Yankees sweeping up New York
The New York Yankees have had to sit back and take the jibes over the past few seasons as the New York Mets got to a World Series in 2015 and became the team everyone was talking about in the Big Apple.
That must have made this week’s Subway Series sweep all the more satisfying.
The Yankees won all four games against the Mets in one of the weird inter-league series that has two games at one venue, followed straight away by two games at the other. It makes more sense in a single-city match-up than it does when the Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros are paired together, as happened this week, at least.
That sets up this weekend’s series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium perfectly, with the Red Sox leading the AL West by four games after defeating the St Louis Cardinals twice (victories including a triple-play and a three-run rally in the ninth inning).
You would be forgiven for assuming that the third game will be the ESPN Sunday Night contest, but they will be showing the Cardinals-Pirates game from the Williamsport Little League site, so instead we can catch the game at 18.30 BST. Sonny Gray, who got his first win in pinstripes on Tuesday, and Doug Fister are the probable pitchers for Sunday.
Rangers making a run for it
The team that’s really on the march right now is the Texas Rangers.
They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games, including a three-game sweep over Detroit and defeating the Chicago White Sox on Thursday in the first game of a four-game series. The White Sox have lost their last five games and have the worst win-loss record in the American League, 45-73, so it’s a prime opportunity for the Rangers to continue their climb towards an American League Wild Card.
Whilst the Yankees have a 3.5 game gap for the top Wild Card, the rest of the group is very closely bunched, with the LA Angels currently holding the second spot and then seven teams sitting within three games of the Halos.
WC – NY Yankees (65-55) 3.5
WC – LA Angels (62-59) –
Kansas City (61-59) 0.5 Games Back
Minnesota (60-59) 1
Seattle (61-61) 1.5
Texas (60-60) 1.5
Tampa Bay (60-63) 3
Baltimore (59-62) 3
Toronto (59-62) 3
To illustrate how close it is, the Baltimore Orioles currently have five teams ahead of them before they get to the Angels, but if they can sweep their three-game series against LA this weekend they’ll have the same record as the team currently holding the second Wild Card. The Mariners have a chance to climb as they take on the out-of-form Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, whilst Kansas City and taking on the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians.
The Toronto Blue Jays are still in with a shout of an AL Wild Card despite their terrible start to the season and they go into their weekend inter-league series against the Chicago Cubs on the back of winning three of four against the Rays.
NL Central remains close
As for the Cubs, they split a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds this week, losing the final game 13-10 despite slugging six home runs. Jon Lester had a day to forget, giving up nine runs in 1.2 innings before leaving the game with an injury. All three games against the Blue Jays at Wrigley Field are 19.20 BST starts. Friday’s game should see Jake Arrieta and J.A. Happ on the mound.
The Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates last night in the first of an important four-game series. The Pirates have now lost five in a row, including both games of a short two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Cubs now hold a one-game lead over the Cardinals, and a 1.5 game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Pirates have slipped to 5.5 games back and whilst there’s still plenty of games left to play, getting some wins back against the Cardinals this weekend will be crucial to avoid the gap increasing.
Milwaukee have bounced back from an indffierent spell coming out of the All-Star break. They’ve won four in a row heading into this weekend’s series in Colorado against the Rockies.