“SIGN” of the Times

What a difference a week makes. Only six games ago, the Yankees had just been swept by the Cleveland Indians, and found themselves 5 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. But then the Yanks won 3 of 4 from Boston at the Stadium, including the finale which was an ESPN Sunday night match-up of aces, where Luis Severino dominated the Red Sox, allowing 1R, 0 ER over 6 innings out pitching Chris Sale,who did not make it through 5 innings. In doing so they cut the lead to 3 games in the loss column. The late-night game caused NY to get into Baltimore at 2:30 amĀ  for a big 3 game series starting on Monday, Labor Day afternoon. After a slow start where they fell behind the O’s 3-0, the Yanks bats woke up and rolled to a 7-4 victory over Dylan Bundy who had not lost a start since July 6th ! Coupled with a Red Sox loss the division lead was down to 2 in the loss column while expanding their lead on the O’s to 5 in the loss column.

All the momentum seemed to have been going in the Yankees favor, including a story that broke on Tuesday before game time that investigators for MLB had determined the Red Sox used an Apple watch and video cameras to steal signs from the Yankee catchers and relay them to base-runners who would in turn relay them to the batter. Wait ! What ? .. another Boston sports team found guilty of an elaborate cheating-scheme? Stealing signs with an Apple Watch ?? .. I guess you can say it’s a SIGN of the times !!

It got better as the evening went along and the Yankees jumped out to a 6-1 lead after a 2 hour rain delay, and the Red Sox trailed Toronto 2-0 in the 9th inning. The Yanks were on the verge of moving to within 1 game of 1st & stretch their lead over the Birds by 6 games in the loss column. In a season full of up & downs, twists & turns, health & injury, winning streaks & losing streaks, the Yankees were ready to take charge of September & the division. It made perfect sense. The Yankees were getting players back off the DL. Castro, Bird & now Holliday were energizing the batting order. The rotation, was churning out quality starts , lead by ace Luis Severino, and backed by CC, Tanaka, Gray & Montgomery. The deep & talented bullpen was the teams perceived biggest strength as Chapman was getting healthier and turning the V-lo on his fastball up to 103+ mph. Betances was closing games without issues, D-Rob had the 8th inning on lock-down, Kahnle and Warren were solid and Chad Green was being compared to Mariano Rivera circa 1996 with his 96-98 mph fastball with late-life movement in the zone. And yet suddenly.. the up & down season took another sudden and painful twist. The Yankees could not hold onto their 6-1 lead. CC allowed the lead to narrow to 6-5. The offense didn’t provide any tack-on insurance runs, and Dellin Betances surrendered a 9th inning 2 out, 2 run walk-off Homer by Manny Machado. It was another sickening one run, late night (1 a.m.) loss. Amazingly the team with the most acclaimed bullpen suffered it’s A.L. leading 24th one run loss. It breathed new life into the O’s who instead of being down by 6 games, moved to within 4, and a chance to win the series. At the same time it left a feeling of doubt in CC and the pen, especially Betances. Dellin inexplicably threw curve balls on 14 of his 20 pitches thrown ! When asked about it in the postgame, he said ” maybe I threw too many.. I should have mixed in the fastball more”. Yes.. maybe he should have thrown more FBs & yes maybe he lost his role as closer. Of course the topsy-turvy night would not be complete without the Red Sox tying their game 2-2 in the 9th and winning in …. 19 innings, expanding their 1st place lead to 3 1/2, with 24 games to play.

What a difference a week makes.

What a difference a game makes.

What a difference one pitch makes

After the rubber-game at Camden Yards the Yanks travel to Texas, then Tampa. After that the Yankees play 13 of their last 16 games at home were they have a 40-27 record. There is still plenty of reason for optimism, but one thing seems certain .. the script for the 2017 season tells us there are plenty more twists & turns to come. Hang on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. It won’t be easy. Try to enjoy it.

As always,



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