Can the Yankees at Least Save the Wild Card?

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this  Monday, August 6.

This seems like a good day to say the Yankees’ hopes of winning the division have been destroyed.  The last 4 games were an unmitigated disaster.  As bad as the first 3 games were, last night they choked the game away.  They were ahead 4-1 in the 9th.  Their bull pen was supposed to be their strongest suit, especially with two of their power hitters on the shelf.  But after Masahiro Tanaka pitched an unusually good game, Aroldis Chapman, the bulwark of the bull pen blew it.

The bare facts make for some of the most painful reading since my divorce papers a few years back. The Yankees manufactured 4 runs in the 7th, chasing David Price from the hill after what had been a better performance than he usually puts on against the shockingly inept Bronx Bombers. In the 9th Chapman walked the bases full, then gave up a 2-run single to J.D. Martinez. That made 93 RBIs for Martinez with 2 months yet to play. Miguel Andujar then made an error allowing the tying run to score.  An inning later Adam Benintendi, whose name is as hard to spell as it is to say, singled home the winning run.  His side now has an insane 79–34 record.  I don’t know how to figure whether the Red Sox can beat the Mariners’ record of 116 wins but knowing how they destroy the Orioles and Rays I think it’s a strong possibility.  I would say it was a lock if Chris Sale were healthy.

The Yankees need to win now just to salvage the wild card slot and a chance to get into the playoffs.  Remember, the 116-win Mariners didn’t get out of the Division series.  The Cleveland Indians of 1954 with their 111 wins were embarrassed by the Giants.  Boston could lose a playoff series to Cleveland, Houston or even the Yankees if Judge and Sanchez get healthy and if anybody can remember how to pitch.  Oakland and Seattle seem to be the two most likely challengers to the Yankees for the wild card spot. As badly as the Yankees played in Boston, they’re still 68-42 which would be great if Boston weren’t 79–34. The Yankees are only 30–26 away from the Bronx while Boston is almost as good away from Fenway as they are at home. Oakland is 67-46, just half a game behind the Yankees for the coveted first wild card spot and a home playoff game if it comes to that. The Mariners are closer than the Yankees would like, at 64-48 and just 2.5 games behind. While the Yankees usually have Oakland’s number, they tend not to play as well against the Mariners, particularly in the land of overpriced coffee. The Yankees begin their quest to hold onto the wild card spot in Chicago.  Fans get their first look at Lance Lynn as a starter.  He relieved Sonny Gray on Wednesday against the Orioles and threw 4.1 scoreless innings after the horse had left the barn. If there was a pitcher who was a health spa for sick bats, it would be tonight’s opponent Dylan Covey. During 8 starts he’s 1–6 with an ERA closer to 9 than it is to 8.
After focusing on the calamity in Boston these 4 days and doing a pair of special editions, it’s time to remember there are other baseball games played beyond the Bronx. Right across town the Mets take on the Reds.  As sad as the Mets’ season has been, the Reds’ Homer Bailey who pitches tonight has done worse.  He’s all of 1–8.  Tonight’s mound opponent is no easy win because it’s Noah Syndergaard.  He tends to get the run support Jacob DeGrom wishes he had. The Indians  host the Twins who clearly aren’t the team they were a year ago. Trevor Bauer goes for the home team against the Twins’ Kyle Gibson. The Twins are 6 games under .500, 9 games behind the Indians and nowhere at all in the wild card race. The Cubs’ Cole Hamels is making his second start since coming from the Rangers.  He faces the Royals in Kansas City, the only team in their division more lowly than the White Sox. The Pirates, who think they still have a shot at the wild card face the Rockies at Coors Canaveral.  Pirates’ starter Joe Musgrove has never pitched there, so it will be his baptism by fire.  Let’s hope he doesn’t get a stiff neck from watching his best pitches approach the stratosphere. The first-place Phillies (Yes, on August 6 they’re top dog in their division) head to the dessert to face the D-Backs.  Jake Arrieta went 4-0 in July and even cooled down the Red Sox, a job no pitcher clad in pinstripes could manage this past weekend.  Jake faces Zack Godley of the D-Backs tonight. Zack is coming off his game of the year on Wednesday.  He struck out 10 Rangers, gave up just 2 hits and a walk through 7 innings while keeping them scoreless, not an easy trick in their tricked-out park. The Astros face the Giants in San Francisco.  They send out Charlie Morton whose record is 26–9 since joining the Astros before 2017 began.  He faces Ivan Rodriguez’ son Dereck. His recent pitching could find him in the conversation for his league’s Rookie of the Year award after the coming World Series.

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