Saturday, August 28, 2021

Lucky 13...


Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu, AP

Yankees continue to roll since the corn field debacle…

The title of the post is, admittedly, misleading. The Yankees aren’t just lucky…they are damn good! Last night’s win gave the team thirteen consecutive victories, the best run since September 1-12, 1961. The 1961 Yankees, powered by Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, won 109 games, and of course won the World Series. The 2021 Yankees won’t reach 100 wins, but the World Series certainly remains on the table. After the uneven play earlier in the season and the COVID-19 attack on multiple players, I am very proud of the team’s accomplishments since the trading deadline. The balance provided by Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo have been great, but this has been a team effort. I love the ‘refuse to lose’ mentality.

Unfortunately, the Yankees have been unable to make up much ground on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays, winners of five in a row, are in Baltimore so they’ll win a couple more games before any potential losses. The O’s have not been able to figure out the Rays, falling short in 16 out 17 games this season. Trailing the Rays by four games in the AL East, the Yankees currently hold the top Wild Card slot, three games up on the second Wild Card, occupied by the Boston Red Sox. The Oakland A’s, once the top Wild Card team, continue their fall and are 3.5 games behind Boston. I hold up hope the Yankees can catch the Rays. They end the regular season with three games at Yankee Stadium against Tampa on October 1st through 3rd. The Rays and Red Sox will play 7 games against each other in the next two weeks.

After the 1961 team’s 13-gamer, they went 9-8 to finish the season. Obviously, it didn’t prevent the team from reaching its goal, but I am hoping for better regular season results for the 2021 team once the streak ends.  Finishing with 95-96 wins, given the team’s earlier struggles, would be huge. 

Now, the Yankees are tied with the Houston Astros for the second-best record in the American League at 76-52, one game ahead the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.  No one could have predicted this in early July.

Congratulations to Gerrit Cole for becoming the fastest Yankee to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. He reached the milestone in 148 innings, breaking Michael Pineda’s previous team record accomplished in 168 1/3 innings (2016).  I like Cole’s response after the game, “It’s not a goal. It’s just my job.” Yeah, Gerrit, just keep doing your job. Life is good. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu, AP

For as much heat as he takes from the Yankee fan base, it’s great to see Giancarlo Stanton on his best run since his 2017 MVP campaign with the Miami Marlins. He has homered in four consecutive games and has been valuable for the current 13-game winning streak. I’ve enjoyed seeing him play in the field again even if I had some initial skepticism. The Yankees are better when they can get Luke Voit’s bat into the lineup as the designated hitter. I remember the 2017 season when it did seem like Stanton was homering every day. It’s nice to see him wearing a better uniform doing it today. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu, AP

I am cautiously optimistic for Monday’s return of Corey Kluber. I am hopeful that he stays healthy and does not suffer any setbacks. It will take him a few starts to raise his level of effectiveness so I am sure Andrew Heaney will have to pick up Kluber a few times before we see any potential Klubot dominance.  Maybe Kluber picks up where he left off, but I suspect there will be some rust to shake. He has potentially five starts to get ready for the October fun. Kluber has shown us he is not done, and hopefully the best is yet to come. Let’s get that man a World Series ring!

Photo Credit: Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports

It was good news to hear that Luis Severino has resumed pitching after getting a second medical opinion from noted orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache. I always worry whenever a pitcher visits Dr. ElAttrache but thankfully the trip was positive and productive. It doesn’t seem like there is enough time for Sevy to get ready, but he only needs to ramp up for a bullpen role. After nearly two years away, he is not going to be starting games any time soon but could be a valuable weapon out of the pen if he is able to make it back. I am hopeful we’ll see him in October in some capacity beyond being a bench observer. 

Nice Major League debut for former Yankees prospect Glen Otto. Sent to Texas in the Joey Gallo trade, Otto made his debut in the Show by pitching five shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. The Rangers didn’t back up his performance as the Houston Astros prevailed, 5-4, but it was through no fault of Otto.  It’s always a little bittersweet to see former Yankee prospects excel elsewhere, but I certainly want Otto to do well (unless he is pitching against the Yankees, of course). 

Today is Nasty Nestor Day as the Yankees go for Win number fourteen. Sweet Lou Piniella. 

As always, Go Yankees!