New York Yankees: 4 Takeaways from the Yankees eighth win in a row

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

New York Yankees now just 4 games out

The New York Yankees have been playing great ball since the All-Star Break. Since July 17, they have gone 25 and 8 during the period.  The Yankees had won their last seven series culminating with a sweep of the Boston Red Sox when they overtook them for a playoff berth. However, last night the Yankees won their eighth game in a row, and the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the White Sox, moving the Yankees just four games short of a tie in the AL East.

“Nasty” Nestor does it again

Nasty Nestor was nasty again last night. Nestor Cortes had another great performance yesterday, pitching seven innings of 2 run ball while walking two and striking out seven. His ERA is now 2.56 after winning his longest and 2nd win of the season. He had an excellent command of his pitches with a great life.

Nestor Cortes Jr. was primarily a reliever pitching in 15 games since he was brought up on May 30 from the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. With the loss of Corey Kluber, he made his first start on July 9th against the Houston Astros; he pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless ball, impressing the Yankees. Unfortunately, in his next several starts, he, like other Yankees pitchers, didn’t get much run support. During the period, he has been stretched out, pitching seven full innings last night. Nevertheless, he has won his last two games against the White Sox and last night against the Minnesota Twins. His excellent pitching will likely keep him around even when the rotation is back to full force.

Home run again king

Even though the New York Yankees are now winning games without hitting home runs, the team is built around the home run ball. Again last night, the home run was king in the win. Last night slugger Aaron Judge led it off with a 2 run home run in the second inning off Twin’s starter Charlie Barnes. In the seventh inning, Luke Voit contributed his own home run, and in the eighth inning, DJ LeMahieu hit his eighth of the season.

Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres injury news

The Yankee’s veteran and iron man Brett Gardner was hit in the elbow by a pitch in the fifth inning. Although visibly painful, Gardner stayed in the game until he was relieved by Tyler Wade in the seventh. Manager Boone said Gardner indicated that it really stiffened up, and Boone wanted to get some ice on it and start treatment. However, Boone also said he didn’t expect tests to be done and see how he was today.

Gleyber Torres is on the way back from his jammed finger suffered on August 8th against Seattle. Torres has begun his rehab with an important first step. Yesterday before the game, he took dry swings and fielded ground balls at the Stadium. Boone said that he still had some pain but that the swelling and gone down in this thumb, allowing him to get started on the rehab process. However, Boone declined to give a date for his return into the lineup.

Note:

Tonight Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will take the mound facing the Minnesota Twins’ Kenta Maeda in a 1:05 pm matinee at Yankee Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on FS1.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees get 8th win in a row, now only 4 games out of the AL East lead.

The New York Yankees entered the night facing the Minnesota Twins in the second game of a four-game series. In the first game, the Yankees fought out a 7-5 win over the Twins. Tonight the Yankees had Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound facing the Twin Charlie Barnes.

To begin the game, Jorge Polano against Nestor Cortes Jr., flew out to Joey Gallo in left-field foul territory. Luis Arraez went down fanned by Cortes Jr. Josh Donaldson struck out swinging for a perfect inning for Nestor Cortes Jr. At the bottom DJ LeMahieu walked. Aaron Judge worked a back-to-back walk. Joey Gallo struck out swinging. Barnes threw one in the dirt, and both runners advanced. Giancarlo Stanton reached on a hit by a pitch to load the bases. Luke Voit got a two-run single to the left, scoring both Judge and Stanton for the Yankees’ two-run lead. Rougie Odor popped out to the catcher. Gary Sanchez singled to the pitcher to load the bases for Andrew Velazquez, who walked in a run. Brett Gardner gound out but scoring Voit. New York Yankees 3 Twins 0.

Mitch Carver led off the second by a ground out to third. Rob Refsnyder flew out to center. Nick Gordon struck out swinging for Cortes’s 3rd strikeout. At the bottom, it was LeMahieu singled to the left. Judge homered a lazer to right. Galo flew out to center. Stanton popped out to the catcher. Voit singled to left. Odor ground out into the shift. New York Yankees 6 Twins 0.

