LADY AT THE BAT: Rays May Have Sealed Yankees' Postseason Fate

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rays May Have Sealed Yankees' Postseason Fate

Any hope of the Yankees catching the Red Sox probably went out the window in the 5th inning of Thursday night's game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

The Red Sox magic number for clinching the AL East is down to ONE. That means the Astros, who blasted the Sox at Fenway on Thursday, must win  the three remaining games of the series this weekend. The Yankees welcome their toughest AL East opponent of 2017 to the Bronx this weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays, who hold a 9-7 season series advantage over the Yankees. If the Yankees win all three and the Sox lose three more to the Astros then it's Sox and Yankees Monday in the Bronx, Probable pitchers in the Toronto series are Tanaka, Garcia and Montgomery. So expect CC Sabathia against the Red Sox in the unlikely event of a tie on Sunday.  If the Yankees would then lose to Boston, then the Twins would see the Yank's Luis Severino. Severino appears to be the starter in the Minnesota game, regardless.  

With Thursday's 9-6 loss the Yankees finish the season series with the Rays at 12-7. After Sonny Gray gave up a first inning solo home run, he seemed to settle in. The Yankees gave Gray a quick lead in the bottom of the first as Brett Gardner (career high 21st) and Aaron Judge (a whopping 51st) hit back to back home runs to start the inning. The Yankees and Gray were sailing along through four innings with a 4-1 lead when the roof caved in, The Rays planted a seven spot on Gray and reliever Jonathan Holder and never looked back.

Greg Bird blasted his 9th home run and Aaron Hicks hit a pinch hit home run in the 9th inning, his 15th of the season. Imagine a healthy Bird and Hicks for an entire season in 2018.

One more win this weekend and the Yankees will have 90 wins. One pre season projection had the Yankees in 4th place with a record of 80-82. 

Aaron Judge should be the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year (ROY), and has moved back to the upper tier for AL MVP. Judge is hitting a respectable .284 with other incredible numbers such as 126 runs scored, 112 RBI's, 125 walks, an OBP of .421 and of course. the 51 home runs. 

Judge will be the 6th Yankees position player elected ROY. For the record, previous ROY winners were McDougald, Kubek, Tresh, Munson and Jeter.  Among them, Derek Jeter, in 1996, scored the most runs at 104. Tom Tresh in 1962 hit the most home runs (20) and had the most RBI's (93) of any Yankee awarded the Rookie of the Year. 

Gary Sanchez committed his 13th error of the season on a throw and allowed his 16th passed ball in the game Thursday, A young Thurman Munson committed just one error in 1971, and that was because Munson was charged with the error following a home plate collision where he may have, for a moment, lost consciousness. But in 1975 Munson committed 23 errors, mostly on throws. Munson never allowed more than 12 passed balls in a single season. Jorge Posada's worst numbers in a single season were 18 passed balls and 12 errors. Food for thought as Sanchez should reasonably be expected to improve his game over time.

Hopefully in a week, we'll still be talking Yankees baseball and not be doing a wrap on the season and an off season preview. Regardless of when the post season ends, there will be plenty of positives in the 2017 summary, and the off season will be full of intrigue and anticipation. 

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