Let’s face it – the Yankees haven’t been doing well in the American League East this summer. But their recent win over the Baltimore Orioles actually puts them in a better position. One that might see them catch the Boston Red Sox. Many would have deemed that to be impossible, and perhaps before this weekend, it was. But with this particular win under their belt, the impossible seems possible. Luke Voit hit a two-run homer and American League Rookie of the Year contender Miguel Andujar smashed a two-run double to support Luis Severino as the Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the Orioles with a 5-3 victory on Sunday evening.
Right now, however, the Boston Red Sox aren’t doing quite as well. Let’s not discount them altogether, as the Red Sox have a pretty good record so far. At 90-39, they will need to go 16-17 the rest of the way in order to break their franchise record wins of 105 games. This particular record was set in 1912. In a season notable for haves and have-nots in the American League, the Red Sox have obliterated the weaker competition. They’re 26-6 against Toronto and Baltimore, the AL East’s two afterthoughts. Throw in a 17-2 record against Texas, Kansas City, and the Angels, and they appear to be giving off a “don’t mess with me” type vibe.
Getting back to the Yankees for a moment. What will it take for the Yankees to catch up?
“I think everybody understands we need to play hard. We’re not thinking about the Red Sox. We’re thinking about the Yankees winning games. I think we have a great record, and if we continue playing the way we’re playing right now, we’re going to be good.”
Regardless of how they feel, the Yankees are hardly in October form. They did play well over the weekend, and they may be resourceful, but their insecurities are still showing. Not only that, but the Yankees are still missing four of their most indispensable players right now – right fielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, shortstop Didi Gregorius and Aroldis Chapman. All four are currently on the disabled list.
The Yankees are set to start playing away games next Sunday, and Manager Aaron Boone believes that Sanchez and Gregorius will both be coming along with them. Sanchez, who began a rehab assignment on Saturday as a designated hitter in the rookie-ball Gulf Coast League, will catch for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday and Tuesday and will have Wednesday off. Boone said that Sanchez, who played three rehab games in his last stint on the disabled list (only to reinjure his groin) would play more minor league games this time but said Sanchez is in his best shape of the season.
What’s interesting is that the Red Sox are grinding their way towards a franchise record, which is a great accomplishment. But should their focus be on October? Maybe the two go hand-in-hand. Or maybe in order to achieve the one, you need the other? Either way, both of these teams have a long way to go if they want to get themselves into a playoff position.