The third inning was led off by Willans Astudillo, who flew out to Judge.  Cave lined out to Gallo in left. Andrelton Simmons walked on a very bad ball call. Polanco flew out to center for another scoreless inning for Cortes Jr. At the bottom, ahead by six runs, Sanchez ground out to short. Velazquez was tagged out at first. Gardner singled to left. LeMahieu flew out to Gordon in the center to end the inning. Yankees 6 Twins 0.

Luis Arraez led off the fourth inning by grounding out. Donaldson went down looking. Carver walked. Refsnyder singled to center for two on and two outs. Gordon was hit by a pitch. Astudillo popped out, leaving the bases loaded with Twins. At the bottom, Judge flew out to center. Joey Gallo worked a walk. Stanton walked. Voit singled, and Gallo scored.     New York Yankees 7  Twins 0

The fifth inning was scoreless for both teams. At the top of the sixth inning, the Twins scored two runs on Josh Donaldson’s two-run homer. Aaron Judge answered at the bottom of the sixth with a two-run homer of his own, making it New York Yankees 8 and the Minnesota Twins 2.

After the top of the seventh inning, Nestor Cortes Jr. left the game with a 7-2 lead for another good start for Cortes Jr. In the game, he walked two while striking out 7 Twins. New York Yankees 7 Minnesota Twins 2.

In the top of the eighth, with Joely Rodriguez on the mound, striking out two, J-Rod had a 1-2-3 inning. At the bottom, Tyler Wade in for Brett Gardner walked. DJ LeMahieu hit a homer to left field just to the right of the foul pole driving in Tyler Wade for the 8 run lead. That did it for Twins reliever Baraclough. New pitcher Juan Minaya faced Aaron Judge with no outs and two runs already in struck out swinging. Joey Gallo struck out looking. Giancarlo Stanton walked. Voit flew out to center to end the inning. New York Yankees 10 Minnesota Twins 2.

At the top of the ninth inning, with the last licks on the line for Minnesota, the Yankee reliever that made his major league debut on August 3rd, Brody Koener, and with 16 days rest, walked  Mitch Carver, the first batter he faced. Refsnyder went down on strikes. Nick Gordon hit into a force out at second. Odor tried for the double play, but Voit couldn’t complete it. Willians Astudillo lined out to short to end the game and give the Yankees 8 wins in a row.

The New York Yankees have played so many close games recently; tonight is the first time the Yankees have scored 10 runs since August 4th against Baltimore. The final score was the New York Yankees 10 and the Minnesota Twins 2. The winning pitcher was Nestor Cortes Jr., and the loser was Charlie Barnes.

With the Tampa Bay loss, tonight against the White Sox the New York Yankees are now only four games out from the AL East division lead.

 

 

Yankees’ Luke Voit warns ‘I’m not going down’ as he helps propels team past Boston

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The Yankees acquired Luke Voit from the Cardinals back in 2018. He instantly made an impact and quickly turned into a fan favorite. That hasn’t stopped. Ever since wearing the Yankee uniform, Voit has done nothing but produce. The only problem Voit’s faced has been staying on the field.

In 2019, he missed 44 games. In 2020, he only missed four games and led the league in home runs. However, so far in 2021, Voit has only appeared in 39 games. He missed the first few months and then went back to the IL shortly after returning. It’s been frustrating for both Voit and the Yankees. Considering the Yankees weren’t playing good baseball, Brian Cashman decided to make some big moves at the deadline. 

Cashman went out and acquired two big lefty bats. One of them being the first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo is a silver slugger and platinum glove that provides balance to a majority right-handed lineup. He was clearly going to be the starter going forward. He made an instant impact and seemed to be what the Yankees needed. However, just as he was getting comfortable, he contracted COVID-19 and was shut down for two weeks. 

Luke Voit was rehabbing for a return at the time and was able to step up right away. Since his return, he’s playing very well and has provided some big hits for the Yankees. With Stanton getting time in the outfield, Voit could take over the DH spot when Rizzo returns. 

