Everything went right for us in July and we ended the month winning five plays in a row, seven out of eight and nine out of eleven.
All season, I have believe the Yankees to be the best team in the American League East, no matter how well Boston has played. At this point, some will call it stubbornness but I still think the Yankees will beat the Red Sox in a playoff series, if they meet. It is starting to feel like Boston will get the division, however.
The Red Sox look determined to stay out of the wild card. Dave Dombrowski continued trading away minor leaguers for marginal big league talent, acquiring Nathan Eovaldi and Ian Kinsler at the trade deadline. The former shouldn’t be lumped in with the ladder, as Eovaldi has a chance to be a difference-maker down the stretch; Kinsler is washed-up, as much as he still may be an upgrade over Eduardo Nunez, another one of Dombrowski’s mid-season acquisitions of a year ago.
The Sox are also getting healthier after welcoming back Drew Pomeranz this week, while New York is still reeling a bit after losing Aaron Judge for at least a big chunk of the home stretch, not to mention Gary Sanchez. The healthy guys failed to beat the Orioles again yesterday, not the way they want to come into a four-game series at Fenway Park.
Down five-and-a-half games in the division with two months to go, the Yankees are small ‘dogs in game one against Brian Johnson on Thursday night.
The Judge injury hurts, a lot, especially against a lefty like Johnson who is way more effective against lefties than he is against righties. Judge’s replacement is right-handed Shane Robinson but it also means that Brett Gardner has to play (unless Robinson and Stanton each play a corner).
The good news for him is that Johnson doesn’t usually last long. Twice in July he hit his season-high pitch count: 84. He was rolling the last time out before Alex Cora abruptly pulled him before he could finish six innings. He hasn’t finished six since April 2 in Miami.
Some Yankee fans believe the Sanchez injury will actually help the team. Sanchez is hitting .188 this season, though he does have an OPS over 1.000 in six games against Boston this season. Austin Romine will play good defense and contribute to the bottom of the lineup while Sanchez recuperates and lets some of the media steam blow off.
This is more of a play out of my mind than my heart. No Judge really changes the way New York’s lineup looks but its still Johnson and Boston’s bullpen against CC Sabathia and New York’s relief corps and that’s a distinct advantage for the Yankees.
Play: New York +105