It was Hell Week for the New York Yankees as they get swept by the Cleveland Indians and the only highlight of the series came in the bottom of the 9th inning in the last game of the series. The Yankees scored four runs in the entire series outside of the home run by Greg Bird and never seemed to find their groove in the series. While the Yankees were coughing up games in the Bronx, the Red Sox came alive north of the border and swept the Blue Jays to build a massive lead in the AL East standings. The Red Sox face the Yankees this weekend and they can clinch the division by having a great series. The Yankees’ chances of winning the division are all but gone and if they do not wake up soon, then they will be on the outside looking in on the AL Playoffs. The Yankees had to win five games this week to continue their pace, having already lost the first three games of the seven game stretch this week, the Bombers are in big trouble.
The Yankee offense was clueless on Monday night against Indians’ pitcher Corey Kluber, who has become a Yankee killer. Kluber has had a lot of success against the Yanks this season and he continued that hot stretch on Monday night and the Yankees could not get anything going despite a quality start from their ace Luis Severino. Severino and Kluber are in the top three for most pitching categories in the AL and that was evident on Monday. The Indians got to Severino early in the game and the Yankees were never able to figure out Kluber to win the game. Things got worst for the Yankees on Monday night/early Tuesday as Tuesday night’s game got rained out. The rain out meant that they had to play six games in five nights against two playoff teams and their ace would not be available for any of those games. The Yankees and the Indians played in a single admission doubleheader and the Bombers lined up Jaime Garcia and Jordan Montgomery for the two games yesterday. In game 1 of the doubleheader, the Indians once again got going early and scored two runs off Garcia in the first inning, before Garcia calmed down. The Yankees only managed to score one run in nine innings and lost second of the series and went into game 2 of the doubleheader with a short bullpen as Garcia could not go deep in the game. Montgomery was really good for the Yankees in the first half of the season, but was sent down after the trade deadline to control his innings limit. The Yankees knew about his innings but still slotted him to face the Indians last night. Montgomery was making his first start in the big leagues in a couple of weeks and the rust was evident in the first inning. The Indians scored four runs in the first inning off Montgomery and the game was basically over. Montgomery only went into the fifth inning and the bullpen was called upon for four plus innings of relief but could not keep the game close. The only spark of the game came in the ninth inning with the three run home run by Greg Bird.
The Yankee offense’s struggles are alarming as they are extremely streaky. All the players on the team seem to feed off each other and if one player fails, then there is no one to pick up the slack. Last week, Gary Sanchez carried the team through the Detroit series, no one has stepped up to carry the offensive load this week. The Yankees need to get their heads straight and start focusing on playing smart baseball instead of waiting for the big home run every time, which is not coming that often anymore. Greg Bird has finally gotten into a groove it seems like as he is batting around .400 since his return from the disabled list and maybe he can carry the offense this weekend. The one big issue with the Yankees right now is the health of Aaron Judge as no one knows what is going with him medically. The Yankees did not play Judge in two of the three games against the Indians and there were reports that he was shut down because of a shoulder injury that he has been receiving treatment for the past few weeks. If the reports are true, then the Yankees need to do the right thing and send Judge to the disabled list and try to get his head cleared and ready for mid September baseball. The teams that are behind the Yankees are roaring and the Bombers need to hold their spot or they will drop out of the wild card spots. The offense needs to get going immediately for the success of the Yankees.
The starting rotation did what was expected of them in the series against the Indians. Severino was really good on Monday, while Garcia and Montgomery kept the game in hand on Wednesday, unfortunately for them the offense never got going and all three pitchers were charged with losses on their record. The Red Sox offense is really good and the Yankees pitching needs to control the damage and pray that the offense gets going and wins the game for them. The Yankees are not here because of great pitching, they are here because they have good pitching that complements their great offense. The bullpen was not alarming in the series against the Indians, they had hiccups here and there but it did not matter what they did because of the poor offense. The Yankee bullpen has to rest up and be great in the Red Sox series, because the margin for error could not be smaller.
The Yankees play the Red Sox last time this season and currently do not control their own destiny to win the division. The Sox come into the Bronx hoping to basically kill the Yankees and their chances of winning the AL East. The Yankees should forget about the AL East and put their focus on the Wild Card instead. Teams like the Baltimore O’s and LA Angels are playing great baseball right now and leap frog the Yankees in the standings. The Yankees have to win this series if they have any hopes of winning the division. I think the Yankees will lose this series and they will fail to make the playoffs as this week will be the start of a big downspur for them.