This week the Yankees powered their way past the O’s and Rangers, padding their lead in the wild card race while keeping the pressure on the Red Sox. Since getting swept by the ridiculously hot Indians who have now won 18 straight, the Yankees are 7-3.
3.5 games up on the Twins for the wild card and 3.5 back of the Sox for the division lead, it’s looking like it’s going to come down to the wire. With just 20 games left on the schedule, it is crunch time. But fear not, this Yankee team is heating up when it counts the most.
Here are some numbers that show how they’re getting it done.
The Judge and El Kraken
4HR combined yesterday. 71HR combined on the season.
This dynamic duo has been the foundation of the Yankees offense. Judge blasted his 40th and 41st dinger in Texas, making him the 2nd rookie in baseball history to reach the 40HR mark in a single season. Yankees that have had 40HR seasons at age 25 or younger? Babe Ruth ’20, Lou Gehrig ’27, Joe D ’37, Mickey Mantle ’56. Not bad.
He also broke the rookie record for walks in a season this weekend, tallying 107 free passes.
In 161 career games, Gary Sanchez has 50HR. With 30HR on the season, he’s just one away from breaking the franchise single-season homer record for catchers (tied with Jorge Posada and Yogi Berra).
There have been no cheap shots in Judge and Gary’s power surges–with a 413 foot and 415 foot average home run distance respectively, they are the only duo in baseball to hit 460-foot bombs in the same game.
Didi team MVP?
Probably the best all-around player on this Yankees team, Didi has been phenomenal all season long when it has counted the most.
This past week he went 10 for 26 (.385/.407/.731) with 3 2Bs, 2HR, and 10 RBI. He’s also been the guy you want up to bat in a big spot.
Men on: .341 with 15 2Bs, 9HR, and 60RBI
RISP: .315 with 8 2Bs, 3HR, 47RBI
2 outs, RISP: .321 with 5 2Bs, 1HR, 21RBI
This year, he ranks 2nd amongst shortstops in HR (21), 3rd in K% (12%) 4th in RBI (72) 5th in Defensive runs above average (11.4), and 7th in WAR (3.7).
Sevvy the road warrior
Last week I mentioned Luis Severino’s 14 starts allowing 1 run or less lead the majors. Well, this week he added to his lead against Texas—making it 15 starts of 1 earned or less. Surprisingly enough, Sevvy has been much better when he’s not pitching in the Bronx this year.
Home: 6-5, 80.0IP, 63H, 95Ks, 3.83ERA
Away: 6-1, 96.1IP, 75H, 116Ks, 2.24ERA
Since the All-star break, he has really turned up his performances away from home: 5-0 with a 0.88ERA. The whole season, Luis Severino has solidified himself not only as the Yankee’s ace, but a top 5 starter in the AL. He’s 3rd in ERA (2.96), 3rd in WAR (5.2), 3rd in batting average against (.208), 4th in K/9 (10.77), and 4th in Ks (211).
Aroldis Chapman re-enters closer role
In a stretch from August 11th to August 25th, Chapman was completely lost: 7.0IP, 7H, 3HR, 10.29ERA. During this time, hitters posted an absurd 1.027OPS against the left-hander. However, since Chapman blew the game against Seattle back on 8/25, he’s been lights out in 3 outings since.
He’s given up just 1 hit in his last 3 innings of work, racking up 6Ks. On Saturday, Joe called upon him to get a save after another Luis Severino gem. Effortlessly, he closed the door with a 1-2-3 inning to earn his 17th save.
The hopes of a deep playoff run are contingent upon Aroldis Chapman’s ability to shut the door. With regained confidence after a tough stretch, it appears Chapman is poised to be the dominant back-end guy that the Yankees signed to a mega contract. Let’s not speak too soon, though.