Friday, August 26, 2016

Yankees Getting Hot at the Right Time

The Yankees seemed to be, depending on your point of view, either out of the Playoff hunt, or barely hanging on. Then Brian Cashman traded the team's best hitter and gutted the bullpen, putting the team out of it for sure.

Don't look now, but the Yankees are getting hot at the right time.

So I'm saying... there's a chance.

On Wednesday afternoon, they finished up their Pacific Coast roadtrip at Safeco Field in Seattle. It was an all-Japanese starting pitching matchup, with Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, and Hisashi Iwakuma for the Mariners.

Before the Mariners even got to bat, Gary Sanchez hit yet another home run in the top of the 1st inning, a 412-foot drive to left-center, already his 9th. More runs came on singles by Tyler Austin in the 2nd and Mark Teixeira in the 7th, and sacrifice flies by Brett Gardner in the 4th and Starlin Castro in the 9th.

'Hiro was heroic: 7 innings -- Joe Girardi may finally have turned the corner, and begun to understand that a starter pitching well for 6 innings should be allowed to pitch the 7th -- allowing no runs, 6 hits, and only 1 walk, striking out 5.

Tyler Clippard got the 1st 2 outs in the 8th. Dellin Betances got the last 4 outs of the game.
Yankees 5, Mariners 0. WP: Tanaka (11-4). SV: Betances (6). LP: Iwakuma (14-9).


So here's where things stand, with 36 regular-season games to go: The Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays are in a flat-footed tie for the American League Eastern Division lead, the Baltimore Orioles are 1 game behind, and the Yankees are 5 1/2 games behind, 5 in the all-important loss column; and the Yankees trail the O's by 4 1/2, 4 in the loss column, for the 2nd AL Wild Card slot.

There are 5 weeks, plus 1 weekend, to go. My guideline still holds: If you have more weeks remaining than games behind, you have a chance to make up those games behind, because gaining 1 game per week should not be too hard for a good team to do.

The Yankees return home, for a big, big series with the Orioles -- big as far as both the Division race and the Wild Card race are concerned. Here are the projected starting pitchers:

* Tonight, 7:05 PM: Luis Cessa vs. Yovani Gallardo.

* Tomorrow, 1:05 PM: Chad Green vs. Dylan Bundy.

* Sunday, 1:05 PM: Kevin Gausman is scheduled to start for the Birds. Who starts for the Yankees is not yet decided. This is Michael Pineda's spot in the rotation, but he has not been good lately. It's August 28, too soon for a September callup. We shall see.

Come on you Pinstripes!

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