By losing 3 straight to the red hot Indians with a 4-game set against Boston approaching, the Yankees could have easily been buried. Instead, quality starts from CC, Tanaka, and Severino propelled the team to a series win against the Sox — keeping hopes of winning the AL East alive.
Let’s talk about some defining stats.
Yankee starters vs Chris Sale
The Yankees are 4-1 in games that Chris Sale has started against them this season. Much of the team’s success can be attributed to the quality starts turned in by starters who have dueled the Cy Young candidate in 2017.
In 5 total outings, they have combined for this insane stat line this year: 33.1IP, 4ER, 17Ks (1.09ERA).
After a gutless performance against the Red Sox on August 12th where he gave up 8ER over 4.1IP, Sev bounced back. With an opportunity to be either 3.5 games back of the division rival, or 5.5 games back — Sev knew he had to bring his A game against Cy Young favorite Chris Sale. That’s precisely what he did. Striking out 9 in 6 innings of work, the 23-year-old didn’t give up an earned run last night.
“He’s grown up a lot this year and become our ace. He’s pitched a lot of big games for us this year” said Manager Joe Girardi.
Since that bad start against Boston a few weeks back, Sev has been electric: 25.2IP, 16H, 35Ks, 7BB, 1.40ERA, .168BAA
Luis Severino leads the MLB with 14 starts of 1 run or less.
Taking the ball in the opening game of the biggest series of the season thus far, 37-year-old veteran CC Sabathia delivered.
Tossing 6 innings with 6Ks and just 1 earned, CC earned himself and his team a crucial win. In 4 starts vs the Red Sox this year, he has a filthy 1.04ERA. Additionally, when the Yanks are coming off of a loss, CC has a 1.44ERA — the best in MLB.
Gardy’s roller coaster year
Yankee’s leadoff hitter Brett Gardner has been on and off all season.
After enjoying a 14-game hitting streak that concluded on 8/3, Gardy went 8 for his next 53 (.151). Since then, he’s 18 for 58 (.310/.375/.414) with 1 2B, 1 3B, 1HR, 2RBI. In terms of WAR, Gardner ranks 17th amongst MLB OFs (3.2). It goes without saying that if the Yankees want to win the division, their leadoff hitter is going to have to continue to produce at a high-level
Faith in Tanaka?
Silencing Boston on Saturday afternoon, Tanaka notched his 6th straight quality start. He hasn’t given up more than 3ER since 7/22 and his last 6 starts are a reason to have faith in a guy who was once the ace of this staff.
The team has gone 5-1 in his last 6 outings, and Masahiro Tanaka has been exceptional: 39IP, 27H, 9BB, 40K, 2.08ERA, .193BAA
Back in mid-June when much uncertainty surrounded Greg Bird playing in 2017, most Yankee fans would have said there was no chance of a return. In 9 games since coming off the DL with an ankle injury, Bird has put up respectable numbers.
7 for 25 (.280/.357/.877) with 2HR and 9RBI
On Thursday night, when the Yanks were up 2-1, Bird provided insurance in the form of a 2-run blast and an RBI single. This helped the team to a 6-2 victory, getting the team out on the right foot in the opening game of a pivotal series.
Despite the highly anticipated return of Greg Bird and his solid play since coming back, Chase Headley has made it impossible for Girardi to bench him.
Playing in all 4 games against Boston, Chase Headley butchered them this weekend. After being penciled into the DH role on Thursday and Friday, Headley went back to 3rd base Saturday — just the 3rd time playing there since July 18th. However, regardless of where manager Joe Girardi put him positionally, it had no impact on his bat.
Headley went 8 for 15 (.533/.533/1.000) with 1 2B, 2HR, and 2RBI against Boston, helping the Yanks to take 3 of 4. He’s hitting .338 since switching to 1B and had 3 HR on this home-stand.
2011 Ellsbury, is that you?
Yankee fans can decide when they want to rag on Ellsbury, but this past week there have not been many birds chirping the $153M dollar man. In his last 8 games, Ellsbury is 10 for 24 (.417/.440/.708) with 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 1HR, 6RBI, and 1SB.
He may be a day late and a dollar short — well, more than a few dollars short. Either way, Yankee fans have to hope he can keep up his quality play with just 26 games remaining.