New York Yankees: Aaron Boone talks matchup with Tampa Bay Rays

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Following their four-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, 16-6, hold a two and a half-game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East; the Yankees begin a three-game series with the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

A week and a half ago, the Yankees dropped three out of four on the road to the Rays. The two teams each scored 14 runs in the series.

Despite their struggles against the Rays earlier in the season, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is optimistic that they can play well against them this week if their offense capitalizes on opportunities (quotes per George King III of the New York Post).

“I thought we did a lot of things in that series pretty well. Even though we didn’t score a ton of runs outside of the one game we played I thought we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities and that is what you have to do against them,’’ Aaron Boone said Monday of his team that went 4-for-27 (.148) with runners in scoring position during the series. “Give yourself as many opportunities as you can because you know it is going to be challenging to score and score big against them but if we give ourselves opportunities and capitalize when we have those chances and to continue to pitch well against them then we will like our chances.’’

The Rays have won eight of their last nine games and accumulated 90-plus wins in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Last season they won the AL Wild Card Game and took the eventual AL pennant-winning Houston Astros to five games in the AL Division Series round.

The Yankees are expected to send right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to the hill while the Rays are expected to send left-hander Blake Snell to the hill on Tuesday night. The Yankees are currently without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu due to injuries.

New York Yankees: Clinch AL-East with a Marvelous Performance from Tanaka

New York Yankees, Gleyber Toress, Miguel Andujar

What do you receive when you combine a dominant performance from Masahiro Tanaka and a slugfest from the offense? You receive a tremendous victory and clinch the AL East in 2019. This is the first time the New York Yankees have clinched the division since the 2012 season and settled for the Wild Card spot three times since then.

Masahiro Tanaka was next to flawless on Thursday night vs the Anaheim Angels. He pitched 7 strong innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run and striking out 6 batters on 86 pitches. His split-finger fastball, slider and the rest of his pitch selection were extraordinary. Without a doubt, Tanaka looked fierce and is back in playoff mode. Cory Gearrin and Aroldis Chapman closed the game out with a combined 2 innings pitched and gave up 1 hit, no runs and struck out 2 batters on 31 pitches.

The offensive entourage began their rampage in the bottom of the 2nd. DJ LeMahieu crushed a 3-run homer to right-center field, traveling 355-feet with an exit velocity of 103.1 MPH. The Halos tacked on their only run of the game in the top of the 4th, with Kole Calhoun driving in a solo homer. In the bottom of the 4th, Brett Gardner drilled a solo shot to deep right field, traveling 414-feet with an exit velocity of 100.9 MPH.

As Tanaka continued to deal with absolute control, the offense recorded 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th. Gardner, who is having the best season of his career and has been scorching-hot in the month of September, smoked a 2-run double into right field and granting the Yanks with a 6-1 lead.

The offensive production did not cease until after the bottom of the 8th inning. Cameron Maybin obliterated a solo shot to left field, traveling 416-feet with an exit velocity of 107.4 MPH. After an impressive at-bat from Gardner, which resulted in a walk, Clint Frazier hammered a 2-run bullet to right field, traveling 382-feet with an exit velocity of 109.2 MPH.

The Yankees exited the baseball diamond as the victors, defeating the Halos 9-1. They’re now the 2nd team this season to reach 100 wins and possess a 100-54 (.649) record. Aaron Boone is now the 2nd manager in MLB history to rack up 200 or more wins in his 1st 2 seasons. Ralph Houk is the only manager with more wins, who acquired 205 from 1961-1962. The Bronx Bombers also possess 14 AL East titles since 1995. Every other organization in the division owns a combined 11 titles since then.




New York Yankees clinch their first AL East title in seven years

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

With their win over the Los Angeles Angels Thursday night, the New York Yankees are the 2019 champions of the American League East. The Yankees also reached a significant 100 wins.

“We got a lot bigger fish to fry, but this is the first step along the way,” said manager Aaron Boone. “Nothing has got in their way. Whatever has come adversity-wise, they faced it and powered right through it.”

The New York Yankees have been through it all this season and have overcome anything that has tried to set them back.

Masahiro Tanaka was absolutely dominating on the mound going seven full frames allowing one run on four hits while fanning six. Cory Gearrin and Aroldis Chapman came in to end the game giving the Yankees their victory.

DJ LeMahieu started things off with a three-run home run in the second inning. Brett Gardner was the name of the night, going two-for-three with a homer while knocking in two other runs. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier joined in on the fun each homering in the eighth inning.

This was the Yankees’ first AL East title since 2012. The past two seasons they’ve made the playoffs through the Wild Card, finishing second in the standings.

After Wednesday night’s loss, the Yankees wanted to win their way to clinching, not by another team losing. “It was probably actually a good little team building, bonding, one of those times you enjoy being together,” said Boone.

The Yankees will begin their last homestand against the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow at 7:05 PM EST.


The Rays Are Making The AL East No Cakewalk

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

Somehow someway, the Tampa Bay Rays have managed to keep at the same pace as the scorching hot New York Yankees. The Yankees will either be nine or ten games up on the Rays depending on the result of their game on Tuesday against the Padres, but entering the day they have won eight of their last ten like the Yankees.

They haven’t faced great teams either, sweeping series with the Marlins and the Mariners but they are still in contention for the AL East (barely).

The Rays are a very dangerous team, and there’s a legitimate chance that Yankees-Rays could be an ALDS match-up.

The two teams are set to face off just two more times this year, but if the Yankees for some reason slide a bit, those two games could be crucial to decide the division winner.

The Rays do have an easier end of the season compared to the Yankees. They have seven games left with the Orioles, and three each with the Tigers and the Mariners. But, both teams have series remaining with the Red Sox, Indians, and Astros. Obviously the Red Sox are struggling and likely won’t be playing in October, but they are still extremely dangerous.

All the Yankees can do now is just keep the gas pedal down, continue to grind and win games. The team will just get healthier as the season winds down, including ace Luis Severino and 2017 MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees control their own destiny, and will win the East if they continue to stay hot.