Yankees pitch and blast way to AL East Championship with 100th win


Yankees seize the moment with crafty pitching from Masahiro Tanaka and Baby Bomber power as Yankee Stadium roared for the 100th win and AL East Championship.

Yankees Stadium sounded tense and looked attentive Thursday night in the Bronx. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka took the mound, and it looked like he felt as though he was the only man on the field. Masa was focused, energized and fooling hitters left and right.

Tanaka crafted seven innings of barely touchable pitching, keeping the Angels hitters off-balance, and swinging out of the strike zone. The Yankees month-and-a-half acquisition, Cory Gearrin, pitched a tight eighth inning, followed by a dominant two strikeout, one-hit performance from Aroldis Chapman.

Yankees blast four home runs

Brett Gardner showed everyone why he is still a big-time player. Including a walk, Gardy was 2-for-3, with a home run (26), three runs, and three RBIs proving to his teammates that the veterans are just as driven to win a 28th championship for New York.

D.J. LeMahieu continued his astounding MVP caliber season with a second-inning, three-run blast, initially sealing the Yanks’ 100th win, and first AL East Championship since 2012 — and 19th since the addition of the third division to each league.

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Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier added the third and fourth bombs of the night, putting a cherry atop their easily earned division-winning game. Yankee fans were once again witnesses to the patchwork continuity of this injury-plagued season, and how this team matches up to the 1996 World Champs “next man up” mentality and outcome.

Will we see 108 wins? Can the Bronx Bombers close out the season with all wins, and how might that affect their postseason chances?

How about that so-called faulty pitching?

Thursday night’s game continued to illuminate how a healthy pitching staff can truly dominate. For the past two weeks, Yankee pitching has been at the top of its game, shutting teams down, keeping most contests at a low score for their rivals.

We have all certainly been given the answer as to whether these kids can survive a five-game playoff. If the Yanks toss Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, I don’t see how they can be stopped.

Then, add in Luis Severino for a possible fourth or fifth game, and any team New York faces, including the battling Astros, won’t survive. I don’t see the Bomber bats remaining quiet in the playoffs this year.

The 2019 season has given us injury after injury and is ending with some of the Yankees best guys out until next spring — some just in the past couple weeks. No team has ever overcome as many injuries as the Yanks have, and gone on to win the Division Championship.

Yet, if you look at most stories about New York’s chances to win No. 28, you’d think no one has faith in the starting staff. Even Yankee Facebook pages are teeming with fans arguing with each other as to whether or not the club can win, and what they believe needs to be still done to secure a World Series Championship.

The fans at the stadium didn’t sound like they doubted anything, however, and the noise continued to build from the eighth inning on. The smell of Angel defeat and a divisional win was swarming around the crowd, drawing them to their feet for the last strike from Chapman, as we’ve all grown to expect, similar to some other incredible closer we once knew.

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No matter how you look at it, and how many MLB fans might knock the Yankees starting pitching for the postseason, it’s impossible to ignore how powerfully both the pitching staff and the hitting has crushed it while closing out the 2019 regular-season.