Yankees come home with a win, but where do we go from here

Aroldis Chapman (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Aroldis Chapman (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Yankees 6-4 win over the Mariners earned them their first series win in a month and a half. But the nagging question with this team is when, if ever, are they going to take off and fly.

The Yankees got off to an explosive start in this afternoon’s game in Seattle with a first inning home run from Brett Gardner that was followed by two more from Didi Gregorius in the second and fourth innings giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

The trouble was, Luis Cessa had been pushed aside in favor of rookie Caleb Smith to make the start., surrendering four earned runs in just 3.2 innings, giving the lead right back to the Mariners.

Now, guess what. It was up to the Yankees bullpen to come in again to pick up the pieces. Only this time, the bullpen responded with Shawn Green delivering 2.1 seamless innings with three strikeouts and Dellin Betances covering the seventh inning without a blemish.

David Robertson turned in a perfect eighth and then Joe Girardi made a move to their MIA closer, Aroldis Chapman, who promptly gave up a base bit on the first pitch he threw, and then another one to the next batter.

Leaving me on the edge of my seat, Chapman retired the side for his eleventh save of the year. Chapman is said to be suffering from a “mechanical flaw”.

But what of the Yankees?

By virtue of their win today, the Yankees fly home tonight and will face the Cincinnati Reds at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday following a well-deserved off-day on Monday. After the Reds come the Tampa Bay Rays, who, along with the Royals, have wiggled their way into the Wild Card race, with the Rays being a constant thorn in the side of the Yankees.

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Yankees fans have been waiting patiently for the big breakout when we see not 5-5 over their last ten, but an 8-2 up on the board. Or anything that shows them to be separating from the pack. A team that is capable of spinning off even three in a row to sweep a series, or at least two in a row to win a series.

It should begin now with the Reds coming in for what should be an easy two games, followed by the Rays for four games and then Detroit to close out the homestand before traveling to Cleveland to meet the red hot Indians.

That’s the way it should play out, even though a week ago we were saying the same thing about the road trip that didn’t fan out. Even though, miraculously, the Yankees would still be one of the teams qualifying for the playoffs as a Wild Card if the season were to end today.

But with so many teams in the race, how long can we expect that to last before one, or even two, teams catch fire and the season disappears before our eyes?

In a story I put out there earlier today, I pointed out the Yankees need to play not .500 baseball, not .600 baseball, but .650 baseball to reach the normal playoff qualifying plateau of 90 wins. Does this look a team that can do that?

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I don’t know. The only ones who do know are wearing the Pinstripes. What I do know, though, is that this team is sputtering and flailing at a time when they should be taking off. We don’t see that, and it should be a concern for everyone.