The Yankees can put another series win in the books, even if everyone would rather forget Sunday’s loss.
New York handled the rival Blue Jays almost too easily for most of the weekend. The bats slugged long home runs and strung together base hits. The pitching, per usual, set the tone and was dominant like it’s been all year.
Best of all, the Yankees never lost their fight in Sunday’s tough 10-9 loss and were in it all the way down to the last out. That’s a good sign, especially given the next seven games will be challenging.
The Blue Jays are a paper tiger. We can now say this with certainty. Their pitching staff has underperformed and the Yankees have outscored the Jays 60-35 in 12 games. Moreover, Toronto still sits 11 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
It’s also worth noting that Sunday’s loss was largely on the back of one of New York’s worst bullpen arms. Miguel Castro’s untimely walk led to Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s grand slam, and Teoscar Hernandez caught Wandy Peralta on a bad day with his go-ahead three-run jack. Toronto managed just seven hits in the win and otherwise had few answers for New York’s pitching.
Depth drives everything. The Yankees’ signature depth was on full display in Toronto this weekend. Saturday’s 4-0 win was accomplished with Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton getting a day off. On Sunday, Kyle Higashioka hit his fourth home run in a week and Marwin Gonzalez added his first as a Yankee.
When a winning team’s regulars perform well, it’s business as usual. But when the reserves prove just as reliable when someone needs a day off, that’s the sign of a special squad indeed.
Gleyber the Great. Gleyber Torres continued his resurgent season with three great games in Toronto, batting .538 with a home run and four RBI in the series. He raised his batting average to .267 and his batting .289 in June.
Torres rediscovering his ability to use the whole field has helped drive the Yankees’ success this season, something they’ll need with a big week coming up.
A tired bullpen. Not to keep harping on Sunday, but it was a textbook example of how much the Yankees miss Jonathan Loaisiga and, yes, even Aroldis Chapman. Castro’s issues with walks have always made him a crapshoot in high leverage situations, but Boone had no choice with Michael King unavailable.
Both Loasiga and Chapman are throwing again, but don’t have a clear return timeline. Breathing room in the standings aside, Brian Cashman would be smart to trade for a quality bullpen arm soon.
This week is important. Even with an 11 game lead over Toronto, the Yankees can ill afford complacency. Next, the Bronx Bombers have three games with the Rays at Tropicana Field. It only gets more difficult afterwards, with the first-place Houston Astros visiting the Bronx for four games.
This time last week, ESNY noted how important this two-week stretch would be for the Yankees. They handled the first week with ease, even if it ended with a loss. Now, let’s see how they recover for both the Trop Effect and a strong Astros team.