Monday, September 4, 2017


Photo: Getty Images
In a series finale Sunday that mattered more than it should, the Yanks finished off their four-game set with Boston in a way that made you wish it mattered even more.

Playing out of their shoes to win a series that barely a hundred hours earlier had begun as a battle for sheer survival in the division race,  the entire team raised their game to a level that made one's jaw drop at the looming juggernaut GM Brian Cashman is assembling -- not just for this season but going forward.

Photo: Getty Images
Or as ESPN's Andrew Marchand more colorfully put it:  "The New York Yankees can dream. They can do it for the next month. They can do it for the next few years. They can do it because Sunday was another night in this surprising 2017 season in which remnants of the next Core Four showed their talent. It's not hard to imagine Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge playing in even bigger games than Sunday's series finale against the Boston Red Sox. But Sunday did hold a certain significance, as the Yankees tried to maintain a chance to catch the Red Sox in the American League East.

"Sunday night was all about the young guns, starting with Severino, the Yankees' 23-year-old ace, who looked Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the eyes and didn't back down. Then there was Sanchez, who in the sixth inning beat out a two-out RBI infield single that, thanks to a replay review, turned into a six-run inning. The exclamation point of that inning was Judge crushing his 38th homer of the season..."

Photo: Getty Images
Now, as scope-locked as Andrew was on the young guns, he did make a point of underscoring key contributions from the older guys -- in particular  Headley, Holliday, Castro, and I'll personally add that Ells had himself quite a game as well.

In fact, by winning the season series for the third time in four years and holding the Sox to a single hit in 27 at bats with runners in scoring position over their final four games; by dropping three dingers on Boston  ace Chris Sale (not to mention a fourth on coveted trade deadline pickup Addison Reed), forcing the Cy Young candidate's earliest exit of the year and leaving him winless in five starts against our boys,  NY surely served notice to both  Boston and the rest of the league the Bombers have the balls as well as the arms to make some serious noise this postseason if they manage to get there.

Photo: Getty Images
And while it's true, as Andrew noted, "The Yankees’ chances of winning the AL East are still slim," it somehow feels to this writer like Boston continues to overlook them.

The Boston Herald consoled their readers thusly following Sunday's  9-2 drubbing under a barrage of  pinstripe artillery:

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"Don’t worry, Red Sox fans. The going-out-of-business Toronto Blue Jays are staggering into Fenway Park tonight to begin a three-game series against the American League East leaders. ...What the Sox do have going for them is six more regular-season games against the Jays. They also have three home games against the Oakland A’s, who are languishing in the barrel shed of the AL West. Oh, and there’s a three-game set in Cincinnati against the Reds. They, too, are in the bottom of the standings in their division, the NL Central. ...As long as they keep playing the Blue Jays, A’s and Reds, that shouldn’t be a problem."

That's admittedly a pretty cushy path shaping up for the Sox in their home stretch that has even Sale himself sounding like he expects smooth sailing now that he's put his Big Apple beat-downs behind him.

"We have a good home stand coming up," he said.  "So we’ll put in some good work and come out of there being where we need to be.”

Must be nice to feel so cocksure about an upcoming home stand. I hope they don't forget to order the fried chicken and buckets of beer...

But as I noted in my own cheery consolation to Yankee fans following our Indians sweep,  the Yankees continue to have one of the best home-field winning percentages and by far more home games scheduled down the stretch than any other team in MLB -- a path that's already borne them fruit with a convincing must-win series  against Sale and company.

Simply put, the Sox are  hoping to coast down Easy Street to the division crown, while the Bombers are looking to mount their assault on the title by blowing all comers to smithereens at their River Avenue bombing range.

I honestly don't know if our guys can catch them by their 162nd game or not. Obviously, Boston thinks they've seen the last of them.

I sure hope they're wrong.  It would be such a fitting end to this wild rebuilding year if our guys fought their way deep into the playoffs and suddenly, upon reaching the League Championship, found themselves face-to-face with an opponent whose ace and ass they already own.

Because original recipe or extra crispy, the last bird this Boston team wants to see in a ballpark again is ours.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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