Monday, August 20, 2018

Yankees Offense Revs Up In Time For Stretch They Can Rack Up W's

Miguel Andujar (@Yankees)

The Yankees swept the Toronto Blue Jays in their three-game weekend series, capped by a 10-2 win on Sunday afternoon.

The Yankees went to work immediately against Toronto starter Ryan Borucki, as they put up six runs in the first inning before an out was recorded.

A Greg Bird grand slam capped it off, making it 6-1 Yankees, and it was the first baseman's second straight game with a home run, as he hit a solo shot in the eighth inning on Saturday afternoon.

This was the first time the Yankees scored six runs with nobody out in the first since May 17, 1997 against Teas starter John Burkett. 

This also marked the first time since that date that the Yankees led 6-0 after the first six batter of the game, per the YES Network.

The Yankees put the game away in the sixth when Giancarlo Stanton got an RBI single, followed by an RBI groundout by Miguel Andujar, and a Kyle Higashioka two-run single that made it 10-2.

J.A. Happ had another nice outing, as he earned his fourth win as a Yankee in as many starts. Happ went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts.

The Yankees have won all seven starts by Happ and the other starting pitcher they acquired at the trade deadline, Lance Lynn.

Lynn got the start Friday night, and he had his toughest outing as a Yankee, as he gave up four runs in the first and hung in there for four innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.

After two listless losses to Tampa Bay, falling behind 4-0 in the first was not what the Yankees wanted on Friday night, but it definitely galvanized their offense

They responded with two in the bottom of the first and took a 5-4 lead in the fourth when Neil Walker hit a three-run home run.

After Toronto tied it in the top of the fifth, Gleyber Torres got an RBI on a force out to give the Yankees the lead back.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo shot to make it 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh right before the rains came and the Yankees got a seven-inning win.

The Yankees' offense kept it going on Saturday afternoon, as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead, with home runs from Didi Gregorius (two-run shot in the first), Stanton (solo shot in the fourth), and 
Miguel Andujar (solo shot in the fifth).

After Toronto pulled to within 8-5, the Yankees got three in the eight including on the Bird solo homr that was mentioned above.

The Yankees put up 28 runs in the series and scored 10+ in back-to-back games for the second time this season, with the first instance coming on May 20 and 21.

This was obviously a very good sign after the Yankees put up just one run each in their losses to Tampa last Wednesday and Thursday.

This offense has had to deal with the losses of two of their biggest home run threats, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, and now they will have to deal with the loss of Didi Gregorius, who left Sunday's game with a bruised left heel after a collision at first base in the sixth inning.

The one fortunate thing for the Yankees is they will continue to face pitching staffs like Toronto's for the foreseeable future starting Tuesday night in Miami.

The Yankees have a pair with the Marlins (50-76), followed by four games against the Orioles in Baltimore (37-87) next weekend before they return to Yankee Stadium for three with the White Sox (46-77) and then a four-game Labor Day weekend series with the Tigers (51-74).

The Yankees should win an absolute minimum of ten of these 13 games, if not all of them before they hit the road for a west-coast swing to playoff contenders Seattle and Oakland.

This season, unlike Yankees teams past, they have not cleaned up against bad teams. For example, they split six games with Baltimore in July and six with the Mets in interleague play, as well as eight out of their last ten to Tampa Bay (yes, the Rays are around .500, but that is inexcusable).

There is concern on when they will get Judge and Sanchez back, and whether Didi will go on the disabled list, but they should have enough to clean up the next two weeks and create some distance in the race for home field in the Wild Card game or possibly get back into the division race with the Red Sox, who have yet to have a major losing streak this season.

The regular season in baseball is a numbers game, in that it's all about racking up wins no matter the opponent, so the next two weeks present the Yankees a golden opportunity to run that tally up.

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