Yankees: The Seattle Series Is An Opportunity They Can’t Afford To Miss

Nestor Cortes - Who Cares About Weird? (Getty)

The Yankees have the Seattle Mariners right where they want them – at Yankee Stadium for a four-game series. Opportunity calls for the Bombers.

While the Yankees have crept closer in the race to win the AL East, there’s more important business to tend to this weekend when the team squares off against the upstart Seattle Mariners for four games at Yankee Stadium.

A look at the American League Wild Card Standings tells the story:

Yankees: Opportunity Knocks – Answer The Door

Somewhere along the line this season, the Yankees need to make a statement when they are playing teams in direct competition with their goal this season – to reach the 2021 playoffs.

Seattle is one of those teams, and this is the last shot the Yankees get to play them in head-to-head competition when each game counts as a two-game swing in the standings and even more significant in the loss column.

A split is not acceptable as it only treads water.

No word gets more usage at this stage of a baseball season than “critical,” but for the Yankees, tonight’s opener is worthy of the cliche.

Down with the loss of both Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery to positive COVID tests, Aaron Boone is sending Nestor Cortes Jr. (0-0, 1.93 ERA) to the hill tonight.

The free-swinging Mariners rank 3rd in the American League in strikeouts and will feed directly into the repertoire of Cortes and his assortment of what is fondly termed as “junk.”

The Yankees will face Tyler Anderson (5-8, 4.39), and the spotlight will turn to the two newest Yankees, Anthony Rizzo, and Joey Gallo, the only Yankees who have faced Anderson before.

Rizzo is batting .389 with a home run in 18 at-bats, and Gallo has a home run in his only at-bat against Anderson.

Yankees: Looking Good On Paper But…

However, looking good on paper is nothing new for the Yankees, and the execution needs to follow.

A feat, for instance, the Yankees need to continue after going 6-14 in a win over the Orioles and 7-13 on Tuesday with runners in scoring position (RISP).

Yankees: Waiting on Joey Gallo
Yankees: Waiting on Joey Gallo

The spotlight will turn to Joey Gallo, whose splits show him in a 2-23 slump since joining the Yankee’s lineup.

Brought to Yankee Stadium to pepper the short porch as a left-handed hitter and power bat, the Yankees need his production, as well as a continuation of DJ LeMahieu‘s awakening bat.

In baseball, the only game that counts is the one you play today, but if we look ahead at the rest of the Seattle series, it’s clear Aaron Boone has no choice but to put his dancing shoes on.

According to ESPN, Boone has no one listed as the Yankees’ starter tomorrow, and Andrew Heany, who surrendered four home runs in a less than impressive first start since coming over from the Angels, scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

The Yankees will recall Luis Gil from Triple-A Scranton on Sunday to close out the Mariner’s series. Gil delivered a six-inning gem for the team in an emergency start as a replacement for Gerrit Cole.

Yankees: Time To Turn The Burner Up

But the story about this team is not as much about pitching as it is their inability to score runs (23rd of 30 teams in the league).

In baseball, they say hitting is contagious, and for the Yankees, the hope has to be the last two games at Camden Yards was not an anomaly.

Aaron Boone will send a formidable lineup to face the Mariners, who in turn will produce a no-name group that begs for asking, “How are they doing this”?

Nevertheless, in four days, we’ll have a better picture of who this team is because after all the hoopla has settled in, the only thing that matters is what Joe Maddon has said – “You’re only as good as your record says you are.”

Three out of four is not a wish. It’s a must…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Vinny Parisi Good article Steve. I’m hoping Gallo is just having a little “N. Y. Anxiety” and will loosen up soon. He made one helluva catch the other night though! And that he did, a three-run blast to propel the Yankees to a win.

Elisa Granata- Poitras I totally agree! Be great if they took the series

Mitch Bondo Bandalan Although the opportunity exists, we have to also realize that we will be going into this series without 4/5 of our starters. It will be a patchwork rotation against a thought team. I’ll be happy getting out if there 2-2.

Frank E. Scaduto Why does everyone always say this? Seattle isn’t Arizona or Pittsburgh. They are a bona fide .500 club. which puts them at midpack and makes them dangerous at times. Definitely no longer a gimme.


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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.