in curveball spine and the 79th in fastball spin), and he is just as comfortable coming into a tough spot to get a couple of big outs.

He showcased both of those skills on Monday, as Brewer got out of a fourth-inning bases-loaded jam before firing off two more scoreless innings to save the Yankees’ bullpen in a 3-2 loss to the Guardians.

After laboring for three innings, starter started the fourth inning with two straight walks followed by an RBI double from Mike Zunino that knotted the score at two. From there, manager Aaron Boone called upon Brewer, who entered the game and promptly walked No. 9 hitter Myles Straw, which led to the lineup turning over to Steven Kwan with the bases loaded and no outs.

As Brewer described it after the game, it became a “live or die” moment. And he did a little more than live.

Brewer got Kwan to ground into a force out at home, then he turned around and extinguished the fire by inducing Amed Rosario to ground into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.

But he wasn’t done, tossing a perfect fifth inning and getting two outs in the sixth before allowing a two-out double to Zunino. Like he had done two innings prior, Brewer wriggled out of the jam, getting Straw to ground out to end the inning.

“Brewer came in and got three huge outs for us,” Boone said. “It was big. That’s about as tough a spot as you can come into, especially if you haven’t pitched in a few days.”

Acquired in a trade with the Rays on March 30, Brewer last pitched on April 2, tossing the final two innings of the Yankees’ 6-0 win over the Giants.

“You’ve got to stay ready,” Brewer said. “You never know when your name’s going to be called. You’ve got to take advantage of those moments.”

Germán was staked to an early 2-0 lead after the Yankees jumped all over Guardians starter Shane Bieber.

setting the tone with a double on the first pitch of the game. With getting a scheduled off-day, the red-hot Torres was able to slide into the leadoff spot, going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.

“I thought we did a good job being aggressive with Bieber and not spotting him anything,” Boone said. “Gleyber set the tone for us.”

That first-inning outburst was all the Yankees’ offense could to muster, however, as Bieber locked in and tossed seven strong innings, including a stretch of 12 straight batters retired in the middle innings.

“He’s a great pitcher, but I thought the at-bats continued all game,” Boone said. “We were squaring him up; it’s amazing that it finished as a 3-2 game. I felt like our guys had really good at-bats but he managed his way through, especially from a pitch count standpoint.”

The Yankees had a golden chance to tie the score in the eighth inning, after Torres led things off with a triple off Guardians reliever James Karinchak. But Karinchak was able to escape the jam by getting to pop out before striking out and .

“We’ve got to come through in the middle of the order,” Judge said. “I need to get something out of the infield.”

The Guardians took the lead a half inning earlier, when they used two walks, a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly to manufacture a run against .

But while the result wasn’t what Boone and the Yankees wanted, it doesn’t take away from Brewer’s and Hamilton’s performance out of the bullpen, as they were able to eat enough innings to save the Yankees’ relievers for the rest of the series. 

“In a way, we kind of reset ourselves with Hamiltion and Brewer taking the bulk of things tonight,” Boone said. “We should be set for tomorrow with Cole on the mound.”