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Yankees GBU – A dominant series

The New York Yankees were coming off a meh road trip with the Tampa Bay Rays waiting in the Bronx.  The Yankees needed to at least win the series to feel good going into their four game series with the Houston Astros.  They did that and much more, sweeping the Rays with ease (for the most part) and regaining dominance and a 3 1/2 game lead in the American League East.

 

The Good

Masa the hero

I spoke about this briefly after Tanaka’s masterful start, but when the Yankees need a clutch performance Masahiro Tanaka is always game.  Tanaka’s complete game two hit shutout set the tone for the rest of the week.  Masa combined his nasty slider and his excellent control of the strike zone to keep the Rays off balance all night.

He had the best start statistically since David Cone’s perfect game in 1999.  He is the first since Cone to record a complete game with two hits or less and ten strikeouts.  Tanaka stated he was lucky to have a complete game and was a bit shocked that Aaron Boone let him go out for the ninth.  However, he hunkered down and delivered a gem.  If the Yankees find themselves in another Wild Card game, the team should know who to turn to.

CC gets number 250

It took four tries, but C.C. Sabathia finally got his 250th win.  Sabathia now becomes the 14th pitcher in MLB history with 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.  The only one who isn’t in the Hall of Fame is Roger Clemens, and that reasoning has nothing to do with baseball.  Regardless, Sabathia not only got an easy win, he pitched very well on Thursday afternoon.

Sabathia went six strong innings of three hit ball and one earned run.  He even sprinkled in seven strikeouts in a nice effort.  It was a good comeback start for the big lefty as he had nearly an 8.00 ERA over his last four starts.  Just about everything went right for the Yankees on Thursday, and this was no exception.

Maybin makes a case

I could talk about every player making an impact in this series but there was one player in particular that deserves a ton of credit.  Cameron Maybin went from outfield fill-in to fan favorite in just a matter of weeks.  His run as a Yankee has been nothing short of remarkable, and this series gave him the chance to extend his home run streak.  He did that, hitting home runs in the first two games of the Tampa series and going 6-for-10 overall.

Maybin is going to make things very difficult for Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone when Aaron Judge is set to return.  There’s no way they can let him go because of his versatility and the way he’s played, but there’s really no room for him in the outfield and the Yankees would be one of five teams to not carry 13 pitchers.

Maybin deserves to be on this team but it may be a numbers crunch.  He is literally making it almost impossible to let him go.  Good on you Cameron.  You deserve to be on this team, not only as a player but as a positive force in the locker room.

The Bad

None.  There is no bad when you sweep the second best team in your division.

The Ugly

Definitely none.  Even Luis Cessa pitched two shutout innings.

 

The Yankees took care of business and now face the daunting task of beating the Houston Astros.  The Astros have haunted the Yankees for years and this series will determine where the Yankees are in the American League hierarchy.  As of now, the Yankees are king in the American League East.  They need to keep up this pace to avoid a third straight year in the Wild Card game.m

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