After the win yesterday, Voit shared his thoughts on his situation with the team. Voit said that he’s been a “great player for the organization for the last three years.” Saying he was “top ten” in MVP voting last year and that he “deserves” to play. Voit finished saying that he understands it’s going to be “tougher with Rizzo” but that he is “not going down like that.” 

Fans were going crazy after these quotes from Voit. Personally, I love it. Voit obviously has nothing against Rizzo, he just simply wants to play. To me, that’s exactly what you want in the clubhouse. You want players willing to compete for time, not players giving up once their spot is taken. Voit playing with something to prove will help this team down the stretch. This situation is nothing more than players wanting to win.

Anthony Rizzo might return to the Yankees tonight. Whether it’s Rizzo at DH or at first base, it’s a huge boost for this team. It’ll be interesting to see how Boone constructs the lineup with both Voit and Rizzo ready to play.

The New York Yankees need to play Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit moving forward

Last night, the New York Yankees completed a day-night double headers sweep of the Boston Red Sox. Their win over Boston along with the loss of the Athletics has the three teams in a virtual tie for the Wild Card.

Just over a month ago, the Yankees looked dead in the water. They were 9.5 games behind the Red Sox and every time there was a close game, the Yankees found a way to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

Then, they slowly started to turn it around. The Yankees were playing much better as we inched towards the trade deadline and then Brian Cashman went on the offensive. He acquired Anthony Rizzo from The Cubs and Joey Gallo from The Rangers.

If the Yankees don’t have Rizzo, they likely don’t win those series right after the deadline. If the Yankees don’t have Gallo, they don’t win the series against the Mariners and don’t win the series against the White Sox.

Both men have proven that they are massive assets to the team. Rizzo was acquired because the Yankees wanted to have another lefty bat, but also because Luke Voit has spent the majority of the year injured.

Yankees Need Both

Voit led the league in home runs last year and he finished ninth in the MVP voting. He’s been a popular figure with the team, but after the Rizzo acquisition, it appeared he was on his way out the door as the bombers were shopping him in trades.

They couldn’t find a good trade partner and ultimately kept Voit which proved to work out perfectly. Anthony Rizzo ended up catching COVID and has missed the last week and a half.

Immediately after Rizzo was taken out, Voit returned from the IL. Voit has played great since returning and he’s had nine RBIs in the last nine games. Rizzo is expected back today and Voit made it clear that he believes he should still be in the Yankees lineup.

Voit told the media last night, “I was top-10 in MVP last year, and I’ve been a great player for this organization for the last three years. I’m not going down, I want play. I know it’s gonna be tougher with Rizzo, but I deserve to play just as much as he does.”

I have to agree with Voit here. He absolutely deserves to play for this team and they need him in the lineup. That said, Anthony Rizzo also needs to be manning first base for the New York Yankees.

How to Play Both

So, what do they do? Look, we’re in the stretch run here and the Yankees need their best team out there. It’s time for Giancarlo Stanton to play the field every day. Luke Voit needs to be in the lineup so you make him your primary DH while giving first back to Rizzo.

Judge and Gallo can split time in Center with Judge getting the majority of time there. To save Stanton from potential injury, you can take him out late in games and put Gardner or Davis back in the game. It’s crunch time right now, and the Yankees need to put their best foot forward.

To me, it starts tonight. Andrew Heaney is on the mound so the Yankees are likely going to need close to ten runs to have a chance at winning the game. It’s the perfect time to breakout the following lineup:

  1. DJ LeMahieu – 2B
  2. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  3. Aaron Judge – CF
  4. Joey Gallo – LF
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – RF
  6. Luke Voit – DH
  7. Rougned Odor – 3B
  8. Gary Sanchez – C
  9. Tyler Wade – SS

Just imagine that lineup when Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are back. Granted, you still should find a spot to get Odor in there when you can. Simply put, the Yankees need their best lineup at all times moving forward. Sound off in the comments below on what you think the lineup should be.

