Bombers must take advantage
KANSASCITY — The Yankees have played just six innings since Sunday, so there hasn’t exactly been a lot going on — other than rainouts and them being installed by odds-makers as the World Series favorites in May.
But looking at the standings, it’s incredible just how close the Bombers (28-12) and Red Sox (29-14) are in the AL East, separated by just half a game.
The Red Sox currently have a run-differential of plus-66 (232166), the Yankees plus-65 (231166). Both teams have had 17-2 stretches, with Boston gaining a 7.5-game lead on the Bombers on April 20 — only to lose it 18 days later.
And it’s entirely possible that when the season ends, both teams could have over 100 wins — which means one of them would find itself playing in the do-or-die AL wild-card game.
It makes every game that much more meaningful, an extra win or loss perhaps being the difference between a guaranteed playoff series and storylines about whether Luis Severino can redeem himself following last year’s wild-card disaster against Minnesota, when the relief corps and his offense needed to bail the 24-yearold ace out.
That being said, the Yankees — after going through their earlyseason AL gauntlet and dominating — must also take advantage of the rest of their so-far rained out roadtrip, which features three games each against Kansas City and Texas, both playing sub-.400 ball. According to Baseball Prospectus’ projections, the Yankees have the third-easiest remaining schedule in the majors while the Red Sox are tied for 11th.
“We’ll be fine,” Aaron Boone said when asked about his team having to deal with a long layoff due to inclement weather. “It allows us to reset our bullpen a little bit, and we’ll just look at it as a good chance to rest some of our guys.”
The formula for the Yankees — winners of 19 of their last 22 — has been a relentless offense that has provided consistent lategame heroics, sometimes picking up a shaky bullpen or a shaky outing from one of its starters not named Severino. Sure, guys have slumped but it hasn’t affected the lineup as a whole.
And a steady infusion of youth certainly hasn’t hurt either.
Speaking of which, Clint Frazier finally getting his shot in 2018 against one or two Royals lefties should make for an intriguing weekend. It’s just hard to see how Frazier sticks around given the Bombers don’t envision him as a center fielder and they like having 13 pitchers, rather than the standard 12.
Aaron Hicks hasn’t hit consistently, but Brett Gardner — who has performed better of late — plays center as well, and Frazier’s routes in the outfield have often proven to be an adventure of sorts. And it’s not like Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton are going to lose at-bats for anyone.
Of course, it’s good to have the dynamic Frazier performing well again after his concussion, providing valuable outfield depth or turning into a future trade chip.
The Yankees got a spark from
Clint Frazier can provide Yankees with support in the outfield or become a trade chip when pennant race heats up.