Not long ago, a 14-run blowout would still leave a bitter bile in my throat. The fat cat Yankee vets were simply buttressing their stat lines, and they wouldn't score another run for a week. Now, everything about the Yankees seems to have changed. For the first time in my addled memory, we are 5 games above .500. We won't face Baltimore's ace, Chris Tillman, in this series. Their CF, Adam Jones, might be injured. The Mets have graciously pissed away the NYC fan base to whomever wants to carry it. A month ago, we were mired in A-Rod's slump. Nobody could have imagined such positive vibes coming from the Bronx, as Labor Day looms.
But we have to win all three.
Swarzak one game (or Shreve it), and we blow the fantasy.
And frankly, it can't last, right? Every Yankee fan knows that Gary Sanchez - "the Sanchise," according to John Sterling - will soon hit a slump. He won't hit .400. If he finishes at .300, we'll be ecstatic. That's no knock. He looks like the real deal. But he's hitting videogame numbers, and it won't last. When he tumbles, who steps into the void? Tex? Nah. Gardy? Don't think so. McCann? I'm sorry.
We have one hope, and his name is Aaron Judge. (I'd say two hopes, but apparently, we're not going to see Tyler Austin.) At every level of the minor leagues, Judge started slowly and then figured things out. Last year, when promoted to Scranton, he looked hopelessly over-matched - hit just .224 in 61 games. In fact, he looked so bad that Yankee neurotics feared another Trenton-ceiling washout.
This year, Judge took over the International League - 19 HRs and .270 - though it's been on a Frank Sinatra roller-coaster - riding high in April, (.287), shot down in May (.183), but changed his tune, back on top in June (.343), then weak (and out for two weeks) in July (.160.) Over ten games in August, just before the call-up, he was on fire - .363. (I still think the Yankees should have given him number 13.) Clearly, the guy finds a rhythm, and look out. He's slumping now. If Judge can power through this mentally, maybe he'll take over when Sanchez cools.
But if we lose the next two, it won't matter. That's what happens when you squander a season, based on contracts. I'm just hoping for another white-knuckled game. How about 17-2? I'll watch every pitch.