The big hits for the Yankees in this one:
The two-out RBI by Godzilla and Cano in the first.
And, the first-pitch, one-out, RBI single by Jeter in the sixth.
Without those three hits, and bringing Rivera into the game in the 8th, then New York doesn’t win this game.
But, in any event, the days of just sneaking by the Tigers and feasting off the O’s and A’s are over now. Next, the Yankees hit the road for three in Tampa, four in Chicago, and two in Toronto…before coming back home to face Boston for four and Toronto for another three.
The Yankees next 16 games will be very interesting. And, here’s why:
With today’s results, New York has a 2.5 game lead in the A.L. East.
If they tread water over their next 16 games, and find themselves still just 2.5 games up at the close of business on August 12th, then it could get ugly for the Yankees after that – because they have a west coast trip starting on August 13th (with seven games against the M’s and A’s, combined) and, next, they head into Fenway Park for three tough games. And, you want a little more cushion (than 2.5 games) in the standings before that west coast trip and Fenway set.
Related, you don’t want to lose any games off that 2.5 game lead over these next 16 games, because then you’re on thin ice, or have fallen through the ice, before you head west and then hit the Fens.
Ideally, you’d like to see the Yankees go crazy – well, if you’re a fan of the team, like me – and see New York win 11 of their next 16 games before that west coast trip starting on August 13th. Can they do it? I really don’t know…
To be honest, while I’m wishing for the Yankees to go 11-5 over their next 16 games, it would not shock me to see them go 7-9 during this span as well…
So, maybe I should just split the difference and expect them to go something like 9-7 between now and August 13th? Then again, that would be just about treading water, no?