Big sweep puts Yankees back on track
The New York Yankees took on the Minnesota Twins in this early week, 4-game series. The Yanks swept the Twins and outscored them 33-11 in the process.
New York Yankees Record – 15-9, 2nd in the AL East
Minnesota Twins Record – 8-12, 3rd in the AL Central
Fun Fact: Didi Gregorius became the first shortstop in MLB history to collect eight home runs and 27 RBIs in a team’s first 22 games. He continued to make history with a homerun and two RBIs in his next game.
The tone was set early as the Bronx Bombers pounded the Twins 14-1 in the first game of the series. Four runs in the first two innings were the result of a two-RBI double by Gary Sanchez and a solo shot by 3B Miguel Andujar. This lineup is difficult to navigate and well balanced. They jumped out to an early lead in the 1st behind Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks, and never looked back.
Game three was started by Sonny Gray who has had trouble all year with his command. In his previous two starts Gray gave up 11 earned runs and did not make it out of the third inning in either outing. This game was no different as the pitcher struggled again to get outs. He lasted 42/3 innings allowing 9 base runners and 3 earned runs. It was clear that the 28-year old did not have his best stuff and his ERA is sitting at a hideous 7.71 on the young season. Sonny Gray must improve because it is clear the Yankees front office will be looking at starting pitching options at the trade deadline to beef up the rotation for an October run. The red-hot bats were able to bail out their starter and win 7-4.
The series finale was one to forget for the Twins. After being outscored 29-8 in the first three games, the visitors jumped out to an early lead in the 3rd on a 2-run homerun by 3B Eduardo Escobar. They proceeded to take a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth with hopes of salvaging a win after being dominated all series. Twins Closer Fernando Rodney had other ideas in mind. An error from Sano, a single by Stanton, and a deep shot to left field by Gary Sanchez left the Twins to take the dreaded walk off the field in losing fashion. The Yankees completed a dominant series sweep with four key wins to keep pace with the red-hot Boston Red Sox.
In that decisive game one victory, Giancarlo Stanton busted out of a mini-slump in gigantic fashion going 4-4 with 3 runs, 2 RBIs, a walk and a homerun. He was locked in the whole game and Jake Odorizzi really had nothing in the form of an answer for the slugger. Stanton along with the Yankees lineup flexed their muscles early and made their mark offensively. The ability to blow a game open with one swing of the bat is what makes this offense so dangerous.
The Twins starting pitcher will never win a Cy Young award but he is a quality pitcher nonetheless. As a slider/sinker guy, Gibson often relies on contact to get outs. In the series finale he flashed strikeout ability that makes one wonder, can the Yankees match up with a top-level pitcher and win in the postseason? Although they pulled out the win, this game provided more questions than answers when it comes to the lineup’s ability to put the ball in play and put stress on a starting pitcher who clearly has his A-game. Kyle Gibson finished the day with 6 innings pitched 1 hit allowed, 10 strikeouts and 3 walks.
Gregorius provided a spark to the Yanks offense as he has all year, hitting 3 HRs and driving in 9 runs in the first 3 games of the series. In total, he went 7-16 (.437 BA) while keeping a steady glove at shortstop. Gregorius is slowly gaining the attention he deserves replacing Derek Jeter in New York and is starting to look like a true number three hitter that makes this lineup even more dangerous than once believed.
State of the Yanks
New York is riding high after completing the sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The lineup looks to be as good as advertised and they will continue to rely on the offense to win games over the course of the season. A good team always maximizes their greatest strengths and in this team’s case it is clear that this lineup can be a nightmare for any pitcher. With the offense humming, the Yanks look to be extremely dangerous. Watch out.