FENWAY PARK – The Yankees sweep of the Red Sox was surely the highlight of their season. The series concluded with a bizarre game at the end of a bizarre season of inconsistency for the Yanks. This team has alternatively looked putrid and unbeatable, spending very little time in between. Is this team peaking at the right time or is there one letdown coming?
In case you missed it, here is the list of bizarre plays that happened in the bottom of the 7th with the Red Sox hitting and the top of 8th with the Yanks hitting.
- LeMahieu drops a routine foul pop.
- Gallo drops a routine pop out on the same batter, the go ahead run scores.
- Wade gets nailed stealing second when he oddly decides not to slide (he thought the batter walked maybe?).
- With runners on second and third and one out, Dalbec short arms Judge’s routine foul pop, thinking he was closer to the wall than he was. Judge has a second life.
- Judge strikes out on a foul tip, but the catcher drops it switching to his throwing hand. The ump says he dropped the foul tip, giving Judge has a third life.
- Judge ropes one in the gap, dislocating his pinkie sliding into second. A plethora of trainers and coaches pop it back in.
- Stanton hits another one out of the stadium.
All of these rare things happened over six plate appearances with only two outs being recorded, both on the bases. Strange game. The biggest mystery is why Adam Ottavino, the ex-Yankee, never threw Judge another slider out of the zone after Judge helplessly waived at one for the second strike.
So, What Now?
The sweep was huge for the Yankees’ playoff hopes, but there is still a lot of forest before they’re out of the woods. The Red Sox were pushed around, but a nice, soft landing on the last place Orioles and Nationals should help them lick their wounds and cruise into the Wild Card game. Toronto plays the Orioles after the Yankees too.
But it’s all tough sledding for the Yankees, who play the Rays at home after Toronto. The Rays would love to disappoint the raging Bronx crowds and send the Yankees to the links.
The Yankees can’t look for any help. They have to assume the Red Sox will win all six and the Jays will sweep the Orioles. It’s possible for the Yankees to sweep the Blue Jays and still miss the playoffs if they get swept by the Rays.
Have I mentioned the Mariners and A’s are only one and two games, respectively, behind the Blue Jays? The play each other, so one of them will have to sweep to get into the mix, barring a collapse by the Red Sox. The Mariners have a better chance, since they’re a game up on the A’s going into Monday and they play the Angels next while the A’s play the Astros. That series kicked off late on Monday, the rest start on Tuesday.
The Last Six
If the Yankees sweep the Blue Jays, they are in really good shape. The Mariners would still be able to catch them if they also sweep the A’s.
If the Yankees take two of three, they’re in pretty good shape. But the Jays will still be only two behind them and could catch them with a sweep of the Orioles and a Rays sweep of the Yanks. And again, the Mariners could get involved with a sweep of the A’s.
If the Jays take two of three, the Yanks and Blue Jays will be tied. This is not a good scenario for the Yanks as they play the Rays and the Jays play the Orioles. They need to go into that series with at least a one game lead.
If the Jays sweep, it would be devastating for the Yanks. The would be a game back of the Jays, needing to make up two games (since they don’t have the tiebreaker) vs the Rays while the Jays play the Orioles.
So there you have it. The Yankees need to take two of three from the Jays and the A’s to take at least one game and they will make the playoffs.
Yanks vs Blue Jays
The Yankees also get Loiasiga back, the team’s best reliever all season. If he can round into form quickly, the Yankees suddenly have some firepower coming out of the pen with Loaisiga, King, and Severino in front of Chapman. Gleyber looks at home back at second and the revamped infield configuration looks like an improvement.
Could it go off the rails vs the Blue Jays? Surely it could. Taillon starts Tuesday and he’s been out for a while, and Corey Kluber goes on Thursday and he’s been hit or miss. Yankees’ starters gave up only 6 runs in 15.1 innings. Chapman looks much better, but he still completely loses command of his fastball at times and has to go to the get-me-over slider to get back in counts.
The Blue Jays have some firepower in their lineup. The Jays have three quality starters lined up in Ryu, Berrios, and Ray.
In a season peppered by gut-punching losses at the worst possible times, could there be one more? It would not surprise me.
The Yankees’ season has been as bizarre and and up and down as Sunday’s game against the Red Sox. But things are looking much better thanks to that sweep, and Giancarlo Stanton smashing balls on to Landsdowne Street.
Should be a fun week. Let’s go Yankees!
Tell me if you think the Yankees will make the playoffs in the comments. And come back tomorrow for our most reliable reliever, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.
And now for a Cheesy Bruin sighting: