New York, NY – The Yankees have been a very streaky team this season. At the start of the season, they couldn’t win for losing. Then they grew mustaches and went on a tear. Lately they surged into a five game lead in the AL East, only to hit the skids against the Blue Jays, who wrested first place from the bombers after a three game sweep in the Bronx. The Yankee bats had gone cold during that slide. Now the bats are starting to wake up again and the Yanks are back in first place after winning six of their last seven games before last night’s tilt against the Indians.
Jacoby Ellsbury is showing signs of life lately. For much of the summer, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. But the hits are starting to come now. Gardner is starting to hit again also. The Yankees need the top of the lineup to set the table for the big boppers in the heart of the order. A-Rod was in the midst of a long 0-fer streak until he ran into a fastball Tuesday night for a grand slam that put the Yanks in the lead for good. Hopefully that gets him going again
The starting pitching has been pretty solid of late. CC Sabathia hasn’t won a game in what seems like six seasons, but he isn’t pitching terribly. He was spinning a gem Tuesday night until he ran out of steam in the seventh inning and gave up a handful of runs. That’s pretty much been the case for CC this season. He hangs in there for 80 pitches and then the wheels start to come off.
Masahiro Tanaka has been in fine form of late, pitching a complete game against the Blue Jays this past Saturday. The Yanks will need him to be the ace going forward. They have a very good supporting cast of Eovaldi, Nova, and company, but they will need an ace at the top end of the rotation. Tanaka will have to be that ace. The Yankees have been giving their starting pitchers an extra rest day of late. They will need to keep doing that to keep Tanaka in top form and Sabathia in decent enough form to keep marching his fat ass out there once a week for a start.
It is amazing to see the Yankees where they are in the standings this late into the season. Nobody, myself included, thought the Bombers would be anything but also-rans in the AL East this season. They are just over a month away from sealing an AL East title. I know there is a lot of baseball left to play and the Blue Jays show no sign of letting up any time soon. But there is a lot to be encouraged about in the Bronx. Hopefully the Bombers can keep up the good play (last night’s capitulation to the Indians aside) and keep the Blue Jays at bay or the AL East title.