New York led in all four games and scrappy Boston still fought hard. The Yankees won the first two, and then the Red Sox stormed back for two comeback wins to close out the series.
Thus, the standings are unaffected. The Yankees hold a comfortable 14 game lead over second-place Boston ahead of Monday’s off day.
But make no mistake. For a simple July series, this matchup had a playoff atmosphere from beginning to end.
Practice for October. Show footage from any game this series to a non-baseball fan, and they would probably assume it was a championship game. The Fenway Faithful brought the noise and a fair number of Yankees fans made the trip too. Oftentimes, the “Let’s Go Yankees!” chants drowned out the classic “Yankees Suck!”
Even Aaron Judge got some “MVP” chants as the October vibes arrived early. Boston is still at the top of the AL Wild Card and there’s a very real chance both teams could meet in the playoffs. In which case, Fenway Park could very well be all the more deafening in a few months.
The Red Sox are no slouch. The fact that the Red Sox are so devastated with injuries and still pulled off a series split says it all. Depth is the name of the game. Just ask former Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder, who had four hits on Saturday in Boston’s walk-off win. Or Franchy Cordero, who launched a home run to dead center on Sunday.
It doesn’t even matter that the Yankees blew two chances at winning the series. What matters is how they’ll respond when Boston visits the Bronx for three games starting Friday.
A bad time to be sloppy. We all love a classic Yankees-Red Sox series full of lead changes, long home runs, big innings, all of it. What we forget is that none of it happens without some truly sloppy baseball. There was plenty of that going around on both sides over the weekend, particularly in New York.
Gerrit Cole looked good, but made the game close when he surrendered two homers to Rafael Devers. Nestor Cortes had a 9-4 lead, but couldn’t even last four innings. Josh Donaldson botched a potential game-ending double play on Saturday, and Sunday was just Murphy’s Law in motion.
In July, it’s just a rough stretch in a small sample. In October, this is the difference between the reaching the World Series or going home early.
Cracks in the pitching armor. The Aug. 2 trade deadline is approaching and it’s now clear the Yankees need to add a pitcher. Between Cortes starting to tire and Taillon leaving too many balls up in the zone, the rotation needs a steadying presence. Yet, The Post reports Brian Cashman is focused on adding an outfielder and also dealing Joey Gallo.
In this case, maybe the solution is as simple as switching to a six-man rotation. Clarke Schmidt is ready and deserves better than to be riding the Scranton Shuttle as needed. If not him, then maybe JP Sears can take a turn every few days. The goal should be to make sure all pitchers are ready to go for the home stretch and into the postseason.
The Yankees still have an elite pitching staff despite these recent struggles. Now, it’s time to ensure it keeps that way for the rest of the year.