The Yankees have befuddled and disappointed their fans and probably themselves as well in 2021. But in case you haven’t seen it, they’re hot.
The Yankees have been (rightly) dismissed by many of their fans this year as a bunch of overpaid, unenthusiastic, misguided, and overestimated teams in the AL East (at least) this year.
Their performance in the first half of the 2021 season said nothing to dispute that.
Misfires by Aaron Boone in handling his bullpen, the failure of Yankees GM Brian Cashman to find suitable replacements for injured players, and the chronic lack of run production (except for Aaron Judge) from the heart of their supposedly explosive lineup led many to believe the season was over.
Fans and the team itself waited and waited for the Yankees brass to make the call at the trade deadline – are they sellers or buyers – a decision that would send the signal from the top about the remaining one-third of the Yankees’ regular season.
As we know now, the answer came swiftly and with a precision that added two power bats and an improved defense to the Yankees team and almost overlooked a proven major league starter and innings-eater, Andrew Heaney – all without surrendering the team’s best prospects.
In the midst of all the hoopla, though, and even with the acquisition of lefty power bat Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, a rental who is fast adjusting to the fact that even though he didn’t want to leave the Cubs, he’s in a pennant race, make no mistake this Yankees’ team is in a pennant race.
Yankees: And While We Were Sleeping…
Quietly, yet very efficiently, the Yankees, by doing what they needed to do against the Miami Marlins with a sweep completed today, are now a mere 6.5 games behind the Division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
The Yankees have accomplished this by winning fifteen of their last twenty-two games, a mark that leaves them with only a six-game deficit in the most significant loss column as the season winds down while sitting only 2 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card race.
As one of the Yankees’ detractors all year, things change over the course of a 162-game six-month season, and the addition of Joey Gallo and his upcoming debut at Yankee Stadium’s short porch and three games versus the Baltimore Orioles only moves me closer to believing the season is still within the Yankee’s grip to control.
Yankee’s fans should be especially pleased with the emergence of Jordan Montgomery, who again hurled five nearly spotless innings today, with run support that only came later, leaving him with another no-decision.
This is not an anomaly with Montgomery, as he has surrendered three or fewer runs in seven of his last eight starts and 11 of his last 12.
Put that next to the Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole, who has prominently failed in two consecutive and crucial starts against the Red Sox and Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, whatever was bothering Yankees’ closer, Aroldis Champman, seems to have dissipated, with a rediscovery of his slider to offset a fastball that still registers 97+ when he needs it to.
Yankees: The New Look Is Meaningful
But the main thing is this team has a “new look,” even to the extent of Giancarlo Stanton showing he can play left field without a hitch, and Rizzo sliding comfortably into the leadoff spot as he did today.
Make no mistake, the hurdles before the Yankees are huge, and even if they play .600 baseball over their remaining games that allow them to finish with 95 wins, it may not be enough to capture the AL East.
Nevertheless, if you think back to a month ago, the fact that Brian Cashman showed up at the trade deadline to recreate what many forecasted as a lost cause is a formidable achievement.
So with that in mind, Yankees’ fans on the fence need not feel too bad about jumping on the bandwagon, even at this late date because so far it hasn’t been pretty…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Yusuf Nakhooda No fake fan here. We on fire. We need an amazing August
Eric Jackson The lineup is more balanced now with Rizzo and Gallo in the mix. Run production has been this team’s biggest issue. Should be an exciting race to the postseason dance.
Theresa Engel Love seeing the new energy on the team!
Shawn Wheeler Maybe
Matthew June Maybe Rizzo was what they needed man
Mitch Bondo Bandalan If they didn’t believe in Cashman, Boone, or the team, they can stay off the bandwagon. We have seen many other GMs make head-scratching moves (Seattle, Rays) and still, everyone likes to be critical of our GM. Let’s go Yankees!
Edward Messina Let’s not get overconfident. Yes, they swept the Marlins but they did not exactly blow them away. Scores of 3-1, 4-2, and 3-1. We did not have an easy time. However, they swept and that is the main thing. I have been rooting for them all season. Not jumping on the bandwagon. They did also take 2 out of 3 from Tampa. Good sign!! Let’s hope that this continues.
Harry Maiolo They’re NOT hot, they’ve had a few good games against a bad team. Let’s see how they do over the next week or so before we call them hot I don’t know, what’s the definition of “hot”…
John Burch Only hope this continues not a hater I’m a Yankees fan
Pete Garza I wouldn’t call it hot yet. More like Rizzo is hot
Tiffany Frederiksen Quintana It’s been a very tough year for sure. Many heartaches, many games gave us anxiety as well. One thing we Yankee fans need to remember is Yankees seem to get hot in the second half. I just hope it continues.