Once again, the Yankees handled the rival Rays.
Wednesday’s comeback victory notched another series win for New York, who bumped Tampa Bay down to fourth in the AL East. The Yankees hold a comfortable 12-game lead over the Blue Jays and now fly home for four games with the Astros. Nine games against the Rays and Toronto and a 7-2 record later, momentum favors to Bronx Bombers.
This series at the Trop was also humbling for the Yankees. The two wins were anything but pretty. Tuesday’s loss, contrastingly, was anything but ugly. One way or another, the Yankees were tested on nights when the usually lights-out pitching didn’t have its best. And yet, the team has 51 wins and just keeps winning series after series.
Pitchers are human too. The common thread in all of these games was the Yankees’ pitching proving human. Gerrit Cole took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and left with a lead, but Clay Holmes got burned by soft contact and blew the save. Nestor Cortes and Jordan Montgomery each got hit hard in their starts too. Cortes’ ERA is now the highest it’s been all season at 2.31.
It was a friendly reminder that even the best pitching in baseball is prone to bad days.
The Yankees’ New York groove. Wednesday’s win marked the Yankees’ 20th comeback victory of the season, tied for most in MLB. Because unlike last year’s team, this New York squad stays focused and doesn’t crack under pressure. Rather, they embrace it.
All three games of this series showcased exactly this. Whether it was coming back from a blown lead Monday or being down 3-0 Wednesday, the Yankees were always in the game. Now, they just need to keep it up for the rest of the season and into October.
New York runs the division, but Houston awaits. After early odds favored the Blue Jays and Rays, the Yankees are the team to beat in the AL East. This makes the upcoming four-game set with Houston all the more intriguing. The Astros just swept the crosstown rival Mets and rank third in MLB with a 3.03 team ERA.
This could very well be an ALCS preview. The Astros are still a good team despite playing in the weak AL West and will do anything but lie down for the Yankees. New York has home field advantage, so look for the bats to humble Houston’s strong arms.