Previewing the final week of the 2019 Regular Season
Heading into their final five regular season games of the 2019 season, the Yankees have wrapped up most of their business, with just a few loose ends left over. The Yankees just concluded their final regular season homestand this past week, taking two of three from both the Angels and Blue Jays, wrapping up their first AL East crown in seven years in the process. The final homestand saw the Yankees hit the 100-win mark for the second consecutive season, the return of Luis Severino (who dominated in his two appearances) and Giancarlo Stanton, as well as the final regular season start for future Hall of Famer Carsten Charles Sabathia. CC was honored with an emotional ceremony on Sunday afternoon, his last ever regular season game at Yankee Stadium.
It wasn’t all good news for the Bombers, however. Domingo German was placed on the Commissioner’s Restricted List as the league investigates charges of domestic violence against the young right-hander. German was one of the best starters for the Yankees all year, but now it appears that the team has lost him for the season, with an eventual suspension incoming that could also carry over into 2020.
With the AL East title clinched, and only home-field advantage left to play for in the season’s final week, the Yankees take to the road for two games against the Rays before concluding the 2019 season at Globe Life Park against the Rangers – the final three games ever to be played in that ballpark before the Rangers’ new stadium opens next year.
9/24 & 9/25 - @ Tampa Bay Rays
Aaron Boone has already stated that the Yankees will bullpen-day both games, so expect a lot of Jonathan Loaisiga, Nestor Cortes, Tyler Lyons, Chance Adams, Mike King, Stephen Tarpley and Ben Heller, with an appearance from CC Sabathia in one of the games. While the Yankees still have the American League’s top overall seed to play for, it is Tampa who will be fighting for their playoff lives as they’ll enter Tuesday’s game either one-half game up, or one-half game back of the Cleveland Indians for the second and final Wild Card spot, pending the results of tonight’s game. Like New York, Tampa has yet to name a starter for either game in this series, however, it won’t be Blake Snell who pitches on Monday night against Boston.
What to Watch For:
- CC Sabathia out of the bullpen – the lefty is expected to make his Yankees’ relief debut as he shapes up for his 2019 Postseason role
- Injury Returns? – manager Aaron Boone has stated that Edwin Encarnacion has a good chance to return for this series, with Gary Sanchez possible as well (although more likely to wait until Texas)
- Battle for First Place – New York enters this series one-half game behind Houston for the #1 overall seed in the American League playoffs and home field advantage throughout the playoffs
9/27-9/29 – @ Texas Rangers
The Yankees will conclude the 2019 campaign with three games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas – the final games ever to be played here. The Yankees took two-out-of-three from Texas earlier this month at the Stadium. Assuming the American League’s top spot is still up for grabs, New York won’t fully punt on these games, but expect Boone to use a lot of the bench players to close out the season and keep his starters healthy going into the ALDS. Texas, with nothing else to play for other than pride, will look to send Globe Life out with a few wins in it’s swan song.
What to Watch For:
- Home Run battle – The Yankees currently lead the Minnesota Twins by one HR for the MLB Lead (and all-time record). With Globe Life as hitter friendly a ballpark as there is in baseball, expect the Yankees to take aim at the record and edge out the Twins for the most home runs ever hit in a single season.
- Home Run battle part 2 – Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner & D.J. LeMahieu are all under a blanket for third most HRs on the team. Gardner currently leads the pack with 27 dingers, but Judge & LeMahieu are right on his heels with 26 apiece. With these three trading blows back and forth on this past homestand, they’ll look to settle the score in the season’s final three games.
- Postseason Rotation – in their final auditions for October, I’d expect Boone to start James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka & Luis Severino in these three games, which would then line them up for the first three games of the American League Division Series.
|Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images|
Preview by: Andrew NatalizioFollow @anatalizio0523