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The Yankees Became The Best Team In Baseball, Here’s How

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The Yankees beat the Athletics late last night 7-6 in a homer-happy west coast thriller to extend their win streak to 12 games. They now sit just four games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for first place, which leads me to a completely logical conclusion that involves zero exaggeration:

Aaron Boone’s 2021 Yankees are the best team in baseball. Bold, I know, but I’ll prove it and show how this happened (to my surprise).

At the all-star break, the Yankees came in 41-40 with nothing but question marks. Should they buy? Should Brian Cashman sell? Could this be Aaron Boone’s last season in the Bronx? All valid thoughts and it turned out that the Yankees were buyers at the trade deadline, and even better, they had a specific plan that was executed to perfection.

General manager Brian Cashman was hellbent on acquiring left-handed bats to balance the lineup. This issue was well documented during their first-half struggles by Yankees Twitter, but it wasn’t clear if those complaints were falling on deaf ears. Turns out, Cashman listened and landed Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Rangers right fielder Joey Gallo.

Both technically “bad fits” at first glance in pinstripes considering I’ve stated in the past the team needed more contact-first hitters, but these two have made a MAJOR impact. So much so that the Yankees lineup is suddenly elite, so what gives? Did These two just show up and rake to lead the Yankees to victory? Well, not exactly. All the Yankees really needed was to show pitchers a different look and it’s made a world of a difference, and here’s how:

Lineup balance

Notice anything in particular other than the fact that Joey Gallo was involved? The catch is that not only is a left-handed bat doing damage, but left-handed Anthony Rizzo is on second base. So why does this matter? The fact that two lefty sluggers exist presents a threat that requires a different approach that their lineup mates. A’s pitcher James Kaprielian can’t just show two sliders down and away with two strikes and expect a three or four pitch at-bat. He has to introduce his change up along with fastballs in locations he wouldn’t against right-handed bats.

That’s the kicker. These two lefties force pitchers to locate ALL of their pitchers in various locations. The need for perfection creates pressure and it’s bursting pipes. Last night, that pipe burst just in time for Aaron Judge to deliver the game-winning single in the bottom half of the eighth:

I’ve always been critical of Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone, so let’s give them some credit for a change. To my surprise, Boone is now showing a fire most of us have never seen out of him. Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor was cheeks early on last night, and Boone handled it to perfection:

The Yankees are now streaking, suddenly have heart, and their roster makes sense. Sure, they strikeout probably more than we’re comfortable with, but don’t underestimate a team that wants it. This team has a shot now — the best (hottest) team in baseball.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

11 Comments

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  1. Im afraid they don’t have the arms to win a 7-games series. They’re playing well now, but eventually the bats go cold and you need starters who can provide you a quality start against lineups like Boston, TB, Houston, and Chicago. Outside of Cole, I wouldn’t have much confidence in any of their starters against those lineups in the playoffs.

    • If you think I’m writing an article about a team that can’t fill the stands, you’re mistaken. They fly under the radar because they don’t have fans outside of Florida, and even those people don’t go to the games. Want an article on Wander? Write it yourself and you can DM it to me on Twitter.

      • This is certainly a pleasant change of pace compared to most of your articles about the Yankees being of negative nature. 12 in a row and best record since all-star break despite a rash of covid scratches and the usual helping of yankee injuries.

        Doing all this with DJ still batting some of the worst of his career, and as previously mentioned the usual yankee injuries. German and Kluber coming back. But if Severino comes back then game over. People forget how good he is since he’s been out for a long time. But last we saw of him was great.

      • Touche.. fair point. But honestly, outside of the Yankees/Boston, Cubs/Cards, Dodgers/Giants who consistently fills the stands? I understand the goal is to cast a net to capture the largest audience but if national interest is the standard for covering MLB then you have 6 teams worth discussing, with the Cubs being awful and the Cards barely in playoff contention.

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