Bronx,NY: Again Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx the Yankees continued to prove why they are taking command of the Al East. Yes the season has not reached the mid point of the schedule but there is no issue with saying the Yankees are one of the five MLB teams that standout.
And after a three-game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays, a 12-1 win, that also earned CC Sabathia his 250th career victory. Sabathia (4-4) is one of 14 pitchers to record that many wins and 3,000 strikeouts in a career as the Yankees have opened up a 3.5 game first place lead over the Rays, seven over the defending world champion Boston Red Sox.
Win a division and the key to victory is taking care of business. The Yankees are a combined 12-3 against the Rays and Red Sox in Al East division play.
“That’s big division games,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.”Take on a little more importance especially the respect we have for that team.”
With 73 games in the books, 46-27 is not looking bad. And next to visit the Bronx are the Houston Astros and a four-game series at Yankee Stadium that begins Thursday night. The Astros stand with the third best record in baseball and minus all-stars Carlos Correa and George Springer as both continue to rehab back from the injured list.
But this was all about the Yankees again. Sabathia was dominant and the offense gave him enough support. Eleven Yankees came to bat in a six-run first inning off 2018 Al CY Young Award winner Blake Snell.
“Frustrating, have to figure it out,” Snell said about the shortest outing of his career of 0.1 inning pitched. “Going to learn from it. Going to get better.”
However getting better does mean throwing the right pitch. Snell did not locate properly in that first inning. One of his 39 pitches was a
changeup to Gary Sanchez that was out of the zone and went deep to right for a three-run homer.
It was the 21st home run for Sanchez, 2-for-4 and four RBI on the day. The Yankees have also homered in 22 consecutive games which is the longest streak this season in the Majors.
The Tampa Bay pitching staff showed their fatigue in this series, 13 pitches in the last 15 innings, partly due to their open game of using the bullpen that was seen again in their loss Tuesday night.
But they held down the Yankees after that first inning. After Snell left, Rays’ pitching kept the Yankees hitless and scoreless, until the seventh inning. That inning Gleyber Torres hit his first career grand slam as the Yankees scored six more runs.
“Proud of CC,” Sanchez said about the milestone of Sabathia. “250 wins I feel so happy for him. I’m so happy for the grand slam.”
It was the 16th home run for Torres of which 12 this season have come against Al East opponents.
And with a pitching staff that is also looking for help, all of the offense certainly gives that boost to the starters. By the time Torres hit that grand slam the game was out of reach.
Now it’s time for the Houston Astros and the Yankees with this potent offense expect the return of Aaron Judge to their lineup and as soon as Friday night.
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