New York Yankees: 5 Takeaways from Yankee doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees entered yesterday’s pivotal doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox with the ability to overtake the Red Sox in the AL East for the first time this season. They won both games for a sweep of the doubleheader. As a result, they took the Red Sox berth in the playoffs and are now even being 5 games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Luis Gil does it again and makes history

Luis Gil wasn’t as sharp last night as he was in his first two replacement starts for Gerrit Cole, who was previously on the Covid list. But he did pitch 4.2 innings of scoreless ball. He became the first pitcher ever in New York Yankee history to pitch 4.2 scoreless innings in each of his first three career appearances since 1893. Also, his 15.2 scoreless inning streak is now the second-longest by a Yankee pitcher in franchise history, trailing only Slow Joe Doyle back in 1906.

Gil originally called up as an emergency replacement, has made a strong case to stick around, even with the returning starters coming back into the rotation. His unflappability and swagger endears himself with Yankee fans.

Game one starter Jordan Montgomery one of those starters returning from Covid, tired during his first start. He gave up three runs but kept the Yankees in the game so they could eventually win.

The home run is king

The New York Yankees have positioned themselves as a home run hitting team. Most often, if they don’t hit home runs, they don’t win. Last night the home run ball was king as all of the runs scored were via the home run. In the second inning last night Luke Voit hit a homer to the right-field bench. Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom by homering well (441′) into the left-field stands in the fourth inning. Those two runs were the only runs scored by either team in the game.

The first game was an unusual one that saw the Yankees claw their way to a win without hitting any home runs. Instead, they pulled off the seven-inning win with a combination of stringing hits together and running the bases well. Rougie Odor, Tyler Wade, and Andrew Velazquez went five for seven. Velazquez sparkled in the field, keeping the Sox from scoring.

The bullpen is dominant in shut out

Last night after Gil’s third successful start Wandy Peralta game in in the fifth inning with the bases loaded with Red Sox and successfully got out of the inning scoreless. Peralta also pitched a scoreless sixth. Chad Green came in in the seventh and pitched a hitless inning for his fifth save of the season.

Montgomery went 4.2 innings in game one, and Albert Abreu came in to get the final out of the fifth inning. Then entered Jonathan Loaisiga, who pitched two scoreless innings and got his fifth save of the season.

Yankees win without a closer

The New York Yankees are winning games and winning them without a permanent, dependable closer. Aroldis Chapman, with 23 saves this season, has been anything but dependable. He started the season lights out, not giving up a run in his first 18 games, but then things went south. He had four blown saves, and in most of the games the Yankees did win, Chapman turned the ninth inning into a nail-biting soap opera.

Chapman is now on the IL left shoulder inflammation. Even before Chapman went on, the IL manager Aaron Boone was pitching and choosing closer matchups. Most were with Zack Britton, but Britton has been ineffective and removed from a closing role. So since July fourth, Boone has used seven different closers. Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga have been the most effective.

New York Yankees go for the sweep tonight

After sweeping the doubleheader yesterday, tonight, the Yankees will go for the series sweep of the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees will have Andrew Heaney on the mound, and the Red Sox will start Nick Pivetta. Heaney, although he has a respectable 7 wins on the season since he has come to the Yankees, he has given up 15 runs in three starts, with the Yankees losing two of those starts. Xander Bogaerts has been a Heaney killer. Heaney will be on a short leash.

Heaney will the Red Sox’s Nick Pivetta, who is a rightly who is 9-5 with a 4.20 ERA and 139 strikeouts. Both DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have hit weel off of Pivetta. Stanton and Sanchez have hit homers off him. The game at 7:05 pm tonight will be on the YES Network, NESN, and nationally on ESPN.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees make a statement in shut out of the Boston Red Sox

luis gil, yankees

Today the New York Yankees entered a three-game set with the Boston Red Sox, starting with a day-night doubleheader. The Yankees won the day game 5-3 in an exciting ninth inning. This could be a pivotal series with the Yankees overtaking the Red Sox in the wild card standing if the Yankees can sweep the series.

