Here’s what you need to know about the Yankees weekend sweep of the Braves. Stephen Drew, the much maligned 2B, closed Sunday's game with his season average over .200 (.201 to be exact) for the first time all season. It was just that kind of weekend for the Yankees who put up 38 runs against the Braves pitching staff, including 15 in Friday’s opener and 20 in Sunday’s finale.
Just like that, the Yankees look like playoff bound contenders again. All it took was a visit to the Atlanta Braves, and suddenly the Yankees offense looks like a force to be reckoned with, rather than the one that rolled over during the recent homestand.
It hopefully bodes well that the Yankees, led by Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius, were able to put up so many runs despite playing in an NL park, and despite Mark Teixeira, their main power source all season, still riding the bench due to injury.
It was fine to hope but probably unrealistic to expect Teixeira to remain healthy all season, and when he did eventually go down, other team members were going to have to step up. Gregorius and Beltran have done just that, and Greg Bird, the home grown prospect, has stepped up admirably at 1B, batting .255 with 2 HRs (both on the same day).
On Sunday the team was also able to overcome one of the worst starts of Nathan Eovaldi’s in recent memory. The righthander managed just 5.0 IP, giving up 5 ERs in the process. That was a far cry from the eight inning masterpiece he twirled against the Houston Astros last week, but the 25 year old still closed out August with a 3.69 ERA, his best month so far as a Yankee.
The Yankees improved to 35-31 on the road with the sweep. One of the factors in the Yankees favor going into the 2nd half was their heavy home schedule, but the team hasn’t quite been able to take advantage of it. Making up for it on the road is a good sign, particularly as the team heads into the home stretch.
With the Yankees still fighting for the division while clinging to a Wild Card spot, every game counts and the Yankees--Stephen Drew included--did exactly what they needed to do over the weekend.