The invincible pitch that carries Tommy Kahnle to a 14-game shutout streak

Tommy Kahnle extended his shutout streak to 13 2/3 innings in 14 outings with win over the Orioles on July 3, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

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Since his season finally commenced in early June, Tommy Kahnle has proven himself to be among the top relievers in the entire league. Even after more than a month has passed, he continues to keep his opponents off the scoreboard. In the Yankees’ recent victory over the Orioles, he threw a scoreless eighth inning, extending his impressive streak to 13 2/3 innings without allowing a single run. This remarkable feat spans 14 appearances.

The secret of Tommy Kahnle’s success lies in his lethal changeup, which he honed in Triple-a during his rehab. It seems to fast becoming one of the most formidable signature pitches among the bullpen aces, making it his most potent weapon.

According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Tommy Kahnle has an exceptional changeup, which is among the best in the league. The skipper also noted that “he gives them enough of a look with the fastball, too.”

Tommy Kahnle’s control, dominance continues

In most of his recent appearances, Tommy Kahnle has demonstrated excellent control. However, during Tuesday’s victory over the Orioles, he encountered some difficulties, walking two out of the four batters he faced. Fortunately, his changeup came to the rescue and helped him navigate through the situation.

With the Yankees holding a 7-3 lead, Tommy Kahnle took the mound in the eighth inning to face the Orioles. He began by issuing a walk to the first batter, Anthony Santander, on a full-count pitch. However, Ryan Hearns was unable to take advantage of a well-executed changeup and grounded into a routine double play that the Yankees’ infielders (4-6-3) executed quickly.

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The next batter, Cedric Mullins, also managed to draw a walk on a full-count pitch. But Tommy Kahnle showcased his skills once again, escaping the inning by striking out Aaron Hicks with a devastating 1-2 changeup located at the lower part of the strike zone, making it incredibly challenging for Hicks to make contact.

Boone remarked that Tommy Kahnle’s changeup is exceptional, highlighting the fact that even if a player is aware that the pitch is a changeup in advance, it is still difficult to face and handle.

Kahnle fits perfectly into the Yankees bullpen

The Yankees’ bullpen has emerged as a significant asset for the team this season, boasting an impressive 2.82 ERA, which stands as the lowest among all major league teams. Throughout the first half of the season, which concludes after Sunday’s game, the Yankees have greatly benefited from the impressive performances of several key players. Veteran pitchers Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta have made significant contributions on the mound. Emerging stars from the 2022 season, namely Michael King and Ron Marinaccio, have continued to shine and exceed expectations. Young pitchers Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu have also stepped up and showcased their potential. Additionally, Ian Hamilton and Nick Ramirez, who were not initially on the team’s official roster during spring training, have made noteworthy contributions to the Yankees’ success.

Tommy Kahnle mentioned that upon his return, he found himself among the more experienced players on the team. He recalled being the youngest player during his previous stint with the Yankees and expressed his admiration for the dedication and effort displayed by his teammates, particularly their pre-game preparations and their ability to maintain focus and attentiveness throughout the game.

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AP

Kahnle has seamlessly integrated into the team and has demonstrated excellent focus and effectiveness in retiring opposing batters. Boone remarked that he’s performing exceptionally well and has made a significant positive impact on the team.

“He’s in a good spot and has been really good for us,” Boone said.

Tommy Kahnle is a true Yankees

It is the third stint of Tommy Kahnle with the Yankees. Originally drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2010 draft from Lynn University, a Division II school in Boca Raton, Florida, he was later picked by the Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 draft.

When the Yankees acquired Tommy Kahnle in a trade deadline deal with the White Sox in 2017, he was already an established reliever in the major leagues. The trade, which also involved reliever David Robertson and third baseman Todd Frazier coming to the Yankees, was considered a blockbuster at the time.

During his time with the Yankees, Tommy Kahnle had a strong performance in 2017, but his 2018 season was marred by injuries and limited playing time. However, he bounced back with a solid performance in 2019. Unfortunately, he suffered a major setback in 2020 when he injured his elbow in his first outing of the season and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.

After a long absence, Tommy Kahnle made his comeback in May 2021 with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, his return was short-lived, as he landed back on the injured list after only four outings due to a bone bruise in his pitching elbow. Following a four-month recovery period, he was able to return to action in September. Despite the limited number of outings, he performed well, maintaining a 2.84 ERA for the remainder of the season.

The Yankees were convinced of Tommy Kahnle’s value and decided to bring him back. They successfully acquired him on New Year’s Eve, signing him to a two-season contract worth $13.5 million.

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(Lynne Sladky | AP)

Yankees teammates are awe of Kahnle

During spring training, Tommy Kahnle occasionally displayed his usual boisterous behavior, although not as frequently as during his previous stint with the Yankees. The players who had been on the team in 2020 took note of the change.

After Monday night’s game against Baltimore, which ended with a 6-3 victory for the Yankees, Tommy Kahnle expressed his joy on the mound after successfully pitching a scoreless eighth inning to maintain the tied score. Tommy Kahnle shared that a few days prior, he had advised his teammates to avoid displaying emotions on the mound. However, he admitted that his attempt to follow this advice did not yield the desired results.

He acknowledged that his teammates had anticipated that his behavior would be similar to how it was during his previous tenure with the team. Tommy Kahnle mentioned that they remarked on him being slightly more subdued in recent times. When asked about the reason behind this change, he attributed it to getting older, stating with a smile that age was a factor. However, Tommy Kahnle also emphasized that his old energetic self still emerges from time to time.

Meanwhile, his focus is on staying healthy and focused. He noted that up until that point, his efforts had yielded positive results, and Tommy Kahnle felt good every time he pitched.

According to Schmidt, Tommy Kahnle possesses a strong sense of competitiveness, which not only energizes the team in the dugout but also serves as a valuable contribution. Schmidt expressed his appreciation for having players like Tommy Kahnle on the team, particularly considering his impressive performance in maintaining a clean slate on the scoreboard.

“Now I love it,” Schmidt said. “You start to fall in love with it. Whenever he’s around, everybody’s always high energy. He’s just fun on and off the field. And he’s obviously a dog.”

Tommy Kahnle is truly a bulldog and his attack baffles hitters.

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