Winning the first game was the first step to accomplish that. Tonight was game two of that series when the Yankee sensation prospect Luis Gil took on the veteran Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has faced the Yankees four times this season, winning 50% of those games. The Yankees shut out the Red Sox in game two.

In the first inning, Gil faced Kiki Hernandez, who flew out to Stanton in right field. Alex Verdugo walked. Xander Bogaerts flew out to Gardner in center. Rafael Devers flew out to Gallo in left. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu led off with a single to center. Brett Gardner reached on a force out. Aaron Judge stuck out, but Gardner stole second. Joey Gallo flew out to center for a scoreless inning.

The second inning was lead off by JT Martinez went up the middle for a base hit. Kyle Schwarber walked. Kevin Palwecki, with two on and no outs, went down looking. Jerren Duran struck out swinging. Travis Shaw struck out swinging to end the half for Gil. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton struck out. Rougie Odor struck out. Luke Voit hit a homer to the right-field bench. Tyler Wade struck out, but the Yankees went ahead in the game. New York Yankees 1, the Red Sox 0.

Kiki Hernandez led off the third by popping out to Voit in right-field foul territory. Alex Verdugo walked. A passed ball allowed Verdugo to got to second. Bogaerts ground out, but Verdugo went to third. Devers flew out to Gardner to end the half. Kyle Higashioka led off the bottom by lining a single to left field. LeMahieu singled to right, with Higgy moving to second. Gardner popped out to short. Judge flew out to the warning track in center with Higgy going to third. Gallo went down swinging. Yankees 1 Red Sox 0.

At the fourth, Martinez flew out to Stanton in right-center. Schwarber hit a sky-high pop up to Odor. Palwecki popped out to Voit for a 1-2-3 inning for Gil. Stanton led off the bottom by homering well (441′) into the left-field stands. Odor doubled to left field. Voit with a man on second and no outs went down on strikes. Wade ground out to left. Higashioka walked. LeMahieu popped out to end the inning. Yankees 2 Red Sox 0.

Duran led off the fifth and singled to right. Shaw struck out. Hernandez singled on a ball that Wade missed. Duran went to third. Verdugo flew out to Gallo, not challenging Gallo’s arm; Duran stayed at third. Bogaerts walked, loading the bases ending the night for Gil. Wandy Peralta came in to face Devers, who ground to second for the final out and left the bases loaded with Red Sox. At the bottom, Gardner ground out to second. Judge singled to right. Judge stole second standing. Gallo went down on strikes. Stanton flew out to center to end the inning. Yankees 2 Red Sox 0.

JT Martinez led off the sixth inning by flying out to Stanton in right. Schwarber singled. Palwecki hit into a force out. Hunter Renfroe pinch-hitting for Duran singled to left center, Gardner’s throw kept Schwarber from scoring. Bobby Dalbec pinch-hit Shaw and lined back to Peralta; the ball was knocked down, but Peralta bare-handed it to first for the final out. At the bottom, Odor against the new pitcher, Martin Perez, ground out to right. Voit went down looking. Wade singled, knocking Perez out of the game. Higashioka faced the new Sox pitcher Sawamura and flew out to right. New York Yankees 2 Red Sox 0.

At the top of the ninth inning, Chad Green came into the game to close it out for the Yankees. Hernandez flew out to LeMahieu in foul territory. Verdugo struck out on 97 mph heat from Green. Bogaerts ground out to get the win for the Yankees and let them go ahead of the Sox in the wild card standings.

The final score was the New York Yankees 2 and the Boston Red Sox Zero. The winning pitcher was Wandy Peralta, the loser Nathan Eovaldi. The save went to Chad Green (5).

