BOSTON – Best Yankees win of the season, hands down.
And if you’ve watched this bipolar club enough, you know what comes next: will it be their launch into something special, or their last painful tease?
With their 8-3 loss to rival Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park, with Giancarlo Stanton beating and Gerrit Cole grinding – and Gleyber Torres resurrecting! – In the first game of this high-stakes series, the Yankees (87-67) moved closer to a Boston game (88-66) in the race for the best wildcard slot in the American League. The Blue Jays (85-69), meanwhile, created leeway for both teams by surprisingly losing their second in a row against the lousy Minnesota Twins.
The results collectively brought Major League Baseball closer to one hell of a playoff opener: Yankees-Red Sox on October 5, winner ahead, loser comes home.
The site of this hypothetical contest remains in question thanks to the small gap between the two clubs, and boy, would it be an achievement for the Yankees to host this game after they apparently played each other out of the dance less than ‘a week ago. Yet we have seen too much of this awesome and awesome club and come full circle, to be surprised at all that comes next.
“We still have a great opportunity to erase all that roller coaster we’ve been on and start a new one,” Stanton said.
“We could have some really good games in a row feeling really confident and some mediocre games,” said Cole. “I think we are just building our confidence from the inside out. “
Of course, it’s up to the Yankees to prove their seasick skeptics outside wrong. They can start by emulating the key to this victory, their fourth in a row: the quick start.
When they showed up for work on Friday, Yankees data, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, showed their first innings to be their third worst offense by OPS, with a .246 / .331 / slash line. 385, behind only the ninth (.220 / .313 / .354) and the fifth (.218 / .306 / .345). At the time of this first run – highlighted by a single from DJ LeMahieu, a single from Anthony Rizzo, a double from Aaron Judge, a Groundout Stanton RBI and a two-released RBI single from Torres, all against an old pal , a recurring nemesis and Nathan All-Star 2021 Eovaldi – completed, the Yankees had increased their initial frames to .250 / .333 / 389, placing them ahead of their sixth (0.236 / .326 / .395).
“Before the match, during the [hitters’] meeting, we talked about trying to attack early, ”Torres said.
Just like that, the pressure eased on Cole, who enjoyed a bit of a breather as he managed to bounce back from the seven-point stench he recorded during his previous outing last Sunday against the Mediocre Indians. The $ 324 million man on Friday held one of the league’s elite strikes with no hitting for 3 ² / ₃ innings and scoreless for 5 ¹ / ₃. Stanton’s three-point blast in the third highlighted a massive four-point frame, and when Cole ran out of gas after six, the relief trio of Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta and Chad Green won all nine. last withdrawals with minimal difficulty.
The Yankees beat the ball all night, a good Red Sox defense and an unlucky field goal preventing a more one-sided affair. The Yankees turned a pair of double plays, 6-4-3, to start. They came ready, turning their biggest game into their best.
Now, with eight games to go, all against tough opposition, can they maintain that and avoid the kind of chasms that have put them in such a precarious position for October? Is their offensive really, finally ready to pave the way as it has not done so far?
After expressing his giddiness at his team’s performance, manager Aaron Boone dampened his enthusiasm: “It is, though. I have to shower this one and another big one [Saturday]. We know it will be a challenge, but we look forward to it. I hope to go find another one.
Did the Yankees just show us their best is yet to come, or did they show off their best and final? Neither answer would surprise. You’ll watch to find out, won’t you?