Series Recap: Yankees split with A's

 

Riding the wave of an 11-game winning streak, the Yankees headed into Oakland this past weekend with a chance to bury the suddenly desperate Oakland Athletics. With the annoyingly good and suddenly streaking Tampa Bay hitting a soft part of their schedule, this was a doubly important series for the Yankees to not lose and hopefully win in order to keep their Wild Card lead and keep their division hopes within reach. We could go into a few excuses for why (winning streak hangover, awkward west coast start times, Oakland being a desperate team) but in somewhat disappointing fashion, the Yankees “earned” a split of this series with Oakland and now will head off for a three game set with the Los Angeles Angels. Let’s recap the series that was.


Credit: Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 1

Although he has been superb during the second half of this series, Jameson Taillon has had a few shaky outings recently, and we can add this one to the list. Facing off against familiar face, James Kaprielian, the Yankees pounced early. Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Joey Gallo all hit home runs and the Yankees were out to an early 6-0 lead. Taillon could not hold hit however and the A’s grinded their way back into the game as Taillon struggled mightily with his control. After tying the game in the 5th, the A’s and the Yanks dueled to a standoff through the late innings, before Aaron Judge delivered the clutch RBI single that brought home the eventual winning run. Aroldis Chapman nailed down the save with a solid appearance. Yankees win 7-6

 

Game 2

After a game where they were into their bullpen early, the Yanks looked to their ace Gerrit Cole for a dominant performance, and he delivered. While we would love to see him pitch deeper than six innings, Cole gave the Yanks exactly what they needed. He blanked the A’s and also struck out nine, becoming the fastest Yankee pitcher to 200 strikeouts in a season (24 starts). While all that was happening, the Yankees offense jumped all over Sean Manaea, with home runs from Giancarlo Stanton again, Luke Voit, Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka providing the difference in this one. Yankees 8-2

 

Game 3

Looking to secure a stress-free series win, the Yankees were hoping the magic of Nestor Cortes Jr would surface again to deliver it. The Nestor Cortes Experience would hit a bit of a speed bump in this one however as he was not as sharp as he has been in previous outings. The desperate A’s took advantage of some walks, and used a few timely hits to get a lead they would not relinquish. Opposing Nestor was Frankie Montas and he was absolutely superb. The Yankees offense was totally asleep on this night. Aaron Judge was their whole offense, delivering three of their five hits on the day and driving in their two runs with a ninth inning home run. Montas turned a gem and the Yankees had their longest winning streak snapped at 13. Oakland wins 3-2


Credit: Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Game 4

Still looking to secure a series win, the Yankees looked to Jordan Montgomery. Gumby has been having a very nice season but unfortunately for him, some familiar themes would emerge. Montgomery pitched well in this game but, unfortunately, you can’t ask a pitcher to give up zero runs every time out. Gumby has been burned by lack of run support all season and he was again in this game. While Giancarlo Stanton had two more hits the Yankees scored only one run on an Anthony Rizzo single after Gumby departed the game and that was it, couple that with another backbreaking home run allowed by Chad Green in the late innings and the Yankees were put to bed having to settle for series split. Oakland wins 3-1

 

What’s Next?

After surging in the first two games, the Yankee offense closed the final two games of this series scoring three runs in 18 innings. We have to hope that it was just a case of good pitching by Oakland and maybe a little winning streak hangover and that they’re not about to go into another slump at what would be the worst possible time.

While the series split is disappointing, the Yankees have maintained a strong Wild Card cushion, with three and five game cushions in the loss column over Boston and Oakland respectively. However, with two losses and two Tampa wins, they are now six games behind in the division with only three games left to play against Tampa.

A definite bright spot of this series was the return of Gio Urshela, while he only contributed one hit in four games, he made several nice plays at third base, and he represents a massive upgrade at that position from Rougned Odor and the rotation of others who did their best in his absence. More help is on the way for the Yankees, as Corey Kluber will return to the Yankees rotation for the first time since May to start against the Angels tonight. He will be on a pitch count for now, but Kluber’s return is promising and could be huge for the playoff push if he can return to preinjury form. Also coming soon, Gleyber Torres has begun a rehab assignment in Double A Somerset. Gleyber was slashing .310/.323/.414 in his last 15 games before the injury so we have to hope that his hand injury does not derail some signs of progress at the plate.

The Yankees are getting back to being whole. While injuries are never ideal, the Yankees were forced to dig deep and may have uncovered some pieces that could help them down the stretch run, especially after they gain a few extra roster spots on September 1st. They will face off against the always talented, but still somehow always under .500 Los Angeles Angels and Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani will pitch against the Yankees on Tuesday and will surely be front and center for much of this series. Stay tuned here for coverage. Lets start another winning streak.


Article by Matt Graziano 

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