After going 6-2 the week before, the New York Yankees started the past week on an unsatisfactory note. Starting their last west coast trip of 2019, the Yankees were swept in three games by the A’s in Oakland. Oakland Coliseum has been the Yankees’ house of horrors in recent years, as evidenced by their 7-21 record in their last 28 games at the Coliseum. The offense was quiet in situations where they typically shined this year and were outdueled on the mound.
Riding a four-game losing streak, the Yankees then headed to Los Angeles, where they would begin a Players Weekend series against the Dodgers. In a battle between the best teams in baseball, a potential World Series preview, the Yankees would leave Chavez Ravine winning two of three.
Overall, they finished the week 2-4, but their series win in LA sent a huge statement. The two games they won came at the expense of the Dodgers’ two aces, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Clayton Kershaw. Their starting pitching was at its finest in all three games. James Paxton and Domingo German both dominated in their starts, while C.C. Sabathia was solid despite only pitching four innings. Finally, in a matchup of two great offenses, the Yankees outscored the defending N.L. Champs 16-5 in three games.
This comes as the calendar is about to turn to September for the stretch run. Riding a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay entering Monday, it would take a near-total collapse for the Yankees to not lock up their first division title since 2012.
El Kraken hits 100th career dinger:
Catcher Gary Sanchez wrote his name into some more history books Friday night in LA. In the third inning, Sanchez hit a home run off Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu, the 100th of his young career. With that long ball, Sanchez not only became the fastest catcher to 100 home runs but also the second-fastest all-time by games played, accomplishing the feat in his 355th career game. Only former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard did it faster, at 325 games.
Sanchez continues to make a strong case for A.L. Comeback Player of the Year. In 91 games played entering Monday, Sanchez is batting .233/.306/.519/.825 with 29 home runs and 67 RBI.
Aaron Judge Heating Up:
After suffering a left oblique strain on April 20, an injury that kept him out for two whole months, slugger Aaron Judge seemed to concern many fans. Coming into the week, Judge had hit 12 home runs, none of which going to left field. This led many to believe that the oblique is still an issue, and may require time in the offseason to heal fully.
The 27-year-old put those fears to rest this past week. In the first game of the Oakland series, Judge hit a home run that went an estimated 467 feet. Not only was this home run crushed, but it was also to deep left field, the first dinger he pulled all year. That one blast, his only hit of the series, was one of few bright spots in an otherwise putrid series.
The blast turned out to be no fluke when the Yankees took on the Dodgers next. Judge ended up with a home run in every game of the series, a sign that the slugger is starting to heat up.
Empire Sports Media’s Yankee Players of the Week:
6 games, 8-25 (.320), 4 HR, 5 RBI, 5 Runs Scored, 1.186 OPS
Vs. Dodgers (8/23): W, 6.2 Innings, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 11 SO
All Rise for the honorable first-ever two-time Players of the Week, the Judge and the Big Maple!
As stated earlier, Judge is starting to heat up, pulling home runs with more regularity, including a 467-foot bomb in Oakland. In LA, he hit home runs in every game of the series, including ones off Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw.
James Paxton was also huge in his start against the Dodgers, opposing Ryu. He lifted the bombers on the mount with 6.2 strong innings, striking out 11. This includes striking out N.L. MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger three times. More importantly, he lifted the team’s spirits with his performance after the Yankees were swept in Oakland. With the win, Paxton has now won his last five decisions and is 5-0 with a 3.56 ERA in August.