After last night’s 7-1 win, the Yankees have made it interesting again to watch them. Just when it looked like they were going to rebuild and be sellers before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, the Yanks are finally stringing together some wins at the right time.
That win against Baltimore on Tuesday made it two in a row over the AL East leaders, and three straight overall, making it five of seven since July 9. That little hot streak has the Yankees back over .500 at 47-46, and that’s the biggest relief for a team that has been struggling most of the season. If they are able to beat the Oriole’s again tonight, then they’ll be two games over .500 for the first time since the beginning of the season when they opened with a 4-2 record in their first six.
It’s hard to believe but the Yanks have been able to pull themselves to within 6 ½ games of the O’s, whose lead over second-place Boston is down to a half-time. That makes the Yanks a contender again, and are only five games out of a wild card playoff spot going into Wednesday’s game.
“It’s been frustrating this year because we’ve been here so many times and we haven’t been able to break through for a number of different reasons,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes it’s been offense, sometimes it’s been pitching. It hasn’t just been one reason but it’s been frustrating because I feel like if we can get over that mark, we can build on it.”
Girardi will probably change his lineup up from Tuesday’s win to Wednesday’s game and then to Thursday’s showdown. Tonight first baseman Mark Teixeira will be back after missing three games with a sore left foot.
“We’ve been without people all year just like the Yankees have and just like everybody has,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s part of the gig. You don’t stomach it and find an excuse. We don’t live in those worlds.”
And popular designated hitter Alex Rodriguez will be benched. Carlos Beltran will be the designated hitter and Aaron Hicks will start in right field. All these changes should put some fresh bodies on the field for the Yanks.
Teixeira will probably be eager to get back on the field, since he was not performing that well, what could even be called a mini slump, before he got hurt last Friday. He’s 2-for-23 in his last six games, with his season average dropping from .197 to .186.
“They’ve all done a good job and it needs to start over with Michael tomorrow,” Girardi said. “That’s how you put long streaks together.”
Wednesday’s pitching matchup will features two very skilled moundsman, but the righties have been recently struggling, Michael Pineda (3-9, 5.56) for the Yankees and Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 5.77) for Baltimore. So that showdown should have one elevate their play and emerge victorious.
“We don’t say, well this is just que sera, something that comes about,” Showalter said. “You can’t live in that world. We’re better than that. I know our guys are frustrated but you also got to tip your hat to their pitching.”