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Knock, Knock Boston. It's The Yankees And They're 2.5 Games Back Of First All Of A Sudden

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Well, well, well. Look what we have here.

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All it took was one weekend where the Red Sox regressed to a helpless team against the red hot Orioles bats as the Yankees took care of business against the Mariners. Two and a half games back with about five weeks to go folks. After last weekend ended I thought the division was a wrap. The Red Sox had put that dagger into the hearts of the Yankees and it was time to refocus on the first wild card spot. Well, now everything is back on the table. Coming up is the biggest week of the season, but before we get into that let’s dial it back to this weekend in the Bronx. If I told you this scenario back in April, you would signed the fuck up for it. We’re right in this thing.

Friday Night

The Yankees left approximately 400 men on base in the first seven innings. It was insane how creative they were getting with not scoring runs on Friday and I was losing my goddamn mind. Finally in the 8th, Didi came through and the Mariners incompetent fielding allowed a hustling Judge to score all the way from first.

Finally the Yankees caught a little Bronx magic and tied the game. The Yankees would go on to load the bases with two outs for Todd Frazier. But in classic Todd Frazier fashion, he struck out to end the threat. In the 9th, Gary Sanchez ripped a two out single to bring up Judge in hopes of his long awaited clutch moment. Judge would go on to foul out to first to the dismay of everyone. Chapman came into the game in the 11th, and things didn’t work out as per usual.

Shockingly a fastball down the middle to a dead-red fastball hitter didn’t work out. Fuck Aroldis Chapman. I don’t wanna see this guy in any pressure packed situations for the foreseeable future.

Saturday

We had a lot of fun Saturday afternoon. Sonny Gray pitched his best game as a Yankee so far and was absolutely dominant.

There had been a few chirpers on Sonny after his first couple of starts as a Yankee that he wasn’t going deep and wasn’t anything special. Well Saturday shut those fuckers up big time. Sonny had his A+ stuff, going seven strong innings, fanning nine batters while giving up just three hits and one run (a solo shot to Ruiz). He was able to get through the first few innings in relatively quick fashion, something he had a problem with his last few starts. In his five starts in pinstripes Gray is 2-3, but has posted a 2.70 ERA with opponents hitting just .207 against him. If you don’t like what you’re seeing from Sonny, that means you’re blind.

The offense got going on Saturday too, from a unexpected source…Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacobo was cookin this weekend and he jumped on an 89 mph pitch right down the middle and deposited it into the right field porch. Chasen Shreve made things a little interesting in the 7th after he couldn’t record an out. But Tommy Kahnle came in and cleaned things up for the most part. Dellin came in the 9th inning and basically laughed at the Mariners hitters, making quick work of them to close out the game. Dating back to July 27th, the big fella has posted a ridiculous 0.64 ERA striking out 20 guys and walking just 6 in 14 innings of work. Opponents are hitting a minuscule .089 against him in that span. If Dellin isn’t walking guys then there’s no chance he’s giving up runs. NONE. He’s been massive to an otherwise shaky bullpen.

Sunday

Yesterday was a strange, strange game. Tanaka looked about as shaky as you can look in the first inning, but managed to only give up one run in the frame. From there on out he was dominant, in a rare daytime gem from the right hander, striking out ten guys. The Yankees then capitalized on not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE first inning errors by the Seattle Mariners. It was an insane inning to watch and frankly I’d never seen anything like it before.

You don’t even see that shit from the Mets. I mean we had balls going underneath outfielder’s gloves, balls falling in between three players in short center field, just crazy shit all in one inning. It was like the MONSTARS zapped the Mariner’s gloves and left them looking like the Bad News Bears. As a result the Yanks put up a six spot in the first (thanks in part to an Ellsbury bases clearing double) and never looked back.

The Lineup Got Healthier and Stronger

Starlin Castro and Greg Bird made their returns to the starting lineup and both made immediate impacts. Castro had a nice little 6 for 12 weekend, including a four hit day yesterday. He makes this lineup soooo much better and I especially liked him hitting second yesterday. Castro hits and gets on base plain and simple. Having him on early for the likes of Judge, Sanchez, and now Greg Bird to drive him in makes a ton of sense. That brings me to the other addition to the lineup: Greg Bird. He actually exists! His ankle is healed miraculously and he’s ready to help this team win. Bird returned on Saturday and reached base in three of his four plate appearances. He pinched hit for Castro yesterday with the bases loaded and ripped a two run single through the right side. This is the most complete the lineup has been all season long and I’m excited to see what these guys can do in the month of September.

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The Tanaka Of Old Has Returned

Masahiro Tanka is pitching awesome of late to the surprise of almost everyone. Since June 23rd he’s posted a 5-3 record in 11 starts, with a 2.92 ERA striking out 79 guys and walking just 13. It’s been very sneaky, but the threesome of Severino-Gray-Tanaka is quickly forming into a very, very solid group in the rotation, with CC pitching more than fine himself. He’s been keeping the ball low consistently and when he’s doing that it’s when he’s at his best. His full season ERA has lowered to 4.69 and is just getting lower and lower. Thank God.

Looking Ahead:

This is the biggest week of the season by far. Cleveland comes to town tonight where we get Kluber vs. Severino right off the bat. Expect a ton of swings and misses throughout the night and no runs at all. These two guys are in the hunt for the AL Cy Young and you’ll see why tonight. The Indians come in winners of four in a row, including a weekend sweep of the Royals. The good news is that Andrew Miller is still on the DL and will miss this series, the bad news is that everyone else is healthy and mashing for them. Starting Thursday, Boston comes to town for the final four games of the year between the two squads. The Yankees have lined up their rotation perfectly for the series, having Sonny on Thursday, Tanaka on Friday, and Severino on Saturday. Sunday, for now, has Chris Sale up against Jaime Garcia on Sunday night baseball, but I have a funny feeling with September call-ups in effect by then, that we may see Jordan Montgomery in that game. This is a massive, massive week and who knows what the standings will look like come this time next week. The Yankees could not possibly be feeling better right now after how bad things were a week ago. Every game needs to be treated with playoff intensity and that puts a lot of pressure on Joe Girardi’s shoulders. Everyone buckle up.

P.S. BUY BUY BUY YOUR BARSTOOL AT THE BALLPARK TICKETS NOW BEFORE THEY’RE SOLD OUT

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