 

 

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from Yankees 10th series win

New York Yankees, Yankees, NYY, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees entered Sunday afternoon’s game against the Chicago White Sox with one goal, to win the second game in a row and take the series from the White Sox for the second time this season and for the 10th time in eleven tries. But, make no mistake; this team is not operating on all cylinders, missing key components in the pitching rotation and big hitters in the lineup. Nevertheless, the Yankees have found a way to win games and did it again yesterday with good pitching and gutsy play. Final score 5-3. Four of those Yankees runs were accomplished with two-run home runs from Rougie Odor and Luke Voit.

Nestor Cortes Jr. absolutely brilliant in his first win of the season

Nestor Cortes Jr. from 2013 came up with the New York Yankee organization, but the Baltimore Orioles plucked him away from the Yankees in the 2017 rule 5 draft. Cortes went from the Orioles to the Yankees again for a short stint but was eventually traded to the Seattle Mariners. For a third time, the Yankees again singed Cortes in December of 2020.

Cortes was again called up to the bigs with pitching injuries and pitchers going on the Covid list. Cortes is a reliever by job description and a good one at that. He has pitched in 13 games this season. After a successful 5 innings of relief against the Astros not allowing a run and the Yankees short of pitchers, he was called upon to start a game for the Yankees on the 23rd of July against the Red Sox; it didn’t go well, but the Yankees gave him another try on the 28th when he went five innings only allowing one run.

Since then, he has pitched well in three more starts. Cortes has been a Godsend for the Yankees. Yesterday against the White Sox with the series on the line, he was brilliant with six strong innings while scattering 7 hits and 7 strikeouts. Cortes doesn’t dazzle you with power, but his wide array of pitches keeps opponents off-balance. He adds to that a variety of deliveries making the pitches even more confusing to hitters.  He recorded his first win of the season, and after the game had this to say about his performance:

“It’s a very respectable lineup,” Cortes said. “I went in there and got the job done, gave them some length and came out with the ‘W.’ … I would love to wave a wand around and throw 97-98 [mph], but as long as I can get the job done, I’ll stick with what I’ve got.”

Luke Voit finally breaks through

It’s no secret that Luke Voit has struggled mightily since his latest return from yet another IL stint. He has often looked rejected walking to the dugout after another strikeout. He has even said that he can contribute big time but hasn’t been able to, causing great frustration.

Yesterday that all ended with one crack of the bat. With a big two-run home run, Voit went far to relieve that frustration as he provided the two insurance runs that would end up being the difference in the game. With the return of the first baseman Anthony Rizzo, he may have done it just in time to secure more playing time.

“I’m capable of doing a lot in this lineup,” Voit said. “I want to hit; I’m a good hitter. I want to help this team any way I can to win a championship. This year has been a tough ride for me, but I’ve just got to keep grinding.”

Key components finally return

New York Yankee fans learned yesterday that the promised help was indeed on the way for the lineup and the pitching rotation. For the lineup, the Yankees will insert contact hitter Anthony Rizzo back in the lineup Monday night in the makeup game with the Los Angeles Angels. On the pitching side, it was announced that pitching ace Gerrit Cole would return to the rotation and start tonight’s game against the Angels.

Cole facetiously said Saturday that he had pitched a no-hitter in the bullpen and that he was ready. Following Cole’s return, the Yankees will see the return of Jordan Montgomery on Tuesday in a doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox. All three of these players are coming off the Covid list.

 

 

New York Yankee Analysis: What to expect from the last seven weeks of the season

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have been surging during the last month, so have the Toronto Blue Jays, while the Tampa Bay Rays continue to be the best team in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox overachieving has ended, making the race for the postseason exciting. Today I will try to predict what I see for the remainder of the season and why. Over the past few years, I have registered just over 50% accuracy in my predictions, so take this for what it is worth.

The Baltimore Orioles: We can get this out of the way right away. The Orioles will finish last in the AL East. No matter what they do in the last weeks of the season, they won’t improve their position.

The Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays are the team that is making this season so interesting. They are a young and energetic team that has done much this season to better themselves. The Jays are just whispering behind the Yankees in the division, with both teams going 7-3 in their last ten games. Although the Blue Jays lead the AL in home runs and OPS thanks to an MVP-caliber season from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., they got an important boost at the trade deadline via the acquisition of two-time All-Star José Berríos, the Yankees are yet to meet up with Berrios.

