Did the New York Yankees care about their recent game? Manager Aaron Boone started Chi Chi Gonzalez in their final game against the Baltimore Orioles, that should say it all. In case it doesn’t, some background on Gonzalez is that he has started four games this season for two different teams, he’s 30 by the way, not a prospect.
His start wasn’t bad oddly enough as he went 4.2 innings and allowed only one run but it tells you where the Yankees are at this point in the season. There are only four games left in the season and based on the weekend, we can expect a lot of the same from the Yankees, a team for the most part looking ahead to October.
It’s All About Judge at This Point
For the fans that trekked to Yankee Stadium and stood in the rain, wind, and cold weather that felt more like winter than it did summer, they were there for one reason and one reason only.
It’s not to see the Yankees win or lose (they lost on Sunday 3-1 by the way), which has little meaning at this point. After all, the Houston Astros already secured the best record in the American League and the Yankees are by default, the second seed regardless of what happens moving forward.
It’s about seeing Aaron Judge. Specifically, it’s about being a witness to history and hoping to watch him hit that monumental, 62nd home run. All weekend, the stadium was packed and there was a playoff atmosphere when Judge comes to the plate. The hope is to see a moment that will cap off an already historic season and a moment that can define a career year with the big home run. He walked and stuck out, a lot, instead (so the cold fans are now cold and disgruntled fans).
Boone is trying to do his best to give the fans what they want. Aside from the strategic standpoint of batting Judge leadoff, batting him at the one spot allows fans to see as much of him at the plate as possible. In a given game, he gets five, sometimes six plate appearances, leaving multiple chances for that milestone homer.
What The Weekend Means for the Yankees?
The Yankees travel to Texas to wrap up their season. Like the Yankees, the wins and losses mean little for the 66-92 Rangers and they are simply playing out the year (looking forward to spending the winter in Arizona, Florida, or wherever warm). This series, like the many we’ll see in the few days will otherwise be meaningless, as the recent series looked over the weekend.
However, one thing that still matters is whether Judge hits a home run or not. Will he get his 62nd and own the American League record? Will the Rangers continue to walk him? He’ll bat leadoff, every single game, and there will be one thing that everyone will be watching. This alone will have the Rangers new Globe Life Park sold out but what else is worth keeping in mind for the week?
For the Yankees, it’s about looking ahead, at least for most players. A lot of batters in the lineup are waiting for their plate appearances to mean something, which was obvious over the weekend. However, otherwise, this week is an auditioning act for the postseason roster.
Other Yankees Notes from the Weekend
The Yankees, despite their successful season, are still figuring out their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman struggled on Sunday only retiring one batter while loading the bases and allowing a run to score. What was once a strength is a question mark and who gets those final nine outs (or more) is currently up in the air. Clay Holmes looks to still be the ninth-inning reliever but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.
The back half of the lineup remains an issue. This isn’t a new problem rather, it’s a problem the Yankees easily covered up recently with a strong top half of the lineup. However, the Friday 2-1 loss and the Sunday 3-1 loss were grim reminders that this team doesn’t have reliable back half of a batting order. They might want to find one for the postseason, especially when teams can limit stars like Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo.
The Yankees, despite the one-run performance on Friday and the one-run performance on Sunday, scored eight runs on Saturday. So, that’s cool. Also, DJ LeMahieu returned to the lineup, and he’s a bat that plays a big role in the Yankees’ success.
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