Back on July 6th, the New York Yankees were 10.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the tough AL East. With the All-Star break and deadline approaching at the time, the Yankees’ front office was taking a lot of criticism as the New York media is relentless and holds nothing back.
Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, had to constantly insert new lineups as numerous players landed on the IL and a couple of hitters went through unproductive stretches.
It was clear that the Yankees could use a little help as the team lost considerably a lot of close games. They also needed help from their division rivals to have a chance of making it to the playoffs. Now, they look to be a strong World Series contender if the team can put a few more solid runs together for the remainder of the regular season.
The Yankees are Back in the Post-Season Race
Instead of heavily accessing the trade market for pitching depth excluding Clay Holmes and Andrew Heaney. The team also traded away Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa to the Cincinnati Reds to create roster spots in the event of a few acquisitions. The main two prizes were left-handed batters, Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo which gave the starting lineup some flexibility when it comes down to potential matchups.
With the questionable decisions the front office made during the deadline, the organization has proven its doubters wrong. The Yankees are currently the hottest team in baseball as they erased a huge deficit. Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have sustained a record of 23-9 and swept the Red Sox in a three-game series in two days thanks to a doubleheader.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 19, 2021
At this point of the season, it may be difficult to catch the Tampa Rays who are currently 5.0 games ahead in the division race, but this team has been resilient as they went through many ups and downs. The Red Sox have progressively slowed down as they are looking for ways to get back on track.
The Red Sox have gone 15-22 since July 6 while the Yankees are now holding a one-game lead over them and the Oakland Athletics. The 10.5 game deficit is the third-largest difference either organization has erased in the two became the most heated rivalry in baseball history. The Red Sox erased a 12-game deficit back in 1949 while the Yankees erased a 14-game deficit in 1978.
Do the Yankees have a Legitimate Shot of Making and Winning the World Series
Anthony Rizzo and Aroldis Chapman made their return off the IL last night against the Red Sox. Rizzo went 1-4, driving in two runs as he hasn’t had an at-bat since August 7.
Chapman looked a bit shaky as he hasn’t pitched since August 5. He entered the game with a four-run lead, but gave up a solo home run to Hunter Renfroe and issued a walk to Xander Bogaerts. He was pulled after recording two outs as Lucas Luetege recorded the final out of the game to get his first save of the season.
With 41 games left in the season, can the Yankees make and win the World Series this season? Many teams that have won in the past demonstrate the importance of depth in the pitching rotation. The Yankees’ fourth-best prospect in their farm system, Luis Gil, has been lights out, despite his underwhelming numbers in Triple-A.
According to Elias at the NY Post, “Gil is the only major league pitcher since 1893 — the first season the mound was 60 feet, 6 inches from the plate — to throw at least 4 ²/₃ scoreless innings in each of his first three appearances.”
Nestor Cortes has a 1-1 record, a 2.55 ERA, a WHIP of 1.09 in 49.1 innings pitched this season. Albert Abreu may have a 4.07 ERA in 24.1 innings pitched this season, sent up and down nine times but is slowly becoming a solid reliever as he can strike batters out and keep the ball in the infield as his fastball can reach 98mph.
Since coming over from the San Francisco Giants in the deal that sent Mike Tauchman the other way, Wandy Peralta has been solid out of the pen. He has a 3.46 ERA with the Yankees and has been a key piece in high-leverage situations.
It will also be interesting to see how Boone handles the Luke Voit situation with Rizzo back from the IL. However, the Yankees are in prime position to continue their hot stretch as they are on a six-game winning streak, taking two out of three against the Chicago White Sox, beating the Los Angeles Angels, and sweeping the Boston Red Sox.
They will be facing the Minnesota Twins for a four-game series that have a record of (54-67) but are 7-3 in their last ten games. I think the Yankees have positioned themselves as the toughest team to beat in the AL with a loaded starting lineup when fully healthy.
It still might be early to call it, but there is a very good chance the Yankees to represent the AL in the World Series in October.
Odds the Yankees win the AL +700 and odds to win the WS +1300 via FanDuel.