Hands down, the best Yankees victory of the season.
And if you’ve seen enough of this bipolar club, you’ll know what your next thought is: Will this be the start of something special, or just another painful tease?
The Yankees (87-67) pulled within a game of Boston (88-66) in the race for the American League’s top wild-card spot with an 8-3 victory over the rival Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park, with Giancarlo Stanton thrashing and Gerrit Cole grinding — and Gleyber Torres reviving! — in the opener of this high-stakes series. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (85-69) gave both teams some breathing room by shockingly losing their second straight game to the Twins in Minnesota.
The results collectively pushed Major League Baseball closer to an exciting postseason opener: the Yankees take on the Red Sox on Oct. 5, with the winner advancing and the loser being sent home.
Due to the small gap between the two clubs, the location of that hypothetical matchup is still up in the air, and boy, would it be quite a feat for the Yankees to host that game after they appeared to have played themselves out of the race less than a week ago. However, we’ve seen far too much from this club, both bad and good, to be surprised by whatever comes next.
“We’re in a great opportunity, still, to basically erase that whole roller-coaster we’ve been on and start a new one,” Stanton said.
“We could have some really great games in a row feeling really confident and some poor games,” Cole said. “I think we just build our confidence from the inside out.”
It is, without a doubt, on the Yankees to disprove their skeptics on the outside. They can begin by imitating the key to this win, their fourth in a row: a quick start.
The Yankees’ first innings, according to data from Baseball-Reference.com, were their third-worst offensively by OPS, with a.246/.331/.385 slash line, trailing only the ninth (.220/.313/.354) and fifth (.218/.306/.345). The Yankees had improved their first inning to.250/.333/389, putting them ahead of their sixth (.236/.326/.395), which featured a DJ LeMahieu single, an Anthony Rizzo single, an Aaron Judge double, a Stanton RBI groundout, and a Torres two-out RBI single, all against old pal, recurring nemesis, and 2021 All-Star Nathan Eovaldi.