The Yankees just won two out of three in La La Land vs the NL pennant favorite and league-leading 86 win Dodgers this weekend. They allowed just five runs in three games to LA in the process.
Sunday night versus Clayton Kershaw (need I say more?), the Bronx Bombers hit three home runs and Domingo German outdueled Kershaw for his league leading 17th win of the season in a 5-1 victory.
Putting aside the silly uniforms that the MLB should probably do away with (black and white jerseys?), this is the Yankees formula for holding up the trophy in October.
Home runs are not a question. They have a major-league record 61 in August. They broke the record for most in a single season last year with 267.
The Yankees have 231 with 30 games to play this season, good for only 2nd (scoffing) in the MLB. The Minnesota Twins have 253. Juiced baseballs? I’ll save that discussion for another day…
Aaron Judge is cooking too, having just hit three jacks this weekend and four in his last six games. The long ball won’t be a problem.
We know the Yankees can score runs too. They are tied with the Twins for most scored per game (5.85). They pounded Kershaw and exploded for seven runs in 4.1 innings over NL Cy Young favorite Hyun-Jin Ryu.
The other ingredient is pitching. The Yankees DIDN’T snatch Dallas Keuchel earlier this season and decided to not overpay for Madison Bumgarner or another arm at the Trade Deadline.
I’m not one to doubt Brian Cashman. That dude is a genius. When everyone else is playing checkers, the Cash Man plays chess. I just didn’t love them staying quiet. The George Steinbrenner Yankees always went for the grand slam. His sons are just different. And that’s OK.
This weekend was a perfect example in their favor though.
Allowing just five runs in 16 ⅔ innings from Paxton, German and Sabathia is promising. No team has held the Dodgers to five or fewer in a series all season long. The bullpen was strong and took care of business when they needed to. The combo of Adam Ottavino, Zach Britton, Tommy Kahnle, Aroldis Chapman, etc. have done this all-season long.
As for the rotation, it’s the topic that sports talk radio has debated for months. Come October, I trust Masahiro Tanaka. Despite his recent struggles, he’s a big game pitcher and he will figure it out. After that is where I have my concerns.
If German and Paxton pitch like THIS in October, the Yankees will win. I love me some CC too but at 39 years old I’m not expecting World Series gems anymore.
All five Yankees starting pitchers have an ERA over four. None of them have been sure things in the regular season this year. How can we possibly expect guarantees in the postseason?
I can’t get the 2017 AL Wild Card Game out of my head. Luis Severino was the ace of the Yankees staff. He won 14 games and had a 2.98 ERA. Versus the Twins in that game, he allowed three runs while recording just ONE out.
He was taken out in the first inning. The shortest appearance by a Yankees starting pitcher in postseason history. Thankfully, they came back to win. Sorry Minnesota.
A year later in the same situation, he rebounded for four innings of shutout ball. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit home runs. The bullpen took it from there and Chapman closed it out in the ninth.
The postseason is a completely different animal though. You have no clue how your rotation is going to react. Not everyone is Rocky Balboa. Sometimes when you get punched in the mouth, you DON’T get up. Just ask Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and Manny Pacquiao. Is it too soon to talk about Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua yet?
The starters will only need to give you four or five innings of two run ball to give you a chance. But will they? I trust this bullpen to take care of the rest. But in a seven-game series, the pen can’t do it every night.
I’m not someone who makes overreactions. Using one weekend series in Los Angeles vs the Dodgers to try and argue the Yankees will win the World Series is ridiculous.
This isn’t a movie. It’s professional sports. What I’m saying is: this is the formula the Yankees need to use.
The Yankees will hit home runs and score. Regardless of whose in the lineup. Savages in the box. The bullpen will do its job too. But the starting rotation has been their question. If they can repeat this weekend when it matters most, Yankees fans could get Christmas in November.
I wouldn’t book your World Series float rentals in Manhattan though. Not yet.