The Yankees knew if they were going to meet their unannounced goal to sweep the Tigers, they needed last night’s game as a launching pad. And that they did, with a combination of good pitching, sixteen hits, and solid defense.
The Yankees lone barrier this season has been their inability to get hot and stay hot during the second half. With an opportunity, this week, to separate themselves from the pack with games against the Tigers and Seattle, the team showed up last night to begin the task, pummeling the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, 13-4.
The Yankees rolled the dice with Masahiro Tanaka (9-10, 4.86), fresh off the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation, and, this time, he came up big needing only 90 pitches over seven solid innings. Perhaps tiring a bit after the layoff, Tanaka’s only mistake came in his final inning when Nicholas Castellanos connected for a home run to drive in two meaningless runs. Chasen Shreve came on to fish out the game.
It’s not an understatement to say this will be the week that was when the team looks back on their performance over a full season
The Yankees saw fresh meat on the mound in Tiger’s starter, Matthew Boyd, and they didn’t waste time, reaching him for seven runs, propelled by a massive 493 ft. shot by Gary Sanchez, the second longest home run this season in the majors. The longest? – take a guess.
Moreover, the Bombers pounded out sixteen hits, with Chase Headley being the only regular to go hitless. And just so we can put this to bed, Aaron Judge did not strike out, ending his string at 37. Judge, in fact, had a good game receiving three walks, scoring twice, with a single, making him 1-1 on the night.
This is the offense the Yankees need to recover from losing a full run per game from the first half when they were scoring five runs, to the point where they are now, scoring only four runs a game.
It doesn’t seem like much, but remember we’re talking average runs per game here. So, the thirteen they scored last night will skew the math, hiding the fact there have been too many two and three run games, which they’ve probably lost.
Yankees need to pour it on now
The going gets a little rougher over the next two games with the Tigers as they will be facing more competitive starting pitching. Jordan Zimmermann (7-10, 5.87) pitches tonight, and although his record is not intimidating, he is more than capable of spinning of a shut-down game.
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Tomorrow is an afternoon game, allowing the Yankees to fly home with the chance for a late family dinner. The Tigers will have Michael Fulmer (10-11, 3.60) starting, and in this case, there is a formidable threat, witnessed by ERA. Fulmer is on a roll having won four out of five of his last decisions, his last game being a 1-0 loss in which he went seven innings.
The Yankees can’t be affected by anything at this point, and they need to “roll” themselves. The Yankees counter with Luis Severino, their most consistent and efficient starter tonight, and then, they’ll need a big game from Jaime Garcia to out pitch Fulmer on Thursday.
It’s all within their grasp
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. And don’t we, as Yankees fans, know that. It’s not an understatement to say this will be the week that was when the team looks back on their performance over a full season
The Seattle Mariners, offering the same opportunity for the Yankees as the Tigers are now, are next with three games at Yankee Stadium. And then, the real season begins when the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox come in for seven games.
From this point on, we can expect Joe Girardi to manage each game as though it were a playoff game, pulling out all the stops, playing anyone who has “hot” in bat, and not hesitating to use his bullpen when he has to.
Yankee fans have waited five months to realize a spot in the playoffs with a chance to do some serious damage once they get there.
The drive began last night, but now the challenge is to keep that momentum moving forward.
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