Yankees set to send the Red Sox on the Road to Perdition
The Yankees have reached a point in their season where the team can not only move into first place in the AL East this week, but they can also send the Red Sox on their way down the Road To Perdition and eternal hell.
The Yankees, on the strength of winning four of six games against the Tigers and Mariners while the Red Sox were losing four straight, including a three game sweep by the Orioles in their home ballpark, have crept to within 2.5 games of first place.
While not quite yet firing on all cylinders, the Yankees have put together three successive starts of seven innings and one run pitching from Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia, and yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka. Greg Bird and Starlin Castro are back, and already their presence in the lineup is being felt.
The Yankees need to get by the Cleveland Indians, who begin a three-game set tonight at Yankee Stadium before the Red Sox come in for four games starting on Thursday. That weekend series could very determine the fate for both teams in the 2017 season.
When the Pinstripes bounced back from a devasting extra-inning one-run loss to the Mariners on Friday night winning two straight games decisively, that told me all I need to know about the 2017 Yankees.
The Red Sox have some good players, but they do not have a good team. Once you remove Dustin Pedroia, who’s on the 10-day DL, Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers, both of whom have played only twenty-some games and are not entirely tested from the lineup, the Sox look very pedestrian and non-threatening.
They do not have a regular in their lineup batting higher than .278 (Xander Bogaerts), nor do they have anyone with twenty or more home runs, while the Yankees have three players who have already reached that level (Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Brett Gardner). The Bombers also have fifty or so more home runs as a team than the Red Sox.
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The Red Sox do have a pitcher who, arguably, is the best lefty in the American League in Chris Sale. But with David Price still out with whatever ails him these days, they lack the one-two punch the Yankees have between Sonny Gray and, take your pick, Tanaka, Sabathia, and Luis Severino.
On any given day, the Red Sox can get a good start from Drew Pomeranz, who has been awesome of late, or last year’s Cy Young, Rick Porcello. But both are very beatable on those other days.
In the bullpen, the Sox have a good closer in Craig Kimbrel (29 saves) and Matt Barnes to back him up. But again, they lack the depth the Yankees have.
The eyes of baseball shine on the Bronx
Granted, this is all on paper. And the games remain to be played on the field. But the Yankees are presenting a better “feel” than Red Sox right now. And when the Pinstripes bounced back from a devasting extra-inning one-run loss to the Mariners on Friday night winning two straight games decisively, that told me all I need to know about the 2017 Yankees.
Corey Kluber going for the Indians tonight presents no easy task. But the Yankees countering with Severino, who is pitching equally as well as Kluber, is no easy task for the Indians as well. Whichever team comes up with a couple of timely hits will win the game.
It’s also time to begin some scoreboard watching too. The Red Sox will be in Toronto to face the Blue Jays who, like the Orioles, are still not dead in the water for the second Wild Card spot. A little help from our friends in Canada would be appreciated.
The Stadium will be rocking for an entire week with capacity crowds and a lot of noise. It’s starting to feel like Fall already in the Northeast with temps in the seventies, and sunny skies predicted all week.
Next: Yankees farm report: Summer is ending, harvest just beginning
And if you are a fan of baseball, it doesn’t get better than this. As for the Red Sox, the Road to Perdition leads through River Avenue and E. 161st St. in the Bronx. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
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