The Yankees went into last weekend with looking to prove that they belong on the big stage. They were coming off from a series against the Tigers in Detroit and were possibly going to lose some of their stars to suspensions. The MLB office announced the suspensions from the brawl in Thursday’s game on late Friday afternoon, and the Yankees should be ecstatic. The only two Yankees players that received suspensions were Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine, who received four and two games respectively. The Yankees were put in a dilemma from the suspensions because they had no catchers on their 40-man roster who was not suspended or injured, but both major league catchers appealed their suspensions and were able to play this weekend. The appeals will most likely reduce one game for both players, so only Sanchez will miss multiple catchers. With the timings of the appeals the Yankee might also be able to maneuver their roster so that they do not go into a game with infielder Ronald Torreyes as their backup catcher. All in all the suspensions were not as harsh to the Yankees as they were to the Tigers. Which brings us to last weekend when the Yankees faced the Mariners in the Bronx and did not wear Pinstripes for the first time in Yankee Stadium history.
The Mariners came into last weekend as a playoff contender who was going to battle the Yanks for a wild card spot. On Friday night, the Mariners proved why they are a postseason contender by shutting down the Yankees offense, which had been very hot coming into the game. The Mariners won 2-1 in extra innings after Aroldis Chapman gave up another late inning home run against a left handed batter. Chapman had only given up home run to a lefty in his career before this season, but has managed to do it twice this inning in games that the Yankees had to win. The Yankees did not show up on Friday night, leaving a ton of men on base and never got anything going, it looked the momentum was going to end up in Seattle’s favor for the series. The Yankees scored a bunch of runs early on Saturday to back up Sonny Gray, who has been phenomenal since coming to the Yankees. Sunday’s game was a game that most Mariners players and fans will want to forget. After scoring an early run of Masahiro Tanaka, the Mariners gave up six runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. They made many errors in the inning to make things worse, and the game was basically over after the first innings. Overall, the Yankees took two out of three against the Mariners and gained two games on the Red Sox who have now lost four games in a row. Which brings us to this week, which is very important for the Yanks, as they face two teams that will make the postseason over the next seven games. The stretch of games against playoff games will begin tonight when they take on the Cleveland Indians in game one of a three game series in the Bronx. The Yanks will take on the Red Sox at home next weekend for a four game series starting Thursday.
The Indians were the AL Champion last season and very well could repeat that feat this year. The Yankees hope to be in the World Series this season, and beating teams like the Indians, will help them get there. The pitching match ups in this series slightly favor the Indians, but the Yankees can benefit from being at home. The two teams faced each other earlier this month and they split the four game series in Cleveland. The Yankee offense has been great in five out of their last six games and will need to continue that hot streak to win this week against the Indians. The Yankees got back Starlin Castro and Greg Bird over the weekend, both players contributed to the Yankees success this weekend which is great news for them. Castro and Bird are able to be the anchors of the Yankee offense while Sanchez is serving his suspension at some point. The offense was not the issue this weekend as they had many timely weekends throughout the weekend. The rotation had one of his best series this season. They only gave up three earned runs the entire weekend and at times looked like they were dominating the Mariners offense. The rotation needs to continue the momentum into this week and the Yankees can possibly re take the AL East lead. The bullpen is still working out its issues from not having Chapman as the closer, but they were still able to get the big outs this weekend. The Yankees need to win five out of their next seven games and they will possibly distance themselves from the Red Sox in the AL East standings. I think that they will only win three games this week as the Indians and the Red Sox are much better than the Yankees right now.