We are now in the second week of September and the Yankees are still in the middle of a pennant race. If one Opening day, you had read me that statement, I would have been ecstatic, but expectations have changed. The Yankees came lights out in April and May and were able to build a lead in the AL East. They had a really bad June and ended coughing up their lead and have been average in July and August, but need to get their act together in September and October. The Yankees are currently three and a half games back in the AL East, but have the same lead in the AL Wild Card. The Yankees need to figure out if they want to go for the division or settle for the Wild Card and take their chances in the one game. The Yankees take on the Texas Rangers this weekend in Arlington and they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Queens next week. They need to win both series and hope the Red Sox lose some games over the next week.
The Yankees took on the Red Sox and the Orioles since the last time I blogged and they won both series. The Yankees beat the Sox on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday and were able to get some momentum going into the series against the Orioles. The Orioles were dead for most of the season, but have been good recently and trying to get back in the race. The Orioles wanted to climb up the standings by beating up on the Yankees, who wanted to kill the Orioles one last time this season. The two teams faced each other on Labor Day afternoon and the Yankees were facing a mismatch. They had faced the Sox’ ace, Chris Sale on Sunday night, they beat him then traveled to Baltimore to play an afternoon game against the O’s ace, Dylan Bundy. The Yanks got to Bundy early and were able to knock him out of the game, the offense came alive and the Yanks were able to win the game comfortably. The Yankees went into Tuesday just two games back in the loss column and had one of their best pitchers on the mound. The game was delayed due to rain and the offense put up six runs early for the rotation. The pitching staff was not able to protect the lead and Dellin Betances gave up a walk off two run home run to Manny Machado. At the same time the Yanks were choking away their lead, the Red Sox were coming back and winning a game in nineteen innings. The Yanks had no momentum going into Wednesday’s game which was rained out and rescheduled to Thursday afternoon. The offense came out firing once again for Sonny Gray. Gray was able to silence the O’s bats and the Yanks were able to take two out of three games in Baltimore. They go to Texas this week for a three game series against the Rangers.
The offense was great in the series against the Sox and the O’s. They got many timely hits and looks like some of their first half stars are returning. The bats of Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge, and Starlin Castro have come alive, which was a big reason of their great start in the first half. They need these three bats to keep them in the race over the next month. The Yankees get back Gary Sanchez tonight, who can put his suspension in the rear view mirror and focus on getting the Yanks to the postseason. The offense was not really the issue this week. The Pitching rotation continues to do its job and keep the game competitive. The rotation do not give up a lot of runs, but the bullpen has been. The bullpen blew the game on Tuesday which is the only thing they did wrong this week. The Yanks have a problem at the closer spot, as whoever they put there, cannot seem to get the job done. The bullpen needs to get its act together this week against two bad teams before games get more competitive.
The Yankees take on the Rangers who have struggled this season. They need to win this series, but I do not think they will. The Yankees will overlook this stretch and will be out of the chase for the division. The Yankees have to win this week if they want to win the division.