Pencil in the New York Yankees for the MLB American League playoffs. They are going to win the American League East. It is over. Nobody else in the division wants it. Nobody else can hang with the Yanks.
New York is 7-2 since the All-Star Break. The team that went into the break in second place, Tampa Bay, is 3-6. This race is over. When the Yankees have a good back end of the bullpen, which they had for two decades with Mariano Rivera, they normally win this division. Well, don’t look now but the Yanks are now nearly unhittable after the seventh inning again with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances locking games down.
Graphic via hngn
40-year old Alex Rodriguez is swinging a hot bat like he has for most of this season. Just ask the Twins as they saw him hit three 400’+ bombs on Saturday. Jacoby Ellsbury is healthy and catching anything hit in the air from right-center to left-center. In other words, the Yankees are looking once again like the Yankees. They have won 11 of 14 after taking two of three from a very tough Twins team on the road over the weekend.
The one question mark with the Yanks might be Michael Pineda who is struggling. On Friday night, the Twins hammered him for eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3. He is now 9-7 on the season and has lost five of his last eight decisions.
The Twins got a great game from former Yankee Phil Hughes on Friday. He went seven complete allowing no runs and striking out three and walking no one as he ran his record to 9-6.
Hughes got help from the Twins offense as they smacked four homers in the game. The Twins ran their record to 52-44 with the win, good enough for the second A.L. Wild Card Playoff spot as of right now.
They looked to be in good shape in the second game on Saturday when they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. Enter A-Rod. He hit a 452’ bomb to center in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1. He then hit a 422’ blast in the top of the seventh with Chris Young on to make it 5-3.
With the score 5-4 in the ninth, here he comes again. He blasted his third of the game to tie it at 5-5 and later in the inning John Ryan Murphy went deep for his first home run of the year with two men on for the 8-5 final.
Graphic via itsaboutthemoney
In the rubber game of the series, Nathan Eovaldi shut the Twins down like he has most lineups as of late. Since mastering the split-finger he has become very hard to hit. On Sunday, he only struck out five, but dominated as he pitched into the ninth, getting ground ball after ground ball allowing only one run.
Chase Headley tied the game 1-1 with a homer in the fifth and in the sixth hit a two-run single to bust the game open as the Yanks cruised to a 7-2 win. It was their sixth straight series win.
The Twins are still three games up on the Blue Jays for the second spot for the A. L. Wild Card. They will now go on to face the very tough Pittsburgh Pirates. They Yanks are now up by 6.5 in the AL East as they move on to face the Rangers in Texas.
Graphic via nj