Framed as retribution for last year’s loss of face, the Yankees two-game sweep of the Red Sox was sweet. But it goes far beyond that for both teams…
The Yankees still carry the sting of last year’s humiliating loss in the ALCS to the Red Sox. Monday’s New York papers were filled with reminders and quotes from Yankee players citing the upcoming series as an opportunity to avenge those losses, one of which included a 16-1 pummeling of the Bombers.
Two wins by the Yankees in a decisive fashion, early in the 2019 season, does not settle the score. It doesn’t matter, though, because the impact of the two games has nothing to do with the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
Put in perspective, the Yankees pulled themselves up to 8-9 with a four-game series beginning Thursday night at Yankee Stadium against the ripe-for-the-taking Kansas City Royals (Note: the Yankees lost to the Royals Thursday night), while the Red Sox descended to 6-13, having to travel to Florida to face the (you’d better believe it) first-place Tampa Bay Rays (14-4).
Yankees: Tucking The Blues Away
My point is this – the Yankees didn’t just prove they can beat the Red Sox. More significantly, they proved they can win with the team they are putting on the field, minus nearly two-thirds of their starting lineup that includes their one-time ace, Luis Severino.
In Wednesday’s 5-3 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees lineup featured Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, and Austine Romine six-through nine, none of who were in the Opening Day lineup. In Tuesday’s whitewashing of the Red Sox, all four had at least one hit and a run scored, and Tauchman hit his first major league home run, driving in four for the night.
The Yankees are beginning to cope with reality. Play with a sense of urgency that suggests it’d be better to forget about those daily “injury updates” – because this is the team we have.
Veterans can be counted on to rise to the ensuing party, like the “Gardy Party” erupting last night when Brett Gardner hit that grand slam to seal the game, and CC Sabathia sets the tone to keep the line moving (which they did) in rebounding starts by James Paxton and J A Happ.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, appear to be stuck in a quagmire, in which there is no escape on the horizon. They shunned Craig Kimbrel putting a giant hole in their bullpen, Dustin Pedroia is a caricature of himself with a chronic knee ailment, Chris Sale is – well – Chris Sale is trying to figure that out. And Mookie Betts is barely hitting above .200 with an OPS under .400. Go figure, but that’s what they are.
Injuries, Injuries – Blah, Blah, Blah
The more we learn about the Yankees various injuries and a timetable for the return of each player, the more it becomes apparent the Yankees have no timetable, and instead, are at the behest of nature and team doctors who, it seems, give “answers” to questions they really don’t want to answer – because they can’t.
Aaron Hicks was initially forecasted as a returnee to the lineup in two to three weeks with his back ailment. It is now for seven weeks. Severino’s injury is now in the throes of controversy involving the equivalent (only) of medical malpractice questioning whether or not his time on the IL is (now) being needlessly extended (New York Post). Giancarlo Stanton is supposedly on track to be the next after Gary Sanchez to return within the next week or so. We’ll see.
But again, it’s not about the injuries and who is going to return and when. Or when the Yankees will have a full lineup, if ever this season. Brett Gardner, ever the team leader, put it this way:
The roll call from the bleachers may be somewhat muted these days, even when it’s Yankees Red Sox, but as they showed in the Boston series, the Yankees can make some waves with the team they have now.