The Yankees have officially taken two of three from the Rays and have given themselves 5.5 game lead in the American League East, with 20 combined runs over their last two games.
With that offensive explosion, the Yankees finally broke through against a Tampa Bay pitching staff that has held the Yankees down offensively, which is a key reason why the Rays have won a lot of games lately against the Yankees. With the lineup figuring out how to get a job done without Aaron Judge putting the team on their back, has this team found their stride?
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The Return of Giancarlo Stanton:
One of the most pressing questions the Yankees had was how effective would Giancarlo Stanton be, with his slump since returning from his injury in July being well-documented and a huge reason why the Yankee offense was so dormant for so long. He simply could not hit fastballs, and he looked as if he was overmatched by everything teams threw at him.
This issue peaked when in a pinch-hitting situation against LHP Caleb Thielbar, who put Stanton on his backfoot despite not having overpowering velocity with his fastball and also being at a massive platoon disadvantage with how hard Stanton hits LHP.
Fast-forward to the slaughters of Tampa Bay by a combined 13 runs in the last two games, and Stanton has 2 HRs and looks locked in at the plate. If the Yankees can get a power boost from Stanton, this team is going to go far, and they’ll have a chance to feast on the Red Sox, who have struggled pitching-wise all season.
The Yankees Continue To Pitch Well:
In September, the Yankees have pitched to the tune of a 2.96 ERA as a staff, and with Nestor Cortes back in the fold, it gives the Yankees a lot of starting pitching down the stretch.
The bullpen has been red-hot as well, with the depth growing as guys return from injury and pitchers like Jonathan Loaisiga and Clay Holmes finding their form once again.
Pitching wins championships, and with Gerrit Cole leading this pitching staff with his MLB-leading 218 strikeouts, it means that with an offense that’s slowly finding its identity again, they should be counted on to win a lot of games.
Run prevention has not been the main issue for the Yankees lately, but continuing to get great pitching as the offense finds itself can be the key for this team to finally get back to winning consistently. They had a successful 5-2 homestand, and that’s a huge momentum boost for this ball club.
The Yankees go to Fenway Tuesday to face a Boston team that just beat up on the Baltimore Orioles, and if they take care of business, they’ll either put Toronto or Tampa Bay out of the AL East race as they battle each other for wild card positioning starting tomorrow.