The Yankees started a vital home stint with a win over The Reds in a two game series that was full of the weird and wonderful moments. They needed to win this series because it set the scene for the upcoming series against Tampa Bay who have made their own case for the playoffs, breathing down the Yankees necks the last while.
Game 1: Montgomery v Castillo
This game had some weird moments. There was a balk. There was a triple play RBI by Todd Frazier on his debut as a Yankee in the Bronx against the team that he was twice an all star player for. Montgomery threw a no-hitter into the 7th inning but that was broken up. The bullpen was outstanding for the most part but for Betances who was not as sharp as he had been of late leaving many to question the sense of sticking with him as the setup guy for the closer. The run he gave up could have been doubled but for Cozart not being able to run due to a problem with a calf muscle that held him up at third rather than going for home. But Didi knocked in a homer in 8th that gave two runs for Chapman to protect and he did with a scoreless inning that saw him chalk up his 12th save of the season. Watch the condensed game HERE.
Game 2: Severino v Bailey
Severino was outstanding and has established himself as the ace of the Yankees pitching staff in all but name with his performance this season. Yes, he has had some bad games but his play has been beyond a shadow of a doubt miles ahead of some of the other starters, particularly Tanaka and Pineda. He kept the Reds off the boards until the 7th inning, but the run support from the Yankees was something to behold. Clint Frazier was aggressive at the plate and running the bases and played his part manfully. As did Didi, Headley, Torreyes, Sanchez, and Todd Frazier all scored RBIs in this game. Didi and Todd scoring theirs with 7th inning home runs.
Cessa looked really dodgy in his outing giving up three earned runs one of which was a home run. He is normally a really good pitcher but he is prone to some struggles and today was one of those days. However, whereas a week ago this was a problem for the Yankees because the pen was struggling, now we have a bullpen that got it done and when Cessa struggled Robertson came out and closed the game down. Watch the condensed game HERE.
The Yankees really set a mark down with this series win. They will face the Rays next who are currently 1.5 games behind them. This is the big series. The Yankees have a great shot at really making a big charge at taking the division while at the same time they have a chance at pushing Tampa’s charge back a bit. The projected starters are Sabathia, Tanaka, Cessa and Montgomery, and Fangraphs has the Yankees ahead as winning this series. A lot lies on how the Yankees starters will fare, Tanaka is the main worry for the team. But I am excited for this series to get started because it this is when things will come to the crunch.