With the return of George Springer to the outfield and Alec Manoah back in the rotation, things are looking pretty bright for the Jays going forward. Where the Jays may fail is with their not-so-good bullpen has really underperformed. Nevertheless, I predict the Jays will finish third in the East and fight Oakland for the second wild-card spot.

The Boston Red Sox: After the first few weeks of the season, I said they would fall apart when the Red Sox were playing so well. They haven’t but recently have not over-achieved like they did the first half of the season. The addition of Alex Cory, like him or not, has had a huge impact on the Red Sox in changing their culture. In addition, the Red Sox has going for them the return of their ace Chris Sale to the rotation; if he returns to form, it will be a big plus for the Sox.

Rafael Devers has been huge for the Red Sox. he has 27 home runs and 82 RBIs. Right behind him are juggernauts Xander Bogaerts and JT Martinez, with a combined 37 home runs and 133 RBIs. The problem for the Red Sox is that they don’t have a single starting pitcher with an ERA under 4, and during the second half so far, they have gotten little offense from the outfield. Also, in the second half, their bullpen has been less than stellar. Prediction: they will finish fourth in the East and will not make the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Rays: It’s hard to change the picture for the Rays. They have the best put-together team managed by the best manager in the AL East. They went to the World Series last year and will make the postseason this season as well. The addition of Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline could be huge for the Rays as it adds a proven veteran to their relatively young lineup. The young lineup has four players with 20 or more home runs. They don’t have a single starter with a losing record, and Andrew Kittridge 8-1 has been huge for the Rays.

It’s hard to find weaknesses with the Rays. If they have any, it’s a lack of production from short and the loss of their pitching ace Tyler Glasnow that has been a Yankee killer. They also have some injuries to deal with. Luckily for the Rays, they don’t have an extremely challenging schedule ahead. I predict the Tampa Bay Rays will win the AL East by at least 2 games.

The New York Yankees: The Yankees, after a plodding start to the season, have been the best team in baseball for the last several weeks, advancing in the AL East. The Yankees have been winning despite having more injuries and Covid outbreaks (21) than any team in the East. They also did more to improve the team at the trade deadline than any other American League team, with 3 pitchers and contact hitting lefty Anthony Rizzo and power-hitting Joey Gallo.

That’s not to say the Yankees don’t have their problems; they do, and some big ones. Most significant is that the Yankees have been hit harder than other teams with Covid outbreaks that have put key pitchers and key hitters on the Covid list; this coming week, Yankee ace Gerrit Cole will finally be back with the team, followed by pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Also, in the coming week, Anthony Rizzo and catcher Gary Sanchez should rejoin the team. However, the biggest disappointment for the Yankees is that neither of last seasons’ batting average champ DJ LeMahieu and home run leader Luke Voit has yet to perform this season. To get to the postseason the Yankees will need improvement from them both.

Predictions: It’s hard to predict the New York Yankees because they have had so many injuries. With the returning players, and if the team can find a way to limit further infections, they have an excellent chance of finishing second in the AL East and will surely get a wild card berth. If they are fortunate and the Rays are not, they could still take the division.

 

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from a clunker Yankee loss

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

After the New York Yankees accomplished an eleventh inning win over the Kansas City Royals yesterday morning in the wee hours, the Yankees went for the series win last night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Monday night’s game was a hard-fought 11th inning win, and hoped for an earlier outcome with Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound for the Yankees; he faced the Royals, Daniel Lynch. But, unfortunately, the Yankees lost the game 8-4 in a game that the Yankees had a season-high four errors.

Nestor Cortes Jr. was not as sharp

In the absence of Corey Kluber, Nestor Cortes Jr. had been great. However, last night that greatness didn’t shine through. Going into the sixth inning with a career-high number of pitches, Cortes kept the Yankees in the game, although giving up four earned runs. The Yankees had their chances to get those runs back but left too many people on base, missed opportunities, and committed too many errors. Plain and simple, the Royal outplayed the Yankees, stealing bases and producing squeeze plays. In the game, the Yankees went 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position while leaving seven on base.

