The New York Yankees had a resurgent week, as they’d tack on three series wins and remained glued to their 1.5 game deficit in the AL East. Last Sunday would cap a three game sweep over the Atlanta Braves followed by the start of a division filled home stretch that will end this upcoming week. The Yanks’ would take two of three against the Boston Red Sox and then home versus the Tampa Bay Rays. This week started off the final month of the season, a month where every game matters. Here’s all you need to see and know in this week’s edition of The Full 408.
- Track: As Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller continue to be the dominant duo they’ve been all season, there’s a reason they also haven’t slowed down. Despite what you might see or hear on the sports news, Miller and Betances are nowhere close to being overused. Do the Yankees rely on them more than they’d like? Yes, but Girardi stretches those appearances out better than anyone else. The Yankees are the only team in the MLB to not have a pitcher throw three days in a row, could you imagine if that kind of management wasn’t in control of ‘DnA’? Betances is on pace for 85 IP this season and that’s fewer than what he pitched last season (90). As the Yankees try and pull ahead of Toronto in the last couple of weeks it’s safe to say the number ’85’ will go up, but the point of this is that it can.
- Wall: This might not seem important to some, but in September every game matters, and some that appear as ‘sure wins’ can actually be trap games. The Yankees took advantage of playing bad teams this week and won games they should’ve. The Braves are on a historic skid (partially started by the Yankees), the Red Sox (though hitting hot as of late) are a team the Yankees should easily get a series win over, and the Rays bullpen is a wide-open target for the Yankees line-up. Should you expect back to back sweeps against division rivals? No, but winning the series means winning most of your games. The Yanks’ have won seven in their last nine and will continue to put the pressure on the Toronto Blue Jays to keep playing at the level they are.
- See Ya!: I’m going to go in another collective effort for this last one. The hitting is back! After what seemed like a dreadful August (aside from a few key wins), the Yankees bats have woken up to start September. 20 runs before a flight leaving Atlanta, followed by great ‘situation’ hitting in Boston. The bottom of the lineup has been red-hot (yes including Stephen Drew), and Alex Rodriguez appears to be waking up from his August slumber. This all happening without Mark Teixeira, as he’s still recovering from his bone bruise. Greg Bird and the Yanks just need to keep the button on overdrive so when Teix does return, they’re in a comfortable place.
Usually I give three important notes for this part of The Full 408, but honestly this was one of the best weeks the Yankees had in a while. So for this week’s ‘ugly’ I’ll give you one topic that constantly stands out to me and other fans as well.
The two losses this week were both by one run deficits. The first was a game started by Ivan Nova in which he gave up three runs, which for the Yankees is a number quite easy to work with this season. In this game they were 4-14 with RISP, and fourteen men were left on base. In the loss against the Rays they were 0-5 with RISP and nine men were left on base. This has been an issue I brought up before as to Joe Girardi not being aggressive on the base running. The Yankees are still bottom five in base-stealing, and Jacoby Ellsbury along with Brett Gardner have both been healthy. Didi Gregorius has extremely underrated speed and his base-running has grown along with the rest of his game this season (not to mention he gets on base multiple times a game constantly now). The Yankees called up Rico Noel to contribute to the lack of speed, but realistically how many separate times is he going to be on base during each game? You need runs however you can get them, and Girardi needs to make use out of the little speed he has on this older team.
- Keep It Up: Luis Severino has emerged as the weapon needed at the trade deadline for the Yankees, and what’s even better is that he didn’t cost a thing. He went 6.1 IP Friday with one earned and five strikeouts. It seems as if he was ready for the call-up long before the injury to Michael Pineda, but no matter, he is here and he is in command of his starts. Now through six games his ERA is 2.04 and he has three straight wins after the poor run support in his first couple of appearances. It’s no time to let up though, as his next start will be the series opener against Toronto, a series that can make or break the chances of winning the AL East. If there’s anyone to put your trust in lately it seems to be him luckily.
- Pick It Up: Brett Gardner has been the Yankees coldest hitter after having such a dominant first half to the season. While Jacoby seems to be back on track (and healthy), Gardy has faded. Like the success that was generated in the first half of the season, it was based around four players and one of them was Gardner. He had some key at-bats this week, but they were next to none as his slump has seemingly carried on through the weeks. Whether the answer to this is starting Chris Young a couple times to calm him down or let him take whack after whack and just find his swing again hasn’t been solved yet. What’s certain though, is it needs to get figured out fast. The Jays aren’t waiting up for him to find his bat and the Yankees can’t either, he needs to have a successful series against Baltimore starting today before Toronto comes to town.
Michael Pineda returned to the rotation in a big way.
Stephen Drew had a huge weekend in Atlanta getting his batting average over .200.
The Yankees have the most important week of the season thus far coming up, as they continue their home stand against the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays. Despite what seemed like a serious injury at first, CC Sabathia is returning Wednesday. CC has been very effective the second half of the season and Yankees fans should be missing him. As talked of before CC’s injury when Pineda was set to return, will the Yankees finally carry on with the six man rotation? Also the Yanks will need the best starts they can get from Masahiro Tanaka, Pineda, and CC in hopes of keeping the bullpen as lightly worked as possible for the four game set against Toronto. See you next week on The Full 408!
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