YANKEES PASS BIG TEST
By Rich Bauer
The 2017 New York Yankees have passed their first big test of the year sweeping their hated rivals the Boston Red Sox in back-to-back wins the past two nights.
What I saw was a Yankee team that came into enemy territory, Fenway Park, with a chip on their shoulders. They put aside all the hype about how good the Sox are and how Boston is the odds-on favorite to represent the American League in the World Series and said, “Hey, we are a pretty damn good team ourselves.”
A lot of credit must go to the starting pitchers, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, who combined to throw 16 shutout innings over the two games. They set the “we belong” tone with plenty of strikeouts and ground ball outs. Wednesday’s 3-1 victory was highlighted by Yankee pitching combining for 10 k’s led by Severino who had 6 in 7 innings. Last night, Tanaka has 16 ground ball outs in his 3-0 complete game shutout. Yes, a starting pitcher completed a 9 inning game and he only needed 97 pitches to take down this much hyped Red Sox lineup.
What I like about this group is they believe they are as good as anyone out there. They are sending a very strong message, “We are here to play. We are here to win.”
I hope the Red Sox nation hears the message on and off the field. I want to see the 100 year war between these teams mean something every time they play each other.
Backing up the pitching in this series was an offense led by youth one night and by veterans the next. 25-year old Aaron Judge dominated game one with his opposite field home run and then backed up his bat with his glove by diving into the stands down the right field line to make a spectacular catch. In the second game, vets Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro all had multi-hit games. Holliday added two RBIs and Hicks had two runs scored. Has anyone noticed that Hicks has stepped in and has been very productive filling in for Brett Gardner who has been banged up and is struggling at the plate?
The Yanks do not have to wait long to be tested again with the division-leading Orioles coming into town for a weekend series. This is another opportunity for the Bombers to prove that they will compete in what many consider to be the best division in baseball.
This group adheres to the old adage that games are won and lost on the field, not in the papers, not on talk radio and not on posts on MoreSportsNow.