The 2021 Yankees were being mentioned in the same sentence as the 1961 team. The pressure is relieved, and it’s back now to the Division race.
The Yankees 13-game win streak ended yesterday as the team went down fighting in the ninth inning when the tumbling Oakland A’s eked out a much-needed win after losing five straight and falling 3.5 games behind in the AL Wild Card Standings.
The Yankees never showed it, but there has to be a sigh of relief that the win streak is over, even as their surge of 20-5 continues to make them the hottest team in baseball.
Oddly, though not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Rays have also been relentless in maintaining their winning ways with a seven-game streak of their own.
With yesterday’s loss, the Yankees dropped from four to five games behind the Rays, and that entire difference is in the all-important loss column.
Yankees Mission: Close The Gap
The Yankees’ mission between now and the final three games of the season at a minimum is to reduce that gap to three by the time the Rays arrive at Yankee Stadium on October 1st.
The Rays will enter that series after having played the Houston Astros on the road in a three-game set and the Florida Marlins at home before that.
Before the series with Tampa Bay, the Yankees will be coming off a six-game road trip against the Red Sox and Blue Jays.
On paper, those final games seem to favor the Rays, and this means the pressure on the Yankees is to take advantage of the six games they have left with the Orioles, and three, each with the Indians and Texas Rangers.
Tomorrow, the team gets a lift when Corey Kluber returns to start against the Angels, winding up their West Coast trip in a three-game series. Shohei Ohtani will start one of the games for the Angels.
With neither the Rays nor Yankees showing any sign of withering from the fight, each team will be doing a lot of scoreboards watching while trying their best to stay focused on the task at hand – the game they’re playing today.
Yankees And Rays: It’s Still All About Pitching
Both the Yankees and Rays continue to receive excellent pitching with respective ERA’s of 3.60 and 3.66, and fifth and sixth rankings in the major leagues.
The Rays, however, have been reduced to having bullpen games due to the faltering of their current starters and the loss of Tyler Glasnow and Yonny Chirinos. Somehow, as only the Rays can, they continue to prevail.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo, and Gary Sanchez have turned the team’s lineup into a no-relief, no-holds-barred struggle for opposing pitchers, it’s the Yankees pitching that continues to be the winning mark of the team.
As MLB.com indicates, the current Yankees pitching staff looks a lot different than the group we saw in April. While Cole and Jordan Montgomery have been rotation mainstays, we’ve seen massive improvement from Jameson Taillon, who had a 5.49 ERA through the end of June but has a sparkling 2.01 ERA since — fueled in part by making in-season changes to his curveball. Rookie Luis Gil still hasn’t allowed a run in his first 15 2/3 innings. Cortes Jr., a journeyman now in his third stint as a Yankee, has a 2.55 ERA as a swingman.
If Corey Kluber can return to anything close to his earlier dominating form, the weaponry only increases while the bullpen has any number of arms Aaron Boone can, and does, turn to on any given day.
While Las Vegas still has odds favoring the Rays to win the Division, the Yankees now have (yes, without argument) the strongest team. If you are curious, the Rays are listed at +250 and the Yankees at +350, meaning that if you bet $100 on either team, you win the amount shown.
Yankees: Those Pesky Rays Will Be Swatted Away
The pressure is on Tampa Bay to keep pace with the Yankees. So far, they’ve managed to do so, but from here at least, I’m putting the Yankees in the driver’s seat, chipping away, chipping away, until those final three games of the season when all hell will break loose once again at Yankee Stadium…
Cream, as they say, rises to the top, and as good as the Rays are, the Yankees are better and (sorry Yankees haters) come October 3rd, their record will show it.
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Michael Bragg It would be great if the God damn Rays would lose for a change!!
Joel Albert ‘61 made me a fan for life….they had 3 bench players that combined for 60 homers…solid pitching staff..my favorite team
Mary Manougian Congratulations New York Yankees Bronx boomer greatest players greatest of the greatest let’s play ball win all games!!!!
Gee Leong In the next 10 days, TB will play 7 games against the Red Sox and the last six games of the season are against the Astros and Yankees so if the Yankees keep winning they should win the division. Not bad for being so bad for so long.
Jesse Bratton Let’s start another
Rand Greenblatt This actually reminds me so much of 1978
Closing Comments And Final Thoughts
With ESPN’s telecast approaching, we’ll close published comments.
Nothing to say from readers the Yankees are a lock, but as opposed to a few months ago the reverse isn’t true either, and on we go…