The game started badly for Cortes; Whit Merrifield led off for the Royals and got a centerfield single. Nicky Lopez flew out to Stanton in left. Salvator Perez homered to center to give the Royals an early two-run lead. Carlos Santana ground out to second. Andrew Benintendi doubled to left field. Emmanuel Rivera struck out looking, but the Royals went ahead by two runs.

The New York Yankees got one run back on a passed ball. But the Yankees gave up another run in the third and yet another in the sixth even though the Yankees pulled ahead for the lead in the game.

Bullpen fails as Ridings leads the collapse

The real trouble for the Yankees was when Stephen Ridings was called in to replace Cortes, who had pitched a season-high 80 pitches. One must remember that Cortes is actually a reliever, but because of pitching shortages had been pushed into a starter role.  Ridings immediately gave up two runs while only recording two outs. Ridings had previously been lights out for the Yankees, but he just didn’t have it last night. Nick Nelson gave up another run in the eighth. Only Joely Rodriquez had a scoreless inning. All tolled the Yankees bullpen had no strikeouts.

New record for errors in game

Last night was a new record for the Yankees for sloppy play. They recorded a season-high four errors. Two of those errors with throwing errors by backup catcher Kyle Higasioka had only one error in the first half and only four in his entire career. Both of the throws overthrew their targets. After the game, Higgy said it’s just one of those things.

Also, last night Luke Voit showed why Anthony Rizzo is a more competent first baseman. On one down the ling hit, Voit let it roll through his legs as it tipped off his glove for an error. Stephen Ridings committed the fourth error on an infield hit. He threw wide to Voit.

This was a clunker for the New York Yankees, the king of a game that won’t get them into the postseason. The Yankees dropped back another game in the AL East as the Tampa Bay Rays won over the sinking Red Sox.

Today the New York Yankees will go for the win of the series, a rubber game for both teams at 2:10 pm EDT. The Yankees having no pitcher available for the game will likely have a bullpen game using an opener and other relievers to get the win.

 

Yankees’ Luke Voit is coming along at the plate and remains an important part of the team

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

New York Yankees’ first baseman Luke Voit has been injured for a large portion of the season. Knee and oblique ailments have robbed him some valuable playing time, and his issues staying healthy surely played a role in the Bombers landing Anthony Rizzo, who plays the same position.

Understandably, each time Voit has returned to the Yankees after a lengthy injury absence, it takes some time for him to find his stride. Getting his health back is one thing, but timing needs to be found on the go.

He returned to the lineup on August 8, the day the Yankees announced Rizzo was a positive COVID-19 case. Voit went 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts that day, and he looked off even though he had been taking some at-bats on a rehab assignments in the minor leagues.

On Monday, however, he has huge for the Yankees as the team fought their way to a win. It was not always pretty, but New York ended up prevailing in Kansas City after four blown saves. One of the primary reasons they won was, without a doubt, Luke Voit.

The Yankees’ unsung hero

The slugger went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI. One of his hits was a clutch single in the seventh inning in which he caught up to a high fastball and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead, and the other was a crucial home run that provided the Yanks with another lead, this time a 3-2 one. Both were eventually blown, but seeing Voit handling the high heat and sending balls over the fence is a net positive for New York.

“It was the definition of a team win,” said Voit to MLB.com. “Everybody on the lineup card got the job done. Obviously, we had some ups and downs, but we kept fighting back. Luckily, we came out with the win.”

With Voit, health will always be the key.

 

“I finally feel like I’m landing good on my leg,” Voit said. “I’m able to drive through that front knee. It’s been a struggle for me because I was being soft with it. I was getting into bad habits because I was favoring it a little bit, especially earlier. It feels back to normal, and that’s all I can ask.”

Can Luke Voit keep leaving his mark even when Rizzo returns?