LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Have Solid Weekend With Big Assist From Windy City

Monday, August 25, 2014

Yankees Have Solid Weekend With Big Assist From Windy City

New York City is my favorite city, no question. After this weekend, however, I am fairly fond of Chicago, and I'm passing along a big thank you to them: a thank you to the Chicago White Sox for being on the right end of a Yankees sweep, to the Chicago Cubs for sweeping the A.L. East leading Baltimore Orioles and to Jackie Robinson West, the U.S. Little League World Series Champions, for making an entire nation proud.

Entering Sunday’s game, the Yankees had taken the first two games against the White Sox, and were greedily seeking a sweep. At first glance, Joe Girardi’s lineup seemed unconventional at best and conceding defeat at worst. It was stacked with righties, including Brendan Ryan getting a rare start. Ichiro Suzuki was the lone lefty in the lineup and was even playing CF for just the fifth time this season.

Chris Sale, the dominant White Sox starter, devours lefties so it made sense from that perspective but still, Brendan Ryan? I’d rather take Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury against a tough lefty before inserting Ryan against…anyone really. The stellar defender is just not a strong offensive player.

As it turns out, it wasn’t just innovative managerial strategy driving the lineup. Girardi’s hands were also tied due to injuries. Gardner is hurting after taking a foul ball off his right ankle. The Yankees best 2014 offensive player will be sidelined for a bit longer than one game, but the team will be crossing their fingers hoping a trip to the DL won’t be necessary.

Ellsbury was sidelined with the general “banged-up” symptoms, a phrase that has come up quite a lot for the 30 year old regular centerfielder, but he was able to enter the game in the 7th inning and contribute a single to the Yankees offensive efforts.

Thanks to a pinch hit 3-run HR by Brian McCann, the Yankees were able to overcome David Robertson’s blown save, just his 3rd of the season, and complete the sweep of the White Sox. They even batted 3-for-8 (.375) with RISP raising hopes that this offense is finally clicking.

Hopefully it's not all too late.

It’s disheartening but irresistible to look at the standings, with the Yankees 6.0 GB of the Orioles, even after Baltimore was swept over the weekend by the Cubs, and 3.0 GB of the Seattle Mariners who swept the Boston Red Sox.

As wonderful as the weekend was for the Yankees, this is their current reality. They can play as well as they want but, if the teams ahead of them, especially in the Wild Card race, don’t start losing, this is a lost cause.  It is something that will be on everyone's mind this week as the Yankees face the Royals, the Tigers and the Blue Jays.

On Sunday afternoon, however, the only thing on anyone's mind was celebrating.

No comments: