The Yankees are giving their fans all they could want, and more. And if there was fan or two out there having a down day, the show the team put on yesterday with another decisive win, using power and pitching, was exactly what the doctor would have ordered.
The Yankees are rolling. And it’s not the dream we had back in April; it’s real. It’s also something that has come about incrementally with slow and subtle changes in the way the team is playing, and not, for instance, a 22-game winning streak. The Yankees are doing it their way, by grinding it out, one game at a time with displays of power and pitching that dominate, and not just defeat, their opponents.
For myself, it was yesterday’s 9-3 crushing of the Baltimore Orioles, the team’s fourth straight win and their eighth in the last ten games, that told me this is the real thing, and not some element of my imagination or hope that the team would (finally) put it all together in 2017.
Beginning with the pitching and Jordan Montgomery, who did something he hasn’t done in his last four starts, delivering six, not the usual four or four and a half innings, and shutout innings at that. How uplifting is that for a team when it comes from a rookie who is your fifth or maybe even, sixth starter?
Small ball, long ball, whatever you like, the Yankees delivered. Two three-run bombs came off the bats of Didi Gregorius, and Greg Bird and Todd Frazier added a two-run blast in the seventh inning, by which time the Yankees had a 9-0 lead.
Just days ago, there was a race for the top spot in the AL Wild Card. It’s over, and the Yankees will win it, ensuring that the one-game shootout will be played at Yankee Stadium. With just fourteen games remaining on the Yankees schedule, the mathematical certification will come, and, fittingly, it might be when the Twins arrive for three games beginning on Monday.
And to add some perspective on what this team has accomplished, the same team that back in April had many insiders wondering if the Yankees would reach .500 this season, here’s a little tidbit picked up by ESPN Sports and Information:
"With their win today, the Yankees clinched their 25th consecutive winning season. They have not had a losing record since 1992. The only longer streak of winning seasons in major league history also belongs to the Yankees: 39, from 1926 to 1964 (source: Elias Sports Bureau)."
As we know, though, because Derek Jeter taught us so, a winning season does not make for a Yankees season unless there’s a ring that comes with it. Can this team do it? Well, that’s the question we’re all asking. Soon, we will find out.
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But it should go without saying that the 2017 Yankees have fulfilled the expectations of their fans. Have they exceeded those expectations? Perhaps, and especially when the team was playing sub-.500 baseball for most of June, July, and August, and when there were plenty of us wondering if this team would ever wake up.
They have woken up. Slowly, but surely, Brian Cashman put together a team built to win, and Joe Girardi is fitting all of those pieces together. The Yankees are a fun team to watch and nothing but a big headache for any team that has to play against them.
And if you are still a non-believer, just imagine the Baltimore Orioles getting off the bus from their hotel, and walking into the Stadium with nothing to look forward to except the task of facing Sonny Gray at 1:05 PM ET.