New York was leading 3-0, so they didn’t want to risk any further damage: manager Aaron Boone brought in King, and he delivered an incredible outing to secure the victory for the Bombers.
King struck out George Springer looking, and got Bo Bichette to hit a soft liner to second base that resulted in a double play: DJ LeMahieu caught it, and Matt Chapman, the runner on first, had already taken off to second and couldn’t return in time.
Double play, ballgame, and a victory for the Yanks, thanks to King.
It was his first career save, and while he wasn’t really paying attention to that fact when he took the ball, he was relieved with the end result of his outing.
His reaction was pure, sincere: he was excited to finally add to the “save” column as an MLB pitcher.
Michael King on his first MLB save:
"After the Rizzo gave me the ball, I thought it was pretty cool" pic.twitter.com/rBwYXZMaXb
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) April 15, 2022
A “Cool” Moment
“It was cool! I really wasn’t thinking about it at the moment, but after Anthony Rizzo gave me the ball, I thought it was pretty cool,” he said to New York media after the game.
Chapman is widely expected to remain the closer, as he should: this was his first bad outing of the year and he deserves a long leash.
But King, who finished 2021 on a high note as a multi-inning reliever, will get many high-leverage innings out of the Yankees bullpen in 2022.
Last year, he had a 3.55 ERA, but it was 2.33 as a reliever.
He has found his role with the Yankees: he is the fireman, who will enter the game at the most important situations when an out or two (or five, if needed) are the difference between a win or a loss.