The New York Yankees are the HOTTEST team in baseball and their SLOW start has been WIPED AWAY thanks to a NINE game winning streak that they are currently on. Over the weekend they SWEPT the Los Angeles Angels, winning all THREE games in three DIFFERENT ways. They are now just TWO games out of FIRST place as they travel to Houston to take on the Astros who beat them in Game SEVEN of the ALCS last season. The Yankees are on their TOUGHEST part of the schedule thus far this season and if they continue to roll, then the SKY is the limit for this team.
Yankees- Angels Series Recap-
Game 1- Luis Severino took the mound for the Yankees and he was DOMINANT for the first SIX innings, the ONLY mistake he made until the SEVENTH inning was giving up a SOLO shot to Angels rookie PHENOM Shohei Ohtani. The Angels scored TWO runs off Severino in the SEVENTH, to lead 3-2 going into the NINTH inning.
Sacrifice Flys were the Yankees’ BEST friend, they scored their first TWO runs via the Sac Fly and Brett Gardner had ANOTHER Sac Fly in the NINTH inning to send the game into EXTRA innings. The Yankees have been the WORST team in all of baseball in EXTRA innings for the last FIVE years, but Didi Gregorius does NOT care about that. He hit a SOLO shot in the TENTH inning to give the Yankees the 4-3 lead. Aroldis Chapman shut down the Angels in the bottom of the TENTH to give the Yankees their SEVENTH straight win.
With that home run, Didi tied the League LEAD for Home Runs, he was either leading SOLO or TIED for the league lead in ALL three Triple Crown categories. He has been the Yankees MVP this season even though he was their FIFTH option on offense going into the the season, we have to wonder how good the Yankees could be when the other FOUR players are also as HOT as Didi.
Game 2- After playing till almost 2 AM Eastern Time on Friday Night, the Yankees made sure that their fans could have a NICE Saturday Night scoring TEN runs in the FIRST two innings. The Yankees batted around in BOTH innings and scored the TEN runs WITHOUT a home run, even though they lead baseball in TOTAL home runs as a team.
Masahiro Tanaka continues to compile QUALITY starts, he pitched SIX innings giving up only ONE run and two hits to get his FOURTH win, which is TIED for the League LEAD.
Game 3- CC Sabathia is MOST LIKELY playing in his FINAL season, but if he continues to pitch like the way he is right now, he should pitch another FIVE years. He gave up only ONE run in SEVEN innings and was DOMINANT for the whole game. It is really AMAZING the transformation he has done at the tail end of his career.
The Yankees offense was getting NO-HIT thru THREE innings but Giancarlo Stanton doubled in the TOP of the FOURTH to break up the NO-HITTER. Gary Sanchez followed up the Stanton double with a LASER shot which gave the Yankees a TWO run lead and they won the game 2-1.
The Yankees and the Angels had IDENTICAL records going into the weekend and the Yankees could not have played better against a PROBABLE playoff team. All FACETS of their team was clicking for the FIRST time all season and we got to see the potential for this team.
The Yankees travel east to Houston starting a FOUR game series against the DEFENDING World Series champions tonight. The Astros lead the AL West and are among the FAVORITES to win the World Series this season.
In my preseason preview of the American League, the FIVE playoffs team that I predicted were the Astros, Angels, Indians, Red Sox, and the Yankees. Having played the Angels already, the next THREE opponents for the Yankees are the Astros, Indians and the Red Sox, so saying that they are in a CRUCIAL stretch of their season would be an UNDERSTATEMENT. I would be ECSTATIC if the Yankees can go 5-5 over the next TEN games against the TOUGHEST opponents on their schedule.
Pitching matchups for the Yankees- Astros:
Game 1: Tonight- Sonny Gray vs Charlie Morton
Game 2: Tuesday Night- Jordan Montgomery vs Justin Verlander
Game 3: Wednesday Night- Luis Severino vs Dallas Keuchel
Game 4: Thursday Afternoon- Masahiro Tanaka vs Lance McCullers Jr.
The Yankees LOST to Charlie Morton in Game SEVEN of the ALCS last season, so they will be looking for REVENGE tonight. Sonny Gray has been the WORST pitcher for the Yankees all season and tonight is his most IMPORTANT start in his SHORT Yankees’ career, if he STRUGGLES tonight, the Yankees HAVE TO take him OUT of the rotation.
Justin Verlander SHUT DOWN the Yankees in Game SIX of the ALCS and he has always performed against the Yankees in his career, the Yankees need to find a way to BEAT him somehow. Monty has been GREAT in his last TWO starts, he will get a BIG test on Tuesday against the ELITE offense of the Astros.
Dallas Keuchel has been the Yankees’ KRYPTONITE for the past THREE years. He could be the WORST pitcher in baseball all season, but against the Yankees he is ALWAYS going to have a NO-HITTER going into the FIFTH inning. The Yankees won their LAST game of the ALCS against Keuchel in Game FIVE, I would LOVE them to REPLICATE that on Wednesday. Sevy has been the BEST pitcher on the team and he can take a BIG step in growing his fame on National Television on Wednesday Night.
McCullers is another pitcher that has stepped his game UP against the Yankees, I fully expect him to be DOMINANT on Thursday. Yankees would be DELIGHTED if Tanaka can give them ANOTHER quality start on Thursday.
REALISTICALLY I expect the Yankees to SPLIT the series this week against the Astros, they are the BETTER team but this series will be a GREAT taste for the Yankees.