The Yankees have been put on life support many times this year, and the spin from Aaron Boone in the media has held them. Not necessary, now.
The Yankees, as winners of thirteen straight, I guess we can say are entitled to lose four straight, though not necessarily guaranteed to maintain their current standing in the Wild Card race.
But thanks to the Red Sox losses to the Tampa Bay Rays, they have, and at this stage of the season, the Yankees will take help from wherever they can get it.
Yankees: It’s All Different Now
The Yankees, however, are a different team from earlier in the year, and it has to do with more than having the return of injured key players and the addition of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo in their lineup.
The Yankees are truly a team now, led by their de facto captain Aaron Judge, a rejuvenated Giancarlo Stanton, the steady if the not spectacular play of Brett Gardner (especially in the field), and a host of role players who come to the forefront on any given night.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen the team knocked down to size many times, only to have Aaron Boone come to the microphones insisting the team is “better than this.”
Almost reaching the point of becoming a caricature of himself, Boone was dismissed by most and ridiculed as a puppet and frontman for a disinterested front office.
Yankees: They Know They’re Good Now
The difference now, however, is the Yankees know they are better than they were.
Gerrit Cole will go for his fourteenth win of the season tonight as the Yankees try to salvage the final game of their West Coast trip before its home-sweet-home and a seven-game homestand against the Orioles and Blue Jays.
After that, the team’s schedule has three games against the Mets at Citi Field, the Orioles for three at Camden Yards, and then another homestand against the Indians and Texas Rangers.
The Yankees season is in front of them, and they know it. They see the opportunities presented over the next two weeks, and without panic, they’ll find a way to get back on the winning track.
The team oozes a presence now that was all but unbelievable when Aaron Boone was laying it out a few months ago. Teams don’t go 20-5 as the they did unless there’s something to back it up.
Yankees: All Systems Go On Their Own
With the Rays off for life on another planet, the Yankees are reluctant, though conveniently, settled into the goal of finishing in the top Wild Card spot that guarantees the one-game shootout against the second team will be at Yankee Stadium, no small advantage, especially if their opponent is the Red Sox.
The Yankees currently have a three-game advantage over both Boston and Oakland in the loss column, putting pressure on both teams who can’t win games they’ve already lost, and every time the Yankees win, they must also win or fall behind even more.
Barring injuries (always a caveat), the Yankees lineup is set from here on in. Boone has only to mix in Luke Voit to get his bat in there as often as possible and to monitor the play of Andrew Velazquez as the pressure of the race mounts, with an eye on getting Tyler Wade more at-bats if he begins to fade.
No more speeches and pie-in-the-sky press conferences by Boone are needed, though, and from this point forward, this Yankees team can take it themselves.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Andrew Pal You’re right about this team climbing out of life support so many times this year, but the idea that they’re that much better now than all those other times sounds a bit optimistic. Dropping four straight immediately after that impressive winning streak is a serious blow to any momentum that was building for the final leg of this race. These last four games have demonstrated once again that this team is just as beatable as they’ve been all season.
Theresa Engel Not happy with the lineups he’s been putting out. Voit and Stanton both need to play, that’s when we were winning games.
Eric Breeze Very good assessment well put. I couldn’t agree but like anybody who knows the Yankees I don’t see them passing the division 5 game round if they need Cole for the first wild card battle then the question is who’s the starter for game one of the division series best of five Kluber showed inconsistent, Tallion maybe, Montgomery maybe but so many questions unanswered