LADY AT THE BAT: Despite Sell-Off, Call-Ups, Yankees Finish Incredible August Run

Friday, September 2, 2016

Despite Sell-Off, Call-Ups, Yankees Finish Incredible August Run

A funny thing happened on the way to the 2017 season. 

All the moves made since the end of July and on August 1st have pointed the Yankees toward 2017 and beyond. The Yankees have never wavered in that plan. The Youth Movement is ongoing, except for one slight alteration:

The Yankees are still in the playoff hunt.  

Shades of the strike shortened 1995 season perhaps, and call it living on the fringes of the playoff race if you will. The Yankees go in to Baltimore tonight with a 69-63 record, trailing the Orioles (and Detroit) by 2.5 games for the second Wild Card spot. Houston is now the only other team ahead of the Yankees for that spot, trailing by just one game. Kansas City and Seattle are just behind the Yankees.

But didn't the Yankees punt on the season when they made all the deadline deals a month ago? Isn't Aroldis Chapman on the north side of Chicago, Andrew Miller in Cleveland and Carlos Beltran in Texas? Soon after the trades, the Yankees parted company with Alex Rodriguez and called up a bunch of guys from AAA. All those moves seemed to validate the Yankees looking beyond 2016 and into the future.

But the Yankees keep winning.

Following the deadline deals of a month ago the Yankees split the next four games with the Mets. Then they proceeded to win every series throughout August two games to one, with one exception, that being the home series against Toronto which the Yankees lost two of three. You might remember that rainy night of August 16th when the tarp went on the field with the Yankees leading 6-0.   Unfortunately, the tarp came off and Toronto scored 12 runs against the Yankees bullpen, to take the game and then the series the next day.

The Yankees finished with a 17-11 record for the month. of August, which by any standards, is a downright good month. And it was all done with fewer veteran players and several kids, including one red hot Gary Sanchez. To say August was a fun month to follow the Yankees may be the understatement of the year.

So hold on for what's next. The Yankees will likely add several players to the roster tonight in Baltimore in the form of call-ups, as rosters can expand to as many as 40 players. The upcoming schedule consists of all four AL East opponents in one home and one road series each. The Yankees are 21-28 against those four division rivals and 48-35 against the rest of their opponents. There are three remaining inter-league games with the Dodgers visiting the Bronx, but 27 of the remaining 30 games are within the division. The playoffs are only a possibility if the Yankees turn away from their season long struggles within their own division.

Maybe that August momentum of the new look Yankees is about to carry over into September.

A couple of other notes:

1. The Yankees trade of veterans, Beltran, Chapman, Miller and  Ivan Nova plus prospects. Vincente Campos and Ben Gamel netted veteran relievers Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and fourteen prospects, That is quite a haul. The newly acquired are among MLB.com's top 30 Yankees prospects, including the top two prospects, number one Clint Frazier and number two Gleyber Torres, plus number seven Justus Sheffield, number 11 Dillon Tate and number 16 Billy McKinney. One prospect acquired in these trades, Ben Heller, has already made it to the Yankees bullpen. Several more will surely follow in 2017.

2.  And it's just a thought but, if the Yankees succeed in gaining the second wild card spot, the team currently in first in the wild card is the Boston Red Sox. The play-in game in that case would be at Fenway Park. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? October 2, 1978 was a fateful and magical day for all Yankees fans of that era, myself included.

Where's Bucky "Bleepin'" Dent when you need him?

Enjoy the ride, everyone. It should be fun no matter what happens.

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