The Yankees lost an important three-game series to the Rays, but have to be feeling pretty good right now.
Wednesday’s 8-7 win was the type of classic New York comeback that fans have grown accustomed to seeing this season. Down 4-0, the Yankees tied the game on Anthony Rizzo’s home run in the eighth. An Aroldis Chapman meltdown in extra innings later, Josh Donaldson’s walk-off grand slam sealed the victory.
The Yankees still need to build off of this win, but having a ten-game lead in the AL East again helps. Moreover, this momentum will hopefully carry over into an important four-game set with the Blue Jays.
Offense streaks, pitching soars. Even while the Yankees’ bats have comically struggled during this rough stretch, the pitching finally seems back on track. New York starters posted a solid 3.66 ERA in three games with Tampa Bay. Even with all the struggles at the plate, the Yankees’ pitching still ranks third in baseball with a 3.28 ERA.
Considering the arms weren’t performing too well recently, it’s good to know the Yankees can rely on their arms to keep them competitive in games where runs are scarce.
Help is on the way. There were minimal silver linings for the Yankees as they lost their fifth series in a row, but the tradeoff might be worth it. Slowly but surely, Giancarlo Stanton is working his way back from a sore Achilles and will appear in rehab games soon. Throw in DJ LeMahieu coming back from a toe injury, and the Yankees lineup is slowly shifting back to normal.
Now, we just need to see if it rebalances itself and the run-scoring returns.
New blood, new hope? Donaldson’s walk-off grand slam can’t be the only spark to rejuvenate the New York Yankees. Recent call-ups Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial should help bring life to the dugout as well. Both went a combined 0 for 6 with three strikeouts on Wednesday, but there’s still value in having them around. For example, Cabrera still took good swings in going 0 for 3 and Florial made a timely shoestring catch.
As we’ve discussed, Florial is up because Hicks is a complete liability. Cabrera, meanwhile, is here for his versatility. He can play three infield positions, some outfield, and batting .382 at Triple-A since July 22 doesn’t hurt either. With more tough games ahead, perhaps some dynamic rookies coming up and producing will rally the veterans.
About Aroldis Chapman … I might have spoken too soon when I said Chapman deserved to be the Yankees’ closer again. He struggled with command again on Wednesday, surrendering a two-out bases clearing double in the top of the tenth. Chapman also didn’t have much velocity, sitting around 95/96 mph on his fastball before finally reaching 99/100 mph about 21 pitches in.
Maybe he’s still in his head about inherited runners or maybe it was just a bad night with worse luck. Either way, while Clay Holmes is out with a bad back, perhaps Aaron Boone’s “mix and match” approach isn’t such a bad idea.
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